We're looking at the wrong #'s when it comes to social media

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fathom Realty Colorado

Real estate is a numbers game.  Take that how you will, but in some way it's true.  But what numbers are we looking at?  I think when it comes to social media, the focus is being placed on the wrong numbers.  

I'm not impressed by the real estate agent with 5400 followers on Twitter.  I don't care how many friends you have on Facebook or how many connections you've made on LinkedIn.  I mean I really don't care.  There's not a number you can toss at me that will impress me.

Social media is about meeting people whom you otherwise would not have met.  And when I say "meeting" I don't mean online.  I mean in person.  Did you hear that gasp too?  How many people have you met IN PERSON as a direct result of your social media efforts that you wouldn't have otherwise met?  That's a number that means a little bit to me.

Real estate is like baseball, we have statistics for everything, and 73% of those statistics are meaningless to 47% of the real estate agents who use them.  But, it's a numbers game so we use statistics.  How many people that you met in person did you help buy or sell a house?  That's a number that means even more to me than how many people you met.

Now for the real number, the one that actually matters.  Say what you will about me being shallow, but the number I want to see is how much profit have you made from your social media efforts?  Take the money that you've earned from selling real estate to people whom you met via social media, subtract however much money you spent to pay the guru who told you he would make you a Twitter superstar, and that's the number I care about.

I'm in business to make a profit.  That doesn't mean it's my only goal or I'll sacrifice anything to make the almighty dollar, but if I don't make a profit my family will starve.  Actually, I'll starve 'cause my family will most likely leave me and I'll be left to feed myself on my 5400 Twitter followers.  I like the warm and fuzzies of real estate (really I do...7 of the 11 families at my daughter's birthday party on Saturday were clients of mine), but profit is the only number that really matters.  I can tell you how many Twitter followers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections I have, but that doesn't mean a thing.  I can tell you how many clients have become friends and came to my daughter's birthday, and that means something.  Or I can show you how much profit I've made, and that is what determines how successful of a real estate businessman I am.

What numbers are you tracking?  What numbers are you chasing? How's it working for you?

Clark Cook
1st Choice Realty of Fayetteville, LLC - Fayetteville, NC
Marketing Homes For Sale In Fayetteville NC Area

Matt, social media is another way to create an onlilne presence. It also helps family and friends stay in touch. I would also add most of the venues you mention are free. I am fortunate to be in a huge military market, Fort Bragg, NC, that attracts people nationwide. And if I'm not mistaken, Fort Lewis and McCord AFB are in your neck of the woods. I understand your question is how much money has social media make for me. Honestly I can't attribute a single sale to social media alone. I can however tell you that I've had more than one referral from my network of family and friends who live outside my immediate area. I have also paid referral commissions to other agents I have never met except through social media. Building a professional image and presence online requires incorporating social media. Rather than trying to put a dollar value on social media, I think you'd be better served to figure out what you need to do to mak social media work for you.

Sep 15, 2010 01:31 PM
Matt Thomson
Fathom Realty Colorado - Littleton, CO
Helping you find success through real estate

I appreciate your thoughts, Clark, and I think we're more on the same side than you may realize.  In my book, receiving referral business from people whom you otherwise would not have met is a pay day from social media.  

Not only do we have Ft Lewis and McChord, but we also have Bangor and the Naval base. If all my social media did was give me 450 military "friends" on Facebook, that'd be wasted time.  If I had 20 friends but got even 1 referral or deal from those 20 people, then it's been worth while.

My contention is that people are more concerned with their "presence" and not concerned enough about what that presence does for them.  As an example, in 2008 I had a great online presence...I think most local agents would agree that I was in the top 3 most prominent online presences in our area.  I sold 6 houses that year.  Now, my presence hasn't grown much wider, but it has grown deeper (meaning I'm actually getting out from behind the computer and meeting people whom I connected with online).  I've closed nearly $7M so far this year.  The size and scope of my presence isn't nearly as important as how I'm touching and connecting with the people who find me online.

The only thing I truly disagree with you on is your statement, "Building a professional image and presence online requires incorporating social media."  That can be an aspect of it, in fact it's nearly 100% of my online presence, but it's not required.  There are dozens of successful agents in my area with static websites that produce great traffic who are selling tons of real estate with no social media at all.  Their target audience doesn't care about social media.  A dead blog, a Facebook page with no value, a Twitter acct that is automated but never engaged with, does FAR more damage than no social media presence at all.

Sep 16, 2010 07:33 AM
Marie Haydock
Evergreen Global Homes & Land | RSVP Real Estate - Redmond, WA
Simplifying Real Estate

Matt, I agree that counting twitter followers or facebook friend doesn't directly translate to business success.  Seems that everyone's formula for success is different, and yet at the end of the day, we have similar definitiions for results, which mean happy clients and successfully closed sales.  Social media is useful, though, and some agents really excel at it and have clients that appreciate their online social networking efforts.  It just depends on each situation.


I work with one of the top1% agents in the area and he's got virtually zero online presence.  Just has a strong sphere and is an excellent salesperson when it comes to one-on-one interactions.  Needless to say, online social media is beside the point for him, and he's still grossing $1M plus per year in this market.

Sep 16, 2010 03:09 PM
chuck magee - McComb, MS
Raise the Rank

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Have you thought about what your online presence means to your website and your one way back-links, you have to remember social media is not just for one purpose it serves many things for you, what about the sale you made and now that client can follow you on facebook and maybe refer you to a friend, look at it like you will but don't bash it to much it's a force that’s just getting started that I can promise you. Chuck Magee

Sep 18, 2010 09:00 AM
Pam Guthrie
Seaside Realty Company - Myrtle Beach, SC
Seaside Realty Co. Owner/Broker In Charge, REALTOR

You are right and I feel like my "NUMBERS GAME" could be much stronger if I was ACTUALLY WORKING for my clients right now and NOT BLOGGING FOR POINTS... SO BACK TO WORK !!

Sep 18, 2010 10:37 AM
Matt Thomson
Fathom Realty Colorado - Littleton, CO
Helping you find success through real estate

Good thoughts, Chuck, but I don't see any "bashing" of social media in my post.  I'm bashing the way that people care about followers and friends and not about content.

I intentionally didn't put this number in my post as I was curious what the comments would be and didn't want to sound boastful, but I've earned $87,250 in commissions thus far this year from clients who found me directly through social media.  That represents 82% of my total income this year.

Hence, I'm not bashing social media as a tool.  I only have 300 fans (or likers) of my page.  I only have 400 followers on Twitter.  I'd guess that my income is significantly higher than that of many others who dwarf my "presence."

Just food for thought.

Sep 20, 2010 07:11 AM
Andrzej Niemyjski
Realty One Group - Sun City West, AZ

I think its all about traffic that you get your website.  From those 5400 followers how many visit your site and search for homes for example?

The only numbers worth tracking at least for me are number of visitors to your site, number of return visitors, how many visitors getting converted into leads and then how many of those leads become clients.

Sep 26, 2010 04:59 AM
Matt Thomson
Fathom Realty Colorado - Littleton, CO
Helping you find success through real estate

Andrzej, I don't see how traffic is a relevant statistic.  We have an agent in our office who, according to analytics, gets about 5000 unique visitors monthly.  But she admits that she just has a company set up her site and manage her SEO and she has no way of capturing those folks or responding to them.

Number of visitors means absolutely nothing without the conversion numbers you refer to.  

Sep 27, 2010 10:35 AM
Tiffany Norton - Saint Paul, MN

If you are working with first time home buyers or targeting them in any way, I believe you would be remiss to not include social media in your total online presence. Even if your not converting people directly from Twitter and Facebook, "Generation Y" and "Millennals" are going to gravitate towards agents that seem to "get" their generation. These two age groups are great to focus on for two reasons. 1. They have lost less money in terms of savings and retirement than other generations and (Generation X, Baby Boomers) 2. They are at the age of acquisition for major purchases (House, Cars). Let's not forget the best part about Facebook and Twitter...they are FREE.

Consider my 2 cents in-

Oct 04, 2010 10:47 AM
Anna Matsunaga
Team Momentum Keller Williams Realty Tacoma - Lakewood, WA
Seller specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert

To me the number that counts the most is the number of people who really know me and trust me, the number of folks who think of me when they think of RE.  If that number is high then I will not only have a good income, I will also have a good life.....I use social media to meet people and to stay in touch with people I already know, but what I really love is actually seeing these folks.....

Nov 06, 2010 12:57 PM