The #1 Ingredient for Social Media Success...Moving Beyond Bits of Conversation Into True Connection!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate

If the noise level is an indicator of conversational buzz, then 2008 was certainly the year in which the conversation online moved into the mainstream of public consciousness

pierThis was due, in no small part, to the effective use of social media in the presidential campaign.  No one captured the essential core of this technology as skillfully as Obama's team did through their use of social media to raise awareness and campaign funds.  In addition, the news media integrated social media sites, bloggers and iReporters into their broadcast.  Everyone was talking to anyone...

In 2008, the main event was the conversationTwitter took off with incredible speed, breaking records for increased traffic.  For many, the conversation was the end game.  It didn't matter if anyone was listening or responding. 

It was all about being on the move...finding the next new social media network, creating as many profiles as possible and then clicking the cursor to explore  the next thing.  The result of this dizzying flight of activity was near exhaustion in some quarters as many strove to keep up with blogs, comments and syndicated feeds. 

One of the most curious phenomenons observed during this frenzy was the numerous people who were banned from sites like Twitter for 'strange activity'.  Sometimes, a visit to the profile would indicate a huge number of individuals who had been 'friended' by the now banned member.  I wonder if a new kind of social dysfunction is developing in which a compulsive need to collect 'friends' will soon garner a psychiatric label? :)

As business professionals enter into social media platforms in droves in 2009, the easiest mistake to make will be in thinking that this is just about communicating a message rather than developing Relationships. It's not that the numbers will not be important.  They will be! 

But what's hidden in the numbers will be even more critical.  The true gold core will be the level of connectivity which is embedded within the numbers; the touch points which serve to expand the level of interaction beyond the simple one dimensional format of a profile page.  Success in the future will depend on the power of influence and the ability to move followers and friends to action.  This only happens when there is a relationship!

Relationships are much harder to nurture than simple conversations.  Relationships are fueled by a willingness to listen and understand.  They also demand humility to appreciate what others bring to the table and the ability to respond in a fashion that it engaging and interactive.  Relationships can increase risk, vulnerability and emotional exposure.  And most of all relationships require an investment of TIME. 

And...2009 will be the year that many will discover that blogging and social media networking are not a 'get rich quick schemes' in which the numbers of followers alone garner results.  Many will drop away because of the boredom that eventually results when no one is responding. 

But those who persist in the painstaking work of building relationships will become immersed in an experience which will prove to be transforming.  I'm already seeing it happen.  In some ways, this journey from the shallow shoals of conversation to the depths of relationships may offer the best hope for revitalizing an industry which has lost its mooring of influence and is floundering to discover how to become relevant once more.

Copyright 2008  Audu Real Estate  All Rights Reserved

Related Blog Posts...

How to Use Twitter For Business...excellent tips!

 

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Sue...appreciate your dropping in on this conversation. My thoughts...while social media @ it's best will not be a get rich quick scheme (although, I'm sure there will be some of that) the sustained value and power of the medium will accrue to those who strive to mine the gold of connecting with others in a way that provides value in their lives.  There is unlimited potential for enrichment in every dimension when connections are made in this way...

Jan 10, 2009 07:30 PM #48
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Diane...you're sharing a very important thought!  I personally think that there's a little disrespect to the individual with whom you are present if you continue to ignore them to check on who else is entering your sphere electronically.  It's somewhat like being with a person who is continually looking behind your back to see who else they can talk to besides you...When I go into appointments, I turn off my phone. 

Jan 10, 2009 07:45 PM #49
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Rick, thanks for your comment.  Appreciate your stopping by.

Terry, thanks for reading.  Happy New Year to you too!

Jan 10, 2009 07:47 PM #50
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Joanne...the opportunity is there for all of us.  One thing I'm sure of is this...relationships will continue to yield value in my life long after any accrued point totals will. :)

Jan 10, 2009 07:55 PM #51
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Hi Tom, thanks for dropping in.  I visited your local grapevine site.  Would you mind sharing with our readers what your experiences with these local social media networking sites has been?

Thanks Pat!  Appreciate your comment.

Jan 10, 2009 08:01 PM #52
Rainmaker
128,113
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Good post.  I guess it comes down to quality and not quantity.

Jan 10, 2009 11:49 PM #53
Rainer
118,489
Nannette Turner Saunders
Associate Broker Keller Williams Realty - Virginia Beach, VA
Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach

I have enjoyed getting to know others via social media and making those connections much faster.  I think that turning those on line connections into real ones is where you can make a difference with your ROI 

Jan 12, 2009 08:14 AM #54
Rainmaker
335,132
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Homes - Service With a Smile!

Hi Lola - it is amazing this world we live in, and how very quickly all the social media evolves and changes.  And as you wrote, the true test to sustaining any of this is time and what one invests in any of these networks.  I've been fortunate to have taken a number of my online connections into real-world connections, and that part is awesome. 

Ann

Jan 13, 2009 05:37 AM #55
Ambassador
839,492
Connie Harvey
Pilkerton Realtors - Brentwood, TN
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate

Lola - I was just checking back to see if you responded to my comment. First thanks. I like to know that the blogger read it. Second, I will call someone. And I'm sure you're right, it will make a difference. Now who to call. Hmmmm. :)

Jan 13, 2009 04:55 PM #56
Rainmaker
412,348
Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Teri Ellis at Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Lola, good post. Everyone is tweeting, the police departments, local newspaper, government offices, NAR, and on and on. It's great I've learned a lot of good stuff on those little blurbs. ;-)

Pepper

Jan 13, 2009 11:03 PM #57
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Ann, you're one blogger that I know I'd enjoy meeting in real life! 

Connie, I did read your comment.  Let me know how your call goes. :)

Teri, Twitter has been a real treasure trove of information for me. 

Jan 14, 2009 09:43 PM #58
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Mike, Thanks for your comment.

Nannette...that's true, but I would add that the quality of the content also makes a difference.

Jan 14, 2009 09:45 PM #59
Rainmaker
558,671
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

What I wonder is, with the advent and increasing reliance on these new online social networking sites: what truly is the time commitment to achieve this:  If relationships are key, not true conversations, how can an agent be expected to really do things the right way to:

  1. build true relationships on twitter, facebook, and a plethora of sites
  2. respond and build relationships on trulia, zillow and active rain
  3. build real-life relationships in their own community
  4. volunteer in their own community
  5. more traditional prospecting
  6. traditional online prospecting
  7. servicing clients
  8. learning new technologies
  9. eating
  10. sleeping
  11. and I could at 300 other things here

My fear is that agents get so caught up in the heat of the moment, they lose site of priorities, what they can given a finite amount of resources, etc. 

Any thoughts?

Jan 16, 2009 11:04 AM #60
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Chris, Great questions.  I think we need to have more of these kinds of discussion and think critically about the choices we are making.  First of all, if we don't take care of ourselves...eating, sleeping, exercises etc. and maintain the most important relationships with our family members and close friends...then much of the rest of it doesn't matter.

I don't think one can do it all.  I've always maintained that Superman & Superwoman are comic book characters.  They don't exist in real life!  I've certainly made choices about where I invest my time.  I'm not active on every social network and have cross-posted what I write on several different mediums.

That being said, I am enjoying the process of getting to know individuals who I think have something valuable to say.  It's not a fast, easy process...it takes time, but I've gained a lot and I also appreciate the opportunity to contribute something to others. 

Thanks for stopping here to add some value to this on-going conversation.

Jan 16, 2009 12:49 PM #61
Ambassador
809,975
Russ Ravary
Keller Williams Commerce - Commerce, MI
Metro Detroit homes - Michigan Real estate & Mortg

I too believe you can't do it all but a shot gun approach has always worked for me before.  I am still going that way

Jan 17, 2009 04:21 PM #62
Rainmaker
399,844
Sonya Loose
Gladwin MI Real Estate (Homewaters Real Estate) - Gladwin, MI
Wixom Lake, Secord Lake, Sugar Springs and Smallwo

Lola, you always write an excellent post...you do have a way with words!  I think what you had to say hear is very true...it is about the relationships you establish and listening to what others are saying!

Jan 17, 2009 10:29 PM #63
Rainmaker
139,811
Utah Dave
UtahDave.com Neighborhood Experts - South Jordan, UT
Homes for Sale - Utah

Yes, its about connecting!  I love that!  YOu do have excellent posts and its well layed out! 

Utah homes for sale

Utah Dave

Jan 17, 2009 10:38 PM #64
Rainer
690
Chris Garvey
East Tennessee Luxury Properties - Maryville, TN

Lola,

Thank you for the reminder of the need to rebuild the lost art of conversation, or more importantly, listening, in order to build relationships. It takes me back to my undergraduate psychology and education courses. I remember an expressed concern that many people were/are so occupied with thinking about what they want to say next that they don't stop to listen to what someone else is saying, or allow them to even get a word in in the first place.  If we don't actually listen and reply thoughtfully in turn we can guarantee that no substantial relationship will be formed. I agree with your comment on the quest for "friends", or points for that matter, possibly leading to psychological conditions and labels. Another possible pitfall could be getting caught up in those quests of others for friends by blindly accepting their request for "friendship".  How many people can we legitimately connect to and keep up with?  I don't have the answer of course but numbers in the hundreds seem questionable to me.  There are only so many hours in the day.  Like so many new technologies and services web-related there is great positive potential in social networking sites, but there is also great risk of wasted time and energy.  "Communicating" with comments of the length and depth of a high school yearbook signature will not relationship or viable network build.  Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed reading and thinking about you had to say.

Sincerely,

Chris Garvey

Jan 19, 2009 09:27 AM #65
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Russ, you're right...each of us will have a different path through which we traverse the blogosphere.  But, it's important to at least know what works for you...shot gun or otherwise. There will also be different levels of communication w/in our circles of friends & that's OK too.

Jan 19, 2009 03:17 PM #66
Rainmaker
375,403
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Sonya, Thanks.  Appreciate your comment.  Are you guys layered in piles of snow too? :)

Hi Dave, thanks for stopping by.

 

Jan 19, 2009 03:27 PM #67
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Rainmaker
375,403

Lola Audu

Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!
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