Katie Lance is a force to be reckoned with in the world of real estate agents and their social media presences. Formerly the chief strategist for Inman News, Katie has emerged on her own and formed Katie Lance Consulting, a social media and marketing firm…with a specialty in real estate. With clients like RE/MAX International, DocuSign, among others, Katie is becoming the leading expert in leveraging social media within the real estate world.

You can find her insights in The Huffington Post and the Social Media Examiner, where she is a regular contributor and if you’re looking to learn more you don’t have to go far… Katie recently launched her #GetSocialSmart Academy where real estate professionals can go to learn how to start leveraging their social media presences to further build up their businesses. Intrigued? Check out some of her advice here, she breaks down how she stays in touch with her network, and even shares some of the biggest social media mistakes she’s seen with clients.

Contactually influencer interview…

Contactually: How do you maintain your network while also continuing to engage and run your consulting business (among everything else you’re doing)?

Katie: For me, one of the things I love most about social media is the personal part of it. I make it a point to be intentional and connect with people on social media when possible. I also think it’s important to have consistent systems in place – especially around email, blog content and social media content. When people come to expect and look forward to your content and emails – that’s a good thing!

Contactually: Strategy, marketing, writing, speaking, and social media…your resume is packed with a range of experience. How did you decide to stick with social media, and what was the first step in building your agency around that decision?

Katie: I fell in love with social media back in probably 2007 – after years of marketing and sales experience, I thought it was such an incredibly powerful medium to connect with the consumer – not just have it be a one-way marketing platform like most marketing traditionally is.

Contactually: What role has networking and building relationships played in the building of your career and business?

Katie: Relationships are everything to me. You can’t be in this type of business if you don’t invest the time and energy in lifting up others around you, helping others, giving back, and genuinely caring about your network and your community. Most of my business – if not all of my business has come from relationships which were developed over the course of time and enhanced by continually providing relevant content. Consistent content plus intentional relationship building is key!

Contactually: Not only did you grow Inman’s social media footprint exponentially during your tenure there, you have an impressive amount of followers and fans on your own social media, how do you build that audience and how do you continue to leverage it for your business?

Katie: Thank you! I built it one by one over the years. I was never focused on “getting thousands of followers” – but I focused on creating great relationships, putting out great content over and over again and also elevating others. I am always looking for great people and great content to share. It’s never all about me – and with Inman, it was about helping to build an elevate their amazing community too. When you do that and come from a place of abundance and giving – people want to be around that!

get social smart

Contactually: You consult CEOs and Executive team members at companies and start-ups all over on the art of social media, what is usually your first piece of advice for them and what’s the most common social media mistake you see?

Katie: I would say one of the biggest mistakes that I see executives making is that they are either not on social media (or claim they don’t have time for it), or they have their assistant doing it. My advice is that they are missing a huge opportunity to connect with their audience and their ‘fans.’ The mindset has to shift from, ‘I don’t have time for this’ to ‘I can’t imagine not taking time for this.’ I also see many start-ups specifically not looking at the long-term picture.

You can’t launch a social media plan and expect legions of loyal fans in three months. It takes time, effort and commitment to creating great content and developing relationships. As we’ve launched our #GetSocialSmart Academy – I reached out to each and every member personally by email or social media – there is nothing like that one-on-one attention. It’s a small thing, but when you can make people feel special and that they are a part of something – it can go a long, long way.

Contactually: Do you have any recommendations for real estate professionals who want to utilize social media as a way to reach out to potential clients or keep in touch with former clients?

Katie: Absolutely. Start now! Don’t wait until everything is in place – start with your clients right now. Reach out to your current clients and most recent clients – see if they are on social media and where they are at. Send them a personal message saying how much you enjoyed working with them and that you’d like to connect on social media.

Once you’ve connected, if it’s on Facebook or Twitter, put them into a private Client List you can create. Look at that list a few times a week and be intentional about connecting with them on social media; comment on their photos, etc. Don’t be creepy and ‘like’ everything – but be intentional about connecting with them. These small actions over the course of time are how we build and maintain relationships.

Contactually: Would you recommend a particular social platform over another for someone looking to build up their network?

Katie: Facebook is still one of the primary platforms on a personal and business level – plus the advertising options are second to none. After that – it really depends on someone’s interest and where their clients are. I love Twitter as a way to expand your network and connect with others you may never have met before, I love the artistic and ease of use of Instagram, I love the quickness and quirkiness of Snapchat. Someone doesn’t need to be on every platform – but I think they should pick one or two and go all in!

Contactually: How do you continue to maintain your relationships at such a large scale?

Katie: Again, systems are key. I’m not on social media to just waste time. I make sure every day I am checking all my networks and responding to each and every notification. I am always on the hunt for something great to share and people I could elevate. I am a big believer in lists and getting organized with social media – that’s a huge way I maintain relationships at scale!

Contactually: Any tips or tricks on email (or social) communication that almost always gets a response?

Katie: For social media – generally anything funny or entertaining gets a response. You can’t take yourself too seriously on social media! For email, things that are timely work really well. We also send out a weekly newsletter every Saturday that people tell us all the time they love and look forward to – I think that consistency has made a big difference.

Contactually: Any additional advice for someone looking to build up their network and relationships, or share their business using social media?

Katie: Have a plan, have a strategy and don’t forget the importance of not just posting to social media but creating content you own – like video, podcast or blog content. When you can create content over time that showcases your expertise, is personal and is relevant – when people come to your website to hire you – their response will be, “I feel like I know you – I’ve been following you and your blog for years.”

The leads you will receive from a great content strategy are 10x better in my opinion than most other leads you can receive! Lastly, start now – don’t suffer from analysis paralysis! The more you do it – the better and faster you get.

What are you waiting for? Get social!

Katie advocates for the must human interactions possible when it comes to reaching out to your network via social media. The more human you present yourself on social media, the more likely that your connections and potential clients will feel as if they already know you and everything you represent. And what’s better than that?