Sphere of influence (SOI) is a group of people upon which you have some influence just because they know you. This includes family, friends, those with whom you do business, fellow organization or club members, and so on.
Increasing your sphere of influence should be an ongoing goal that pays off in your real estate business over time.
How Social Media Sites Grow Real Estate Spheres of Influence
Before the internet and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, you built your sphere of influence through networking, referral marketing, advertising, and all of the traditional approaches to building a business. The internet and email simplified these activities a bit, but that was just the beginning.
Along came the social sites and the game changed dramatically and forever. Leverage is the key. In using the social sites, you leverage your ability to communicate and share, which allows you to grow a sphere of influence exponentially. Never before could you comment or write about what you do and have thousands or even hundreds of thousands of eyes on it almost immediately.
That kind of access also raises privacy concerns, and the longer we all use social media, the more we become aware of potential downsides, such as nonhuman actors including bots that can bombard the internet with viral messaging and fake accounts that can artificially boost traffic.
The major sites and how they're being used to grow spheres of influence are as follows.
Sharing Through Facebook
Facebook has billions of users, almost everyone you know or will know. It's a truly social site in that a lot of the information shared is of a personal nature. From favorite foods to favorite vacation spots, people share on Facebook.
It isn't a place to be overtly marketing in your normal posts. This doesn't mean that you can't market, but doing it with a Facebook business page is a far better approach. Then you can run Facebook ads to deliver targeted traffic to that page and on to your real estate website.
Communicating on Twitter
Twitter is a kind of "headline" communication tool, as the length of posts is still limited despite doubling the number of characters that users can type. That's not necessarily a problem, as you can use it to headline content you have elsewhere—on your website and the other social sites. Twitter can be a great tool for reaching a wide audience with focused headlines that grab attention and directing that audience to your real estate and services.
Doing Business Through LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a strictly business-oriented site, so you can market your heart out there. A sphere of influence also includes vendors, title company people, attorneys, surveyors, and others who work in real-estate-related fields.
Using LinkedIn you can answer questions, participate in business discussions, and link out to your website and other content. Don't skip this site if you want to build business contacts and referral business.
Communicating Through Photos With Instagram and Pinterest
These two sites are all about imagery, and since real estate agents take a lot of photos, posting them to these sites can deliver traffic to other content. Don't short-change the value of these sites for building your SOI. Instagram, by the way, is owned by Facebook.
Reviewing Businesses on Yelp
Yelp is where you can claim your business and consumers can rate your services and performance. It's often considered much better for retail than for real estate, however. It's also very difficult to get a bad review removed, even if it is totally false and not from a real customer.
Rating Businesses With Agent Rating Sites
Agent rating websites are popping up to tell consumers like Angie's List does, that the site prequalifies agents and tracks their performance. Usually, they'll take anyone, however, as they're making their money on referral fees.