There’s always something to howl about

What if Twitter and Facebook go Away – Do you have an Exit Strategy?

Chris Pearson is a pretty smart dood.  He’s the developer of the Thesis theme that I use on all of my blogs.  It’s a pretty cool premium theme…but I’m not here to pitch WordPress themes.

Yesterday I received and email announcing some proposed changes in the next version of Thesis and in this email it included a link to a Video interview with Chris Pearson.

For the first 3 minutes, most of the talk is about changes to the Thesis theme….and then it gets interesting.

He starts to talk about the future of Twitter and Facebook and poses some very interesting hypotheses.

Here’s the video (can’t embed the vid for some reason, so check it out and come back) – go ahead and jump to about 3:08 to get to the good stuff.  Then, let’s talk about it.

Chris Pearson Interview - The future of Twitter and Facebook

Ok, so Chris brings up some pretty interesting points right?  I mean, think about how massive of a push there is for the to jump into the almighty Facebook Fan Page and Twitter stream life rafts to float safely to the shores through turbulent real estate seas.

Do you think that Facebook and Twitter care how or why you contribute content?  No, they could care less.  These are popularity contests to see who can get the most groupies.  Once these communities gain celebrity status, they are finally in a position to execute on their end game…..find an investor.

What is an investor going to do?  Use the traffic to the community as leverage to sell advertising or sell subscriptions to generate revenue.  Do you think either of these sites will ask you first if it’s ok if they use their platform for this reason?

Remember when Facebook tried to change their terms of service to say that all of the content on the site was 100% owned by them and could be used any way they see fit?  Do you really think that just by changing the verbiage in the terms of service that it changes the way they view your content?

I know there are hundreds of Twitter and Facebook snake oil salesmen out there crafting the next great real estate survival tool to sell to the rest of us, and good luck to them – I support the right of anyone brave enough to enter the free market system to sell their goods and services.

My personal belief is that most of these solutions are only shiny objects catching our eye, our attention, and providing a false sense of security that could be pulled out from under you without notice at the whim of a volatile young internet nerd that has absolutely no sense of how to build a business based on a viable revenue and profit producing model.

What I ask you to consider is this….Who owns your content?  What’s your exit strategy if Facebook and Twitter are no longer “cool” or become a part of some other company’s business model?  Do you still have an internet presence?  Will your business model change?  Will you lose your “black book” of prospects?  Do you lose all of your content?

I know it’s hard work to build a “community” online, but if you want to be where consumers are, you have to do it.  There are no short cuts or silver bullets.  Marketing is marketing and sales is sales – These fundamental facts will never change.  The only thing that changes is how you reach out to your prospects, how they find you, what they see when they find you.

If you’re going to put this much work (aka – how much time a day do you spend on Facebook and Twitter) are you investing in your long term marketing, branding and sales strategy or are ya just having fun?

If you’re not rubbin bellies or skinning cats….my guess is that the latter would probably best describe your social media strategy.


5 Comments so far

  1. Jon Sterling February 11th, 2010 5:51 pm

    I’m deleting my Facebook user profile 2/15/10. See my blog for details. My focus is driving all my online conversations to offline conversations. I’m having much better success doing that in other online venues than I am from Facebook connections. And I have A LOT of Facebook connections.

  2. Bryan McDonald February 11th, 2010 7:23 pm

    I really enjoyed this article. Lifestreaming was all of the rage not long ago. Everyone seemed to be moving their online activity to someone else’s website never noticing that every few months a new lifestreaming service was being created. Several slowly died off and then lifestreaming wasn’t the next big thing anymore. The same thing can be said for services like Facebook and Twitter. It won’t be long until there is something new and shiny that gets our attention. I am a firm believer that everyone needs their own website with their own content and should branch out from it. Why create content for someone else that you have no control over? Join the community and share, absolutely, but your main hub should be your own website.

  3. jeffrey gordon February 11th, 2010 11:51 pm

    Well, online is just another marketing channel with a whopping .05% conversion rates! Fortunately for real estate types a deal a month can provide a good living.

    Offline conversions for agents should probably exceed 50-70% so the sooner you get on the phone or face to face the more likely you have a new client.

    I would expect that the prime value of social media presence for most agents would be to speed up the indexing of newer sites and perhaps increase the front end–i.e. I would see it used more aggressively for rolling out a new site and then perhaps dialing it back once the site is getting indexed and then focus on excellent new content posted directly to the site you own and control.

    So much of SEO and social media strategies are being peddled by “business opportunity types” that are long on hype and short on acknowledgment of how much time they take to execute–i.e. if you place no value on your time you don’t mind contributing it all to building traffic.

    You want the most bang for the buck online and immediate then PPC probably is the way to go and test your copy and your conversion ability.

    A good site provides the ability to “brand” yourself as the local market expert who can be trusted to provide the facts and the wisdom folks need to make the biggest transactions of their lives. Making the content/resources available 24/7 in text, audio, video, photo etc. is a customer service and allows you an effective vehicle to serve your existing and potential customers.

    No doubt in the longer run your site with excellent content and local knowledge will be an ongoing source of new client prospects on a cost effective basis and a great complement to “offline” marketing/customer development efforts.

    But what it really comes down to is getting face to face with folks and delivering the goods.

    1,000,000 fans on twitter is certainly not the answer nor hoping that being dependent upon an organization run by a bunch of folks hungry for millions is going to protect your and your clients best interests.

    jeffrey gordon

  4. Ken brand February 12th, 2010 6:29 am

    Nice share. Lot’s to think about. Thanks.

  5. Scott Schang February 12th, 2010 12:35 pm

    @John – “My focus is driving all my online conversations to offline conversations” – AMEN! I’m looking forward to your updates.

    @Bryan – It’s funny how in the age of instant information how fads come and go so quickly. Any model that sticks around longer than a couple of years is the “next big thing” until the next one comes along.

    @Jeffrey – The point that I am always trying to make to RE folks that get all worked up at the snake oil swap meet is that these types of things are pieces of your solution…not your solution. Without a firm grasp marketing and sales 101 basics, and understanding that contact needs to be reinforced by content, there is too much time wasted online without the goal converting to IRL. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation.

    @Ken – “lots to think about” – Yup, and thinking about it now puts you 5 steps ahead of a whole wave of folks that think they need to figure out this whole FB thing so they can grow their biz.