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I’m Your Friend, Fan and Follower. Where’s the Biz?

AutomatonsMaybe I’m missing something here. It’s been known to happen.  I’m just not sure.

Joe Realtor is a fan of Joe Realtor Sells Pocatello, Idaho Real Estate and thinks you should be a fan, too.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Joe’s a hell of a good guy and a mega-star Realtor, to boot.  It’s just that, well, I don’t sell real estate in Pocatello, Idaho and I really don’t know anyone going there I could refer to Joe.  You see, when people leave the MD Suburbs of DC (my stomping ground) they usually go someplace warm like North Carolina or Florida. Or they get voted out of office and go back to wherever they have their “real” home or the military transfers them God knows where.

On the flip side, I can’t remember the last time I ran into anyone who wasn’t a college student who came from Pocatello, Idaho to live in the DC area.

So Why Am I Your Friend, Fan and Follower?

One of the largest unexplained phenomenons of the Internet is the tendency for Realtors to want to connect with each other through the magic of social media.  Now, it may just be me, but I’m more inclined to refer a client to someone I’ve actually met or, maybe, have some connection to outside the social media sphere.  I may know you through the CRS network or my [large international franchise] network or I might have met you at a REBar Camp or other conference. Just knowing you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any number of the other social media websites is not quite enough.

Yet, I’m kinda a social media slut.  I’ll friend and follow and fan almost anyone.  What the hell?  It doesn’t cost anything.  But, think about it, if 500 of my friends are people I don’t know, have never met and have no clue as to what type of person they really are, why should I refer to them?  More to the point, I can’t even remember that Joe Realtor (see above) is my Pocatello, Idaho connection.  We friended each other. I became a fan of his page, I may follow him on Twitter. But, for the life of me, when the magic moment comes and I have someone to refer (don’t hold your breath), I can’t remember who he is out of the hundreds (thousands!) in the same boat.

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Help Me Out Here

So,  I guess I’m kinda confused.  On the one hand I don’t want to dis anyone who I actually know (like other AG bloggers) or people who are in my CRS network or [large international franchise] network.  On the other hand, if we just “connect” and then don’t build the “relationship”, what good does it do?  And how can you build the “relationship” with the many hundreds or thousands that want to be your friend, fan or follower?

Written By

“Loves sunrise walks on the beach, quaint B & Bs, former Barbie® boyfriend..." Ken is a sole practitioner and Realtor Extraordinaire in the beautiful MD Suburbs of DC. When he's not spouting off on Agent Genius he holds court from his home office in Glenn Dale, MD or the office for RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, MD...and always on the MD Suburbs of DC Blog



  1. Erica Ramus

    April 18, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Ken–I disagree! I can tell you that I have “met” many many other agents online, both here on AG and on other realtor social networking sites, and have made true friendships. Of course, hundreds are just names to me. But if I need a realtor in a certain city, perhaps their name will jump to first in mind, and I will call in a referral. These are what I’d call SM acquaintances

    A smaller percentage I consider true friends. My definition of a SM friend is someone you could pick up the phone and call, and they know who the heck you are. You need help, they’re there to help you. And they care.

    An example of this would be a friendship I developed on ActiveRain with another member. Simply by reading and commenting on each other’s blogs, we “knew” each other. One day I posted a RANT on my blog about how ROTTEN my day was and how upset I was. I was feeling really low. Within 10 minutes of posting, he commented that tomorrow will be better, to buck up. Then my cell phone rang and I didn’t recognize the number. It was him calling to make sure I was okay. Simply posting the vent made me feel better. I unloaded online. His comment made me feel better. But that 10 minute phone call at the end of the day really brought my spirits up. I have never met him in person, probably never will–but that doesn’t matter. It’s a relationship and a connection.

  2. Erica Ramus

    April 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

    PS–It’s up to YOU to make the BIZ. Don’t just press FRIEND someone. Make that connection with them. It takes work and time. You don’t just friend someone or fan a page and business rolls in. You must truly connect.

    I listed 2 properties this month I can directly attribute to my Facebook network.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    April 18, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Ken – I’ll take a little from column A and a little from column B. I have had moments where I needed that friend/follower/fan and their name popped into my head. I’ve had moments where I couldn’t think of anyone from “Pocatello” even though there were a bunch of them in my network. Erica (above) is a good example – I’ve never met her, but she covers an area that I am familiar with as I grew up near there. If a friend mentioned they were moving out that way, I’d pass on her info to them. I know her through ActiveRain and here and have spoken to her via comments and got to know her methods and opinions through blogging.

    With Facebook, I must I don’t quite get the “become a fan of Pocatello Real Estate” requests (especially when I get them 3-4 times a day…now you’re just a spammer in my eyes). I am a fan of several people’s business pages, but that’s because a) they’re doing something I think is interesting and might want to emulate or b) I have some sort of personal connection with (that has to be a bit more than “we chatted on Twitter once”). I use the block and ignore buttons more than most probably.

    I’m picky about who I follow when it comes to real estate. If I don’t follow or friend someone, it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, although I’m sure some get offended. I try to keep my streams filled with people that give me something – motivation, skills, education, laughter – there’s a reason behind them. Some are completely random, but it’s because I see a spark of something that I want to see more of. I don’t mind if someone doesn’t follow me (unless I have the need to send them some sort of direct private communication and can’t). I follow plenty of people that don’t follow me.

    I have a good core of real estate friends/followers/fans. My focus has become building my local network and that’s a whole different story. When I first started though I followed every real estate agent that I could, but I still had a reason for it – I was new and needed that network to help me grow. Most of them were AG writers or introduced to me through those people. Many of them are now more than just names on a screen to me – some I’ve shaken hands with, some I haven’t, but each one has a value attached to them that makes me call them a friend (and mean it more than just a term for an online follower) and look forward to the day I can stretch out my arm, extend my hand and say “I’m Matt, great to finally meet you.”

  4. Missy Caulk

    April 18, 2010 at 9:58 am

    I agree to a point…as my social networking grew, I realized early on I had accepted too many people I didn’t know, just because I was with KW or Remax.
    Now I am more selective as I don’t want to hit that magic number of 5000 on Facebook.

    Like Erica, I have met many friends in social media that I consider real friends. There was a point where some if my IRL friends were jealous because I was getting closer to online friends than real life ones.

    My biggest grip is when you accept someone as a friend and they put you on their mailing list for all their new listings. I don’t care, I am not moving to their area. Now that bugs me.

  5. BawldGuy

    April 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

    As a TechTard and user of SM for quite awhile now, it’s my experience much of SM and it’s ‘potential’ are mirages. Sure, I’ve profited from my efforts, but I’ve ensured my followers are ones I choose, which now is about 50% or less who follow me, probably much less.

  6. Eric Hempler

    April 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Here’s what I’ve done for myself.

    I’ve been using Facebook long before I ever became a Realtor, so all my friends that are on there knew me long before I had my license. I also only put people from the office I work out of on my Facebook. That way I have some kind of connection with work since I work from home all the time. Otherwise I don’t like to mix work with personal on Facebook.

    Everything else I use for Social Media is used for work. Facebook is the only personal piece I use.

  7. Erica Ramus

    April 18, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Oh I hate the “look at my new listing” spammers!

    I have defriended (or hidden) some people on FB because of constant spamming. I also don’t join all the groups I am invited to join. You’re right — if I don’t care about your area I am not joining the RE fan page you have.

    I also unfollowed a bunch of spammers on twitter in the past few weeks. People who post nonstop about their listings or open houses or market reports 10x in a row. I want to build a relationship, not buy a house in south dakota or wherever!

  8. Matthew Hardy

    April 18, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    The thing I get the biggest kick out of is that we are now inundated by the “ad-supported model”. Google, Twitter, Apple… more and more and more advertising. Then (!) real estate folks use SM to advertise but are supposed to do so in a way that walks a very fine line (as stipulated by the Social Media Police) in using SM for their business so as not to offend anyone’s sensibilities regarding spamming. I think eventually, anything and everything someone doesn’t want to hear or see or even be made aware of will be referred to as spamming. Who can be perfect when one person’s “reaching out” is another person’s “spam”? It just might be deleterious to a capitalist system to make selling an unacceptable behavior.

    I think Ken’s point about that, “What the hell? It doesn’t cost anything” illustrates the inherent lack of business value in most SM activity and coincides with BawldGuy’s “much of SM and it’s ‘potential’ are mirages.” My guess is that for everyone who has invested 20, 50 or 100 hours or more in SM to proclaim that they got a few transactions from their effort are contrasted by many others who have invested that (or more) time with nothing more to show than some pleasant interactions. Nice, but not exactly business-building.

  9. anthonys indianapolis homes for sale

    April 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Well, I think you’re right that the kind of person they “really are” cannot be entirely gleaned from online interaction. This is because all of the non-verbal cues of an in-person meeting are absent from online interaction, unless you count emoticons.

    But even with in-person interaction people have been known to misrepresent themselves or not be entirely forthcoming. If you take the view that people are basically honest, then it follows that the words they type do indeed give you insight into what kind of person they “really are”–just not AS MUCH insight as you’d get in-person. And while the anonymity of the internet makes it easier to lie, I also think it can make people MORE inclined to tell the truth they they would in-person since the practical, social consequences are not only different but fewer–offend someone and just create different online identity.

  10. Ken Montville

    April 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I want to differentiate, a bit, between blogs like Active Rain and Agent Genius and personal blogs and Facebook, Twitter, et al. Certainly, they can all be thrown into the “Web 2.0” category inasmuch as they invite interactivity. However, the Facebooks and Twitters of the world have very little interactivity, in my experience. At least on AR and AG there is some direct give-and-take (the comments). I, too, have some AR [outbound] referral success stories although I haven’t been on AR in a long time.

    I see very little interactivity with people unless I have met them IRL. It happens sometimes but rarely. And I have yet to receive any solid business from the Facebooks and Twitters of the world. It seems to be more like a hobby or diversion with “some pleasant interactions” as Matthew puts it.

  11. Danny @ Tampa Real Estate

    April 18, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I believe every person you make contact can be a genuine source for future referrals. I choose to follow must people right off the bat but after a while if I see someone using social media just to pimp out their business I get turned off and will not continue. It is difficult to maintain true friendships and communication with every person you meet but without given a chance you will never know.

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