Chart showing social media ROI

Image courtesy of Flickr user Intersection Consulting

You have heard the buzz, right? Social media is the “next big thing” in the real estate business. Class after class is being taught by social media gurus, experts and specialists that sometimes have the combined social media presence of many non-experts. I am not really sure what it takes to be a social media guru or expert, but I am pretty sure of this: Many of them are trying to sell you a magic bullet, a sure-fire way to connect with markets that you are not currently serving, a get-rich-quick snake oil that does not exist.

We all bought into the “website thing” many years ago. You know, the one where you put up your high school photo, talk about how cute your dog is, “allow” people to contact you, and be sure to tell them how many homes you sell and which designations you have received. How’s that workin’ out for ya’ these days?

Today’s internet-focused homebuyer is probably looking for instant information, the kind of things that let them know what is for sale and tells them why they would want to live in that area. Research and information begins online – being the source of that information is what can bring them to YOU.  The downside to this is the fact that it is a LOT of really hard work to rank for certain keywords, to provide useful and relevant content, and to be the go-to guy (or gal ) for the area these potential clients are seeking.

Blogging is a tool that can be a great addition to a real estate agent’s business, but you need to understand a few things about this tool that some call the hub of an online presence. It is HARD work. It takes consistency, planning, determination and skill to pay any real dividends. Many agents dive right into social media and say they will have their assistant run it, their college kids or siblings do it.  They “know” it is important, but they “don’t have time” to “mess with that stuff” because they are “too busy.”

For many successful agents, I do believe social media can be a distraction. It can be a complete waste of time. I doubt Walt Danley worries too much about Twitter. I also believe there are many successful agents that make a VERY good living being their own social network. They meet people in coffee shops, send newsletters, rely on “belly to belly” relationships with past clients and continue to do what has always worked well. If that is you, awesome, keep on doing your thing! For me, it is a combination of the two. For many of my friends, it is one or the other.

Adding social media to your business plan should be just that–part of your plan. While setting up your profiles and getting started is good, it is probably going to take much more effort to gain any real business. Learn as much as you can by attending things like Real Estate Blog World in Las Vegas, going to Real Estate BarCamps in many cities or by “chaining” yourself in a room listening to self-proclaimed, “best in the world” types teach about becoming the epitome of an online expert.

While I have established a social media presence, what I have found to be the hub of my business hasn’t really changed in the last 17 years. Treat people well, be honest and work hard. If you can do that, you don’t need some guru to tell you where your next client is coming from…