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Social Media Likes - To be Taken Seriously

December 10 2010

facebook logoSeveral months ago Bing and Facebook announced a partnership to bring Facebook ‘likes’ into search results.Facebook ‘likes’ into search results. More recently Google started testing social search as well.

Social search’ is when the data from social networks and search engines combine to provide a more personalized experience for everyday consumers. Google will display results from people in your social network on the first page of search results.

This social-search-meld, I think, has huge implications for real estate agents. Given that the 30- to 45-year-old demographic turns to the Web to research people and things, agents who are active online and build connections with their customers and prospects through social media will have a huge advantage over agents who don’t.

The image below shows what Google has started doing. I recently performed a Google search on the term ‘profounder.’ See the item circled in RED? Those Google results are based on what someone in my Gmail contact list said about ‘profounder.’

listing search facebook social


 I was immediately drawn to the search engine results of my connection as opposed to the general results Google displayed. And, of course, I clicked. I was surprised how much more compelling his link was to me than Google’s standard 1-10, but I guess it just makes sense. Someone I’ve made contact with in the past has a personal opinion about the specific topic I’m searching. I want to click.

This is what Google claims currently makes its way into social search results:

social search google original


If you read this you’ll realize there’s somewhat of a high bar to appear in a prospect’s search results (They must have you in their contact list or be in your social circle somehow). Agents should all be thinking about how to offer enough tangible value to prospective clients that those prospects want to be connected with them via Gmail, Twitter, or Facebook.

We all know the power of Google’s Top 10. Imagine being in the Top 10 without knowing anything about SEO. Powerful.

Here’s a hypothetical example to illustrate how social media will send Agents more customers:

Suppose you’ve got an active blog. You post once or twice a week about real estate trends in your neighborhood, inventory levels, local events, open houses, and maybe even some critiques of restaurants or places you’ve been in town. You tweet links to your blog posts (These tweets are all publicly accessible–Google can index them).

Let’s also assume you’ve gone on a few listing presentations the last 30 days. You’ve done all the right things to stay in touch. You asked prospects to follow you on Twitter for property updates, you’ve added them to your Gmail contact list, they’re on select drip campaigns, and you follow up by phone. But they’re not your client yet ,so you must assume some are still researching other agents before making a decision.

Now imagine one of these prospects types “Silverlake home values” into Google (assume Silverlake is your market). Since she happens to follow you on Twitter, you show up in the first page of her Google results along with links to your tweets. She remembers your name so she clicks and reads your tweets, one of which takes her to your blog article about how so many Silverlake homeowners are delinquent on their loans and you believe it’s best to sell now before all this inventory gets on the market. She reads more of your blog articles and is impressed by your knowledge. Do you think she’ll choose you or an agent who is nowhere to be found online?

The new generation of home buyer and seller consumes online media like no generation before it. This media influences them. They trust Google. They trust what others are saying online. The impact of being found via social search is huge...more influence over the consumer, more business, potentially thousands of dollars in extra commissions, and probably a much easier sales process.

Social media can help real estate agents build a great online reputation—Google has just given them an extremely compelling reason to get active immediately.