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How long should Realtors spend using social media every day?

How much time should you spend on social media for real estate each day? This is a common question that I am often asked and so I have decided that I will answer it definitively for once and for all.

You should spend five hours a day on social media. Or fifteen minutes. Or two and a half hours, or forty-five minutes.

Ok, so that isn’t much of a clarification, but it is an honest response. Everyone has a different level of interest and ability to dedicate to their social media and internet presence.

Let us take a look at two different real estate agents who are working on their social media marketing plan.

Example #1:

Ron Realtor is brand new to social media and he doesn’t want to spend a lot of time each day, but knows that he needs to explore a social media plan. Ron could accomplish a basic plan in under a half hour a day.

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  1. Visits Facebook fan page to post a helpful link and respond to any comments. 5 minutes
  2. Logs into Twitter application. Responds to any replies or direct messages. Tweets something that might get a conversation started. Ron should check back later in the day as well. 5 – 10 minutes
  3. Goes to Linkedin and updates his status including the same link as above, or something different for this venue. 5 minutes
  4. Checks his RSS feed for latest news and informative blog posts (like Agent Genius). 5 minutes

25 minutes TOTAL. That is realistic and completely doable as small tasks in between the regular business of the day.

Example #2

Now let us meet Susie Social who already has a social media presence and LOVES all things internet. For her, social media isn’t just a work thing, she has friends all over the world who she loves to chat with and the line between work and play is blurred while online. For this agent, two to three hours a day on social media and internet marketing is normal. How is she spending that time?

  1. Facebook: Susie has a fan page where she shares real estate news and information, of course, but spends a lot of time messaging and interacting on other people’s pages, as well. Sometimes she will enable the Facebook chat and spend some time chatting with friends. Her personal page is not heavy with real estate, but she makes sure to place subtle reminders on this page to remind her friends and family that she is an active real estate professional. 30 minutes to 1 hour
  2. Twitter: Susie leaves her Twitter application open all day long and checks it frequently. She tweets her blog posts and other interesting links, but spends most of her time reading other people’s tweets and responding to them. She has an international network of friends and when she has a question she starts by asking it on Twitter. In order to keep things sorted, her application is column based and she uses and follows multiple hashtags. After work hours, she attends Twitter chats and “plays” with her friends. Susie isn’t that interested in television and often spends that time on Twitter. 1 to 2 hours
  3. Linkedin: Susie uses this strictly for the purpose intended and will change her status and share blog posts in addition to contributing to groups. She knows that it is important to have a keyword rich profile and to be very professional in this venue. 10 minutes
  4. Blogging: Susie has a real estate blog site as well as a photo blog and she is a regular poster. She shares real estate news, market reports, advice and sometimes just her regular life events with her readers. While she may not post daily, she does spend this time reading other people’s blogs. Susie knows that it is important to read and comment on other blogs regularly. 30 minutes
  5. RSS: as part of finding new inspiration, news to share with clients and friends and educating herself, Susie keeps an RSS feed in her Google Reader that she checks when she is able. 10 minutes

2 hours, 20 minutes to 3 hours, 50 minutes total.

So how much time SHOULD you spend on social media?

Asking how much time you should spend on social media marketing is akin to asking how much time you should spend on the phone or in the car. These are necessary parts of every real estate agent’s day.

So are you Ron or Susie? There is no right or wrong here. Social media marketing is but one tool in your kit which can be implemented to best suit your personality and interest. The most important thing is that you use it in the way that suits you and remember that social media is not a competition.

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Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.

89 Comments

89 Comments

  1. Charles Mackenzie-Hill

    August 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Your absolutely right, its impossible to quantify. Results ,leads ect would sway the argument. My bet social susie we be closing more deals as would have more options, because of the higher profile?

  2. Eric Hempler

    August 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    I don’t think it should be decided on how much time you should spend, but what tasks should you do in Social Media. Ron doesn’t do very much, but put little things out there that may drive business to him and on the other hand Susie does a lot more, which would also drive business to her. It doesn’t matter how much time you put in, but how you use that time to produce the results you want.

  3. Tassia Bezdeka

    August 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    #1 is an excellent example of a minimal but effective schedule.

    Really the key is to stay on top of things. A lot of my agents ask me how often I’m on social media every day, and I always get a kick out of how big their eyes get when I tell them that I check my social sites a between 5-10 times a day. The trick however, is that I’m never on for more than a few minutes, because I’m keeping up with things.

    Use your time wisely as well. Facebook friend lists can be extremely useful here, so that you. You’re not on FB to browse through your old buddies pictures for hours on end… you’re there to connect with a variety of people and give them news they can use.

    Waiting in line at the grocery store or gas station? Bust out that smart phone.
    On hold for a phone call? Use that time wisely.

    Facebook is a meal best enjoyed in small portions throughout the day, in my opinion.

  4. Chris R

    August 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I think the key thing here is balance. This article shows people at two sides of the spectrum. I’m sure that there is a place in the middle that offers all the social benefits that Suzie has with better time management like Joe.

  5. Steve Visio

    August 18, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    The implication is the opportunity cost for time wasted. You can only know that if you correlate the time spent with the results gained. What metrics should the agents be tracking?

  6. Joe Loomer

    August 18, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Neither is my model. I think there’s a middle ground here. Twitter is nearly non-existent in our town (yet), and Facebook is the place we invest our efforts. Lost in this post is the fact that you can do other things at the same time. As I’m researching and posting and blogging, I’m also making lists of prospects and calling them. When they answer the phone, I stop what I’m doing and stand up and pay attention to the call. Call it multi-tasking, but what I’m trying to do is grow my sphere simultaneously. If an agent I’m attempting to set an appointment with (read: a listing or buyer prospect for most of you) is not my friend on FB and I succeed in having a warm conversation with them, I follow it up immediately with a friend request. Usually works.

    My bottom line is I create events, posts, pictures, whatever that I try to keep relevant and on-target. I do not worry about how many likes or comments I get because I’m focused on just putting information in front of people that may read it and never give me the insights on their opinions, but I know they see it from my interviews. It’s my way of shouting our our culture, training, and coaching at them without expecting a reply – it’s on their wall feed, that’s all I care about.

    I obviously have a different agenda than your primary audience, but that’s my two cents.
    Two – three hours a day, minimum – but a lot of it is before/after business hours.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Chris Lengquist

    August 18, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I make money from my blogging. So my social media time is also my prospecting time most of the time. Therefore, the more I SM the more money I make to a certain degree.

    But I have to say I can burn myself out. I’ve been blogging since 2005 (December) and there have been two or three times over the last 5 years that I just had to push away from the table a bit. Sadly, my leads began to dry up. So back I go, sometimes before I was ready. Making a living is work. So is whatever avenue you utilize for prospecting.

  8. Melissa Delgaudio

    August 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I love your answer (or NON-answer, really) to this question. People ask me all the time what they should be doing or for how long they should be doing it. I tell them that it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. Spend time doing the things that are effective for you (and those that you enjoy). If they’re really benefitting your business, then it’s time well-spent. If people find that their online activities are detracting from their day-to-day business, however, setting some limits and focusing on only what’s “important” will be helpful.

  9. LesleyLambert

    August 18, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Great comments everyone! I meant to imply that there is a middle ground. In fact, my point is that there shouldn’t be a hard and fast rule about how much time or how you spend it. I am, as most of you might have guessed, the model for Susie, but I know that many people have no interest in dedicating so much time. Regarding metrics, that is the harder question. All I can tell you is that it is working for me. Several times a week I get a call out of the blue that someone wants a market analysis or buyer’s agent and they are looking at a blog post or saw a post on Facebook.

    Keep the input coming everyone!

  10. hermanchan.com

    August 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    https://dlvr.it and https://ping.fm are two sites than help ppl more efficiently manage social media. i use ping, but does anyone have feedback about dlvr?

    • Tassia Bezdeka

      August 19, 2010 at 3:04 am

      I use Hootsuite exclusively (although if you don’t have an iPhone, you’re SOL in terms of mobile posting… BB and Droid apps have been forthcoming for a few months now)

      Hootsuite will manage Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Ping.fm, FourSquare, MySpace. They are in the process of going freemium, but a free account (up to five linked networks) should be sufficient for the average user.

      • hermanchan.com

        August 19, 2010 at 3:33 am

        thanks tassia! i’m about to toss my bb out the window next month once my upgrade is due. not sure what phone to pick but hootsuite looks like something i need to explore.

        ps; i’m following u. follow me , merci!

  11. Rob McCance

    August 18, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    I don’t do any, unless you count this.

    I landed none of my 30 clients in the last two years via social media and as far as I know, none of them use it or used it to find me.

    I do spend a ton of time on my web site, both the design and SEO aspects.

    I always thought all the social media stuff was for teenagers, not professionals, or people making the largest investment in their lives. So I just personally refused to FB, Tweet, LinkIn, and whatever else. I don’t feel as if I’ve missed a single thing in the last five years choosing not to participate.

    I read and contribute to blogs primarlily to try and learn things about websites, the web and SEO, etc. Also, some technology in general.

    All that said, if you land ONE client via social media and it nets you $30k in commission, it’s definitely all worth it!

    RM

  12. Chris Lengquist

    August 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    @ Rob – Your distinction is probably correct. But I’ve never figured out how to tell the difference of when I’m blogging or social mediaing or whatever the heck you call it. I use facebook and my three websites. I don’t make a lot of comments on realtor blogs because realtors don’t buy houses. But I do take filled out lead forms that go to my Top Producer very seriously and then I go offline with those prospects.

    So maybe my comment was completely off base. But I do agree with your Twitter comment. I’ve never figured out how that helps me or my clients. I guess I just don’t get it. Too old? 🙂

    • Tassia Bezdeka

      August 19, 2010 at 3:02 am

      You also have to distinguish Twitter for output vs Twitter for listening.

      There are very few people that I actually converse with on Twitter, but I do feel it gives me a broader reach to people who might not other find me (via RT or Twitter searches, etc).

      But where Twitter *really* makes itself useful for me is by giving me one central location to get a lot of information. I could go to 5 news sites, 10 local restaurants/bars, 18 blogs, etc OR I could follow them all on Twitter and get what they consider to be pertinent news filtered directly to me.

    • hermanchan.com

      August 19, 2010 at 3:36 am

      sometimes clients (especially websavvy, tech oriented clients) will go thru twitter posts as a way to get to know you more. it’s real, live and snapshots of your personality and interpersonal skills, which are qualities they can’t get from reading a website. think of twitter as an extension of your website in a way. u cant update your site multiple times a day, but with twitter you can. and clients feel they are with you on topics and that you are relevant.

  13. Sheila Rasak

    August 19, 2010 at 7:14 am

    As always amazing content that offers so much information in a condensed format! Thank you for shedding even more light on the subject of social media!

    • LesleyLambert

      August 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      Glad you like it and pleased to meet you!

  14. Missy Caulk

    August 19, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I get asked this a lot too, people assume I spend more time than I do, but probably less than an hour.

    Mobile updates help and you can respond quickly, retweet, give an like etc…

    I see a lot of extremes from some Social Media guru’s. Not sure how they can be selling many houses…but who am I to judge?

  15. Ken Brand

    August 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    True words.

  16. Debbie Harris

    August 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I agree 100% – it will vary. For those that want to see the most consistent long term benefit from it, commitment will be key. As part of a regular daily marketing/prospecting plan it can consume various different times. One of its great assets is its no cost or minimal cost making it an excellent avenue for reaching out and connecting.

  17. Lori Ballen Wekerle

    August 19, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Man – here is a topic I can sink my teeth into. Besides FARMING (he-he) – I spend about an hour or two with posts, shares, tweets, facebook communication, and feeds to Twitter and Linked In.

    I LOVE IT and don’t remember life without you.

    My Facebook Link is facebook.com/lori.ballen

    cbwardley.com/ballengroup

  18. Peter Guichard

    August 21, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Hi Lesley,

    Thanks for your article. It was very helpful. I’ve been guilty for sometime for not participating in the social networking phenomena. I was overwhelmed by the thought of how to get started. Believe it or not, I managed to revive or open accounts at Linked In, Facebook and Twitter after your article.

  19. SmartVestors Realty

    August 22, 2010 at 6:33 am

    This is a never ending process along with the desired automation from the social medias. The great part on this is to have the real ideology in regards of collaboration throughout the scene.

    Thanks,
    SmartVestors Realty

  20. Teresa boardman

    August 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    23 Min and 40 seconds. longer for men because most can’t type very fast.

  21. Michael Sosnowski

    September 14, 2010 at 9:13 am

    To begin, social media is easier than developing a well conceived and lead generating website. That being said, in the end, there will only be a few that are really committed to success, understand what needs to be done and will benefit from attracting potential clients.

    • Rob McCance

      September 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

      Mike,

      I agree with this completely. But you get what you “pay” for…or work for.

      If you do develop a ” well conceived and lead generating website” you can literally bring in 100 or more leads per month. And this, in my estimation, FAR outweights anything you can accomplish in social media with regards to raw lead generation.

      Not that it matters to anyone, and shouldn’t: but this is why I do ZERO social media and 100% web site and SEO development.

      We can wax on about the future and social media but hey, nobody really knows the future and I’ve got to eat and pay the mortgage NOW.

  22. Cheron Lange

    September 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Okay, I have to admit I am guilty of seriously over doing it at times. There are days, I am only on for less than an hour and days it is more than 2-4 hours. And to boot I get nothing done!

    I have several websites and fb pages that I like to read, and that is time consuming, along with catching up on local and community news. Oh yeah and I forgot to say I am a mom, along with being a Realtor and social media junkie!

    I honestly do not think there should be a specific time frame, but beware…it can get out of hand!

  23. eric

    March 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Social media is cake. get some tools and automate twitter. twitter is not for interaction it is the #1 source of traffic to your blog. I spend 10min a day on twitter automate everything i have 4 active accounts that have close to 100k followers. imagine how much targeted traffic i get when i tweet my most recent blog post.

    Facebook is for interaction answer every that writes to you. find a couple new ppl to follow another 5-10min

    blogging a couple posts a week 1 hr each

    all in all 20-30 min a day for social media is more than enough.

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