April 17, 2011

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Finding the Real Value of Social Media


Recently, Michigan based commercial broker Jason Tucker posted a simple question on his activerain.com blog: “Do Facebook and Twitter actually help get leads?”

It’s a question we’ve addressed previously, with the response of two Canadian agents a resounding “yes”. But the reaction to Tucker’s post wasn’t quite so enthusiastic. While a few agents could trace sales back to connections made on Facebook, Twitter seemed to be less effective, and in some cases neither were producing any tangible results.

But with Twitter passing the 50 million unique visitors milestone last month, and Facebook ranked as July’s fifth largest web property by comScore, it seems social media is now well and truly established as an integral part of the online landscape. And, as therealestatebeat.com points out, many real estate companies are taking social media so seriously that they are appointing “social media managers”.

So we clearly need to keep asking the question: how can we make social media a valuable business tool, rather than just an online time-sink?

According to author Tara Hunt, the key to success in the world of online communities is social capital or, as she calls it, “Whuffie”. In discussing her book on the topic, The Whuffie Factor, Hunt argues that this social capital is crucial for business that want to succeed through social media:

“In the Web 2.0 world, market capital flows from having high social capital. Without Whuffie you lose your connections and any recommendation you make will be seen as spam, met with negative reactions and a loss of social capital.

[…] online success comes from building a community and being part of it – not by pushing a product or service. If you want to learn the secret sauce behind Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, you have to use them until you love them.”

realestatecoach.com CEO Bernice Ross also discussed the idea on inman.com, emphasising that “what can I do for you?” is now a much more important question than “what can I sell you?”

“Real estate has always been about building trust and long-lasting relationships,” Ross writes. “Today, much of that trust-building is occurring online, but the core concepts haven’t changed. When we build Whuffie by helping others, we’re creating the foundation for long-term, sustainable business success.”

So, perhaps the answer to Tucker’s question goes something like this: whether social media can generate leads or not, its our ability to use social media to generate social capital that makes it such a valuable business tool.

As always, propertyadguru.com is keen to hear your opinions on social media and its effect on your business, so keep us up to date in the comments.


Related posts:

  1. Golden Rules for Social Media ROI
  2. Four Quick Tips for Social Media Success
  3. Can Social Media Generate Leads?
  4. SMMI Launches Social Media Course
  5. Can Social Media be Simplified?
  6. Challenges and Opportunities on the Social Web
  7. Agent Strategies: A Social Media Combo
  8. Social Media a Key Component of Fortune 500
  9. Over 65s Flock to Social Media in the US
  10. Tech Trends from the NAR Conference: Part 7 – Social Networking



  1. [...] course, some question whether all these updates, followers and comments are really worthwhile, particularly for those who [...]

  2. [...] clear about your goals. What do you want to achieve? Are you aiming to create social capital – to become a trusted member of an online community? Or do you simply need to generate as many [...]

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