A couple of months ago I was invited by a fellow Realtor to attend North Oakland County Board of Realtors Technology (NOCBOR) Board meeting. (I am a licensed agent in Michigan)
I assumed I was observing, everyone else assumed I was joining. So I now find myself part of the Tech committee. That role quickly expanded into also writing a monthly technology and social media article for the board newsletter. Funny how things snowball, isn’t it?
Social networking is like that too. It starts small and grows into more than you ever expected.
Here is my first submission to NOCBOR’s newsletter. Members will receive it in print, or you can read it online this month at NOCBOR’s web site.
The Social Media Revolution
“Social Media is not a fad.”
“Social Media is a game-changer.”
“Some say it may even be the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution.”
So starts the preface to the newly released Swanepoel Social Media Report 2010. By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Social Media. You may even have a FaceBook page, or a profile on LinkedIn but if you’re like most people, you still may not “get it.”
“How does knowing what someone had for lunch help me get more business?”
When I decided to get my real estate license, I was new to Michigan. My entire sphere of influence consisted of 3 neighbors. I’ve put my efforts into learning about social media and the people who use it. Two of my last three contracts are a result of social media contacts. The incubation period with social media may be longer than traditional forms of marketing but if you work it along with your existing business the opportunity to keep your sales funnel filled is tremendous.
When Swanepoel refers to the “biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution, he is referring to the way in which we do business. The Industrial Revolution changed the manner in which products were produced, and created faster, more efficient ways of getting those products to market.
In the decades since, our marketing efforts were unidirectional. Realtors sent out postcards, newsletters, placed ads on benches and in grocery stores in the hopes someone looking for a home would see their information and call. We had complete control over the advertising persona we chose to show our customers.
What customers found is that the promises marketed were not always what they got. Referrals became important. We know if a past client refers us, it’s much easier to “make the sale” because we’re already a trusted advisor. The limitation is we are restricted by the number of people we know or know of us. That’s where networking groups came in. It expanded our reach to local people we may not have met otherwise.
Social Media changes marketing completely. It’s no longer unidirectional, you must be an active participant. Every day is a networking event. Participating with online platforms such as Facebook or Twitter is far easier and much more fun than walking cold into a face to face networking event. By using the tools Social Media provides us, we expand our marketing reach so when we do finally meet face to face, it’s as though we’re meeting an old friend. And old friends are the best source of referrals. Social Media interaction has the potential to be the referral process on steroids.
Are you ready for the next revolution?
Footnote: Swanepoel Social Media Report 2010 is available at www.REtrends.com