Social Media And Real Estate - Who's Right? Rob Hahn or Tom Ferry?

The video below that sparked this blogpost took place back in January, so this is not new news. What brought this video and topic of discussion back to my attention was a tweet from a home buyer. It reminded me of this debate between Rob Hahn and Tom Ferry and I just wanted to share who I feel is right now after witnessing this home buyer, not real estate agent, using social media.

Apple doesn't use social media.

The community that uses Apple products talks about Apple in social media.

This was Rob Hahn's argument to Tom Ferry. Real estate agents don't need to be using social media. Rob stated in the video and in his blog post On Social Media Education,

I’ve become rather fond of saying “social media isn’t what you do, but what’s done to you” because more and more, I believe that the truth of a product, of a service, of a person shines through in the end.

Tom Ferry's rebuttal is that,

1. Not everyone has a $400 million ad spend like Apple 2. You have to be where your clients are at

The Top 10% of Real Estate Agents Don't Use Social Media

Rob Hahn mentions in the video that he did an "informal" survey to MLS people, real estate brokerages and agents asking out of the top 10% agents in your MLS how many are using social media? He states that in almost every case he heard was none.

This could be true. But some agents like Sue Adler, Jim Reppond, Ian Watt and Ben Kinney came to mind and maybe...these agents are the exception and not the rule. I also think we are still too early in this space to take a stat like this seriously.

When I got into real estate in 1997, not every real estate agent had a website. Hell, not every real estate office had a website. So, to say because the top 10% aren't there, you shouldn't be there doesn't sound like the most sound argument. Does that mean, if you are doing social media and you stop that you will become a top 10% producer in your market place?

I bet if we asked if the top 10% have their own website the answer will be yes. Ask that question 10 years ago, I bet the answer is different.

Why Rob Hahn Is RIGHT About Real Estate Agents And Social Media

Over 9 months ago or so I responded to a tweet of a local photographer looking for some tips on social media. I responded back and said buy me a coffee at my favorite coffee shop and I'll share what I know. This is how I met Kimberly Gauthier of Kimberly Gauthier Photography.

Kimberly has been pretty savvy at growing her business via online. She uses blogging, facebook and twitter. What does Kimberly, a photographer, have to do with Rob Hahn being right about real estate agents and social media?

Remember when Rob said,

“social media isn’t what you do, but what’s done to you”?

I've been following Kimberly's blogging and tweets because we have connected in real life, on occasion I've run into her at the grocery store, and  she has been talking about real estate on her blog. Kimberly has been in the process of buying a home. She has shared how HGTV lies and house hunting is not like that all, getting a counter-offer, how house hunting is a mess, the way professional photography of listings did catch their eye, prompting a showing, and a recent one entitled The House Is Ours.

Through many of these blogs, the house hunting process, Kimberly is sharing about her real estate agent, Rhonda Darling.

I asked her if her real estate agent is active on twitter or facebook,

real estate agent Rhonda DarlingSo what does this tell us about social media and real estate. Maybe you don't have to be using social media. Maybe you just need to rock at being a real estate agent. Because "social media isn’t what you do, but what’s done to you”.

Why Tom Ferry Is RIGHT About Real Estate Agents And Social Media

Rob Hahn probably couldn't have scripted out Kimberly and her real estate agent Rhonda Darling story any better than it actually went down. Seriously, how would you like to be Rhonda getting blogs written about your service and tweets from a buyer about how you rock.

Sure tweets from other real estate agents saying you rock feel good, but c'mon, you know that you are a bit jealous of this real estate agent Rhonda Darling right now.

The problem for Rhonda Darling though and the reason that Tom Ferry is right in his argument against Rob is that I can't find Rhonda Darling. There wasn't a @RhondaDarling rocks in that tweet for me to click on to learn more about Rhonda. Rhonda doesn't appear to have her own blog or website even that Kim could have been linking to in her blog posts. Or a facebook business page Kim could have shared with the audience of her blog and her followers on twitter.

Tom Ferry is saying you have to be where your clients are. I'm saying make it easy for them to find you, to connect with you. In my 7 A's Presentation I talk about availability and approachability. Being where your clients are makes you available. Not being a jackass makes you approachable.

If I'm reading Kimberly's blog and following her tweets, living in the local area, thinking of buying a home, I know that Rhonda Darling sounds like an amazing agent. She sounds approachable. Here is someone in my social network recommending her, the problem is she doesn't appear available to me.

I can't read her blog or see her tweets. I can't even find her phone number doing a google search.

Now, if Rob Hahn was here he might say that I would most likely reach out to Kimberly to get that phone number or email address. I might agree with that. Kinda.

As much as word of mouth, recommendations and referrals are a huge part of the real estate business and any business, I still feel people are going to seek out and research the recommendation they have been given before taking action.

I'm the person that believes the opposite is also true and it’s all about perspective

So, I think Tom Ferry AND Rob Hahn are both right.

What do you think? Is Tom right or Rob right?