Through my work at the academy, I get the pleasure of meeting and speaking to a large number of newer agents. A lot of the initial discussions with new realtors usually centre around prospecting. And inevitably the question always arises: Does social media prospecting work and what is the best way to build my business?

My opinion is this…

Real estate is a relationship business. It requires knowledge, interpersonal skills and continuous follow up. The question is not whether social media prospecting will work (because it does), but rather it’s more a question of what is most effective and are you building it into a strategy that you consistently follow.

Like any tool, social media has its place in business…when used properly. What does “properly” mean exactly? Well, if you are hoping to sit at your desk or in your car and email, tweet, instagram and/or post to facebook in hopes of generating leads…I think you better tweak your strategy a bit. And believe me, I have seen this way too often. Unless you are following a system for online lead generation, you could be wasting away precious time that would be better spent networking, open housing, farming or door knocking (to name a few).

Don’t get me wrong…I love social media! I think its a great way to keep in touch, maintain connections with people, interact and share similar interests. But, I think, for the purpose of generating leads in real estate, it is difficult to rely solely on this to build and sustain a successful business. What you do online should reinforce what you establish and build offline.

So what does this mean for you? Well, if you’re looking to social media for a shortcut or easy way out of face to face prospecting, think again. It is a great tool with tons of opportunity and potential but it shouldn’t be your one stop solution to generating leads. While the most basic forms of prospecting continue to prove successful and effective, I believe a balanced approach, with both offline and online, works best.

For the newer realtor, that means getting out there face to face, talking to people, interacting and building relationships. Once you’ve established the relationship, then you can take it online. There are a lot of creative and successful ways agents are using social media as part of their prospecting system but only once the foundation of relationship building is established.

All things being equal, if a prospect has to choose between someone they only know online vs someone who has a personal relationship with them, they are more apt to engaging the services from the one they know. Build a relationship, establish a follow up strategy then follow it- consistently.

People do business with people they like, know and trust.