Yes and no. Or as my college philosophy professor used to say when confronted with difficult questions, “That depends.”
If you mean, “Is somebody going to see my tweet, call me up and make an offer on one of my properties?” the answer is probably “no.”
What social media can do, however, is enhance your ability to attract clients and, in direct and indirect ways, help you sell more, faster, and easier. It can do this in four important ways:
- It increases your visibility
- It makes you look good
- It provides superior service
- It keeps you real
Before we get into specifics, however, just a quick definition of what we mean by “social media.” Done properly, social media is a dynamic combination of tools that might include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and your personal blog.
How do these components work together to increase your sales?
- Social media increases your visibility. As every marketing strategist will tell you, you have to keep your name out there. Newspaper ads, phone book listings, billboards or bus benches—these all cost money. Sometimes a lot of money. Social media, on the other hand, is very low cost—often free, except for a little of your time. And it keeps you top of mind with clients and potential clients until they are ready to buy or list a property. It makes it easy for your existing or prior clients to keep in touch, expands your reach to their friends and followers, and makes you easy to find when someone is searching online for a Realtor.
- Social media makes you look good. “Search engines and social media sites now play a central role in building one’s identity online,” says Mary Madden, Senior Research Specialist at the Pew Research Center. The judicious use of social media can help you build your personal brand, customize your profile, and quickly get rid of unwanted or outdated information about you and your business. People who like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter are not just expressing their approval personally—they are also liking you publicly to their friends. Soon you’ll be known to friends of friends, and so on—like dropping a pebble in a pond. Others will accept your brand because someone they respect also respects you.
- Social media provides superior service. When you use social media, it means your level of customer service is out there for all to see. If your client tweets about his smooth selling transaction, everybody gets it. If, on the other hand, he posts a Facebook update with the dreadful details of a deal gone wrong, everybody gets that too. But here’s the big takeaway: you’ll catch the negative feedback immediately, respond ASAP to get the specifics, correct whatever went wrong and ultimately get that client singing your praises once again. Of course you will never, never delete a client’s negative comment or blow him off with “appreciate your feedback.” When friends of friends see your public interaction they will be impressed with your service savvy and may even post positive comments of their own. This builds your brand and your clients’ goodwill.
- Social media keeps you real. Social media is all about building community. When you engage with people one on one, you become a real person. People feel a personal connection to you. As they get comfortable with who you are, they respond in kind and a relationship develops. While you’re building this part of your strategy, remember that you have to give a little to get a little. Ask questions of your followers. Listen to their answers and take appropriate action. Give them “insider” information on markets, rates, what’s selling (or not) and other hot topics. Let them feel like they’re truly on the inside. Your community will be a little bit more fun if you’ll kick off your shoes and show your friends and followers what really makes you unique.
The conclusion? Yes, social media can help you sell. You have to do it well, incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy, and set some reasonable goals. Strive to grow your community. Engage with it by managing feedback and client questions. Keep a two-way flow of information going. Demonstrate your standards and values and keep improving awareness of your brand and your services. The results will be visible on your bottom line.