Let me start with a disclaimer. This post consists of my opinions and my opinions only. They have been formed, however, through hundreds of conversations and interactions with some bright and talented people in the real estate space.
(You can always hear more of Bill’s opinions on his Twitter account)
So, what do I mean by search and what do I mean by social?
Search is SEO, squeeze pages, lead generation, keywords, analytics, etc. Social is sphere of influence, referrals, social networks, mind share, repeat customers, etc.
There are strong opinions in the RE world when it comes to search vs. social. I am on e-mail lists for lead gen experts that downplay social as a viable strategy for agents. Everything starts with the lead and building a consistent source of leads is critical for success. I also receive daily e-mails from social experts that espouse proper use of the social strategy to build a bigger SOI, and gain mindshare to gather more referrals and repeat business. Both of these strategies can lead to more transactions, but neither is a quick fix or magic bullet. Both require a dedicated, consistent effort for success. Both also require an agent that knows how to take care of a client. A sub par agent can kill either strategy. Quickly.
A quick sidebar -
Contrary to the post title, it is not necessarily all one or the other. I know agents able to seamlessly move back and forth between these two strategies. They are the exception. They are also usually not involved heavily in day to day agent activities. By this I mean doing things like listing presentations or buyers tours. They manage the systems for their teams in order to keep the transactions flowing for others.
I see value in both strategies. In a perfect world, today’s agent would build systems that incorporate both search and social. In reality, most agents do not have the time, expertise or financial resources to work both strategies AND do all the other things an agent needs to do. So which one should an agent choose? I believe an agent’s personality will naturally favor one over the other. Why not pick the strategy best suited for the agent’s skill set? Techy and like to dive into analytics? Start up a lead gen site and develop a killer incubation strategy. Not techy but a social butterfly? Embrace social and strengthen current relationships while engaging potential clients. The key is to pick one of these strategies and put forth the consistent, dedicated effort needed for success.
(Daniel Beer wrote a great post this week about consistency at GeekEstateBlog.com.)
I know an agent that closed 20+ transactions (out of 60 total) last year directly attributable to her engagement and relationship building efforts on Facebook. I also know an agent that closed 40+ transactions focusing his efforts on lead gen and conversion strategies. One trait both share is the ability to focus and be consistent in their efforts. All great agents do this.
So what do you think? Social? Search? Both?