I’m getting so many "tips" on how to use social media, I am getting a truth ache.

Our salaried friends can become addicted to social media, have fun with it, build their lives around it. Try every tip or trick in the book, because it doesn’t affect their household income. As commission-only real estate agents, we don’t have that luxury.

We need to understand that social media marketing is an important but passive prospecting tool. Social media is a "hope so, think so, maybe so" prospecting tool. It can be effective, but it calls for focused discernment on our part.

Here’s what a recent search turned up on the first two pages of a Google search for "LinkedIn tips."

  • 9 Things You Should Never Do On The Social Network For Professionals
  • 5 LinkedIn Tips You Didn’t Know
  • 5 Tips to Grow Your LinkedIn Network
  • 27 LinkedIn Tips: LinkedIn Best Practices for Entrepreneurs
  • 50 LinkedIn Tips, Many Of Which are Awesome
  • 10 LinkedIn Tips For Professionals
  • LinkedIn Tips: 7 Things You’re Doing Wrong
  • 10 Awesome Tips And Tricks for LinkedIn That You Might Not Know
  • Leveraging LinkedIn: Tips and Tricks For Professional Success
  • .Net Tips & Tricks: LinkedIn
  • Valuable SEO Tips & Tricks: LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn Blog: LinkedIn Tips For Over-50 Job Seekers
  • 20 LinkedIn Tips and Tricks To Help You Make Sales

The beauty of these tips, and the reason social media is so addictive, is that we all fear rejection. Give me any prospecting method that will not result in the prospect saying "no" to my face.

Social media is a rejection-free passive prospecting phenomenon. Nevertheless, social media generates more doubt than assurance, because there are always seemingly hundreds of other things you need to add, change or delete.

Social media can be to commission salespeople what retail selling is to part-time retail sales clerks.

Stop by the housing department on my website and let me show you what I have to sell.

"May I help you?"

"No thanks, I’m just looking."

Misdirected expectations are the unintended, time-wasting, career-ending consequences if we become social media dependent.

Many of us believe if we download enough apps, send enough tweets and learn all we can about Facebook, we will have more prospects than we know what to do with. You might draw a slew of suspects, but not prospects.

How about you? As you read this column, how many ready, willing and able prospects are you working with right now as a result of your social media marketing program? Of these, how many actually bought or listed?

This is why when it comes to social media I have one foot kicking and one foot dragging the ground.

But wait, this is the new age of trust-based selling. The trust trick is to build relationships to the point that the target prospect wants to do business with me, and only me.

See how this works? I’m never rejected. I’m just never trusted enough to get the business. So I need to keep improving my social media skills.

It’s the new way of thinking — we are doing business just because we are busy.

Passive prospecting will replace proactive prospecting, because proactive prospecting requires actually asking for the business. If you don’t believe me, try this:

At your next lunch, ask your server if he or she knows anyone who may be thinking of buying or selling a home. Try it in line at the grocery store, text your friends and ask them if they might know someone. When training agents, we set a goal to obtain six prospects within two hours, and we always meet the goal.

That’s called "proactive" prospecting.

But I digress:

I don’t know enough about LinkedIn to write a tip sheet, but if I wanted to, I could develop one by doing what I just did — Google "LinkedIn tips."

Sometimes, when I see the qualifications of the person giving the tips, I get the urge to ask how many sales that person has made in the last six months.

For years, I warned agents in my office not to get their advice from the nonproducers in the office, but to seek out those who were making a good living selling real estate and had done so for at least two years.

Here are some tips from one who has been there, tried to do it, couldn’t find the T-shirt:

As you begin your daily social media routine, ask yourself this question: "Is what I am doing, or about to do, getting me closer to my objectives?" If the answer is "no," or, "Yes, but I am kidding myself," stop what you are doing, and spend the next 15 minutes proactively prospecting (actually using your voice to ask for referrals and listing appointments).

If you are hesitating, and are tempted to go back to the comfort of your social media world, it may be time to share your fear of rejection with your broker and start making the sales you know you could be making.

And that’s the painful truth.

Today’s offer: If you are an agent making sales using social media (and I know you are out there), please email or call me and let’s share your experience in a column.

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