I got you with that title, didn’t I? As you pobably already know, I am an advocate of using social media websites to both form new connections and to deepen the relationships you have with members of your Personal Circle.
That said, social media marketing – and the Twitter platform, in particular – isn’t right for every agent. To determine whether or not the practice is a good fit for your real estate business, consider the following tips on why agents should and shouldn’t be using Twitter…
First of all, one of the best things about Twitter is that it’s searchable – making it a great place to find potential new leads. As I described in my “Using Social Media to Find Buyer Leads” article, it’s possible to search Twitter for location-specific, housing-related tweets that could potentially turn into buyer leads or clients for your current sales listings. For this reason, Twitter should definitely be considered as a part of any good lead generation strategy.
But beyond that, keep in mind that Twitter is one of the most accessible networks in the social sphere. If you’ve used Facebook to market your business in the past, you know that you need to add people as friends in order to reach out to both new contacts and existing Personal Circle members. While this is fine for close friends, cold contacts and even past clients may feel uncomfortable giving access to their personal profiles to business professionals.
With Twitter, on the other hand, you can reach out to anybody with a public profile – making it the one network that should play a role in your social media marketing strategy. On Twitter, you can reply directly to users whose tweets indicate that they might be a good fit for your services and follow users that you know are in the market for a new home. You can even use Twitter’s list creation feature to manage your social contacts according to their relationship with you and your business.
However, these advantages alone aren’t enough to make the blanket recommendation that every real estate agent must use Twitter as a part of their promotional strategies. In fact, there are plenty of circumstances that could indicate against the use of Twitter in real estate marketing.
As an example, real estate agents shouldn’t use Twitter if they aren’t able to commit to regularly updating their profiles and interacting with followers. Social media marketing isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. If you want people to respond to your attempts to reach out to them, you need be an active site user – not somebody who set up a profile months ago and only sends out messages to users whose location-specific tweets come up in his searches.
It’s also important to keep in mind the double-edged sword that is social media. Social sites can be a lot of fun to use, but you’ve got to be careful that you don’t get sucked into the social media black hole, where you can easily lose hours a day. If you don’t have the discipline and focus to be time efficient with social media, you probably shouldn’t be using it..
The bottom line is that, for social media marketing on Twitter to be effective, you’ve got to be a “real” person that visits the site regularly and uses the network for more than just promotional posts. There’s nothing wrong with being unable to meet these standards, but be honest with yourself. If you plan on using Twitter as nothing more than a lead generation tool, you’re probably better off focusing your efforts elsewhere.
Another circumstance that indicates that a real estate agent shouldn’t be using Twitter as a marketing tool is if you’ve conclusively proven that leads from this service aren’t converting to closed sales as well as the contacts you identify using other methods. In my “Defining Prospecting for Real Estate Agents” article, I talked about how important it is to be able to measure the number of prospects who are going on to result in closed sales.
But what if you’ve taken this analysis a step further and tied these closed sales to the sources you’ve used to find new prospects? And what if, based on your data, you’ve found that the prospects you’ve attracted from Twitter hardly ever result in successful closings for your business?
I’m not saying that Twitter is a bad strategy for finding leads – certainly, plenty of agents are using this exact tactic successfully in order to grow their businesses. However, if you’ve run the numbers and determined that Twitter leads aren’t working out for you, why on earth would you blindly forge ahead with this process instead of focusing on the lead generation activities that actually bring your business successful buyers?
At the end of the day, my advice is this… Twitter can be a great tool for building your reputation as a real estate agent and helping you to find hungry new customers. That said, it’s not right for everybody! By being aware of the advantages and limitations of social media marketing within the context of your business, you’ll be able to identify and prioritize the promotional strategies that make the biggest difference for your real estate practice!