Is Social Networking Making You Anti-Social?

Posted by: Linda Davis on June 2nd, 2009

When I was just a young pup in the real estate business, a mentor of mine spoke a few words that I’ve kept tucked away in the back of my head to pull out when I need to. 

He wisely spoke, “no matter how you attempt to generate business, it always gets down to going nose to nose and belly to belly with people.”

I can’t help but think about his words many years later as social media has taken a big bite out of my day. Five years ago neither blogging nor tweeting was in my vocabulary and posting photos on Facebook or Flickr wasn’t in the picture (excuse my pun). 

In the last two years, I’ve been to more than a few conferences and attended a whole bunch of technology panels. Heck, I’ve even been a panelist several times myself. What I found is that many of the “experts” may be whizzes at social media but they aren’t experts in real estate.

Don’t get me wrong, I learn a lot from these folks about technology. I take good notes and put what they have to say into practice. But it suddenly occurred to me that something is missing from the resume of many real estate social media speakers and panelists: real estate experience. (As in selling a whole bunch of houses kind of experience.) I worry that newcomers to the business think that social media is the magic bullet when it really should only be a part (maybe a small part) of their prospecting efforts. 

When I spoke on a real estate panel a couple of years ago at Inman Blogger’s Connect, I said “If your business is crappy, a blog won’t help”. My comment was tweeted throughout the blogosphere and I had my 15 minutes of social media fame. I’m not sure everyone really understood what I was attempting to say in that brief sound bite. So let me just blurt it out:  You aren’t going to sell a whole lot of real estate if you spend most of your time behind a computer.

You see, at least in my town, people like to do business with people they know and most of the nice folks in my town don’t frequent Twitter or Facebook. Being on the first page of Google won’t matter if people are looking for me at the town’s Memorial Day Parade.

Despite what some of the experts are teaching, selling houses isn’t like selling shoes.

Regularly tweeting on Twitter isn’t going to bring you legions of fans lined up at your next open house. It might help you close a sale or two but social networking alone isn’t going to provide you with a good solid real estate business practice, one that will pay big dividends and one you may be able to sell when you are ready to retire.

Put good systems in place and grow a database to nurture. Develop good prospecting techniques. Provide exceptional service. Send handwritten notes. Volunteer in your community and actually meet people in person. 

Otherwise you risk becoming a social media expert who is just dabbling in real estate.



12 Comments on “Is Social Networking Making You Anti-Social?”

Dru Bloomfield

Linda, when you talk, I listen, while standing on my chair cheering.

Brian Block

AMEN! Linda, while it may seem like a couple of years ago with the speed that everything changes these days, but would you believe that your “famous comment” was just last Summer.

I think that your soundbite got so much play because more than a few realize the truth — that which you presented here in this post.

Chris Griffith

You said it, sister.

I’ve been watching the social media uprising and wonder if a large portion of them realize that they’re just following each other around, kissing each others back side. Eh, whatever one’s into. :)

Kristal Kraft

We are always looking for the “easy button” or the “magic pill”. Social media came along and all of a sudden people are clammering for it, preaching it is the be all end all.

The reality is, real estate is a contact sport. By contact it is belly to belly, not tweet to tweet.

Louis Cammarosano


Thanks for this. Before taking the advice of a “social media expert” ASK- how may homes are you selling using your social media tactics?
Generally the answer is “I have 5000 followers on twitter”

Being a social media guru does NOT make one good at selling real estate.

Indeed being good at SEO or any other form of marketing alone does not make you a good realtor.

It means you are good at marketing or SEO.

Social media business success are anecdotal.
NO one ever sells 350 homes like mitch ribak does using homegain’s buyerlink, or makes nearly $2 million in commission like Eric Pakulla does using HomeGain’s Agent Evaluator, by being on twitter or answering questions on Trulia voices.

Mike Andrew

Hi Linda,

Great post, social media should be seen as a compliment to the face to face work a real estate agent needs put in to drive listings and sales, it should not be a replacement.

Mike Andrew

Ann Cummings

Linda – I couldn’t have said it better than you did in this post. It is getting rather tiresome to hear all these so-called experts and gurus preach as they do. Local, face-to-face, belly-to-belly is what makes the world go round, especially in real estate.

Another thing that is pretty irksome is being told by those experts how to use various social networks and that we’re missing our target markets. How do they know what my target market is, or if I even have one? Maybe I do want to be there mainly to network with other agents and learn from them. My business does pretty well, and I did that without all those gurus telling me how to it and what to do before – I don’t think I need them to tell me that now either.

Carole Cohen

Linda I love the ‘selling real estate is not like selling shoes’ analogy. It all gets back to being an expert in the neighborhoods we sell and to do that we can’t just be behind a computer reading about what others in the area are saying about meetings and projects and festivals. We have to be there too.

I think people run the risk of not getting repeat business if all they are doing is trying to get more business on line. What happens when you get the listing? Do you follow up with them on a regular basis? Do you go to other brokers/agents open houses to see their inventory and talk about your new listings? Back to the ‘belly to belly’ thing again!

Melissa Church

I agree that high technology can lead to low social development. I know I spend more time attending to my cyber pals then my real life ones. How sad is that? I feel like the whole social networking thing has crippled me socially. It’s my crutch from having to actually get out there and meet and greet people.


Social networking can be a good tool, but it’s not the magic bullet we’d all like to find. I’m starting to think there may not be a way out of the old grind:)

Patrice Groleau

Great post, real estate agents forget that social networking is a tool to get to the one on one sales…

Kuna homes

As with many businesses, real estate is a personal business and if you can’t form those personal bonds with your clients you will have a hard time in this business! Great article!

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