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Inbound Marketing - Will you lose customers while playing on Facebook or LinkedIn?

Managing Real Estate Broker with Washington Management Company, Inc. 17722

Inbound Marketing - Will you lose customers while playing on Facebook or LinkedIn?  I've read several opinions this month by social media experts that are predicting that Facebook may be on its way to becoming the Internet's next big search engine.  I've also heard some very experienced real estate people suggesting Douglas Lovitt on Facebooksocial media sites are a complete waste of time.  Hmmm... seems to me I heard this song in 1995 when real estate sites started popping up on the Internet.  Times are changing.  Email blasts and direct marketing campaigns (outbound marketing) have slowly been losing Douglas Lovitt on LinkedIntheir effectiveness.  Do not call and do not mail registries are also slowly having an impact.  Inbound marketing however is growing in popularity and is beginning to take hold.  Shortly, a solid presence on Facebook and LinkedIn will be as or even more important than your existing website.

Shhh...  Listen...

Executives scrambling to formulate a new strategyYou can almost hear the executives at Google, Bing & Yahoo scrambling to  find new ways to compete with sites like Facebook? Well... Google gets it because they have been working like crazy to get "Google Buzz" up and working.  They've realized that it's not just about whose algorithm will deliver the most relevant content to the user. They have to have a social network component too.

Ultimately it's about trust. 

Social networks are about connecting to people that you like and trust.  I won't connect to someone that is just trying to make a contact to sell something.  If they do, they will find themselves "unfriended" fairly quickly.  I also won't instantly trust a friend that I just meet.  But over time, as I get to know them better, I begin to trust and respect their advice and opinions.  I might even entertain buying their goods or services.  Well... maybe not all of them, but you know what I mean.  Inbound Marketing is about earning the right to be a trusted partner.  It's about nurturing relationships.  It's about being there when your customers need you.  That's what makes social networks like Facebood and LinkedIn so critical to any Inbound Marketing program. 

GoogleDon't get me wrong.  I appreciate and trust Google's efforts to deliver relevant content. I think they do it better than anyone.  But it doesn't mean that I automatically trust the companies and people that come up on page 1 of their SERP.  That's where Social Media networks have a huge advantage over today's search engines.  When a friend suggests someone to me, I can ask questions about performance, service, and quality from someone I trust.  I will put a lot more faith in a service provider that is recommended to me by a friend, than I will one I found through a website.   

Think about what that means to you as a service provider.

Customers are going to expect to be able to find out more about you.  If you're not on Facebook, LinkedIn, or don't have a Blog, they are going to be suspicious as to why no one knows anything about you.  Think they will do business with you simply because you have a website?  Remember the yellow pages?

Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh ShahLike it or not, social media and Inbound Marketing are changing the landscape of real estate sales.  I've heard other brokers say my entire career that real estate is a numbers game.  Well, that's certainly true, but it's also about relationships.  Peter F. Drucker once said, "The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer."  Agents will always be looking for new business, but what will keep those customers loyal to you?  It may just depend on how they found you in the first place, and how connected you stayed with them after the sale.  If you don't start paying attention to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media, your customers will probably belong to someone else in the future.

Whether you are actively engage in social media or struggling to figure out where to start, my advice would be to go buy and read Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah. As of this writing it was ranked in the top 25 at Amazon.com.  I couldn't put the book down.  I'd lend you mine, but it's all highlighted, and I've written notes on virtually every page.  I haven't seen the new strategy of Inbound Marketing and social media laid out any better.

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Douglas LovittDouglas Lovitt is the Managing Broker at CENTURY 21 North Homes Realty, Inc. in Lynnwood, WA & A licensed Washington State Instructor. He has more than 20 years of marketing & sales experience. His primary markets are Mill Creek & Lynnwood located in south Snohomish County, Washington - approximately 15-20 minutes North of Seattle & Bellevue, WA.

Give me a call if you need some help.


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Roger Johnson
Hickory, NC

Great post, Douglas.  I've heard many agents blow off social media because they say "it's all about real relationships"  What they fail to understand is that those online relationships are just as real, even if it's in a virtual setting.  If people feel like that they know you, even online, then they feel that they can trust you.

Your Title is what really caught my eye, though, especially the "playing" part.  I know this isn't where you were heading, but I've seen agents get on facebook and do nothing but actually play the games, post pics of themselves partying and drinking, etc., etc. all while attaching their professional services to it.  I really do think that you need to be social on social media sites, but social with restraint.

Which is something else I've seen ,too.  Most agents don't do social media.  Unfortunately, most that have or do 'embrace' it are going about it all wrong (completely my own opinion here).  I've seen twitter accounts that post listing after listing after listing with no personal interaction at all.  And I cringe every time I hear "I'm using the 70/20/10 plan" or something similar.  It's about being social, you just need to be professionally social

Feb 20, 2010 01:01 AM
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Wow, haven't seen Peter Drucker's name mentioned in a looooong time. I'm already a believer & like what you had to say here.

Feb 20, 2010 01:06 AM
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

Good for you!    I like what you have to say....    There is just sooo much technology out there..

Feb 20, 2010 01:14 AM
John Rakoci
Eagle Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
North Myrtle Beach Coastal Carolinas

Business can and will come from all directions. Embrace the new technology but do not give up on the old ways as they will still be around a long time too.

Feb 20, 2010 01:19 AM
Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - Santa Rosa, CA

Douglas, thanks for the post. I will have to check out the book. Funny, I just talked about this very subject in my class yesterday. Agents in my area are just now starting to understand the importance of social media and it's relevance to one's marketing plan. Some people get it and some people don't. 

Feb 20, 2010 01:50 AM
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches


thanks for the heads-up for the book- Inbound Marketing!  I'm heading to Barnes & Noble (my FAVORITE hangout!) tonight and I'll pick up my copy!

Feb 20, 2010 04:23 AM
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Well put Doug!!!! I'm a book lover so will definitely check out Inbound Marketing.

Feb 20, 2010 05:29 AM
Mike Guggenbickler

Fact, not opinion, proves that having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites are NOT what matters to clients. Personal wins  over selfpromotion every single time. You can have all your electronic communication technology you want and Top Producers will still win with Personal Relationship Marketing. People still buy from people they have a personal relationship with and the overwhelming technology explosion is increasing the "power of personal" more and more every day.

Feb 20, 2010 08:36 AM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

I just ordered Inbound Marketing and thank you for bringing it to my attention.


Feb 20, 2010 10:21 AM
Kathie Burby
Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate - Sonora, CA
REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide

Great information and thanks for the reminder that we all need to be "plugged in".

Feb 20, 2010 10:53 AM
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Hahaha! 'Remember the yellow pages?' Good one!

Feb 20, 2010 11:19 AM
Cathy Tishhouse
RE/MAX Showcase Homes - Royal Oak, MI
Royal Oak Real Estate

I find my past clients on facebook and stop in every now and then as I agree that I want to nurture my relationships for referrals.  When a client has a baby, I send a gift card etc.  and Facebook as allowed me to do this - I wouldn't know these things without it.

Feb 20, 2010 11:37 PM

Doug...I plan to buy the book and study and put into action.


Jerry Gray CRB,CRS,GRI, SFR / Allen Tate Realtors / Winston Salem, NC / 336-918-2433

Feb 21, 2010 05:23 AM
Amy Reed
Allison James Estates and Homes - Durham, NC

Love the book referral.  Keeping up with technology not only makes sense, but it's fun!!  Can't wait to see what I can highlight in this book.

Feb 21, 2010 05:25 AM
Christopher Watters
Watters International Realty - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor (512-829-8000)

A friend of mine that has a very succesful web development company said google may be on its way out and social netoworking sites like facebook are on their way in for people to find trusted sources.

Feb 21, 2010 09:44 AM
Ashley Miller
RE/MAX Professional Partners - Auburn, AL

Excellent post!  There is an agent in our office I call the 'secret' agent.  He has no desire to get on Facebook, Linkedin, etc.  It is an excellent way to stay in front of consumers and to be connected.  It is not uncommon for folks to call up or send a message about something I posted.  Thanks for the book idea...need to check that out!


Ashley D. Miller, RE/MAX Professional Partners, Auburn, AL - 334-332-8328 - www.AshleyDMiller.com


Feb 21, 2010 11:43 PM
Jeff Stone
Douglas Elliman - Port Washington, NY
Seniors Real Estate Specialist

Thanks Douglas, a good post indeed. Yes, homeowners are more likely to list with someone that was referred to them or that they trust. Inbound marketing is all about gaining trust through establishing a relationship.

Feb 24, 2010 05:50 AM
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

I've been at LinkedIn for a couple of years now, but their system only lets me log in once or twice a quarter. It's frustrating, and LinkedIn technical support has been no help.

Feb 27, 2010 01:25 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

My brain hurts just trying to keep up with all this social media and online stuff, but it's certainly the future of marketing so I guess I better just take a tylenol and keep learning. 

Feb 28, 2010 01:08 PM
Timo Yannopoulos
Platinum Realty Licensed in Missouri - Kansas City, MO
Buying and Selling Kansas City Homes


To add to my comment on this article, I wish I had a picture to post here with a hammer nailing a nail.

You got it my friend! BRAVO!

Yes indeed the high tech train is moving fast, if we don't catch it we are going to be left behind.

I advise all my friends young and old, especially those who reject and/refuse to learn technologies and modern media.

Also it is not only whom you know, instaed whom you know and stay in touch with, read my LinkedIn post. Trust is Gold

Great Job Douglas.

Timo www.asktimo.com

Mar 03, 2010 04:35 AM