Social Media Redefines Sphere of Influence in Real Estate
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, etc.
Increasing your sphere of influence should be an ongoing goal that will pay off in your real estate business over time.
The Social Sites and SOI
Before the Internet and the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, 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. Using the social sites you leverage your ability to communicate and share, which allows you to grow a sphere of influence geometrically. 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. Let's talk about the major sites and how they're being used to grow spheres of influence.
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.
Twitter is a kind of "headline" communication tool, as the length of posts is limited. 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. It can become a great tool for reaching a wide audience with focused headlines that grab attention and direct them to your real estate material and services.
Very different from Facebook, LinkedIn is a business-oriented site. 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.
Google+ came on the scene later, but it certainly has grown. It's not Facebook nor intended to compete with that site or any other particular site. Google Plus brings the ability to be more targeted in your communication by building "Circles" of people. These circles can be business, personal or based on common interests.
You can also build free business pages, as well as "Communities." These are particularly well-suited to real estate, as we're working in communities. Building a community site all about your market area will attract members. They can freely post to the site, adding to the discussion and your reach.
Instagram and Pinterest
These two sites are all about imagery. We take a lot of photos in our business, so posting them to these sites can deliver traffic to our other material.
Don't short-change the value of these sites for building your SOI.
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.
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.