Social Media Marketing-The Psychology of Social Media-The 7 A's

Education & Training with Doug Firebaugh Training Intl

 In real esate, social media is becoming more and more valuable as a tool for prospecting and client acquisition. Many people that I have the honor of working with that are in real estate, are starting to see the true value of what social media can do the this great industry.

Many people and agents have a tendency to resist it, as it really can be somewhat intimidating. But the more that you work within the web 2.0 world, the more you see that this is a great marketing tool for your properties and services. There are many great postings on active rain, and especially on social media. This post is focused on the psychology of social media and how that impacts your marketing in real estate.

What is the prospect REALLY looking for in social networking sites?

What are they REALLY thinking?

What are they REALLY focused on hen they are on these types of sites?

You can get a hint here with this post, and have a better understanding of the psychology of social media and what we call the '7 A's" of it.

Over the last 4 years, I have been quietly observing a lot of different folks in social media, from Chris Brogan, to Robert Scoble, Brian Clark, Darren Rowse, Mari Smith, Shama Hyder, and the list is almost endless. How they operate. what they say and do. And of course there are hundreds more that could be listed.

But I have learned an immense amount of good stuff from each. It is like going back to University.

I have found though that psychology plays a HUGE part in the social media marketing world. It plays a bigger part them most people realize due to the newness of social media and the power behind it's capabilities, even in real estate.

There are what I call "Tier One" social media rock stars, (The term used by everyone today)  and the "Tier two" participants. These 2 "social media zones" are interesting to observe from a marketing process, and also from a human standpoint.

Over the last 3.5 years, I also have been studying the Psychology of Social media and why people are into it, what their goals and reasons are, what they are looking for, and many other focuses just for myself, as being a marketer, just like you.

I found some interesting things during this.

Today, I want to quickly go over what I call the "7 Psychological A's of Social Media" and the different needs that are a part of this growing social venue. It is what I have observed, and consistently found as part of this awesome new online world. This is  relevant to the real estate industry, as your prospects are part of this group.

Ok ...what are they? What are people LOOKING for in Social Media from a psychology standpoint?

1) To be Acknowledged.

I have observed that the first thing most people want and need are ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. They want to be acknowledged that they are now on the social media scene, and simply, ‘Hey I am here!" There hand is raised and they simply want to be noticed and felt welcome. No one does this better than Chris Brogan, who really is a prince and powerhouse in the social media zone. He acknowledges EVERYONE- as busy as he is. That is why folks really love this guy. He is REAL In social media marketing, and being REAL is one of the 7 anchors of social media-some call it AUTHENTIC.

Simply letting people know that they are welcome and acknowledged makes a HUGE difference to people that are new in social media. Take the time to will bless the other person immensely.

2) To Gain Attention.

People once acknowledged, desire some form of attention-as simple as responding to a follow on twitter , or a post on a blog, or friends on Facebook. Simple. To the point. But when attention is given to someone beyond "hello", it really does make a lot of potential conversation down the road. And if you are a real estate agent or marketer, conversation is critical in the social media zone.

Conversation rules. So does acknowledging folks new to the party. Acknowledge new folks, and let them know that you are a real estate professional.

3) To Be Approved Of.

People LOVE to be approved of-especially when they have put themselves out in a world they know nothing about, and trying to contribute to the conversation. A simple "Thank you for the message" or a "great share!" will go a long ways to drawing that person into your sphere of influence and world.

Most people have not so good self images, and we can help them in social media by approving, encouraging, and letting them know that we not only approve of them, but "thumbs up" to their efforts in the contribution to the conversation. Darren Rowse  is really good at this on his blog. He will simply mention some one's efforts on his blog, and that shows the person that they are on the right track, and keep up the good work. Again, this is critical to marketing online today if you are going to be a social media marketer.

Approve of what your prospects are doing and saying. Build the relationship.

4) To Be Appreciated.

People in social media love appreciation. Don't agents as well in real estate? Who in this world does not? We all do! There are those rare individuals though that give an immense appreciation to the party. Take Zna Trainer.She has got to be one of the most appreciation showing people I know out in the social world. She takes the time to let people know that they are appreciated for their work, and for their tweets, and for their facebook notes, and again the list is long what she does.

The same thing with Carrie Wilkerson.She is a breath of fresh air when it comes to letting people know she appreciates people's efforts. She is a rare person, like Zna, and both bring an immense value to social media, not only in their ideas, writings and posts and tweets, but just who they are.

Appreciation also must go to prospects as well. Let them know you appreciate their social media efforts and also them as a person. This is what being REAL is about.

5) To Be Acclaimed.

People love to see their name in lights- and there are 2 different ways that can happen.

a) Being answered or featured in a conversation.
b) Being retweeted, featured, or talked about in a conversation.

Acclamation is important to people that are getting their brand out in social media. Being acclaimed-even slightly says, "GREAT JOB!" and "KEEP IT UP!" Who does not love that type of acclaim? And again, there is no one better who acclaims others than Mari Smith. She really puts people in the spotlight-even unknowns, for a job well done. She is so good at it, as well as being the facebook maven!

That is why she has been blessed with success, along with so many others. Psychologically, people love acclaim, and when that happens, they have a tendency to also acclaim the acclaimer! (Is that a word?) Find good stuff and share it. Share good posts on blogs. Good notes on Facebook. Good tweets on twitter. Good writings in journals. Good articles found in directories. Good attempts at sharing. All these are critical in the big plan of social media.

6) To Feel Assured.

People today in social media want to be Assured that they are doing the right thing, being the right person, and taking the right actions. Does not the prospect for real estate? As simple as this seems, people need it. In this social media zone, assuring people that they belong, they are needed, and they are growing, is another critical factor. It may or may not mean much to the person that doing the assuring, but in marketing, it is one of the most critical factors in the process. Assuring people that you are going to be there for them if they do business with you, that customer service is there for them and you will be there for whatever reason-if they have a challenge.

Now THAT is reassuring the prospect of a good decision and good move. Brian Clark,  "copyblogger" fame is GREAT at reassuring his readers. He does it often, and does it well. "You can do this," is a simple but yet profound message in all his posts. THAT is also a reflection of the character that he and so many others share in the social media zone.

People also want to know that they are relevant and needed. Assure people that what they are doing, writing, saying, or sharing is helping you. Go out on a limb and say it. "Great job and thank you for sharing this blog post- it really helped me."

Goes a long way.

Follow Doug on twitter

7) To Be A Part Of.

People in the social media zone want to feel a PART OF something that is happening and bigger than they are. Marketing to these folks on social media is simple.

Include them.
Invite them.
Impose upon them.
Engage them.

They not only will be feeling a part of something, but also wanting to contribute to the whole that will help everyone. Yes, I know there are exceptions, as there are everywhere else. There are always those slimey types that try and break the system.

But you be the person that people want to be around and connected to because they like how they feel about themselves when they are connected to you and your company. When they read your stuff. When they are on one of your  sites. When they see you constantly bringing Value to the conversation.

Make people feel a part of what YOU are doing, and they will spread the word-and quickly. isn't that what marketing is all about? Not just people talking about you-but people talking FOR YOU?

These are the 7 A's in the Psychology Social Media Marketing Zone. Hopefully this helps explains some things that impact your efforts in your social media marketing.

blessings..doug firebaugh
(c) 2008/all rights reserved

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Related Posts:

Psychology behind Social media

Psychology behind Twitter


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Tim and Pam Cash 12/10/2008 10:58 AM
social networking
social media
web 20
social media marketing
selling homes with social media

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Tim Ludemann
Ochopee, FL

Doug i love the helpful info i just joined twitter and facebook in hope of getting in touch with more clients...I look forward to getting more info on how to expliot these social sites.

Dec 10, 2008 10:32 PM #18
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Wow Lots to take in here. I will bookmark and come back to gather it all in thanks for the heads up.

Dec 10, 2008 11:17 PM #19
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

Doug, this is an excellent post.  I enjoy getting into the psychology of it all... very interesting !  Have much to learn and am eager !  By the way, just followed you on Twitter ! : )

Dec 10, 2008 11:20 PM #20
Blatt + Cutino
Keller Williams Coastal Estates - Monterey, CA
Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today*

You're right on! After reading this post I feel better. I have been part of AR for awhile now but mostly reading and trying to see where I fit in...I am now hooked and trying to make my way. Thanks for the positive insight.

Dec 10, 2008 11:47 PM #21
Keisha Hosea-
KASI Homes - Chino Hills, CA
Real Estate Solutions For Real People

Great info, Doug. I am just getting started on social media and it is good to read p on what this is all about.

Dec 11, 2008 01:14 AM #22
Kris Kombrink ~ The Kombrink Team
RE/MAX Excels - Chicago's Western Suburbs - Geneva, IL

Excellent post, Doug.  Looks like a lot of thought went into your post.  I know one of my big reasons is to feel assured.  I like to bounce things off people and get their thoughts.

Dec 11, 2008 01:38 AM #23
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Excellent post. To get attention - that, I believe, is the key for most. After all, attention leads to business!

Dec 11, 2008 01:42 AM #24
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Extremely well written post. One of the best I've read on why and what to do to make social media work.  I have been active on the internet since the "early days" but am new to the social media scene. signed up to follow you. :)

Dec 11, 2008 01:44 AM #25
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Excellent post, and the links are very helpful. I can see the 7 A's in everyone here. There's a few rock stars, and then there's the rest of us!

Dec 11, 2008 01:45 AM #26
Tom Ski
BeFirst Media Group - Lakeside, MT
Social Media Marketing, Online Radio

There is a great group of social networking site sweeping the cuontry, that also double as a MLS and many other features.

Dec 11, 2008 02:16 AM #27
Renae Bolton
Marketing 4 Realtors - Garfield Heights, OH
I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA!

I guess I'm a #7.  I like feeling a connection with people the way that you can with social networking. It's more than just "what are you doing right now" or spamming people with your ads.  It is about being a part of something much bigger than your little world in your little computer.  And it's awesome!


Dec 11, 2008 04:22 AM #29
Jean Blakeley-Cook
Flagship Mortgage Corporation - Minneapolis, MN
Mortgage Loan Originator

Maybe I'm too old to understand Twitter.  I'll have to be more open minded I guess!

Dec 11, 2008 04:51 AM #30
Laura L
Townizen - Pasadena, CA

Wonderful post..Thanks Doug! Try another real estate tool, a new real estate social community called Townizen. It's a social network designed specifically for real estate professionals, much like Facebook + LinkedIn + Trulia, all under one roof. Create a profile and get linked in by becoming a citizen of Townizen.

Dec 11, 2008 04:59 AM #31
Real Estate Virtual Assistant & Agent
Christine Wade - San Marcos, CA
Proud to Serve Your Real Estate Needs

Doug - what a cool way to think of what your blogging audience wants...I just love this. 

Dec 11, 2008 05:05 AM #32
Julie Donley
Nurturing Your Success - Blue Bell, PA

Hi Doug,

This must have taken quite a bit of thought and research. Social media is all about people - they want to be heard and understood, they fear being rejected or insignificant, and yes, people have tremendous self-doubt and fear. Thanks for this great information.

~ Julie


Dec 11, 2008 06:00 AM #33
Doug Firebaugh
Doug Firebaugh Training Intl - Birmingham, MI

Thanks for all the great comments. Social media and Real estate according to a broker friend of mine, are soon going to become as accepted as MLS and the referral network, even though it is a slower process. It truly does carry with it tremendous potential for connecting to new possibilities in sales and marketing for RE. Thanks also for the referrals to other networks-they look really rocking.

Dec 11, 2008 07:58 AM #34
Tamara Dorris
Master Your Market Real Estate Coaching - Carmichael, CA

Hi Doug,

Wow, you hit the nail right on the head. Although I am brand new to this whole social media thing, I have a leg, but I didn't realize it until I read your blog. I have been teaching online for a couple of universities and college for the past four years or so. Students always have to post something akin to a blog in the "classroom" and my job, in part, is to respond and encouragr deeper thinking. In fact, it's pretty much everything you talked about in your great blog!

I would love to have you on my Internet radio show to talk about the psychology of social media if you would be interested. I'm scheduling for January now.
You can check me out at

Also, I followed you on Twitter and plan on facing the fact that Facebook needs me!

Thanks Again!

Dec 11, 2008 09:37 AM #35
Debbie Hutchins
Birmingham, AL

Doug, I am fairly new this social scene.  This was very helpful and informative.  I think I will save this for re reading and check out all of the links.



Dec 11, 2008 10:40 AM #36
Facebook Newbie

This is my first online comment post!  My broker has asked all his agents to "get networked", but MySpace and Facebook just seem so ridiculous and unprofessional that I find I have nothing to say, and the only people who want to "friend" me are other realtors.  How are you supposed to behave on these sites so that actual prospective clients want to be your friend? :)  p.s. I like that your blog is actually an article and not just a paragraph about a thought your had!

Dec 11, 2008 11:30 PM #37
Facebook Newbie

This is my first online comment post!  My broker has asked all his agents to "get networked", but MySpace and Facebook just seem so ridiculous and unprofessional that I find I have nothing to say, and the only people who want to "friend" me are other realtors.  How are you supposed to behave on these sites so that actual prospective clients want to be your friend? :)  p.s. I like that your blog is actually an article and not just a paragraph about a thought your had!

Dec 11, 2008 11:30 PM #38
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