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Sane People Don’t Comment on Real Estate Blogs, You Don’t Need 1,000 Facebook Friends & Other Valuable Lessons Learned From 3 Years Slinging Stuff Online

The real thing that pissed me off about the well intentioned jackals at Agent ReBoot was not what was explicitly taught: it was what was implied.  Somehow you need oodles of traffic to be successful.  Somehow, you need oodles of Facebook Likes.  That somehow all being able to be at the center a tepid and tense noisy murmur was what it takes to be Real Successful in Real Estate.

And I’ve made the mistake too.  For a long time, I thought it was simple math: converting a tiny percentage of mostly indifferent people would scale.  You would LinkIn a bunch of people on MyTwitFace and voila! Winning!

So you take every friend request you can, and you add the pople you connect with, as force of habit.  If someone has 6-7 friends in common, you add them too.  Winning.

You fire up a blogpost or two,pass it along and your new friends and strangers dutifly comment something often indistinguishable from the stuff that winds up on the wrong side of your akismet filter.

“Nice post, you laid it on me.”  they dutifly say. And you in turn go through the WP dashboard to their sites.  ”You make nice post to, I love to hear you on this topic! ” It’s all about the dofollow, baby.  Getcher linkbacks here, and on to the next one.

Winning.  You have a metric to measure: friends, contacts, twitbacks, clicks and raw traffic.  Woot.  Winning. You’re winning that game, the war for comments.  You’re marching your army of 12,000 Twitter Bots, 2100 indifferent Facebookers, and another few hundered people that are still shuffling around the empty halls on LinkedSpace.  Duh, winning!

Bad contacts- just  like bad money -drive out good contacts.  You had a Facebook full of300 friends, coworkers and neighbors.  You were connected to these people.  You were warmed when you saw the pictures they posted.  Now?   You have 300 of your friends.  But now your Facebook had been “improved” by the 700 Realtors from across the country, the 200 vendors that follow them, and just recently a herd of zebra showed up.  Now, instead of the people you love and know, you also get to follow the exploits of a bunch of middle aged philandering conference goers, their pains and passions.

This churns up activity for you.  Fills your status with activity, likes, and loves.   You must seem really popular and successful!   So the people that liked you before, that were receptive are now desensitized to your messages.  Your signal to noise ratio went to hell, and there’s no need to tune into anything that you say.  After all, it’s readily apparent that you’re very popular.

But hey, you’ve got the hordes now.  And you can’t bear to unfriend them, can you?  That would not be nice. And remember, we have to be nice.   The hordes may turn on you!

Here’s a hint: without looking, go here: http://www.facebook.com/friends/edit/ click “All Friends”.    Go through that page.  IF you don’t know who they are or where they are from?  Buh-bye.  Be ruthless.   Do it 3-4 times.  Tedious work.

Then call the people that are left.  Apologize to them for being a sales-douche on Facebook, and get on with looking at kid pictures and playing the “thank God” game with all your ex girlfriends.  When you do, you’ll have better relationships, more friends, and

Indifference doesn’t scale, it spreads.  To you.  You become indifferent about your community, you muss stuff, they become indifferent to you.  When you allow a FB page to have the folks you’re utterly indifferent to on it, then the next thing that happens is that you miss buying signs, status updates of people that are interested in getting help.  You become innured to your real connections.

Being connected with everyone is like being connected with nobody.    Winning!

From the hip: Six ways to change Facebook for the better..

  • If the other person is a Realtor, and you are at less than $25,000 in GCI from referred/referring business in the last 12 months?  Ditch ‘em.  If you have more, it’s a judgement call.
  • If the other person is a Realtor’s-hanger-on.  Ditch ‘em.  Even if you’re a Realtor.  (Ahem.  I haven’t solicited any new F.I.R.E. business this year to my knowledge)  I’m all about video these days.
  • If the other person is a drag, in any way, ditch ‘em.  Life’s too short.
  • If the other person is a stranger, either meet ‘em or ditch ‘em.
  • If the other person has more than 3500 friends, ditch ‘em unless you know you’re special.
  • If you haven’t talked in a year, talk or ditch ‘em.

Less is more.  Win!

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  • 20 comments

    20 Comments so far

    1. Ryan Hartman March 10th, 2011 8:36 am

      Good stuff.

      In order to validate the first part of your headline, a little counterpoint:

      — Fans, friends and followers are traffic. Keeping traffic happy scales. — A few blog posts syndicated across a few channels; 10-20 minutes a day answering the good comments and flat out ignoring the trolls.

      A certain percentage of this traffic become “members/clients” who pay! (yay) — These folks deserve solid attention. On demand support, personal access via email/phone… your time and attention… as much of it as they’re paying for.

      A certain percentage…numbers game…

      Feed the funnel.

      Why the heck would you want to stop feeding and incubating this funnel? And why waste more time then is needed trying to analyze and manage it?

    2. Chris Johnson March 10th, 2011 8:46 am

      Ryan-

      For most people befriending all 1200 realtors that friend everyone is adding noise to th eFB channel. For the way most real estate businesses are operated.

      I’m talking – mostly – about Realtors adding nonclients to their facebook as a way to create pseudo social proof. Unless they sell something to Realtors, only the Noise part of SvN scales.

      It depends on what you want also and how much sifting you want to do. Greg wants to do “no” sifting. I am OK sifting.

    3. Mark Madsen March 10th, 2011 9:44 am

      I love it, Chris. Maybe I’m insane for commenting here, but this is one of my favorite posts that you’ve written.

      I’ve been on a mission to clean up my online connections for a year, which started by canceling my Linkedin act.

      I agree with your point about quieting the noise, but I still think a few of the things you mentioned are valuable marketing / relationship building strategies for an agent to consider, necessary for a real estate social media manager, and standard operating procedure for a real estate vendor.

      Either way, I believe that commenting on real estate blogs is the most important. duh.

    4. Greg Swann March 10th, 2011 10:11 am

      > Greg wants to do “no” sifting.

      False. I want to do it passively, with marketing. I want my selling time to be spent with people who are ready to work.

      > pseudo social proof

      That’s an excellent error! The characteristic that matters most in a Realtor is that he has a lot of buddies, and wastes a lot of time on them. Social media is the new urinal cakes!

    5. Greg Swann March 10th, 2011 10:18 am

      > I believe that commenting on real estate blogs is the most important.

      As a lender? As a vendor? Perhaps. Realtors wasting time commenting on each others’ local real estate sales-focused weblogs is amazingly stoopid. Realtors wasting their days kibitzing with each other all day on TwitBook is insane. Want proof? Run their numbers. They’re amusing themselves into bankruptcy.

    6. Chris Johnson March 10th, 2011 10:22 am

      I’m pretty sure mark’s being sarcastic.

      Even for a vendor, it’s a waste of time. It feels like work, but it’s not productive.

    7. Lani Rosales March 10th, 2011 10:35 am

      PERFECTLY SAID. You’re an F-18, bro.

    8. Todd Carpenter March 10th, 2011 11:01 am

      Chris, I’be been enjoying you pruning updates on Facebook.

    9. Chris Johnson March 10th, 2011 11:05 am

      It’s not pruning, Todd, it’s reclaiming sanity.

    10. Abraham Walker March 10th, 2011 11:05 am

      I’m still laughing at the “Thank God” game. I thought I was the only who did that.

    11. Mark Madsen March 10th, 2011 11:07 am

      > As a lender? As a vendor? Perhaps.

      - Yes, especially as a local lender commenting on agents’ blogs that are in your area. Even better, start writing actual articles on their blogs.

      - As an agent commenting on local agent blogs? Waste of time, unless you’re getting strong dofollow links and a ton of click through traffic. But, doubt that would happen.

      - As an agent commenting on high traffic “consumer focused” blog articles – local newspaper, national media…. Yes, a great strategy, and definitely not a waste of time.

      I’ve been doing this for years –

      Instead of just social network sharing or “liking” a good news story that has some sort of value for a random buyer or seller, email it to specific people in your database that can benefit from the message.

      By commenting on that blog article, you can give your opinion, explanation… for others to see.

      - As an agent commenting on real estate social media marketing guru blogs? Not as a sales or marketing strategy, but a great way to avoid the actual income producing activities such as calling past or future clients.

      > I’m pretty sure mark’s being sarcastic.

      Yes and No. But “that’s how I roll”

    12. Teri Lussier March 10th, 2011 11:12 am

      I struggle with this because I love twitter, but, Iv’e finally got to the point where sooner rather than later I get an alarm that goes off in my head “What in HELL are you doing here?”

      You do a good job of listening on twitbook, Chris. And a good job of taking care of those people- that’s rare. Most of us are taught to broadcast instead of listen, but even then, my clients are not twitbooking. They just aren’t. My clients are working and would like to know I’m doing the same. Speaking of which…

    13. Teri Lussier March 10th, 2011 11:15 am

      >By commenting on that blog article, you can give your opinion, explanation… for others to see.

      That does work for me as well, Mark. But only on carefully and thoughtfully chosen local blogs, not real estate blogs.

    14. Mark Madsen March 10th, 2011 11:25 am

      > But only on carefully and thoughtfully chosen local blogs, not real estate blogs.

      Teri – exactly. It’s actual work, and requires a lot of paying attention to current clients.

      But, if I’m going to go through the trouble of emailing specific links to specific people, I may as well put my opinions on the actual article for other people to see and benefit from. Plus, it shows my clients that I have the ability to actually participate in those high level conversations.

      Regarding real estate blogs – sometimes, provided the article makes sense. Ex – something on investing, foreclosures, short sales…. It would be better to write the article myself, but I don’t always have time. So, if I’m sending a client a link to an agent’s post (in a different city, obviously) then I may as well put my 2 cents down just so my client knows I’m not trying to be lazy.

    15. Teri Lussier March 10th, 2011 11:32 am

      Mark-

      My comment wasn’t directed to you. If I were a lender or an RE vendor, my approach would be completely different. I was only speaking to other agents who spend time commenting on each other’s blogs (she comments on a RE blog).

      >I may as well put my opinions on the actual article for other people to see and benefit from. Plus, it shows my clients that I have the ability to actually participate in those high level conversations.

      Bloody brilliant. :)

    16. Alex Y March 10th, 2011 8:30 pm

      I’m constantly clearing the clutter from my Facebook friend list. If someone I know friends me, and then proceeds to fill up my wall with business posts and self-promotion, they’re gone. Deleted and blocked. My feeling is that you don’t use your personal site to promote your business to people who just want to connect as friends.

      Do what I did; create a fan page that’s purely business related. If someone actually wants to hear it, they’ll decide by hitting the “like” button. Then you know you’re talking to people who are willing or interested in listening to your message.

    17. Mark Madsen March 11th, 2011 1:04 pm

      @Teri

      > My comment wasn’t directed to you.

      I know. :)

      > Bloody brilliant.

      Thanks – I try to get as much milage out of my online activity as possible. Commenting on blog articles helps keep me sharp and in the game. More importantly though, if I comment on one post that I’m sharing with multiple people, it saves me from having to give each person my opinion in separate emails. Call me lazy or efficient – probably a little of both.

      @Alex –

      Right – I try not to bore my friends on FB with industry stuff. They’d probably make fun of me anyway. I do have multiple FB business pages, but they don’t get much activity.

    18. Barry Bevis March 18th, 2011 7:01 pm

      I do not friend other Realtors- unless they are a referral source outside of my market.

      Why give them access to my network?

    19. Geordie Romer March 27th, 2011 2:14 pm

      I totally agree that too many Realtors are spending time trying to be social media pros instead of selling houses.

      http://www.geekestateblog.com/realtor-on-realtor-action-is-the-renet-a-waste-of-time/

      Can you make real connections on twitter and facebook that lead to sales? Of course. The key is to spend your time in proportion to the results you get from each activity.

    20. Dan Boyle May 23rd, 2011 5:04 pm

      I can see Facebook being a good way to keep in touch with past customers. I can’t connect the dots, though, when it comes to using Fb and Twitter to cultivate new biz. Somebody tell me.