Social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can be a great prospecting tool but extended overuse can lead to limited results. You can’t sell real estate sitting in front of the computer. But you can make connections and build the relationships with people online which can replace some (not all) live contact. These networking websites can allow you quickly to qualify connections and determine if they are someone who you want to be associated with.
Anytime you find yourself sitting in front of the computer an are about to engage ask, “Am I using this for business or pleasure?” Also, every person in your database should be asked whether they use social media. If 60-100% of your clients and prospects are not using social networking then don’t use it. This communication may not be practical for everyone. Just because someone else is working one way why would you?
Two Purposes of Social Media in Real Estate
- Renewing referrals
I see some people connecting with as many people as they possibly can. The more people you have in your network the more people you have to manage. Add only those who would be considered decision makers or would refer you business. The rest ignore. There are several ways to add people to your network and some are faster than others. Uploading databases, RSS readers, and outsourcing are just a few but require some intermediate to advance technology skills. Know the why, not the how, and have someone build your list of identified connections.
If you find complete strangers on LinkedIn that match the position of the person you want to find i.e, relocation director, builder, banker, appraiser, etc., you will want to add a personal message to your connection request.
Facebook may be a little tougher to qualify since most people do not make their profile public until the friend request has been completed. This will require an extra step
Ask these qualifying questions to those who you want to connect with or have asked you to join their network:
- How many people are you connected with using this social media site?
- How many real estate professionals are you connected with in your online network?
- If we were to connect how would you seeing us doing business together?
- Thanks for adding me but for some reason I don’t remember how we know one another… can you please tell me how we know each other?
- What is your preferred method of communication: phone, mail, fax, email or social media?
People do business with those who they know, like and trust. Most people would do business with the same person who represented them but many agents do not follow up with their clients during the transaction life cycle. One way, (not the only way) is to keep in touch using social media sites. If you make contact with each person in your database 36 times (Example 12 mail, 12 email, 6 phone calls, 2 yearly gifts and 4 social media personal messages) and you did a good job the client will use you again.
Scheduling your Social Media Prospecting
Create a recurring appointment in your Microsoft Outlook or calendar software to allocate a few hours a week to qualify connections, sending messages, and ask for referrals. Use social media message templates and batch sent messages together to save time.
Social media is not a replacement of live interaction.
Use it only if your prospects are using it.
Ask qualifying questions to new connections.
Schedule your social media prospecting time and stick to it.
The rest is personal.