Does Social Media Help or Hurt Your Business?

Is social media good for business? Mistakes that many people make when it comes to using social media.

Is social media helping or hurting your business? If you read this blog regularly, you already know we’re big fans of social media as a tool that Realtors can use to attract new business and burnish their brand. Having said that, there is a big risk lurking out there—the risk that the success of our social media strategy may come at the expense of our personal relationships (and our financial success).

Consider this: I have a client to whom I have not spoken on the phone for more than two weeks. However, I have 47 emails from her in my inbox. What’s wrong with this picture? Maybe nothing. Maybe, on the other hand, something quite profound.

Social media is a tool, not an end in itself. It’s a point of contact, like handing someone your business card or shaking hands at a cocktail party. But it’s what you do after that that counts. Yes, your Facebook page and your Twitter theme should convey your personal brand. But a Facebook “friend” or a Twitter follower does not a relationship make. So it’s time for an assessment. What is the current state of your client relationships?

  • Do you hide behind social media communication to avoid personal contact?
  • How much do you know about your clients that’s unrelated to buying or selling a home?
  • How good are you at staying in touch after the sale?
  • How often do you say “thank you?”

Do you hide behind social media?
I know kids of a certain age who don’t speak to their parents on the phone but will text them 20 or 30 times a day. Actually, I know kids who will text someone who’s sitting in the same room, rather than have a conversation. The beauty of texting, tweeting, and the like is that you can communicate immediately, get it off your mind and move on. And that’s fine. But you need to combine those communications with a personal touch. Buying or selling a home is stressful. Show the client you understand with a check-in call to see how they are doing. Email a funny cartoon to lighten the mood. Send them a gift card to their favorite coffee house.

How much do you know about your clients?
Of course you’ve gotten their wish list in writing. You know the price they’d like to sell for and also what they’ll settle for. But do you know that their daughter is in a ballet recital next week or that their son’s Little League team won its last five games? Make it a point to get personal without being intrusive. It’s easy to chat about the latest movie or a new restaurant they’ve been to. This establishes common ground and gives you an opportunity to find out about their jobs, likes, dislikes, wins and losses. If someone gets a promotion, send a note of congratulations. If someone loses a job, sympathize and encourage.

How good are you at staying in touch?
Once the sale has closed, it’s easy to just say goodbye, good luck and move on. But as any good Realtor knows, it’s repeat business that builds your business. Statistics tell us that people move every five years. You want to stay top of mind so that when the next move comes, your phone will ring. Consider too how much of your business comes from referrals. When somebody asks your clients, “Do you know a good Realtor?” how will they answer? There are dozens of creative ways you can keep in touch after the sale. Of course you have an email contact list (with an easy “unsubscribe” function). But how about:

  • A happy anniversary card each year on their move-in date
  • A Halloween card acknowledging today’s “scary” market
  • A valentine or a new year’s card instead of the usual Christmas or Thanksgiving greeting

How often do you say “thank you?”
And speaking of cards, of course you’re sending thank yous after the sale and every time you get a referral. But how about a personal thank you to the barista who makes your morning latte or the guy who mows your lawn? When you think about it, you come in contact with dozens of people every day. They may not be clients now, but you never know where that next referral will come from.

OK, so you’ve got 762 friends on Facebook, 365 followers on Twitter, and 187 contacts in your iPhone. Good for you! How many of those are real relationships? High tech can definitely help you build your business. But it’s high touch that will build client loyalty and keep them coming back for more.

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