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Why Facebook Matters in Real Estate

Managing Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Rand Realty License # 49FA1074963

I may have contributed to a small controversy yesterday when I suggested Alex Chang's Placing all your online focus on Google SEO today...is like betting on Yahoo! 5 years ago for a feature. I'm probably not the only one who flagged the post, but it did start a "Google vs Facebook" debate which is probably the biggest non sequitor on the planet* right now. The point of the post was that like Google 5 years ago, Facebook is the next big thing for forward-thinking real estate professionals, and leveraging the tool is a worthwhile endeavor. That's not just me talking- go to Raincamp. 

Facebook matters, and here's why. At the end of the day, we as licensees, loan officers and etcetera, do business with either our sphere of influence (SOI, or people you know) or the targets of our marketing (Strangers). If you've ever had a friend, relative or associate list or buy with someone else and felt the sting of them not using you, you understand the power of your personal SOI. In my neck of the woods, with a $600,000+ median price, I don't need to tell you how big a bite in the fanny it is when a friend or relative does business with someone who is not ME. One of the biggest reasons we lose SOI business is that they didn't think of us. They just forgot, because another person asserted themselves somehow; a co worker, neighbor, friend from church, or (shudder) a Facebook friend.

 Phil @ an open house

When I graduated college in 1989, I thought I'd sell financial products like my older brother, who was successful at it. He discouraged me, because, as he aptly pointed out, I didn't know anyone who had money to invest. He knew a slew of fellow pre-meds from college who were now physicians, and he was very networked in Rugby. I knew bar bouncers and fellow broke recent grads. I looked into financial sales, but they all advised me to do the same thing: make a list of 100 people you know, contact them, and inform them that you want to be their financial advisor.  It was that way with every sales job where the clientèle was SOI: make a list and solicit your friends. 

So I spent 7 years selling Catholic school principals, Franciscan nuns and Dominican Sisters programmed learning for their resource rooms and needy students because I was unwilling to call people I hadn't bothered to reach out to since high school and sell them insurance. There was no Internet back then. Nobody licked stamps. You lost touch. 

Here is why Facebook is a game changer for business. Connecting with your entire SOI on Facebook is like walking into a virtual, massive college and high school reunion and discreetly passing out your business card without the posture of soliciting. You are on their mind again, even if you are complimenting them on pics of their children, and they know you sell houses. You aren't chasing them down about it. It works. There are other applications also (Get thee to Raincamp), like business pages for clientèle, which is the application Alex makes, but in both cases, Facebook has what we want: the attention of our sphere of influence. It is not a competitor to search engine optimization, but it is another useful tool for expanding business. It is the best SOI tool I know. 

I'll be applying the roost application to my Facebook business page for these reasons. It makes sense to me. I have actually been reticent to post on this because it might help my competition, but then it occurred to me that everyone has a different SOI.

  Become a fan of J Philip Real Estate on Facebook 


*Sorry; the biggest non sequitor on the planet is that BP is run by jerks. So what if it is. Clean up the oil and then we can discuss whether or not they are worse than Exxon, Enron, B of A,or J. Philip Real Estate. 


Comments (10)

Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

You raise many interesting points... and I agree with your point of view. 

Jun 11, 2010 02:52 AM
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Above & Beyond - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Well said J. Philip! I would like the roost app on my business page as well but our Cleveland mls won't allow agents to have any direct idx access. Unbelievable to me but it is what it is. We are pushing for a change but until then I can't have it on my website or anywhere else:( But I am active on FB and I know I will get business from it.

Jun 11, 2010 03:39 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

J. Philip -- very interesting & informative blog. I should get on Facebook more often!

I think you'd bring a lot of useful information to the attention of the BananaTude group. I'll send you an invite!

Jun 11, 2010 09:38 AM
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

Phil - I closed out 83% of my business in 2009 from Internet Marketing. As of May 2010, the number moved back more to like a 55% (Internet marketing) to 45% (Sphere) in part because of Social Media to provide that consistent facial recognition of what I do. I love it!

I also realized that number of transactions is larger from Internet Marketing but per transaction "value" is higher from a SOI.

Jun 11, 2010 11:22 AM
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

I just wish Facebook was more intuitive.  The more you use it the more you realize you don't know about it. 

Jun 11, 2010 02:15 PM
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

You're so right about Facebook being like a class reunion where you have to opportunity to discretely pass out your business cards! And, it's true, everyone has a different SOI so no need to worry about Roost helping your competitors.

Jun 12, 2010 02:17 AM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

That SOI is so important, but I bet none of us take advantage of it like we should, including me.

Jun 12, 2010 05:28 PM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Disagree - or at least in my case.   People are all over facebook - but they aren't looking to buy homes there or find and agent there. Facebook is NOT a search engine - and it won't ever become one either. Will something challenge Google - absolutely, but Facebook not so much.

Some of this may be personal:

First of all, I prefer NOT to work with my friends.  Sometimes it works out great - other times not so much. 

Second, I'm no social butterfly and am not the least interested in being one.  If I want to become one - I will do so off-line not ON-LINE. Don't get me wrong - I love being on-line - but I prefer friendships that are off-line.

Third, I don't find Facebook that compelling.  Well, that's not entirely true.   I find that I can get sucked in - but most of it is total waste of time - not from a personal perspective, but from the business standpoint. 

Fourth - and this is a personal issue - I try to keep a certain separation between my old life and my new life - and that limits what I do on FB.  I have my reasons for this - and it is in good part due to the fact that I've led two separate lives career wise and in my old life there were issues of people "selling out" to earn money.  I don't want that to wash over into FB - and my on-line persona - so I am somewhat limited by this. 


Jun 13, 2010 11:05 AM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

Ruthmarie- there is no one size fits all. If you don't want to market to SOI then Facebook would be far less useful to you. 

Jun 13, 2010 03:16 PM
Jim Cheney
Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA - Santa Rosa, CA
Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055

Great annalogy! 

It's an active way to look passive at keeping your name and face infront of "potential" clients. If you don't market to your SOI, then who are you marketing too?? Strangers?? They don't know what a great guy I am. Strangers don't know that I go the extra mile.  Strangers don't know that I'm generous with my commission when problems arise.  Face book has put me infront of people that I would not have ever talked to again, like most of my 1st grade class.

Jun 22, 2010 03:11 PM