5 Platinum Ideas to Win on Social Media

eNetworking pro shares five simple ways to get more mileage out of social media

By Dinah Wisenberg Brin

Jay O’Brien ended his first year in real estate with 14 closed transactions at more than $4 million in total sales Jay O'Brienvolume. To be more precise – he accomplished it all in just nine months after joining RE/MAX Prestige in Anaheim Hills, Calif., in March 2012. What’s the new 100 Percent Club member’s secret to his early success?

“Social media is my bread and butter,” O’Brien says.

He recently gave a presentation to his office on how to use social media effectively as a marketing tool, and he’s also mentoring new agents. He’s already seen success with the first agent he coached, who closed three transactions in one month.

Here are his tips for turning social media into a surefire source of leads:

While most real estate professionals use social media in some capacity, O’Brien employs a subtly assertive approach to online interactions – especially on Facebook – rather than hard sell his real estate business. O’Brien uses his personal Facebook account for all of his postings, rather than a separate professional page, and the majority of his posts aren’t directly related to real estate at all.

Client testimonials, just-sold announcements and other real estate-related content account for just one in every four of his social media posts, O’Brien says. He spends most of his time online (about an hour a day) posting personal messages and birthday greetings to his more than 1,200 Facebook friends, along with posts about popular culture and anything else that interests him.

Multiple daily impressions reach a wide swath of O’Brien’s friends and friends-of-friends – even friends of those friends – many times each day with content that’s of interest to them. It also reminds them that O’Brien can help them with their real estate needs. “It’s like he’s at a cocktail party interacting with people, but he’s reaching thousands of people at a time,” says RE/MAX Prestige Broker/Owner Sammer Mudawar.

O’Brien posts short, educational videos to his YouTube channel that also generate leads, and he contributes frequently to the real estate forum activerain.com, where he refers to himself as an “anti-Realtor” because of
his soft-sell approach.

Most of O’Brien’s clients are first-time homebuyers between 24 and 35 years old. To better assist them, O’Brien offers counseling sessions to go over market conditions and helps coach them through the homebuying process. When it’s time for them to purchase a home, or when a friend asks for a referral, O’Brien is top of mind.

Jay O'Brien

After the tragic shooting that took place last December in Connecticut, Jay O’Brien had an idea to help. The following morning he created an event on Facebook to host a community support activity, involving a couple of banners for everyone in Orange County to gather publically and sign a message to the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary. He would then deliver the banners to the Newtown School District to show love and support from the west coast.

Jay O'Brien“Within a couple of hours, we had over 50 committed RSVPs and it was still growing,” O’Brien says. “More and more people wanted to volunteer their time to help host the event, contacting city officials, police officers, paramedics, firefighters, and even radio stations.” The event began on Saturday morning, and over three hours hundreds of people gathered to talk about the tragedy, offer support and sign more than 140 personal messages on two banners. The banners were sent to Newtown, Conn., on Monday afternoon.

“It’s a great example of how, in just 24 hours, an idea can become reality and make a significant impact through the proper utilization of social media,” O’Brien says.

Although the event was not about building leads or capturing new business, it’s this kind of interaction and using social media to inform and entertain, rather than to promote his business, that keeps O’Brien’s network growing and engaged. And yes, some of those online friends send referrals his way.
Click here for examples of client testimonials on Jay’s website.


Join the Conversation


Hey Dinah –
I think Jay is one of the agents who gets it right . . . whether you’re an agent looking to build your brand and to find clients or if you’re a real estate investor looking to build up your business, social media is a great way to go. Those who I see have the most success tend to be the most authentic and engage online without being spammy.

Ultimately, if you can provide value to your network / community, you’ll see returns for your time and efforts.

Thanks for the article!


Admittedly, I’m not active on social networks so it’s good to understand how it really works. I have the personal tendency to either ignore it entirely or just share purely marketing messages. These things are good to know and apply.

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