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10 Reasons You Will Never Generate A Lead Through Social Media

February 23 2011

social media buttonsGuest Contributor Daniel Bates of Tomato University says:

Much has been written on the subject of social media being used to generate leads and most of it has not been positive.  In most cases, this is due to a misuse of the tools and not the tools themselves.

When I teach social media marketing to students, I do not approach it as a one-size-fits-all-instant-cure and I don’t hype itI don’t hype it to be something that it isn’t.  I try to look for a way that a specific agent can use it to reach their specific audience and develop a plan with them on how to accomplish this.

1. You Don’t Get It.

You’re scrambling so hard to find these things called “leads” that you can’t see the forest through the trees.

Everyone that you come in contact with isn’t a lead, they’re a human being and they want to be treated like one, not as a potential stack of money.  Social Media is about building relationships.  If you’re not looking to build relationships, then you shouldn’t be participating.

2. You Don’t Play By The Rules.

Rules were meant to be broken right?

Well not social etiquette rulessocial etiquette rules.

The same way that not smiling while extending a hand to shake upon meeting someone new can ruin your chances of making a friendly impression, so can failing to follow simple social media etiquette.

I always recommend that agents establish at least a month of social participation on social networks before promoting a business agenda.   But most importantly they need to understand the harm in spamming.  Nothing will degrade your sincerity and "friend" value quicker that thoughtless self-promotion in the public forum.

3. Your Entire Audience Is Other Realtors.

I see so many agents get caught up in the numbers game; measuring their success by how many followers/fans they have compared to their competition.

It is so common to see real estate agents pitch themselves in Realtor-Centric blogs, groups and fan pages.  The common byproduct of this is that these same agents also follow a huge amount of other agents themselves, hoping for them to return the favor…and they do.

But what good (other than the slim-chance-referral) is that?

Real estate agents are the last people you want following your professional activities because they skew your results.

I mention particularly, when I use my own efforts as an example in a class, that the students please not “like” my page, because when I reach milestones I want to know that those are real-life fans that I have a chance of doing business with.

If you are doing your job correctly, then your content should be very uninteresting to agents outside of your geographic area, anyway.

There is the exception where you are recognized as ‘doing it right’ and other agents follow you as a great example.  In this case you may not be able to stop the movement, and it could help boost you to a larger than life status.   In the meantime, just try to keep the groups separate in your head and don’t be afraid to delete agents who try to butt-in on the conversation.

You worked hard for it, they didn’t.

4. You Don’t Draw A Line Between Personal And Professional.

Your Social Media feed includes pictures of you overindulging at a party last weekend, a new real estate listing, an abstract thought or quote that means nothing to anyone, a blog post about buying a home, a “checked-in” at McDonald’s, your prized Golden Artichoke from Farmville, and a real estate video that gives me motion sickness.

If you did have any chance at success it was ruined when you sat down in front of the keyboard and spammed your friends with business and exposed your personal life to your business contacts. On Facebook the separation is simple (and demanded by FB terms of use):  Keep your friends on your Personal Profile and create a Fan Page for the “Business You”.

5. You Forgot The Golden Rule.

You can’t expect others to help you unless you’ve taken a moment to help them.

Or, if you prefer, “treat others as you wish to be treated”.

The “Gimmees” of the world don’t last long with social media once people figure out that they have a one track mind.

6. You Haven’t Figured Out That Real Estate is Boring.

Instead, consider creating a page around your niche in which you discuss not only real estate, but local news, pictures, facts, and events of interest to that niche.

You take the advice to create a fan page and but then you go and name it “John Smith, Your Kalamazoo Real Estate Expert, a Smith and Smith Realty & Associates Real Estate Agent”. You then proceed to post all of your listings and market data graphs pulled from your MLS without an explanation of what they mean.  This follows with the frustration that no one joins your page and so you decide to re-re-re-suggest the page to your friends.  When they still don’t join you just go back to posting the data on your personal account and everyone, including your spouse decides to hide you from their feed.

Instead, consider creating a page around your niche in which you discuss not only real estate, but local news, pictures, facts, and events of interest to that niche.

Try promoting other local FB pages’ activities, include some local pictures and fun facts, and then sneak in a real estate article or two.

7. You Leave People Hanging.

When people DM, PM, or comment you don’t respond promptly, or at all.  This leaves the impression that you’re not interested in fostering a relationship.  We live in an instant gratification society and failing to respond to an online request within a reasonable amount time (as defined by the other party, not you) will cost you business.

Fortunately, Facebook has just started to notify fan page admins of wall postings in addition to comments, which had been a problem for many that didn’t check their page(s) at least once in the morning and evening.  So no excuses!

8. You Chase Your Tail.

You’ve got the same 10-100 people who are subscribed to your blog, following you on twitter, and liking you on Facebook and most of them are close friends and family that didn’t want to hurt your feelings.

They either ignore your content or participate just to boost your ego.  Either you get the hard truth, or you end up fooling yourself that you’ve got great content and an attentive audience.

If you aren’t reaching a new, broader audience, you need to consider a few things:

Perhaps your message is missing the mark or just plain uninteresting.
Or, maybe you just need to raise the bar and market the page more effectively to find a larger audience.

9. You Spend All Your Time Reading.

Rather than coming up with a game plan of who your audience is and what they want to experience, you simply start a fan page and begin mimicking what you’ve seen done by other agents.

There is nothing wrong with following other agents who are great examples.  The challenge however, is that most are poor examples and nothing but a loss for your time investment.

Stop paying attention to online chatter and spend more time working on your own content.  Figure out who your audience is and what it is that they want you to talk about.

10. You Don’t Care that Everyone Can Tell That You Don’t Care.

After watching the umpteenth evening news story (by a reporter who doesn’t grasp social media) on how social media is important, you are finally inspired to build up your online presence.

You create an account on Facebook and Twitter, put links up to these accounts on your website(s), break rules 1-9 and then setup an automatic program to post your blog feed to your account.

Predictably, you forget your login/password because you never visit either again.

Anyone that happens to stumble across your message sees the tumbleweed rolling across the ignored prairie and exits via the back button and on to your competition’s account.

This article was written by Dean of Education at Tomato UniversityTomato University: Daniel Bates.