I may have contributed to a small controversy yesterday when I suggested Alex Chang's Placing all your online focus on Google SEO today...is like betting on Yahoo! 5 years ago for a feature. I'm probably not the only one who flagged the post, but it did start a "Google vs Facebook" debate which is probably the biggest non sequitor on the planet* right now. The point of the post was that like Google 5 years ago, Facebook is the next big thing for forward-thinking real estate professionals, and leveraging the tool is a worthwhile endeavor. That's not just me talking- go to Raincamp.
Facebook matters, and here's why. At the end of the day, we as licensees, loan officers and etcetera, do business with either our sphere of influence (SOI, or people you know) or the targets of our marketing (Strangers). If you've ever had a friend, relative or associate list or buy with someone else and felt the sting of them not using you, you understand the power of your personal SOI. In my neck of the woods, with a $600,000+ median price, I don't need to tell you how big a bite in the fanny it is when a friend or relative does business with someone who is not ME. One of the biggest reasons we lose SOI business is that they didn't think of us. They just forgot, because another person asserted themselves somehow; a co worker, neighbor, friend from church, or (shudder) a Facebook friend.
When I graduated college in 1989, I thought I'd sell financial products like my older brother, who was successful at it. He discouraged me, because, as he aptly pointed out, I didn't know anyone who had money to invest. He knew a slew of fellow pre-meds from college who were now physicians, and he was very networked in Rugby. I knew bar bouncers and fellow broke recent grads. I looked into financial sales, but they all advised me to do the same thing: make a list of 100 people you know, contact them, and inform them that you want to be their financial advisor. It was that way with every sales job where the clientèle was SOI: make a list and solicit your friends.
So I spent 7 years selling Catholic school principals, Franciscan nuns and Dominican Sisters programmed learning for their resource rooms and needy students because I was unwilling to call people I hadn't bothered to reach out to since high school and sell them insurance. There was no Internet back then. Nobody licked stamps. You lost touch.
Here is why Facebook is a game changer for business. Connecting with your entire SOI on Facebook is like walking into a virtual, massive college and high school reunion and discreetly passing out your business card without the posture of soliciting. You are on their mind again, even if you are complimenting them on pics of their children, and they know you sell houses. You aren't chasing them down about it. It works. There are other applications also (Get thee to Raincamp), like business pages for clientèle, which is the application Alex makes, but in both cases, Facebook has what we want: the attention of our sphere of influence. It is not a competitor to search engine optimization, but it is another useful tool for expanding business. It is the best SOI tool I know.
I'll be applying the roost application to my Facebook business page for these reasons. It makes sense to me. I have actually been reticent to post on this because it might help my competition, but then it occurred to me that everyone has a different SOI.
*Sorry; the biggest non sequitor on the planet is that BP is run by jerks. So what if it is. Clean up the oil and then we can discuss whether or not they are worse than Exxon, Enron, B of A,or J. Philip Real Estate.