When real estate professionals call the value of social media into question, apologists often counter that agents or brokers who aren’t capturing leads on the likes of Facebook or Twitter probably aren’t taking the right approach.

They’re not creating engaging profiles, they’re not posting enough compelling content and they’re not sufficiently building out their network, brokers jaded by social media evangelism may learn.

But there’s another reason — one raised by Clara Shih, CEO and co-founder of Hearsay Social, in a presentation on social media marketing at Real Estate Connect today — that some agents aren’t using best practices on social media: Their bosses don’t.

Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, agrees.

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Sherry Chris

She says it’s all too common for real estate executives to neglect social media, considering any marketing on such channels to be the province of agents, not their managers. But that’s a mistake, she said.

“They don’t feel as though they need it. What I say to them is that, ‘You do, you need to make sure that you’re ahead of the latest trends,’ ” Chris said. “Your current flow of business is not going to continue over an extended period of time without making sure you’re able to stay in contact with your consumers … using the tools that they use today.”

Chris practices what she preaches. The broker boasts well over 14,000 followers on Twitter and has a combined 9,000 friends and subscribers on Facebook.

“If you expect your team and you ask your broker-owners and agents to do it, you have to do it yourself,” she said.

With Sherry championing social media by example, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate has carved out a sprawling footprint on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The company emphasizes to managers that it’s important for them to lead by example. That leadership, paired with compelling content that the company creates in-house, is what’s needed to transform social media into an effective marketing tool.

Mendelsohn echoed Sherry’s philosophy in her Connect presentation.

“It really starts at the top. It starts with executives,” Shih said. “Once you’ve got the leadership involved, then it cascades from there.”

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story mistakenly attributed comments from Clara Shih, CEO and co-founder of Hearsay Social, to Tamara Mendelsohn, vice president of marketing at Eventbrite. Both gave presentations on social media Thursday morning at Connect. 

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