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Photos: Harry Campbell

Carol Flammer

Photos: Anje Jager/agencyrush.com

Carol Flammer

Carol Flammer  consults on how to launch and maintain social marketing campaigns.

Yes. “Today’s consumers need a platform to communicate with actual people inside your organization.”

Marketers know that consumers need six or more touch points to create top-of-mind awareness leading up to a purchase. They also bank on the fact that people do business with people they like. Making sure an ad “hits home” to invoke action is their goal. Social media is Marketing 101; what better place to create touch points and interact with people who like you than social sites?

Today’s consumers aren’t satisfied with one-way dialogue. They need a platform to communicate with actual people inside your organization. Your customers may not go to sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn to shop, but they certainly go there to do company research and to find coupons before they purchase.

Social media programs, when done right, can generate at least a 25 percent increase in new website visitors. Even better, online social interactions can increase foot traffic to your communities. Florida’s Highland Homes attributes 22 percent of the total prospects walking into its model centers to social marketing.

Through various social sites, builders can provide content to influencers, such as Realtors, who share messages with their followers. Consumers are more likely to accept these third-party endorsements over traditional advertising messages.

Consumers are going to talk about your company online whether you’re there or not. It’s up to builders to have an online presence where reputation and brand can be managed.

Home buyers are talking. Are you there to listen?

Jason Forrest

Photos: Anje Jager/agencyrush.com

Jason Forrest

Jason Forrest  helps turn companies with salespeople into sellers that build homes.

No. “Complete conversation is an active dialogue in real time where participants can influence the outcome.”

Social media is not the wave of the future for sales. The wave of the future for sales is what it’s always been—the human connection. As an outlet for mostly passive monologue with one-dimensional feedback at best, social media lacks that connection. Complete conversation is an active dialogue in real time where participants can influence the outcome.

Albert Mehrabian, psychology professor at UCLA, says the combination of your tone of voice and body language accounts for 93 percent of the listener’s interpretation of your message. That means how you say something is 13 times more influential than what you say.

Social media communicates the words (7 percent of the message), but lacks the benefit of complete conversation. It keeps you from hearing a client’s hesitation or excitement, and it prevents you from being able to explain and help them see things differently. Passively transferring information puts all the pressure on the customer to form opinions about the constant flow of data they receive. What clients really need is an expert—a sales professional—to help them sift through and interpret that information.

Passive forms of communication have their place, but relying on 7 percent of the equation minimizes a sales professional’s ability to influence their customer’s paradigm. There is no substitute for live, active conversation.

I’m not against social media as a marketing tool. I’m against enabling sales professionals to substitute technology for the human connection.