On Marketing Strategy: Answers to Critics

So now that Benn Rosales of AgentGenius has jumped into the fray with his latest post, which comes on the heels of Jim Marks’s critique of my Inman column (subscribers only), I figure it might be good to consolidate my responses here.  And this is not to mention the various commenters on the Inman post, conversations via Twitter, email, etc.  This topic’s got folks fired up — in a good way. :)

Let me point out that the critiques come in three different flavors.

  1. Social media is a great marketing platform!
  2. Interaction on social media, including Twitter, is no different from offline networking.
  3. Twitter is a great tool for building sphere of influence!

Let us go through each in order, then summarize with what I think is a larger lesson about marketing strategy.

Knocking Down Straw Men

The first critique is that social media is a great marketing platform, and it isn’t merely a relationship tool.  Benn makes this point:

Some argue that having a strategy in social media is a sin and treating it like a toy is the right way to go, and if that’s truly the case, then that is your strategy.  Being human in social media, not selling, and simply going with the flow as a conscious decision is a strategy.

I guess I agree with Benn… since I have never made the argument that social media (however we define this) is a toy.  What I have said is that I treat Twitter like a toy, and have no Twitter strategy, as I view Twitter as a relationship tool rather than as a marketing tool.

Social media in whatever variation of definition does encompass blogs, which I consider to be the single most powerful marketing platform of the Internet era — possibly even more powerful that the corporate website in some instances, for some types of businesses.  Social media includes FaceBook and LinkedIn, both of which are powerful marketing channels that demand a marketing strategy.  So let’s be clear that Twitter is not Social Media, and Social Media is not Twitter; Twitter is but one tool that has a specific original purpose and a platform built around that original purpose.

So this line of criticism turns out to be just a straw man and not worthy of a deeper response.

Social Networking No Different From Traditional Networking

The second critique is that social networking is really no different from traditional networking where strategy most certainly comes into play; therefore, I’m simply wrong.  Benn writes:

As for the strategy, we’ve simply exchanged a business card in the online world for a ‘follow’ and renamed a contact or lead to ‘friend’ and begun the conversation of converting ‘opportunities’ now acquaintances into referral networks and or potential clients.  The strategy is within the insertion of the influencer and the tactic is within the indirect marketing of content as a product, and how we build buzz within the tribe, not the act of making friends.  But I think some will certainly argue that there is even a strategy to making friends, after all, we’re targeting common interests, goals, lifestyles, and we have conversation to vet ideals and standards before making a choice of doing the business of investing time in the conversion to friendship, although even I would agree tactics in this case would be ill advised if you’re seeking a long-term friendship.

This is more substantive objection, and one that deserves a response.

Equating social networking with offline networking is fraught with danger for the marketer for two reasons: nature of communication, and social context.

Nature of Communication

You hear what Im showing to you?

You hear what I'm showing to you?

Exchanging business cards offline is in no way the same thing as following someone on Twitter, which itself is different than friending each other on Facebook.  To equate the conversation that precedes exchanging business cards with conversations that happen online is to ignore the profound differences between those two conversations.

Human beings communicate with far more than just words.  In fact, research indicates that only 7% of the meaning in a communication is conveyed through words.  Tone of voice accounts for 38% of the meaning, and 55% of the meaning comes from “visual” cues — such as body language, facial expressions, dress and appearance, and so on.

This means that prior to the exchange of business cards, two people have received 93% of the meaning from even a brief face to face encounter.  Prior to following someone on Twitter that you have never met before, none of that exists.  Not to take this into account when constructing a “marketing strategy” is simply irresponsible.

A marketing strategy based on putting on events and seminars, which allow for personal face-to-face contact, should look very different from a marketing strategy based on networking through mere words. You might be able to get away with a dirty joke in person because of your appearance, your folksy tone of voice, your personal charisma, your body language, whatever.  That just ain’t gonna fly in most online contexts.

Not all conversations are the same; therefore, not all conversation-based marketing strategy can be the same.  What works in one situation does not necessarily work in a different situation.  A strategist considers these factors.

Social Context

Someone attending a networking event is presumably doing so to meet people he doesn’t already know; at a minimum, it is expected that strangers might come up to you and try to engage you in conversation in the hopes of striking up some sort of a business relationship.  The expectations are well understood on both sides.  Going up to a stranger, introducing yourself, and striking up a conversation is likely acceptable in all networking events — even if the conversation is aimed at selling and both parties fully understand it.

Marketplace?

Marketplace?

Conversely, someone attending church is not there to learn about possible new business contacts, new products or services, or real estate for sale.  Yes, a relationship can start at church and evolve into something more, but the social context is critical.  Plus, for what it’s worth, most folks would look at the sales guy coming to church with a networking strategy to get in good with the appropriate influencer with a gimlet eye.  It happens, of course, but the salesman in that scenario is basically deceiving his “target” — pretending to a religious interest that he does not possess.

Most of us who have been around the Web for a while know that there is a tremendous difference in social context between sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

LinkedIn is a business networking site and intended to be one; we expect to send and receive business-related communication.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone trying to contact me to sell me something.  A marketer might come up with a strategy for LinkedIn, making more contacts, creating LinkedIn groups, joining groups, asking for introductions, and so on.  Everyone expects it, and if they don’t, they’ll tell you with the little “Interested In” section on their profile.

Facebook, on the other hand, may have become more important for marketing, but at its heart, it is a social site intended for students at college campuses to exchange messages, pictures, videos, and so on.  It is far more personal than business.  And as a result, there is something uncouth with someone trying to sell me on Facebook; there is something sort of creepy about trying to network with me for a strategic reason.  Fan pages were created primarily as an extension of the core purpose of Facebook as a place for friends to meet each other online.

I submit that in the online world, the underlying technology platform indicates the social context.  Facebook’s platform is all about sharing photos, videos, posting on each other’s Walls, sending virtual gifts, and playing games.  The social context is one of entertainment, fun, and sharing.  LinkedIn’s platform is all about expanding your professional network and doing business — tools like InMail and Get Introduced strongly imply it.  Blogs all have comments, which implies a social context of interactivity, but with a privileged voice — the blog owner/author.  (Blogs without comments are more like online magazines than anything else.)  Message boards imply a social context as well — open to all members without any particular authority in any one member.

Which leads us to…

Twitter is a Great Tool for Building Sphere of Influence

Consideration of the social context, as implied by the underlying technology platform, brings us to consideration of Twitter as a marketing tool.  Jim Marks writes, arguing that I am 180-degrees wrong on this, that:

Imagine, now if I reached out, deliberately and systematically with all my current friends of SOI. These are people who I have a ton in common and the only distance between then now, a total stranger and members of my SOI? (which they will soon be)One conversation.

Twitters’ relaxed social nature facilitates this type of conversation. I ge the opportunity to reach out and meet new people with whom a have a ton in common and my SOI grows strategically and exponentially. Most important is these are people who have a valuable third party reference of my caring and trust worthy character. (which makes them perfect SOI members and possible future clients)

…Now, instead of meeting people over a course of “you make me feel like a natural women,” and inviting them to hang with me ONLINE. I will be meeting people in a designed manner and inviting them to meet me OFFLINE.

What Jim fails to take into account is the underlying platform of Twitter and the social context that it implies.

First, the follow system is a fundamental part of Twitter’s platform, and it strongly implies that people on Twitter already know each other from some other context.  In fact, you don’t have to take my word for it; take it from the makers of Twitter (who hired Common Craft for this):

Twitter’s original intent was to provide a way for friends to keep tabs on each other “between blogposts and emails”.  That explains so much about its platform.

Second, the text-only, 140 character limitation further strongly implies the social context of Twitter.  Between people who already know each other, “people who matter to her” according to the video above, 140 characters of text is plenty for short updates.  With strangers, that limit is quite significant.

Using Twitter as a marketing tool pretty much requires a separate destination — typically a blog.  The 140 characters can be used to entice someone to click on the link and hit the actual marketing material, the blog post.  Used in this way, Twitter is far more akin to a text link ad than anything else; there is a place for it, but I dare say that if that’s the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, you’ve got issues.

The underlying technology, and the social context it implies, means that using Twitter to meet new people in a target market — especially for a realtor who has a geographically limited market — is somewhat like using a spoon to eat a steak.  It can be done, but boy, you sure do have to work real hard at it for minimal gains.

Lacking LinkedIn’s “Get Introduced” module, reaching out to someone you don’t know but one of your follows/followers does know is a more delicate affair.  You have to assume that they are using Twitter for its intended purpose: keeping tabs on people they already know and matter to them.  You don’t matter to them, yet.  Inserting yourself into that conversation, then, requires that you actually care about whatever it is that they are talking about (or at least fake it real well).  Doing that “strategically” with an ulterior motive in mind strikes me as being very similar to going to church to sell real estate.  Sure, it can be done, but you’d better have the right touch.

Finally, since Jim’s point is specific to the real estate world’s concept of “sphere of influence”, we have to consider whether Twitter really is the right tool for expanding one’s SOI for a real estate agent.  There are no geographical limiters on Twitter, nor are there groups.  Hashtags might serve as a pseudo-geographical grouping, but that assumes a level of sophistication of knowledge of Twitter on the part of the users.

Then consider that Twitter appears to have hit a ceiling in terms of growth.  From Hitwise, we get:

Resistance Point

Resistance Point

Further note that Twitter still only constitutes 0.17% of the total traffic for the United States.  In contrast, Facebook is the dominant player in the “social networking” category on Hitwise, with 58% of the total traffic to social networking sites, which is in turn 9.19% of the total web traffic, or about 5.33% of the total web traffic in the United States.

If you’re in real estate and want to develop a marketing strategy, may I suggest looking to Facebook instead of to Twitter?  Indeed, many of the realtors on my original Inman post commented that they get far more success when using Facebook than using Twitter.

The Medium May Not Be The Message, But It Sure Is Important

The larger point about marketing strategy to be made here, apart from debating whether Twitter strategy is or is not valuable, is that the medium matters.  Different platforms allow for different types of marketing to be effective.

The most obvious example is that television excels at creating an emotional response, whereas print is better for eliciting a logical response.

That gets the blood pumping and the heart racing, doesn’t it?  And here’s print:

The pleasure you get from driving a BMW is the result of fine engineering – always setting the benchmark because it is based on much more than engine power. This is the tradition behind BMW EfficientDynamics. It includes the visionary CleanEnergy hydrogen-powered engine, already used in a number of completely emission-free BMW 7 Series saloons. Also going into production soon is the BMW ActiveHybrid – an intelligent, demand-oriented combination of internal combustion engine and electric motor. And every BMW already includes the multi-award-winning BMW EfficientDynamics technology package as standard that boosts dynamics even further whilst simultaneously reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

That comes from BMW’s product catalogue. (pdf)  Sure, the copy is written to elicit an emotional response, and the photos sure are beautiful, but a print catalog cannot get the heart racing like a film/video ad can.

The strength of the video medium is in the ability to generate an emotional response — that is what it is best suited to do.  You can use it for an intellectual appeal, of course, having an engineer step through each of the mechanical systems, the innovations, and so on — but that isn’t really its strength.

As a marketer, then, you must take the medium through which you are going to undertake a campaign into account as part of your strategy.

The Internet is a medium, and a fascinating one as it can and often does combine video, print and sound with an interactivity that is wholly missing from broadcast or print channels.  But just because the Web allows for interaction does not therefore mean that its form of interaction is the same as other forms of interaction.  As a marketer, you have to look at the details, decide what the strengths and weaknesses of each channel are, and plan accordingly.

And if you’re an online marketer, then you have to think about some of the details — at least of the fundamental technology platform — of each tool before you strategize about the most effective way to use it.  I submit that Twitter, given its limitations and the technology platform and the social context that the platform implies, is ideally suited as a relationship tool.  It isn’t all that well-suited to be a marketing tool.

-rsh

  • Randy Hooker

    Does the saying “swatting a gnat with a baseball bat” mean anything to you, Rob? Your mental acumen is paled only by your propensity for verbosity. ;-)

  • Randy Hooker

    Does the saying “swatting a gnat with a baseball bat” mean anything to you, Rob? Your mental acumen is paled only by your propensity for verbosity. ;-)

  • http://www.SanDiegoLifestyle.info/ Jeffrey Douglass

    Rob,

    Twitter is a relationship tool, Amen.

    Twitter is about conversation. Twitter is about information and content and where to find it.

    Yesterday I had the opportunity of meeting several Twitter friends in person for a walk though of the venue for the San Diego BarCamp. One of those people was @jimmarks who I have followed and exchanged tweets with over the past few months. While I had formed some idea of what Jim Marks was all about, having a face to face with him expanded our on-line conversations into real world conversations. That is the start of a relationship that I hope will grow now both on and off line.

    Being pretty new to all this SM stuff, I must say that Twitter has been sort of the center of that experience. Like a world-wide cocktail party it has opened up new possibilities of relationship within my industry and outside and I have to tell you I really dig it.

    I write a daily bog about real estate in San Diego. Twitter has helped me exposed me to thinking conversations, links to articles and blogs, and thoughts on a grand scale. My reach is much wider and deeper by building contacts and on-line conversations.

    The marketing aspect of Twitter comes from the relationships. It does not happen overnight, nor tomorrow, but over time with those dedicated to spending the time to use Twitter effectively.

    BTW, I hear your going to be in San Diego for BarCamp, looking forward to that whole experience!

  • http://www.SanDiegoLifestyle.info Jeffrey Douglass

    Rob,

    Twitter is a relationship tool, Amen.

    Twitter is about conversation. Twitter is about information and content and where to find it.

    Yesterday I had the opportunity of meeting several Twitter friends in person for a walk though of the venue for the San Diego BarCamp. One of those people was @jimmarks who I have followed and exchanged tweets with over the past few months. While I had formed some idea of what Jim Marks was all about, having a face to face with him expanded our on-line conversations into real world conversations. That is the start of a relationship that I hope will grow now both on and off line.

    Being pretty new to all this SM stuff, I must say that Twitter has been sort of the center of that experience. Like a world-wide cocktail party it has opened up new possibilities of relationship within my industry and outside and I have to tell you I really dig it.

    I write a daily bog about real estate in San Diego. Twitter has helped me exposed me to thinking conversations, links to articles and blogs, and thoughts on a grand scale. My reach is much wider and deeper by building contacts and on-line conversations.

    The marketing aspect of Twitter comes from the relationships. It does not happen overnight, nor tomorrow, but over time with those dedicated to spending the time to use Twitter effectively.

    BTW, I hear your going to be in San Diego for BarCamp, looking forward to that whole experience!

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    Rob,

    Rather than argue your entire War and Peace style post. I will simply attempt to correct the misunderstanding it appears you have with my argument…

    Rob says, “What Jim fails to take into account is the underlying platform of Twitter and the social context that it implies.”

    This is because I simply dont need to. I am not concerned what purpose the creators of Twitter had in mind for the platform, nor the social context YOU feel it applies. You purchase a BMW, and drive it on the Parkway at 70MPH and wash it on Saturdays.. this is probably pretty much in line with BMWs vision for their car. I purchase the same car, gut the heck out it, slap some race tires on it and head for the track. Blasphomy? to some. But to me it is a better purpose than originally intended. I do, because I can.

    Rob Says, “First, the follow system is a fundamental part of Twitter’s platform, and it strongly implies that people on Twitter already know each other from some other context. In fact, you don’t have to take my word for it; take it from the makers of Twitter (who hired Common Craft for this)”

    Again, WHY!!.. Rob, really. If this is your fundamental arguement..checkmate. OF COURSE, I dont have to know you to reach out to you on twitter. I just have to have something in common with you. I social object that interests you. Perhaps someone we know in common, a conversation you are having with someone I do know… Rob, YOU have relationships on Twitter, today, with someone you have not met.. I am sure of it… This is the power of Twitter, it transcends the basic F2F social rules.. Again, I dont care what the original purpose the founders built it for… Be a thinker, not a lemming.

    Rob Saysm “Twitter’s original intent was to provide a way for friends to keep tabs on each other “between blogposts and emails”. That explains so much about its platform.”

    And LinkedIns original intent was to just be a place to post a resume… moot point.

    Rob Says “Second, the text-only, 140 character limitation further strongly implies the social context of Twitter. Between people who already know each other, “people who matter to her” according to the video above, 140 characters of text is plenty for short updates. With strangers, that limit is quite significant”

    Rob, 140 characters has been enough to report a major earthquake in China before the Gov could deny it, create unrest during an election in Iran, report a Subway bombing in London, a jumbo jet crash into the Hudson and 100s of wedding proposals. CLEARLY, this limit is not too short to strike up a conversation with a friend of a friend, and move the conversation to a tweetup or a coffee shop for a cup of coffee…

    Rob Says, “Using Twitter as a marketing tool pretty much requires a separate destination — typically a blog. The 140 characters can be used to entice someone to click on the link and hit the actual marketing material, the blog post. Used in this way, Twitter is far more akin to a text link ad than anything else; there is a place for it, but I dare say that if that’s the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, you’ve got issues.

    The underlying technology, and the social context it implies, means that using Twitter to meet new people in a target market — especially for a realtor who has a geographically limited market — is somewhat like using a spoon to eat a steak. It can be done, but boy, you sure do have to work real hard at it for minimal gains.”

    Uh,no. Rob, here is where you and I ALWAYS end up. You are imagining these situations, waxing philisophical about how much, how hard, and how difficult. My agents are doing it. Reaching out to a targeted group of tweets that ARE geographically within your target market and already have someone in common with you is NOT hard work.. Inviting them to a tweetup, or social gathering to meet other tweets that share your SOI in common is not hard work, and creating the new relationships is ENJOYABLE. IF you dont like people this is hard work… and perhaps Real Estate is not your calling…

    Rob says, “Lacking LinkedIn’s “Get Introduced” module, reaching out to someone you don’t know but one of your follows/followers does know is a more delicate affair. You have to assume that they are using Twitter for its intended purpose: keeping tabs on people they already know and matter to them. You don’t matter to them, yet. Inserting yourself into that conversation, then, requires that you actually care about whatever it is that they are talking about (or at least fake it real well). Doing that “strategically” with an ulterior motive in mind strikes me as being very similar to going to church to sell real estate. Sure, it can be done, but you’d better have the right touch.”

    Rob, going to Church, the elks club, the chamber of commerce, the local bridge club, the local watering hole, a friends party, or anywhere else and creating relationships that LEAD to Real Estate sales is how successful Realtors have been selling Real Estate for 50 years… The right touch. IT IS SALES, of course you have to have the right touch, be sensitive, sincere, knowledgeable, and talented. Your point?

    Rob says, “Finally, since Jim’s point is specific to the real estate world’s concept of “sphere of influence”, we have to consider whether Twitter really is the right tool for expanding one’s SOI for a real estate agent. There are no geographical limiters on Twitter, nor are there groups. Hashtags might serve as a pseudo-geographical grouping, but that assumes a level of sophistication of knowledge of Twitter on the part of the users.”

    Rob, OF COURSE there are Geographical limiters on Twitter… simply go to Twitters search bar and type in the following near:Laguna Beach within:20miles Realtor This will instantly return a list of anyone that is tweeting within 20 mi of LB, and talking about Realtors. Pretty good start, yeah? In addition, just because someone follows you, doesnt mean you follow them back… A twitter strategy dictates that you keep your stream manageable and filled with people that you deem as possible prospects…

    Rob, the BLOG was not orginally intended as a place to market for real estate prospects…

  • Bob Wilson

    Rob, I think you pretty much nailed it. One thing I find interesting is that those whose target market is the agent/broker believe that their approach to twitter will work the same as the agent/broker approach. The problem is that while it is easy to crash the twitter party of an industry, the homebuying/selling community isn’t hanging out together on twitter.

    I have NO data to support my theory, but I’m guessing that if you analyzed the followers on twitter vs the friends on FB for the average agent, twitter would be a much higher percentage of industry types whereas FB would be a higher percentage of people more likely to be invited to the Holiday party or wedding.

    • http://www.SanDiegoLifestyle.info/ Jeffrey Douglass

      Bob, Good point and I am guessing you are probably right! I just don’t like Facebook.

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    Rob,

    Rather than argue your entire War and Peace style post. I will simply attempt to correct the misunderstanding it appears you have with my argument…

    Rob says, “What Jim fails to take into account is the underlying platform of Twitter and the social context that it implies.”

    This is because I simply dont need to. I am not concerned what purpose the creators of Twitter had in mind for the platform, nor the social context YOU feel it applies. You purchase a BMW, and drive it on the Parkway at 70MPH and wash it on Saturdays.. this is probably pretty much in line with BMWs vision for their car. I purchase the same car, gut the heck out it, slap some race tires on it and head for the track. Blasphomy? to some. But to me it is a better purpose than originally intended. I do, because I can.

    Rob Says, “First, the follow system is a fundamental part of Twitter’s platform, and it strongly implies that people on Twitter already know each other from some other context. In fact, you don’t have to take my word for it; take it from the makers of Twitter (who hired Common Craft for this)”

    Again, WHY!!.. Rob, really. If this is your fundamental arguement..checkmate. OF COURSE, I dont have to know you to reach out to you on twitter. I just have to have something in common with you. I social object that interests you. Perhaps someone we know in common, a conversation you are having with someone I do know… Rob, YOU have relationships on Twitter, today, with someone you have not met.. I am sure of it… This is the power of Twitter, it transcends the basic F2F social rules.. Again, I dont care what the original purpose the founders built it for… Be a thinker, not a lemming.

    Rob Saysm “Twitter’s original intent was to provide a way for friends to keep tabs on each other “between blogposts and emails”. That explains so much about its platform.”

    And LinkedIns original intent was to just be a place to post a resume… moot point.

    Rob Says “Second, the text-only, 140 character limitation further strongly implies the social context of Twitter. Between people who already know each other, “people who matter to her” according to the video above, 140 characters of text is plenty for short updates. With strangers, that limit is quite significant”

    Rob, 140 characters has been enough to report a major earthquake in China before the Gov could deny it, create unrest during an election in Iran, report a Subway bombing in London, a jumbo jet crash into the Hudson and 100s of wedding proposals. CLEARLY, this limit is not too short to strike up a conversation with a friend of a friend, and move the conversation to a tweetup or a coffee shop for a cup of coffee…

    Rob Says, “Using Twitter as a marketing tool pretty much requires a separate destination — typically a blog. The 140 characters can be used to entice someone to click on the link and hit the actual marketing material, the blog post. Used in this way, Twitter is far more akin to a text link ad than anything else; there is a place for it, but I dare say that if that’s the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, you’ve got issues.

    The underlying technology, and the social context it implies, means that using Twitter to meet new people in a target market — especially for a realtor who has a geographically limited market — is somewhat like using a spoon to eat a steak. It can be done, but boy, you sure do have to work real hard at it for minimal gains.”

    Uh,no. Rob, here is where you and I ALWAYS end up. You are imagining these situations, waxing philisophical about how much, how hard, and how difficult. My agents are doing it. Reaching out to a targeted group of tweets that ARE geographically within your target market and already have someone in common with you is NOT hard work.. Inviting them to a tweetup, or social gathering to meet other tweets that share your SOI in common is not hard work, and creating the new relationships is ENJOYABLE. IF you dont like people this is hard work… and perhaps Real Estate is not your calling…

    Rob says, “Lacking LinkedIn’s “Get Introduced” module, reaching out to someone you don’t know but one of your follows/followers does know is a more delicate affair. You have to assume that they are using Twitter for its intended purpose: keeping tabs on people they already know and matter to them. You don’t matter to them, yet. Inserting yourself into that conversation, then, requires that you actually care about whatever it is that they are talking about (or at least fake it real well). Doing that “strategically” with an ulterior motive in mind strikes me as being very similar to going to church to sell real estate. Sure, it can be done, but you’d better have the right touch.”

    Rob, going to Church, the elks club, the chamber of commerce, the local bridge club, the local watering hole, a friends party, or anywhere else and creating relationships that LEAD to Real Estate sales is how successful Realtors have been selling Real Estate for 50 years… The right touch. IT IS SALES, of course you have to have the right touch, be sensitive, sincere, knowledgeable, and talented. Your point?

    Rob says, “Finally, since Jim’s point is specific to the real estate world’s concept of “sphere of influence”, we have to consider whether Twitter really is the right tool for expanding one’s SOI for a real estate agent. There are no geographical limiters on Twitter, nor are there groups. Hashtags might serve as a pseudo-geographical grouping, but that assumes a level of sophistication of knowledge of Twitter on the part of the users.”

    Rob, OF COURSE there are Geographical limiters on Twitter… simply go to Twitters search bar and type in the following near:Laguna Beach within:20miles Realtor This will instantly return a list of anyone that is tweeting within 20 mi of LB, and talking about Realtors. Pretty good start, yeah? In addition, just because someone follows you, doesnt mean you follow them back… A twitter strategy dictates that you keep your stream manageable and filled with people that you deem as possible prospects…

    Rob, the BLOG was not orginally intended as a place to market for real estate prospects…

  • Bob Wilson

    Rob, I think you pretty much nailed it. One thing I find interesting is that those whose target market is the agent/broker believe that their approach to twitter will work the same as the agent/broker approach. The problem is that while it is easy to crash the twitter party of an industry, the homebuying/selling community isn’t hanging out together on twitter.

    I have NO data to support my theory, but I’m guessing that if you analyzed the followers on twitter vs the friends on FB for the average agent, twitter would be a much higher percentage of industry types whereas FB would be a higher percentage of people more likely to be invited to the Holiday party or wedding.

    • http://www.SanDiegoLifestyle.info Jeffrey Douglass

      Bob, Good point and I am guessing you are probably right! I just don’t like Facebook.

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com/ Rob Hahn

    Jim –

    First, on the analogy of the BMW… if you gut the car, put new tires on it, and replace the gearbox… you’ve done significant modification to the underlying technology, right? Have you modified Twitter’s underlying tech in a similar way? No.

    So the real analogy is that you take your BMW and go off-roading with it. You can do it, but it ain’t all that efficient.

    Second, with respect to this:

    Rob, 140 characters has been enough to report a major earthquake in China before the Gov could deny it, create unrest during an election in Iran, report a Subway bombing in London, a jumbo jet crash into the Hudson and 100s of wedding proposals. CLEARLY, this limit is not too short to strike up a conversation with a friend of a friend, and move the conversation to a tweetup or a coffee shop for a cup of coffee…

    Okay, if your realtor is caught up in the midst of global events like a terrorist attack, then I suppose Twitter can be used to draw a lot of attention to him. Not sure how that applies to marketing strategy, but perhaps your point is that people should try to place themselves in the middle of major events.

    As for wedding proposals… doesn’t that sort of presume the existence of a prior relationship? Just sayin’

    Finally, I’m not real clear on this “strike up a conversation with a friend of a friend”. How exactly do you do this? Just @reply the friend of a friend and say… what? “Hi, I’m a friend of Jim’s and want to invite you to a tweetup”? Do you get Jim’s permission before you do that? Or do you willy-nilly blast away? It’s one thing for Jim to tell his friend about you; it’s another thing altogether for you to proactively reach out. So maybe you can detail just how this “striking up” works. Because if someone did that to me, I’d feel just a wee bit creeped out.

    Rob, going to Church, the elks club, the chamber of commerce, the local bridge club, the local watering hole, a friends party, or anywhere else and creating relationships that LEAD to Real Estate sales is how successful Realtors have been selling Real Estate for 50 years… The right touch. IT IS SALES, of course you have to have the right touch, be sensitive, sincere, knowledgeable, and talented. Your point?

    My point is that there’s a very different social context between church (Twitter) and the chamber of commerce (LinkedIn). My point is that “strategically” going to Church makes you a deceptive son of a bitch. It’s one thing to go to church because of your personal reasons, meet people (in real life, mind you), get to know them, and develop relationships that way. It’s another thing altogether to have a “strategy” for it. Most people at my church would regard such “strategic” churchgoers as slimy characters.

    Contra your point, my view is that successful realtors — indeed, successful salespeople in general — know to go to social situations and be social. They don’t “strategically” socialize; they just socialize, without hiding the fact that they sell real estate, or legal services, or gas turbine engines, or whatever. What a “Twitter Strategy” implies to me is going to a friend’s Christmas party, and talking only to people who might be moving to your town, or is ready to list a house. That’s borderline sociopathic behavior, and no realtor worth a damn would do such a thing in meatspace; why you think that’s okay to do in cyberspace is something that is unclear to me.

    And yes, that’s what having a “Twitter Strategy” means.

    Finally, do you regard “near:Laguna Beach” as being the same thing as Facebook’s geographic network settings? I don’t. And that goes to the heart of my point: marketing strategy takes the channel/medium into account. Twitter is ill-suited for marketing; it’s well-suited for relationship management. LinkedIn (despite your perception) was not originally intended to be a resume-posting service — that arose over time, as people ended up using it in that way. It’s original intent was to create a true social network for business, and it does that very very well. Blogs are well-suited for marketing, because its original intent was to let people share long-form diary entries about themselves with strangers. They are one of the best methods of branding ever developed; I think I can personally testify to that.

    That’s just in terms of platform. Do you want to address the reach issue too? .17% vs. 5.33%? Which of these platforms would a marketing strategist recommend using for marketing? After all, neither time nor resources is unlimited.

    -rsh

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com Rob Hahn

    Jim –

    First, on the analogy of the BMW… if you gut the car, put new tires on it, and replace the gearbox… you’ve done significant modification to the underlying technology, right? Have you modified Twitter’s underlying tech in a similar way? No.

    So the real analogy is that you take your BMW and go off-roading with it. You can do it, but it ain’t all that efficient.

    Second, with respect to this:

    Rob, 140 characters has been enough to report a major earthquake in China before the Gov could deny it, create unrest during an election in Iran, report a Subway bombing in London, a jumbo jet crash into the Hudson and 100s of wedding proposals. CLEARLY, this limit is not too short to strike up a conversation with a friend of a friend, and move the conversation to a tweetup or a coffee shop for a cup of coffee…

    Okay, if your realtor is caught up in the midst of global events like a terrorist attack, then I suppose Twitter can be used to draw a lot of attention to him. Not sure how that applies to marketing strategy, but perhaps your point is that people should try to place themselves in the middle of major events.

    As for wedding proposals… doesn’t that sort of presume the existence of a prior relationship? Just sayin’

    Finally, I’m not real clear on this “strike up a conversation with a friend of a friend”. How exactly do you do this? Just @reply the friend of a friend and say… what? “Hi, I’m a friend of Jim’s and want to invite you to a tweetup”? Do you get Jim’s permission before you do that? Or do you willy-nilly blast away? It’s one thing for Jim to tell his friend about you; it’s another thing altogether for you to proactively reach out. So maybe you can detail just how this “striking up” works. Because if someone did that to me, I’d feel just a wee bit creeped out.

    Rob, going to Church, the elks club, the chamber of commerce, the local bridge club, the local watering hole, a friends party, or anywhere else and creating relationships that LEAD to Real Estate sales is how successful Realtors have been selling Real Estate for 50 years… The right touch. IT IS SALES, of course you have to have the right touch, be sensitive, sincere, knowledgeable, and talented. Your point?

    My point is that there’s a very different social context between church (Twitter) and the chamber of commerce (LinkedIn). My point is that “strategically” going to Church makes you a deceptive son of a bitch. It’s one thing to go to church because of your personal reasons, meet people (in real life, mind you), get to know them, and develop relationships that way. It’s another thing altogether to have a “strategy” for it. Most people at my church would regard such “strategic” churchgoers as slimy characters.

    Contra your point, my view is that successful realtors — indeed, successful salespeople in general — know to go to social situations and be social. They don’t “strategically” socialize; they just socialize, without hiding the fact that they sell real estate, or legal services, or gas turbine engines, or whatever. What a “Twitter Strategy” implies to me is going to a friend’s Christmas party, and talking only to people who might be moving to your town, or is ready to list a house. That’s borderline sociopathic behavior, and no realtor worth a damn would do such a thing in meatspace; why you think that’s okay to do in cyberspace is something that is unclear to me.

    And yes, that’s what having a “Twitter Strategy” means.

    Finally, do you regard “near:Laguna Beach” as being the same thing as Facebook’s geographic network settings? I don’t. And that goes to the heart of my point: marketing strategy takes the channel/medium into account. Twitter is ill-suited for marketing; it’s well-suited for relationship management. LinkedIn (despite your perception) was not originally intended to be a resume-posting service — that arose over time, as people ended up using it in that way. It’s original intent was to create a true social network for business, and it does that very very well. Blogs are well-suited for marketing, because its original intent was to let people share long-form diary entries about themselves with strangers. They are one of the best methods of branding ever developed; I think I can personally testify to that.

    That’s just in terms of platform. Do you want to address the reach issue too? .17% vs. 5.33%? Which of these platforms would a marketing strategist recommend using for marketing? After all, neither time nor resources is unlimited.

    -rsh

  • ADD

    Great post, but entirely way too long!

  • ADD

    Great post, but entirely way too long!

  • Marc

    @ Jim Marks. There are 4 things life you should never do. They are:
    Don’t tug on superman’s cape
    Don’t spit into the wind
    Don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
    Don’t argue in public with Rob Hahn.

    As you pointed out, there are some holes in Rob’s argument (some theoretical, some personal) but on the whole I don’t think you succeeded in drawing out what they were.

    @Rob – You presented a wonderfully, artfully and obviously lengthy explanation of social media which I have now read several times (thanks to air travel) to fully absorb. I think your post requires and deserves that amount of time actually, which if readers would wisely invest in, they would catch all the nuances of your deliberation and get your gist if for no other reason that to save themselves from the considerable time required to compose arguments which you flawless refute.

    The only area in this dialogue I would ask you to consider is how little it might matter what vision or purpose the creators of Twitter, Facebook, et al had when they created their networks. Does not the inherent nature of a social network lends itself to morphing beyond the specific nature its creators by the sheer reality that this is what happens when people get involved? Granted, some uses of it might be inefficient, inaccurate or whatever, but the fact is these networks are bound to change and or become whatever its decide by how they use it.

    The Internet, from its inception, was never built to handle e-commerce or social networking, which explains in a nutshell why it has such serious security issues. But look at what it’s become now.

    So maybe it matters less what the underlying platform was meant to do or what each social networks original intent was. Maybe, social media is like a potato. God may have created it to be one thing but look at all the things people turned it into.

    Last year Charlie Rose interviewed Evan Williams. If anyone can acquire the entire segment, there are interesting sound bytes regarding SM and Twitter that might shed a light on it’s origins, its present and potential future.

    In any regard, I am not debating or disagreeing with Rob.
    :)

  • Marc

    @ Jim Marks. There are 4 things life you should never do. They are:
    Don’t tug on superman’s cape
    Don’t spit into the wind
    Don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
    Don’t argue in public with Rob Hahn.

    As you pointed out, there are some holes in Rob’s argument (some theoretical, some personal) but on the whole I don’t think you succeeded in drawing out what they were.

    @Rob – You presented a wonderfully, artfully and obviously lengthy explanation of social media which I have now read several times (thanks to air travel) to fully absorb. I think your post requires and deserves that amount of time actually, which if readers would wisely invest in, they would catch all the nuances of your deliberation and get your gist if for no other reason that to save themselves from the considerable time required to compose arguments which you flawless refute.

    The only area in this dialogue I would ask you to consider is how little it might matter what vision or purpose the creators of Twitter, Facebook, et al had when they created their networks. Does not the inherent nature of a social network lends itself to morphing beyond the specific nature its creators by the sheer reality that this is what happens when people get involved? Granted, some uses of it might be inefficient, inaccurate or whatever, but the fact is these networks are bound to change and or become whatever its decide by how they use it.

    The Internet, from its inception, was never built to handle e-commerce or social networking, which explains in a nutshell why it has such serious security issues. But look at what it’s become now.

    So maybe it matters less what the underlying platform was meant to do or what each social networks original intent was. Maybe, social media is like a potato. God may have created it to be one thing but look at all the things people turned it into.

    Last year Charlie Rose interviewed Evan Williams. If anyone can acquire the entire segment, there are interesting sound bytes regarding SM and Twitter that might shed a light on it’s origins, its present and potential future.

    In any regard, I am not debating or disagreeing with Rob.
    :)

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    Marc,

    Arguing with Rob Hahn makes me think, and this makes me better. Arguing with Rob Hahn in public, makes everyone who reads Robs’ blog (and that should be everyone..) think, and makes them better as well.

    Marc says “As you pointed out, there are some holes in Rob’s argument (some theoretical, some personal) but on the whole I don’t think you succeeded in drawing out what they were.” and then “The only area in this dialogue I would ask you to consider is how little it might matter what vision or purpose the creators of Twitter, Facebook, et al had when they created their networks.”

    I said, “This is because I simply dont need to. I am not concerned what purpose the creators of Twitter had in mind for the platform, nor the social context YOU feel applies to it…”

    Very similar arguments, don’t you think?

    I argue with Rob because we come from such different places. Rob waxes philosophical.. I live in the trenches.

    Rob draws conclusion based on deductive reasoning (and rethinking) Hypothesis… I state my experience based on my coaching clients, who currently use my STRATEGY and are making making money (translate: SELLING HOUSES) doing so…

    So, where I LOVE reading Robs conjecture, I am unavoidably drawn to fact. Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses…

    Creepy, huh.

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    Marc,

    Arguing with Rob Hahn makes me think, and this makes me better. Arguing with Rob Hahn in public, makes everyone who reads Robs’ blog (and that should be everyone..) think, and makes them better as well.

    Marc says “As you pointed out, there are some holes in Rob’s argument (some theoretical, some personal) but on the whole I don’t think you succeeded in drawing out what they were.” and then “The only area in this dialogue I would ask you to consider is how little it might matter what vision or purpose the creators of Twitter, Facebook, et al had when they created their networks.”

    I said, “This is because I simply dont need to. I am not concerned what purpose the creators of Twitter had in mind for the platform, nor the social context YOU feel applies to it…”

    Very similar arguments, don’t you think?

    I argue with Rob because we come from such different places. Rob waxes philosophical.. I live in the trenches.

    Rob draws conclusion based on deductive reasoning (and rethinking) Hypothesis… I state my experience based on my coaching clients, who currently use my STRATEGY and are making making money (translate: SELLING HOUSES) doing so…

    So, where I LOVE reading Robs conjecture, I am unavoidably drawn to fact. Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses…

    Creepy, huh.

  • http://garronselliken.com/ Garron Selliken

    If you have a group of people you know (your sphere) that actively use twitter and facebook they are spectacular tools to communicate and develop relationships and expand your sphere. If you have an overall strategy to meet people and build relationships simply leverage the power of social networks to communicate a more robust view of who you are as a person.

    These are simply tools within a strategy.

    I don’t get why it needs to be so complicated?!

    • http://www.honeybeeconsulting.com startabuzz

      Thank you, Garron. It doesn’t. It isn’t. Twitter, nay, Social Media on the whole, isn’t the ballgame. It’s just one pitch. Thank you.

  • http://garronselliken.com Garron Selliken

    If you have a group of people you know (your sphere) that actively use twitter and facebook they are spectacular tools to communicate and develop relationships and expand your sphere. If you have an overall strategy to meet people and build relationships simply leverage the power of social networks to communicate a more robust view of who you are as a person.

    These are simply tools within a strategy.

    I don’t get why it needs to be so complicated?!

    • http://www.honeybeeconsulting.com Melissa DelGaudio

      Thank you, Garron. It doesn’t. It isn’t. Twitter, nay, Social Media on the whole, isn’t the ballgame. It’s just one pitch. Thank you.

  • Marc

    @ Jim. Similar arguments yes. My hope was to contribute a stable support to your argument.

    I do however, feel that a generalized statement of fact that “Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses” is grandiose.

    I may be wrong here but by what I’ve seen and measured, it appears that the top producers of sales in real estate spend considerably less time on social networking as opposed to top producers of posts, pokes and tweets who appear to spend less time on transactions.

    In fact, by virtue of what I have been told by throngs of agents who regularly attend events that I am asked to speak at, most have not been able to manufacture what you consider fact. Furthermore, there appears to be a direct correlation between those who spend an inordinate amount of time blogging on Active Rain, Twittering and Facebooking and low sales

    Anecdotal evidence has even led me to consider creating a Connect panel for SF next year titled: How to Twitter Yourself Right out of business.

    So while it has become fashionable for many “experts” to lay claim to “fact” regarding social media, personally, I find myself more drawn to Rob’s conjecture and poetic waxing regarding social media that the stamp of fact many place on this stuff.

    i will not dispute the fact that you or I may know an agent or two that has sold a few homes or created a few new clients from Twitter. But for the most part, I view that as an anomaly rather than fact and caution every agent to consider the specific skills and stamina it takes to actually work Twitter to establish the kind of credibility that creates customers.

  • Marc

    @ Jim. Similar arguments yes. My hope was to contribute a stable support to your argument.

    I do however, feel that a generalized statement of fact that “Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses” is grandiose.

    I may be wrong here but by what I’ve seen and measured, it appears that the top producers of sales in real estate spend considerably less time on social networking as opposed to top producers of posts, pokes and tweets who appear to spend less time on transactions.

    In fact, by virtue of what I have been told by throngs of agents who regularly attend events that I am asked to speak at, most have not been able to manufacture what you consider fact. Furthermore, there appears to be a direct correlation between those who spend an inordinate amount of time blogging on Active Rain, Twittering and Facebooking and low sales

    Anecdotal evidence has even led me to consider creating a Connect panel for SF next year titled: How to Twitter Yourself Right out of business.

    So while it has become fashionable for many “experts” to lay claim to “fact” regarding social media, personally, I find myself more drawn to Rob’s conjecture and poetic waxing regarding social media that the stamp of fact many place on this stuff.

    i will not dispute the fact that you or I may know an agent or two that has sold a few homes or created a few new clients from Twitter. But for the most part, I view that as an anomaly rather than fact and caution every agent to consider the specific skills and stamina it takes to actually work Twitter to establish the kind of credibility that creates customers.

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    Marc,

    This type of argument always serves as a grain of sand in my shoe.. I want to let it go, but just cant…

    It’s this, that gets me…

    Marc says “Furthermore, there appears to be a direct correlation between those who spend an inordinate amount of time blogging on Active Rain, Twittering and Facebooking and low sales..”

    This statement IS true. However, the evidence leads only to correlation (as you stated) and not causation..

    I could just as easily state.. There is a definitive correlation between Realtors who have a website and Realtors whose website is failing in providing leads. I can say this, because as i assume you will agree, MOST agents have websites, and MOST agents are failing with their on-line marketing ROI…

    Does this correlation between Realtors websites and failure prove causation? Of course not. The causation is between POOR websites and Realtors failing on-line.

    In a meeting just yesterday, I told the CEO of a large national brokerage, this…

    “In my humble opinion, approximately 80% of all Realtors websites are failing them. Two years from now, my educated guess is that 80% or more of Realtors social media efforts will fail them as well.. We appear to be headed down the same path…”

    And what is this path? It is the path of poorly conceived, executed and analyzed strategy. It is the belief that Internet marketing does not require a plan, diligence and work.

    Whether or not we are speaking of SM, Web or Print for that matter, of COURSE you can find throngs of agents doing it poorly and failing… this is not the quest. The quest is to find agents who are EFFICIENTLY and EFFECTIVELY making it work…

    (cause it does…)

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    Marc,

    This type of argument always serves as a grain of sand in my shoe.. I want to let it go, but just cant…

    It’s this, that gets me…

    Marc says “Furthermore, there appears to be a direct correlation between those who spend an inordinate amount of time blogging on Active Rain, Twittering and Facebooking and low sales..”

    This statement IS true. However, the evidence leads only to correlation (as you stated) and not causation..

    I could just as easily state.. There is a definitive correlation between Realtors who have a website and Realtors whose website is failing in providing leads. I can say this, because as i assume you will agree, MOST agents have websites, and MOST agents are failing with their on-line marketing ROI…

    Does this correlation between Realtors websites and failure prove causation? Of course not. The causation is between POOR websites and Realtors failing on-line.

    In a meeting just yesterday, I told the CEO of a large national brokerage, this…

    “In my humble opinion, approximately 80% of all Realtors websites are failing them. Two years from now, my educated guess is that 80% or more of Realtors social media efforts will fail them as well.. We appear to be headed down the same path…”

    And what is this path? It is the path of poorly conceived, executed and analyzed strategy. It is the belief that Internet marketing does not require a plan, diligence and work.

    Whether or not we are speaking of SM, Web or Print for that matter, of COURSE you can find throngs of agents doing it poorly and failing… this is not the quest. The quest is to find agents who are EFFICIENTLY and EFFECTIVELY making it work…

    (cause it does…)

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    Garron,

    I agree 100%. It actually is that simple. (but to be efficient and diligent, you should track your efforts and measure your SOI..) It is a pretty straight forward strategy, but a strategy nonetheless…

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    Garron,

    I agree 100%. It actually is that simple. (but to be efficient and diligent, you should track your efforts and measure your SOI..) It is a pretty straight forward strategy, but a strategy nonetheless…

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com/ Rob Hahn

    @Marc –

    You’re absolutely on the money that technology evolves, especially once it comes into contact with people. Hush Puppies were adopted by hipsters in an expression of irony; Tommy Hilfiger became an “urban brand” despite the vision of its creator. So to the extent that users of Twitter will use it however they want, it will morph and change.

    Having said that, I still think when it comes to technology, the initial vision/intent/purpose matters to the extent that they impact the base functionality. Those things are hard to change, and those limitations are difficult to overcome.

    So when I say that Twitter is a poor marketing tool, it’s because of those limitations rooted in the original vision. Could that vision change? Sure. Could some new technology — e.g., clients or software leveraging the Twitter API? — change the environment? Sure. But as it is today, Twitter makes for a rather poor _marketing_ channel.

    I respect Jim’s opinion (and he is a dear friend) rooted as it is in “real world”. Trouble with relying on “real world” evidence, sadly, is that anecdote is not the plural of evidence. Jim and I have had this debate about measuring ROI or lift over control of social media usage vs. alternatives; there is, as yet, no data available one way or the other.

    Garron is absolutely correct — and that’s basically what I said in the Inman article. Twitter is a fantastic relationship tool. People ask me why I twitter, and the only real response I have is… get five of your friends on it, and you’ll see. But it presumes an existing relationship.

    -rsh

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com Rob Hahn

    @Marc –

    You’re absolutely on the money that technology evolves, especially once it comes into contact with people. Hush Puppies were adopted by hipsters in an expression of irony; Tommy Hilfiger became an “urban brand” despite the vision of its creator. So to the extent that users of Twitter will use it however they want, it will morph and change.

    Having said that, I still think when it comes to technology, the initial vision/intent/purpose matters to the extent that they impact the base functionality. Those things are hard to change, and those limitations are difficult to overcome.

    So when I say that Twitter is a poor marketing tool, it’s because of those limitations rooted in the original vision. Could that vision change? Sure. Could some new technology — e.g., clients or software leveraging the Twitter API? — change the environment? Sure. But as it is today, Twitter makes for a rather poor _marketing_ channel.

    I respect Jim’s opinion (and he is a dear friend) rooted as it is in “real world”. Trouble with relying on “real world” evidence, sadly, is that anecdote is not the plural of evidence. Jim and I have had this debate about measuring ROI or lift over control of social media usage vs. alternatives; there is, as yet, no data available one way or the other.

    Garron is absolutely correct — and that’s basically what I said in the Inman article. Twitter is a fantastic relationship tool. People ask me why I twitter, and the only real response I have is… get five of your friends on it, and you’ll see. But it presumes an existing relationship.

    -rsh

  • Marc

    @Rob. Agreed. Based on your response and example I think I’m there with you in thought.

    It’s no coincidence that that I too share a friendship with Jim marked by disputes over specific web based sensibilities. The difficulty I have in relying on “trench based facts” is indeed the evidence and the specific trenches/anecdotes from which they are derived.

    Nevertheless, I have profound respect for the passion behind the sensibilities. There are as many paths toward the light as there are rays that extend out from it. Each, equally as bright.

    As long as I am here I might as well end with a high five to Garron to simply put it all into a cohesive context.

    Good stuff gents.

  • Marc

    @Rob. Agreed. Based on your response and example I think I’m there with you in thought.

    It’s no coincidence that that I too share a friendship with Jim marked by disputes over specific web based sensibilities. The difficulty I have in relying on “trench based facts” is indeed the evidence and the specific trenches/anecdotes from which they are derived.

    Nevertheless, I have profound respect for the passion behind the sensibilities. There are as many paths toward the light as there are rays that extend out from it. Each, equally as bright.

    As long as I am here I might as well end with a high five to Garron to simply put it all into a cohesive context.

    Good stuff gents.

  • http://garronselliken.com/ Garron Selliken

    Twitter is very interesting. One of the “Mega” producers I know asked me how many transactions I could attribute directly to twitter. The question strikes me as odd. To me its like asking how many transactions I can directly attribute to my phone. It is one of the ways I communicate with people I know. but with the additional connections of a public conversation.

    @Marc – I also believe strongly in tracking performance of any endeavor including a SOI plan.

    We are focused on all of this with our agents @ M. It is a very deep subject and there are pieces of the whole that will be difficult to measure directly. Such as the effects of twitter incrementally improving relationships.

  • http://garronselliken.com Garron Selliken

    Twitter is very interesting. One of the “Mega” producers I know asked me how many transactions I could attribute directly to twitter. The question strikes me as odd. To me its like asking how many transactions I can directly attribute to my phone. It is one of the ways I communicate with people I know. but with the additional connections of a public conversation.

    @Marc – I also believe strongly in tracking performance of any endeavor including a SOI plan.

    We are focused on all of this with our agents @ M. It is a very deep subject and there are pieces of the whole that will be difficult to measure directly. Such as the effects of twitter incrementally improving relationships.

  • Marc

    @Garron – what you provided here is precisely right and explains why I challenged Jim and anyone else who suggests that “Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses”.

    That’s a bold statement that I think oversells the value of Twitter.

    Given my own reputation, experience and exposure to the real estate via Twitter, I cannot attribute a single sale of services to client to my Twitter efforts. Then again, our Twitter strategy, if you can call it that is to give away ideas and brand my firm. But I’m fine with that because I don’t think of Twitter as sales tool anyway. It’s merely to use to communicate with people.

    As Rob cleverly pointed out, a blog on the hand is the platform of chocie for client acquisition.

    For Twitter to accomplish that in which Jim suggests, an agent would have be a Twitter monster. I know there are some out there (I now have an agent in Austin who I signed a buyers agreement with that I met on Twitter). But I am feeling pretty confident that she is part of minuscule minority whose numbers don’t justify that statement as an educational fact.

  • Marc

    @Garron – what you provided here is precisely right and explains why I challenged Jim and anyone else who suggests that “Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses”.

    That’s a bold statement that I think oversells the value of Twitter.

    Given my own reputation, experience and exposure to the real estate via Twitter, I cannot attribute a single sale of services to client to my Twitter efforts. Then again, our Twitter strategy, if you can call it that is to give away ideas and brand my firm. But I’m fine with that because I don’t think of Twitter as sales tool anyway. It’s merely to use to communicate with people.

    As Rob cleverly pointed out, a blog on the hand is the platform of chocie for client acquisition.

    For Twitter to accomplish that in which Jim suggests, an agent would have be a Twitter monster. I know there are some out there (I now have an agent in Austin who I signed a buyers agreement with that I met on Twitter). But I am feeling pretty confident that she is part of minuscule minority whose numbers don’t justify that statement as an educational fact.

  • http://garronselliken.com/ Garron Selliken

    @ Marc exactly

    I found this comment thread from a tweet that caught my eye and recognized Rob who I met and had great time with @ icsf. The thread is a subject I have thought deeply about and feel like I have something genuine to contribute to this conversation.

    What is the value of this conversation? What was the value of twitter in this case? Tough to measure but clearly it has become essential to me and my ability to communicate with the people that contribute to our success.

    It feels like this is about making connections that create opportunity.

  • http://garronselliken.com Garron Selliken

    @ Marc exactly

    I found this comment thread from a tweet that caught my eye and recognized Rob who I met and had great time with @ icsf. The thread is a subject I have thought deeply about and feel like I have something genuine to contribute to this conversation.

    What is the value of this conversation? What was the value of twitter in this case? Tough to measure but clearly it has become essential to me and my ability to communicate with the people that contribute to our success.

    It feels like this is about making connections that create opportunity.

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    @Marc et al,

    Although I understand that me, being part of this conversation, is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight, but nonetheless, I know…what I know…

    Marc, you stated “@Garron – what you provided here is precisely right and explains why I challenged Jim and anyone else who suggests that “Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses”.

    Let me state my experience as an assumption..

    Assume I am an agent who has a business plan, (a reach, I know) and I track things like lead source, click in, click through, conversion, etc. Lets further assume that I have done exercises that list and acknowledge those in my SOI. Now lets assume that 30% of those are on twitter, and I engage them. Lets go one giant step further to assume that I also create conversation that appeals to my friends of followers and find social objects to converse about that creates common bonds with my spheres, sphere. Last leap… lets further assume that these new friends, whom I met on twitter EXCLUSIVELY enter the housing market and choose ME as their agent. (and this happens over and over and over…) would it then, respectifully be safe to say, that Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses..

    And this “example” does not consider those who come to posterous, or my blog FROM my tweets, and subscribe, use my idx, or directly convert…

    Guys, you all know me. I run filtered analytics on my breakfast cereal. I am not making this stuff up..really. I don’t know how else to articulate real world results to Yale grads… without a chalkboard. :-)

    Marc, my clients are the OPPOSITE of twitter monsters. I profess that following more tweets than you can maintain a meaningful conversation with in 30 minutes a day, is counterproductive. Twitter, used for business, is about quality, not quantity. It is abso

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    @Marc et al,

    Although I understand that me, being part of this conversation, is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight, but nonetheless, I know…what I know…

    Marc, you stated “@Garron – what you provided here is precisely right and explains why I challenged Jim and anyone else who suggests that “Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses”.

    Let me state my experience as an assumption..

    Assume I am an agent who has a business plan, (a reach, I know) and I track things like lead source, click in, click through, conversion, etc. Lets further assume that I have done exercises that list and acknowledge those in my SOI. Now lets assume that 30% of those are on twitter, and I engage them. Lets go one giant step further to assume that I also create conversation that appeals to my friends of followers and find social objects to converse about that creates common bonds with my spheres, sphere. Last leap… lets further assume that these new friends, whom I met on twitter EXCLUSIVELY enter the housing market and choose ME as their agent. (and this happens over and over and over…) would it then, respectifully be safe to say, that Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses..

    And this “example” does not consider those who come to posterous, or my blog FROM my tweets, and subscribe, use my idx, or directly convert…

    Guys, you all know me. I run filtered analytics on my breakfast cereal. I am not making this stuff up..really. I don’t know how else to articulate real world results to Yale grads… without a chalkboard. :-)

    Marc, my clients are the OPPOSITE of twitter monsters. I profess that following more tweets than you can maintain a meaningful conversation with in 30 minutes a day, is counterproductive. Twitter, used for business, is about quality, not quantity. It is abso

  • Marc

    Now wait a second. Don’t confuse me with being a Yalie as I might be forced to smite thee with ye stand! I fly the orange and black my good man. Go Tigers!

    Like I said earlier, different trenches. The ones I traversed, the audiences I’ve engaged these past two years, have not rendered many agents who have had “over and over and over” success from Twitter as you have.

    I’m cynical so I tend to think that there are those who are overly enthusiastic about Twitter and social media and tend to assign more sales credit to these things than deserved.

    As one who is not new to social media and as one who not only uses it a primary tool for marketing and advertising, but the only tool, I remain reserved about it in a practical, sales, client acquisition sense. Oh I know it exists. But I think the reality is far less than the fantasy.

    Though I view analytics more as a footprint, rather than as empirical evidence meaning, analytic provides proof someone arrived somewhere but it does not explain why – I tend to not give as much weight to analytics as I would peering over the shoulder of user in a focus group and then asking them questions.

    Be that as it may, I am constantly being reminded how confusing this issue gets for agents and brokers who are exposed to absolutes when it comes to Twitter or any social media for that matter which is why I liked Rob’s explanation. To me, it’s grounded. Nevertheless, I have gobs of respect for you and retract any and all lingering insinuations that I doubt what you know.

    I think that is precisely what makes SM so interesting. It’s organic and open to so much interoperation.

  • Marc

    Now wait a second. Don’t confuse me with being a Yalie as I might be forced to smite thee with ye stand! I fly the orange and black my good man. Go Tigers!

    Like I said earlier, different trenches. The ones I traversed, the audiences I’ve engaged these past two years, have not rendered many agents who have had “over and over and over” success from Twitter as you have.

    I’m cynical so I tend to think that there are those who are overly enthusiastic about Twitter and social media and tend to assign more sales credit to these things than deserved.

    As one who is not new to social media and as one who not only uses it a primary tool for marketing and advertising, but the only tool, I remain reserved about it in a practical, sales, client acquisition sense. Oh I know it exists. But I think the reality is far less than the fantasy.

    Though I view analytics more as a footprint, rather than as empirical evidence meaning, analytic provides proof someone arrived somewhere but it does not explain why – I tend to not give as much weight to analytics as I would peering over the shoulder of user in a focus group and then asking them questions.

    Be that as it may, I am constantly being reminded how confusing this issue gets for agents and brokers who are exposed to absolutes when it comes to Twitter or any social media for that matter which is why I liked Rob’s explanation. To me, it’s grounded. Nevertheless, I have gobs of respect for you and retract any and all lingering insinuations that I doubt what you know.

    I think that is precisely what makes SM so interesting. It’s organic and open to so much interoperation.

  • http://www.honeybeeconsulting.com startabuzz

    I love it when Rob “gets down” verbally. Not getting involved in all of this pontification, but I am enjoying all of it most thoroughly. Thanks, guys!

  • http://www.honeybeeconsulting.com Melissa DelGaudio

    I love it when Rob “gets down” verbally. Not getting involved in all of this pontification, but I am enjoying all of it most thoroughly. Thanks, guys!

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com/ Rob Hahn

    Guys, you all know me. I run filtered analytics on my breakfast cereal. I am not making this stuff up..really. I don’t know how else to articulate real world results to Yale grads… without a chalkboard. :-)

    @Jim –

    Here’s a thought: publish the analytics. You know I’m always interested in real world results. Let’s see them.

    30% of the SOI are on Twitter? Really? I find that… unusual, seeing as how Twitter is still very much a niche thing (.17% of web traffic)

    “Create conversation that appeals to my friends of followers and find social objects to converse about that creates common bonds with my spheres, sphere.”

    This is far too generic for me. “Appeals to” and “creates common bonds” are weasel words when we’re talking about real world results. The specific issue with Twitter is this: your follower’s friend is NOT following YOU. Therefore, your Twitter/conversation strategy must somehow get them to follow you. How did you do that? What social objects worked, and which did not? Did an interruptive strategy, wherein you jump in between conversation between your SOI and his friend, work effectively in gaining followers? Or was it a referral from your SOI on something like #FollowFriday?

    If you’re talking real world, from-the-trenches results, then you don’t need to use genericized words. Use real cases, real situations, and show us (a) repetition and (b) duplication. Repetition ensures that this use of Twitter wasn’t a unique one-off event; duplication ensures that this use of Twitter wasn’t limited to one particular agent who has some unique quality (e.g., maybe she’s a supermodel who happens to sell houses) that other agents do not possess.

    “Last leap… lets further assume that these new friends, whom I met on twitter EXCLUSIVELY enter the housing market and choose ME as their agent. (and this happens over and over and over…) would it then, respectifully be safe to say, that Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses..”

    Why are we assuming anything when it comes to real world evidence from the trenches? Instead, publish the actual results.

    First, the size of base: SOI + “Expanded SOI Due Solely To Twitter”. For example, “Agent ABC had a SOI of 75 at start of campaign; as result of Twitter Strategy, she gained 35 SOI solely from Twitter.” Make sure to exclude those people Agent ABC met offline and then maintained via Twitter.

    Second, conversion rate of the latter group, including # of conversions, and the timeframe of conversion. For example, “Of the 35 SOI, 8 people contacted Agent ABC to retain her for real estate services within six months, for a conversion rate of 22.8%.”

    Third, $ value of each transaction, and the $ value in the aggregate. For example, “Those 8 transactions yielded the following revenues for Agent ABC: $11000, $9000, $25000, $7800, $10000, $4500, $13500, $6500. The total yield of the Twitter Strategy was $87,300, with the average value of the customer at $10,912.”

    Fourth, $ value of the “investment” that led to this result. If the Agent spent 20 hours a week on Twitter over a six month period (20 x 4 x 6 = 480 hours) to get these 8 transactions, maybe it’s not as interesting a result as if she spent 2 hours a week (48 hours). What was the fully loaded cost of agent/staff time to carry out this Twitter Strategy? If the Agent’s per-hour cost is $50, then spending 480 hours = $24,000. Yield of $87,300 on an investment of $24,000 is very nice indeed: ROI is 264% on that. If the per-hour cost is $250, then spending 480 hours yield a negative ROI of -27%. Of course, if the time-spent was only 2 hours a week, then ROI is indeed very nice. Let’s see some real numbers.

    Fifth, lift over control numbers. For marketing, especially ones requiring significant time, you have to consider alternative methods. If we use the numbers above, and Agent ABC is spending the equivalent of $24K on Twitter Strategy to get 8 transactions with an average value of $11K, you have to compare that to spending $24K on a postcard campaign. If postcard campaign yields 10 transactions… Twitter Strategy is not all that effective.

    More to the point for social media, if Agent ABC spends the same 20 hours a week on Facebook and yields 14 transactions, then recommending that she spend time on Twitter would be irresponsible. If, on the other hand, using Facebook only yields 3 transactions, then Twitter is the way to go.

    I understand your objection is grounded on the fact that I’m dwelling in the theoretical clouds above, while you’ve got real-world results from the trenches. I respect that, Jim, I do — but if you’re going to base your arguments on appeal to real world information, then I’m going to have to ask for some real world data.

    Final caveat: sample size. This is why “duplication” is so important.

    Because one set of real world data suggests that if I spend hours in the gym, spend hours on the driving range, and spend hours on the putting green, I can win 14 Majors and 71 PGA tournaments and earn $1B in winnings as one Tiger Woods did. But I think that would be misleading, no?

    -rsh

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com Rob Hahn

    Guys, you all know me. I run filtered analytics on my breakfast cereal. I am not making this stuff up..really. I don’t know how else to articulate real world results to Yale grads… without a chalkboard. :-)

    @Jim –

    Here’s a thought: publish the analytics. You know I’m always interested in real world results. Let’s see them.

    30% of the SOI are on Twitter? Really? I find that… unusual, seeing as how Twitter is still very much a niche thing (.17% of web traffic)

    “Create conversation that appeals to my friends of followers and find social objects to converse about that creates common bonds with my spheres, sphere.”

    This is far too generic for me. “Appeals to” and “creates common bonds” are weasel words when we’re talking about real world results. The specific issue with Twitter is this: your follower’s friend is NOT following YOU. Therefore, your Twitter/conversation strategy must somehow get them to follow you. How did you do that? What social objects worked, and which did not? Did an interruptive strategy, wherein you jump in between conversation between your SOI and his friend, work effectively in gaining followers? Or was it a referral from your SOI on something like #FollowFriday?

    If you’re talking real world, from-the-trenches results, then you don’t need to use genericized words. Use real cases, real situations, and show us (a) repetition and (b) duplication. Repetition ensures that this use of Twitter wasn’t a unique one-off event; duplication ensures that this use of Twitter wasn’t limited to one particular agent who has some unique quality (e.g., maybe she’s a supermodel who happens to sell houses) that other agents do not possess.

    “Last leap… lets further assume that these new friends, whom I met on twitter EXCLUSIVELY enter the housing market and choose ME as their agent. (and this happens over and over and over…) would it then, respectifully be safe to say, that Twitter strategy, properly executed, creates clients who buy and sell houses..”

    Why are we assuming anything when it comes to real world evidence from the trenches? Instead, publish the actual results.

    First, the size of base: SOI + “Expanded SOI Due Solely To Twitter”. For example, “Agent ABC had a SOI of 75 at start of campaign; as result of Twitter Strategy, she gained 35 SOI solely from Twitter.” Make sure to exclude those people Agent ABC met offline and then maintained via Twitter.

    Second, conversion rate of the latter group, including # of conversions, and the timeframe of conversion. For example, “Of the 35 SOI, 8 people contacted Agent ABC to retain her for real estate services within six months, for a conversion rate of 22.8%.”

    Third, $ value of each transaction, and the $ value in the aggregate. For example, “Those 8 transactions yielded the following revenues for Agent ABC: $11000, $9000, $25000, $7800, $10000, $4500, $13500, $6500. The total yield of the Twitter Strategy was $87,300, with the average value of the customer at $10,912.”

    Fourth, $ value of the “investment” that led to this result. If the Agent spent 20 hours a week on Twitter over a six month period (20 x 4 x 6 = 480 hours) to get these 8 transactions, maybe it’s not as interesting a result as if she spent 2 hours a week (48 hours). What was the fully loaded cost of agent/staff time to carry out this Twitter Strategy? If the Agent’s per-hour cost is $50, then spending 480 hours = $24,000. Yield of $87,300 on an investment of $24,000 is very nice indeed: ROI is 264% on that. If the per-hour cost is $250, then spending 480 hours yield a negative ROI of -27%. Of course, if the time-spent was only 2 hours a week, then ROI is indeed very nice. Let’s see some real numbers.

    Fifth, lift over control numbers. For marketing, especially ones requiring significant time, you have to consider alternative methods. If we use the numbers above, and Agent ABC is spending the equivalent of $24K on Twitter Strategy to get 8 transactions with an average value of $11K, you have to compare that to spending $24K on a postcard campaign. If postcard campaign yields 10 transactions… Twitter Strategy is not all that effective.

    More to the point for social media, if Agent ABC spends the same 20 hours a week on Facebook and yields 14 transactions, then recommending that she spend time on Twitter would be irresponsible. If, on the other hand, using Facebook only yields 3 transactions, then Twitter is the way to go.

    I understand your objection is grounded on the fact that I’m dwelling in the theoretical clouds above, while you’ve got real-world results from the trenches. I respect that, Jim, I do — but if you’re going to base your arguments on appeal to real world information, then I’m going to have to ask for some real world data.

    Final caveat: sample size. This is why “duplication” is so important.

    Because one set of real world data suggests that if I spend hours in the gym, spend hours on the driving range, and spend hours on the putting green, I can win 14 Majors and 71 PGA tournaments and earn $1B in winnings as one Tiger Woods did. But I think that would be misleading, no?

    -rsh

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    @rob,

    Thanks for the lesson in analytics.. whodathunk?

    I think your request is both fair and reasonable.

    I will carve out some time to write a white paper on this. Of course, I will publish the results at your esteemed blog. Perhaps my analysis will be the point of our discussion at REBCSD. That would be fun.

    I want to go on record as saying, no where in any of this conversation did I state that Twitter was either the best strategy, or even the best ROI. I did in fact state that my advice is to use Twitter in small amounts, perhaps 30 minutes a day or less…

    I think Twitter shows promise and is an important tool in an ARSENAL of SM tools. I DO NOT think you can use Twitter effectively as a stand alone product. The Twitter strategy I coach simply uses Twitter as a way to drive conversations to a better conversion platform, and as much as I know I will take heat for not being 100% transparent, here… that is as much as I am going to say..

    I will however, put some data together. This will take a bit of time. Analytics created for internal use allow some assumption based on real world experience, conversation with the participants and history of prior studies. I understand that analytics provided to the public at large (something, admittedly I have never done) does not…

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    @rob,

    Thanks for the lesson in analytics.. whodathunk?

    I think your request is both fair and reasonable.

    I will carve out some time to write a white paper on this. Of course, I will publish the results at your esteemed blog. Perhaps my analysis will be the point of our discussion at REBCSD. That would be fun.

    I want to go on record as saying, no where in any of this conversation did I state that Twitter was either the best strategy, or even the best ROI. I did in fact state that my advice is to use Twitter in small amounts, perhaps 30 minutes a day or less…

    I think Twitter shows promise and is an important tool in an ARSENAL of SM tools. I DO NOT think you can use Twitter effectively as a stand alone product. The Twitter strategy I coach simply uses Twitter as a way to drive conversations to a better conversion platform, and as much as I know I will take heat for not being 100% transparent, here… that is as much as I am going to say..

    I will however, put some data together. This will take a bit of time. Analytics created for internal use allow some assumption based on real world experience, conversation with the participants and history of prior studies. I understand that analytics provided to the public at large (something, admittedly I have never done) does not…

  • http://www.SanDiegoLifestyle.info/ Jeffrey Douglass

    “Although I understand that me, being part of this conversation, is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight” – @jimmarks

    Jim, I feel like I have box of light colored dull crayons and a 1×1 inch post-a-note to bring to this battle!

    “There are as many paths toward the light as there are rays that extend out from it. Each, equally as bright.” by @1000wattmarc

    Marc, I could read your stuff all day, it is beautifully written.

    “What I have said is that I treat Twitter like a toy, and have no Twitter strategy, as I view Twitter as a relationship tool rather than as a marketing tool.” – Rob Haun

    Rob, you have made me completely re-think my Twitter use.

    @jimmarks – May the force by with you dude! Carry on, but I am pulling my Chihuahua out of this dog fight and let the big dogs runs – watching and learning from the sideline on this one!

  • http://www.SanDiegoLifestyle.info Jeffrey Douglass

    “Although I understand that me, being part of this conversation, is the equivalent of bringing a knife to a gun fight” – @jimmarks

    Jim, I feel like I have box of light colored dull crayons and a 1×1 inch post-a-note to bring to this battle!

    “There are as many paths toward the light as there are rays that extend out from it. Each, equally as bright.” by @1000wattmarc

    Marc, I could read your stuff all day, it is beautifully written.

    “What I have said is that I treat Twitter like a toy, and have no Twitter strategy, as I view Twitter as a relationship tool rather than as a marketing tool.” – Rob Haun

    Rob, you have made me completely re-think my Twitter use.

    @jimmarks – May the force by with you dude! Carry on, but I am pulling my Chihuahua out of this dog fight and let the big dogs runs – watching and learning from the sideline on this one!

  • http://garronselliken.com/ Garron Selliken

    Rob – your point about Tiger is very interesting.

    A plan that can be successfully implemented by an agent often is heavily dependent on the agents strengths. Tools that facilitate communication are not the communication, and hours on a tool is likely a minor factor compared to the “skill” of the communicator.

    To evaluate the merit of a program:

    1, Define the theory, key activity sets and metrics to track
    2, Identify cases of successful implementation
    3, Identify cases of failed implementation
    4, Distill out common characteristics of success and failure
    5, Refine programs best practice
    6, Determine Scalability
    7, Determine viability vs. competition

    Looks like Jim may have established a v 1.0 of the first point and everyone is looking for validation of point two. I think it would be a little unfair to be demanding 3-7 at this point.

    To have a real impact on the industry as a whole a program must be successfully adoptable by a significant portion of the population or be hugely successful for a significant minority.

    It is very exciting to see so many smart people thinking and working on this. Three of my favorite books of all time are by Malcolm Gladwell Tipping Point, Blink and outliers. I keep thinking of all three in this thread.

    Blink explores how when people work on something to the level of very high experise, they can sometimes get at truths but not quite understand and/or articulate how.

    Outliers really hit the point that mastering anything at world class level requires at least 10,000 hours of effort. Some people naturally make connections and have reinforced this tendency for thousands of hours. Some people have been using social media and technology to communicate for thousands of hours. Some people have years of sales training and Thousands of hours of focused practice.

    I think the winners in this will be the agents, coaches & brokerages that can build and help facilitate implementable programs AND “hire” agents that meet/exceed a minimum level of whatever qualities are required for successful implementation. I think there will be some art here not only science.

    Jim – How well defined is your program, how many agents have been using it, for how long, what is working, and what are the qualities you see as required for success? I would love to discuss this with you. I have 15 agents at M. We do not have a large enough sample for scientific study nor do we have all variables identified and trackable. Would love to share.

    Plus I want hot laps in the Porsche;)

  • http://garronselliken.com Garron Selliken

    Rob – your point about Tiger is very interesting.

    A plan that can be successfully implemented by an agent often is heavily dependent on the agents strengths. Tools that facilitate communication are not the communication, and hours on a tool is likely a minor factor compared to the “skill” of the communicator.

    To evaluate the merit of a program:

    1, Define the theory, key activity sets and metrics to track
    2, Identify cases of successful implementation
    3, Identify cases of failed implementation
    4, Distill out common characteristics of success and failure
    5, Refine programs best practice
    6, Determine Scalability
    7, Determine viability vs. competition

    Looks like Jim may have established a v 1.0 of the first point and everyone is looking for validation of point two. I think it would be a little unfair to be demanding 3-7 at this point.

    To have a real impact on the industry as a whole a program must be successfully adoptable by a significant portion of the population or be hugely successful for a significant minority.

    It is very exciting to see so many smart people thinking and working on this. Three of my favorite books of all time are by Malcolm Gladwell Tipping Point, Blink and outliers. I keep thinking of all three in this thread.

    Blink explores how when people work on something to the level of very high experise, they can sometimes get at truths but not quite understand and/or articulate how.

    Outliers really hit the point that mastering anything at world class level requires at least 10,000 hours of effort. Some people naturally make connections and have reinforced this tendency for thousands of hours. Some people have been using social media and technology to communicate for thousands of hours. Some people have years of sales training and Thousands of hours of focused practice.

    I think the winners in this will be the agents, coaches & brokerages that can build and help facilitate implementable programs AND “hire” agents that meet/exceed a minimum level of whatever qualities are required for successful implementation. I think there will be some art here not only science.

    Jim – How well defined is your program, how many agents have been using it, for how long, what is working, and what are the qualities you see as required for success? I would love to discuss this with you. I have 15 agents at M. We do not have a large enough sample for scientific study nor do we have all variables identified and trackable. Would love to share.

    Plus I want hot laps in the Porsche;)

  • Bob Wilson

    I have a big problem with statistics expressed as percentages. It doesn’t mean much without knowing the size of the sample.

    Also, I believe that Jim has stated in the past that SOI accounts for a large percentage of agent business. That isn’t true with the majority of the mega producers.

    Rather than hear “trust me it works”, I want to see proof. I know how much business can be generated from a properly executed online marketing strategy using either ppc or organic traffic. I can provide multiple examples. Someone please show me real results with Twitter and Facebook.

  • Bob Wilson

    I have a big problem with statistics expressed as percentages. It doesn’t mean much without knowing the size of the sample.

    Also, I believe that Jim has stated in the past that SOI accounts for a large percentage of agent business. That isn’t true with the majority of the mega producers.

    Rather than hear “trust me it works”, I want to see proof. I know how much business can be generated from a properly executed online marketing strategy using either ppc or organic traffic. I can provide multiple examples. Someone please show me real results with Twitter and Facebook.

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    Garron,

    I agree entirely with your post and have to admit that my SM analytics pale in comparison to my Web analytics in all aspects. The amount of data is certainly not significant enough to publish and if I wasn’t closely involved with the agents using SM on a daily basis, and seeing cause and effect, I am not certain the numbers would be convincing as a stand alone study. I will certainly continue on with the hope of producing number 3-7.

    IMHO, there is a piece of technology missing from SM. It is the ability to seamlessly drive eyeballs back and forth from SM to WEB for information and conversion. Only a portion of our SM success is coming from direct response. Another portion is from our ability to drive traffic. It was this piece that made the difference for us..

    I am quickly coming to the realization that i am not ultimately ready to share and should poilly acquiesce from this conversation. Statements such as “Rather than hear “trust me it works”, I want to see proof” raise my blood pressure. Each and everyone in this conversation knows my reputation. I will certainly show and tell in private to the individuals that matter to me, but really, I didn’t hear anyone state, “Marc, I want PROOF that you stood behind people who use your websites and asked them questions..” Why, because if Marc said he did… he did. ’nuff said.

    I have very little to gain here, and with the risk of Bob’s next post using the words, “neener, neener” I will submit that my opinion stands firm and I am certain that by ReBarCamp-SD, I will have a firm set of analytics that will prove out my strategies ROI…. to a select few.

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    Garron,

    I agree entirely with your post and have to admit that my SM analytics pale in comparison to my Web analytics in all aspects. The amount of data is certainly not significant enough to publish and if I wasn’t closely involved with the agents using SM on a daily basis, and seeing cause and effect, I am not certain the numbers would be convincing as a stand alone study. I will certainly continue on with the hope of producing number 3-7.

    IMHO, there is a piece of technology missing from SM. It is the ability to seamlessly drive eyeballs back and forth from SM to WEB for information and conversion. Only a portion of our SM success is coming from direct response. Another portion is from our ability to drive traffic. It was this piece that made the difference for us..

    I am quickly coming to the realization that i am not ultimately ready to share and should poilly acquiesce from this conversation. Statements such as “Rather than hear “trust me it works”, I want to see proof” raise my blood pressure. Each and everyone in this conversation knows my reputation. I will certainly show and tell in private to the individuals that matter to me, but really, I didn’t hear anyone state, “Marc, I want PROOF that you stood behind people who use your websites and asked them questions..” Why, because if Marc said he did… he did. ’nuff said.

    I have very little to gain here, and with the risk of Bob’s next post using the words, “neener, neener” I will submit that my opinion stands firm and I am certain that by ReBarCamp-SD, I will have a firm set of analytics that will prove out my strategies ROI…. to a select few.

  • http://garronselliken.com/ Garron Selliken

    Jim I would be honored to be one of the select few.

  • http://garronselliken.com Garron Selliken

    Jim I would be honored to be one of the select few.

  • http://virtualresults.net/ Jim Marks

    Garron, and I, my friend am honored that you would express that. I am a BIG fan of your work. You Rock…

  • http://virtualresults.net Jim Marks

    Garron, and I, my friend am honored that you would express that. I am a BIG fan of your work. You Rock…

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com/ Rob Hahn

    @Garron @Jim – Get a room, you two!

    :D

    -rsh

  • http://www.notorious-rob.com Rob Hahn

    @Garron @Jim – Get a room, you two!

    :D

    -rsh

  • Randy Hooker

    Seriously, long live the BROmance! :))

  • Randy Hooker

    Seriously, long live the BROmance! :))

  • Bob Wilson

    First of all Jim, I would never say “neener, neener.”

    I asked for proof because I know that what works in one industry doesn’t mean that it translates to a different industry. This is especially true when we are talking about selling services, which is what the real estate agent does.

    “IMHO, there is a piece of technology missing from SM. It is the ability to seamlessly drive eyeballs back and forth from SM to WEB for information and conversion.”

    That isn’t a technology issue. It is done all the time. The challenge is in driving the right eyeballs, and enough eyeballs. My contention is that SM like twitter and FB have limited reach beyond one’s existing SOI for a service based industry.

    “Only a portion of our SM success is coming from direct response. Another portion is from our ability to drive traffic. It was this piece that made the difference for us..”

    Now we are getting down to brass tacks. It is all about the ability to drive traffic. The issue is what kind of traffic can one drive via SM for a specific industry? Selling a product (shoes on Zappos) is different than selling a service, which is what agents do. If real estate was about just selling the product, then Ebay and Craigslist would put us out of business.

    The questions ultimately are:
    1) How can an agent drive traffic that converts to either a buyer or seller lead via SM, and

    2) What is the ROI, both in money and time, for that strategy.

    Armed with that info, an agent can then compare against other proven strategies and make intelligent decisions on what strategies to invest in and employ.

    That is why I ask for evidence or testimonials from those who can provide it.

  • Bob Wilson

    First of all Jim, I would never say “neener, neener.”

    I asked for proof because I know that what works in one industry doesn’t mean that it translates to a different industry. This is especially true when we are talking about selling services, which is what the real estate agent does.

    “IMHO, there is a piece of technology missing from SM. It is the ability to seamlessly drive eyeballs back and forth from SM to WEB for information and conversion.”

    That isn’t a technology issue. It is done all the time. The challenge is in driving the right eyeballs, and enough eyeballs. My contention is that SM like twitter and FB have limited reach beyond one’s existing SOI for a service based industry.

    “Only a portion of our SM success is coming from direct response. Another portion is from our ability to drive traffic. It was this piece that made the difference for us..”

    Now we are getting down to brass tacks. It is all about the ability to drive traffic. The issue is what kind of traffic can one drive via SM for a specific industry? Selling a product (shoes on Zappos) is different than selling a service, which is what agents do. If real estate was about just selling the product, then Ebay and Craigslist would put us out of business.

    The questions ultimately are:
    1) How can an agent drive traffic that converts to either a buyer or seller lead via SM, and

    2) What is the ROI, both in money and time, for that strategy.

    Armed with that info, an agent can then compare against other proven strategies and make intelligent decisions on what strategies to invest in and employ.

    That is why I ask for evidence or testimonials from those who can provide it.

  • http://www.adrhi.com/ Jeff Manson

    Rob, This is a little off topic.

    You mention that blogging is one of the most powerful marketing tools. I think it might be better for your users to display the whole conversation on the post instead of hiding most of the conversation from your users unless they find this small
    (« Older Comments) link. Not very good experience for the user. I was sent a link to this conversation and didn’t realize there was more to read :-( Not every one is a blog expert.

    There was a good conversation going on and I could not find it.

    • http://www.notorious-rob.com/ Rob Hahn

      Thanks for the heads-up, Jeff. That’s my blog template… and I’m not a good enough HTML/CSS designer to change it up.

      I’ll likely need to hire someone in the near-future to redo the blog entirely. :)

      -rsh

  • http://www.adrhi.com Jeff Manson

    Rob, This is a little off topic.

    You mention that blogging is one of the most powerful marketing tools. I think it might be better for your users to display the whole conversation on the post instead of hiding most of the conversation from your users unless they find this small
    (« Older Comments) link. Not very good experience for the user. I was sent a link to this conversation and didn’t realize there was more to read :-( Not every one is a blog expert.

    There was a good conversation going on and I could not find it.

    • http://www.notorious-rob.com Rob Hahn

      Thanks for the heads-up, Jeff. That’s my blog template… and I’m not a good enough HTML/CSS designer to change it up.

      I’ll likely need to hire someone in the near-future to redo the blog entirely. :)

      -rsh

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