But, Have You Made Any Money with Social Media?

by CoyDavidson on February 27, 2010

Social Media and Commercial Real Estate

One question I always get from people in my industry is “Have you made any money from Social Media?” Over the past several months, I have developed somewhat of a reputation from peers in my industry as someone who knows what he is doing with social media. I do not claim to be any kind of expert on Social Media, but what I have done is soak in as much as possible from the top minds in social media and extensively experiment with various social media platforms (Blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) to see what is effective and what isn’t for my business.

When I answer the question “Yes” I can correlate some new business directly to my social media efforts. The second question that I know is coming is “How much?” The R.O.I. question will always be the first or second question. However, many people don’t really have the necessary mind-set at least as it relates to commercial real estate or B2B sales.

Amber Naslund commented in her blog article: How I made $100K with Twitter:

“The magic in making money with social media isn’t that the site or social network becomes a revenue center itself. I didn’t sell stuff on Twitter. I gave people access to me and my expertise, and paid attention to when the time might be right to talk business.

That’s the trick here, folks. Social media is rarely the cash register. It’s communication tools that help form the foundation for healthy business relationships that might eventually lead to sales elsewhere. Whether you’re B2B or B2C.”

Chris Koch summed it up very succinctly in his blog article: There is no social media strategy, only marketing strategy:

It’s tempting to say that because B2B sales are highly dependent on relationships, social media will eventually reign supreme. But I think the nature of B2B makes it harder for companies and customers to have a satisfying relationship that’s entirely virtual than it is for B2C companies.

We all know that B2B decisions take a long time and are made by committee and logic rather than individuals and impulse. It’s hard to imagine that kind of a complex, long-term, multi-person relationship ever happening entirely or even mostly in social media. At the C-level especially, face-to-face remains the killer app for everyone involved.

What’s been proven to work in B2B is for marketers to reach out to prospects with smart, engaging, educational content that leads to trust. The trust leads to a more personal relationship and hopefully, a purchase.”

My Objectives with Social Media

I have stated before my objectives with social media from the beginning was two-fold:

  1. Improve engagement and add additional value to my existing client base
  2. New business development

My expectations from the beginning were that social media would not serve as a stand-alone marketing strategy but could serve as a valuable tool to compliment my existing marketing and client relationship efforts. So far I am very pleased with the results. I have witnessed social media rapidly gain the attention of commercial real estate brokers. The number of  brokers I see with Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook accounts has grown exponentially over the last several months. However, I also think many will disappear just as quickly because they will be focused on an immediate return on investment that is not realistic and as the recovery of the economy accelerates they will return to doing business exactly as they have done in the past. In the long run, I believe they will be missing out on a fundamental shift in B2B sales and client relationship management that will take place over the next few years.  Again, I am not advocating social media as a stand-alone strategy, but I passionately believe it is a tool that compliments and enhances already proven business strategies.

Sources:

  • I expect the social media results would vary widely depending on the particlar business plan and sales cycle. I am a Commercial Real Estate Broker in NYC and just starting to get the ‘social media’ ball rolling. It’s really great to hear about your success!

  • Coy hi two more thoughts:

    – This reminds me when ten years+ ago some people were asking what the ROI of email was.

    – What’s the cost of not engaging with online networking with your prospects and competitors are

    For a related discussion you could check out http://www.creopoint.com/video/creopoint-member-breakfast

    Best, JC

  • Coy, Well written post! You hit the nail on its head in the last section. From the looks of your twitter feed, you have found the right mix of quality content linked to your blog, re-tweets and @replies.

    Our colleagues, the CRE brokers just don’t get it. We want to jam product and promotions right down peoples throats but that will not work. Social media takes an approach that’s slightly different from the hunter / killer method we’ve used to build our practice’s.

    Looks like you’re doing it right. I look forward to following you on your various platforms. Regards….

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