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Sam DeBord: ‘If you try to leverage influence too much, you’ll diminish it’

By February 27, 2015 One Comment

Age: 38

Years in real estate: 10

Job title: Managing broker

Location: Seattle

Hours per week spent on social media: 10

Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Target demographic: Homebuyers, industry supporters

Average number of posts per day: Two posts; many more comments


Which social channels do you work more?

Just Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

How many friends, likes, and so on do you have?

I have between 1,000 and 2,000 connections on each platform.

Does that number matter to you?

It only matters if it provides reach to the intended audience. One hundred good contacts is worth more than 10,000 spam contacts, but broad reach is good.

Do you ever give it a break?

My profiles are both personal and professional, so it’s hard to separate business from pleasure. I give it a break once in a while, but plenty of the time I spend on social media is just that: social.

Does social help your business, and how?

Social allows us to build trust over a broader industry sphere than we could locally. It helps to promote positive industry messages and in turn provides SEO (search engine optimization) for our web-based business.

What’s your goal for your favorite social channel?

Facebook is the most time-consuming platform, but also the most engaging. It’s the only platform I’ve found that can create a relationship that can seamlessly carry over to real life. I’ve met people for the first time in real life, and our conversations carried over from social as if we’d been meeting in person the whole time.

What’s your strategy to achieve it?

I spend far more time engaging in conversations that others start than posting my own. Building trust and consensus requires listening to a lot of different voices. Consumers and industry professionals are alike in that regard. They both want to know you’re willing to listen before you start selling.

Is it worth it, and why?

It’s worth it when it’s managed correctly. Social can easily become a distraction if it continually requires greater input without greater ROI (return on investment).

What’s your craziest social media-related story?

I was out at a restaurant for a Seattle Seahawks event. A TV reporter got up from the front of the event and walked back to the standing-room-only peanut gallery to introduce herself. She said, “Hi, Sam; I know you, I follow you on Twitter.” That line still gets laughs from my friends who were there.

What actions do you take that have gotten the most results?

I try to post purposefully. You need to have a bit of fun on social, but the more often you post, the less impact each post has. The important stories can get lost in the mix.

Is this more about “social” or about business?

It began as a business venture, but it has become a social support network. Many of us who lead “independent” real estate lives get a lot of support from the network of friends and professionals we’ve created online.

How do you monitor the channels? Do you use software or apps to manage your account, and which ones?

I use Hootsuite and alerts, but I still find going directly to each social platform gives a richer experience. You can find so much more related to you by using their own interfaces.

How many hours per day are you on social? Do you check it daily? Multiple times per day?

I spend a one to two hours a day on social when my schedule isn’t busy. When appointments and meetings pick up, it dwindles. I try to knock out a big chunk in the morning, shut it down, and then check again in the evening. That’s easier said than done.

Do you ever think of retiring?


Do you consider yourself an influencer?

I consider myself an overly-opinionated person who is lucky to have created enough relationships that some people will listen to me.

Are you social in real life?

I’m social when there’s a reason to get away from the office. I’m a hermit in front of my screen as often as I can be, because I know it’s where my business gets its bread buttered.

What did you do with your time before?

I spent more time developing web content. It’s important to have a portfolio of valuable static content upfront to support your social outreach.

How do you leverage your prominence or influence on social media?

Influence is tricky because if you try to leverage it too much, you might diminish it. I don’t attempt to unilaterally leverage my social network, but I am trying to build a network of individuals who would be willing to support me.

Do you have someone helping you?


Who do you follow and why?

I try to follow people who are unique, pragmatic and driven. Fluffy motivational quotes don’t inspire me. Real world successes and failures do. I like people who are willing to admit they’ve done both.

Where do you find the content that you put out?

Much of the content I share has come from my social connections or through news outlets like Inman, NAR (National Association of Realtors), etc. I try to share the articles I write for these outlets as well, but in a non-spammy way.

What has been your all time hit share?

I don’t have a leaderboard, but an Inman article on big data and pocket listings got hundreds of shares and comments. A “Realtor Magazine” article I wrote about a nationwide open door policy for Realtors got thousands of views and inspired follow-up polls, etc.

Who do you think is doing social media well in real estate?

I have so many friends on the agent and broker side doing social media well, but I think someone who is taking it to the next level is Seth Price of Placester. Although he’s technically a vendor, he goes past conversing and selling. He creates and shares research, webinars, and guides that provide real concrete value for his real estate connections, regardless of whether or not they are customers. That’s taking the social conversation to a higher plane and it’s something I respect.

Would you like to participate in Inman’s social media all-star series? Email

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