In this audio only podcast, Matt Smith and I discusses how he has used social media to develop his business and increase sales. From my perspective, Matt has an interesting social media style that exudes genuiness and warmth, attracting followers in a very social way but beneficial to his business. The written portion of this blog embellishes on the audio discussion and should be read in addition to, but not, in lieu of the audio version.
Matt Smith, Vice President at Realnex. Matt describes Realnex as:
“A one place, one stop solution….. the technology behind the deal of real estate.” Realnex, according to Matt, is essentially a commercial real estate company in a box. You grab your license and they have the “solutions to help the brokers win, from contact to close.”
It is important to note that while Matt and I are involved in the business of commercial real estate, the concepts and principals expressed in our conversation are applicable to any person or business l.
FROM THE BEGINNING
I originally invited Matt to discuss how he has ascended to his position of social media influencer in the commercial real estate world. For those noncommercial real estate aficionados reading this, “CRE” is an acronym for commercial real estate. As part of the interview, we discuss his humble beginnings, natural affinity for sales, trading baseball cards and his use of social media to help develop business opportunities.
As part of REA, later acquired by Realnex, Matt was looking into reworking REA’s marketing process. As part of that effort, Matt explains that he started googling for information on marketing, SEO, (search engine optimization[i]) and social media.
HE TAKES THE TIME TO EDUCATE HIMSELF
Matt emphasizes that, before he starts a project, he tries to educate himself on the topic. He informs himself on as much information as possible to make sure that he plans and executes the project with the greatest likelihood of success. To me, this is a key to success. It’s not that you have to be an expert or even be the person to execute every task of a project. It is, however, important to know enough of each element of a project, in order to know and understand what tasks are necessary to complete a project, the relationship of each task to other tasks and their relationship to the whole. If you are going to market online, you may not be an SEO expert, but you, at least need to know what it is and its importance to successful online marketing. Hooray for Matt’s thirst for knowledge and thoroughness.
As a result of his research, Matt gained a solid understanding of SEO and the concept of backlinking in order to gain higher rankings in Google searches. He understood that through his posts and an understanding of SEO, more people would know of him, (I refer to this as “presence”). He explains that his posts were more social than strategic.
HE USES THE PERSONAL TOUCH TO INTERACT
According to Matt, about 8-9 years ago, of the two major social media platforms that the used for business, LinkedIn was more business focused while Twitter was much more social. He found and continues to find Twitter a great way to touch other people relevant to his business, but in a more, social way, than LinkedIn. Matt and I have found that. Twitter is really good at inciting interaction among people with similar interests. It’s not that you can’t post relevant business content, but the interaction seems more genuine and promotes relationships. You can actually like someone from Twitter interaction. To be clear, I am not talking about advertising or posting about your listings, products or services. This is a topic of another discussion.
LINKEDIN v. TWITTER
Our social media discussion includes LinkedIn, where it was, where it is and where it may be headed. Hint, more social. On my own part, as I started using Twitter, LinkedIn began losing its luster with me. I found it much easier to interact on Twitter than on LinkedIn, particularly since LinkedIn limited your network by discouraging contact with people that you didn’t already know, whereas Twitter promoted expanding your network. As a promotional tool to the wider universe, Twitter was/is more adept. With that being said, I see LinkedIn starting to adapt and change.
Matt recounts a discussion with Yuhannes Watts who convinced Matt that “LinkedIn is not about you. Yuhannes explained that people don’t care about how awesome you think you are; they want to know what you can do for them.” I add, don’t tell people how awesome you are, show them. Tell stories of situations where you or your product helped people or enriched their lives.
RETWEETING WITH OR WITHOUT COMMENTS
During the interview, Matt and I talk about the value of retweeting posts and whether or not you should comment when retweeting. When you retweet on Twitter, you are given the option of retweeting with or without a comment.
I believe, most people appreciate when someone retweets their tweet. It spreads your post beyond your most immediate followers, and it may indicate, at least, on the surface, some level of engagement. Retweeting with a relevant comment, particularly a comment to the underlying article or post, indicates that someone has actual found the underlying article interesting enough to read, listen or watch and is a much deeper and personal form of engagement Genuine engagement is the type of engagement that can lead to relationships. Relationships can lead to trust, which is a fundamental basis for creating a business relationship and ultimately generating revenue.
Matt’s Twitter posts are primarily focused on the personal and not related to his business purpose. His ultimate business purpose is to sell more RealNex subscriptions.
THE FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD STEPS
Presence: This is also known as “branding”. He has worked towards that ultimate purpose by first becoming known on social media among his commercial real estate piers. You can’t sell anything unless people first know that you exist.
Likeness: Being liked is very important in most relationships on social media. His tweets make people laugh, smile or otherwise think well of him. As a result, people like him and are more likely to follow him. We know that people do business with those that they like. Presence and likeness can create more followers. However, we know that followers alone does not necessarily translate into business. You want active followers, those that engage with you.
Engagement: This is the holy grail of social media. On social media, if you are going to sell a product or service, you likely need to do more than, just be known and liked, you need engagement. Engagement occurs when two people interact with each other in a meaningful way that can lead to an ongoing relationship. Those people that engage with you on social media are active followers. It is this ongoing relationship that can lead to trust. It is trust that can lead to sales.
Matt’s tweets attract followers and commercial real estate people who like him. He, of course, is a very likeable person. This accumulation of “active” followers has garnered him some notoriety among other commercial real estate influencers, which I attribute to his increasing, social media influence. This increased exposure, presence and influence should lead to increased sales for Matt.
This is not a direct sale strategy nor is it a short-term strategy. It takes time and effort. It takes an openness and willingness to be yourself and trust yourself.
Matt can be reached at:
Msmith@realnex.com @CREmattSD 858-458-1063
Howard F. Kline is a Nevada licensed real estate advisor with SVN The Equity Group, located in Las Vegas Nevada. He has also been a licensed California attorney for over 42 years, primarily focused on commercial real estate and has been a licensed California broker and a licensed New York real estate agent. He is also the founder and host of CRE Radio & TV, an online commercial real estate magazine since 2010 and recently founded the Las Vegas Business Journal, an online, media rich, interactive business magazine. For more information, contact Howard at 702.706.4433 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] Search engine optimization has been defined as the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.