To tweet or not to tweet; for brokers, that is the question

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He may have over 14,000 Twitter followers, but Jessi Johnson of Verico has scaled back on his Twitter activity –  now convinced it's a lackluster business development tool.

“To be honest, I have Twitter and I have a fair amount of followers but it has not been a focus of mine for the past few months,” Johnson told “I’ve been focusing on my clientele and shying away from Twitter because I don’t think it drives much business; it has a very low return when it comes to your bottom line.”

It's an opinion that a growing number of brokers may take issue with as they look to the social media phenom to grow leads and cement relationships. Scott Dawson of Verico Paragon Pacific Mortgages is one of them, and, with over 4,000 Twitter followers of his own, is no social media slouch.

“I love it. It’s quality over quantity; the number of followers doesn’t matter,” Dawson told “Myself, I’m strategic about who I try to follow and I try to attract local and relevant followers; I reach out to people in the industry – Realtors, brokers or people I’ve met in real life.”

For Dawson, Twitter provides ample opportunity to get his message out in a strategic and effective manner.

“I treat it as a way to network with the industry and I don’t really blast a message -- it’s more of a conversation rather than one-way dialogue,” Dawson said. “And I’m not just talking about work: I have some great connections with people talking about things that aren’t mortgage related such as golf and wine.”

Connections forged through shared interests can provide ample business opportunites, according to Dawson.

“I was introduced to a guy on Twitter and he organized the golf game,” Dawson said. “I met him and I just got him a mortgage renewal.”

Still, success doesn’t happen overnight in the online sphere.

“It takes time: mortgages are a long sales cycle,” he said. “If you make the effort to take online offline, it pays.”

  • Ron Butler on 2013-08-19 11:39:23 AM

    I think there is gold behind each comment.

    Jessi was likely the earliest social media adapter in our industry as indicated by 14K followers. The fact he is less then entranced by the whole thing I suspect may indicate that it's hard to move on to the "next level" of mortgage volume from social media alone. Our company's own investigations indicate that social media may not be at the inflection point in our culture to totally replace other advertising methods. It may reach that point eventually but not today.

    Scott's comment is just as valid, if social media is an integrated part of a total lead generation approach backed up by direct contact then it is a distinct positive.

    Both of them should be applauded for thinking about new ways to do business. I know brokerages who still think state of the art marketing is a box of Tim's donuts dropped off at a real estate office.

  • @kiltedbroker on 2013-08-19 11:52:22 AM

    Scott Dawson is an amazing example of how you can successfully leverage social media for your business. Scott is approachable and will have a conversation with anyone. He is actually one of the first mortgage professionals I followed in Canada on twitter and have learned a lot from watching him interact socially.

    Without pointing the finger at Jessi Johnson, he plays a game known as "TeamFollowback" - you follow accounts on twitter with the sole intention of having them follow you back. The account is used primarily as a platform to shout your message, rather than engaging people.

    The problem with this is the quality of follower is not there. You have to ask yourself, what good are 14000 followers if most of them are in Singapore or have no intention of ever reading your tweets? Upon first glance, it looks impressive to have that many followers, however as Jessi states correctly "it doesn't drive that much business".

    I am not saying that there is a right or a wrong way to "do social media", or even that Jessi is doing it wrong. What I am saying is that some strategies are considerably more effective than others.

  • @therobcampbell on 2013-08-19 12:04:14 PM

    Let’s not forget that followers can be purchased, so accumulating followers organically is way harder yet yields far more trust and success.
    Purchasing followers is cheap, both in the financial and social-clout sense.
    I only have 1600+ followers, but a great deal of my business has developed from it because I have spent the time to socialize and interact with them.
    I’ve managed to organize a conference last year for 130 local businesses, mostly from Twitter. Zero print ads, and my speakers were sourced and booked through Twitter. I’ve also organized local flashmobs to support small business, and courted a celebrity to visit our City and MC a local event for Charity. All done for zero cost, just time and effort.
    Scott Dawson is a great example of how Twitter can help build awareness in your space.
    Twitter is NOT a magic pill, however it is a great piece of a social pie.
    Quality over quantity.
    “Don’t post often, post Awesome” – Scott Stratten

  • @kiltedbroker on 2013-08-19 12:23:36 PM

    Just in case you don't believe @therobcampbell about purchasing followers: A quick search of Fiverr (a website that people will do anything you want for $5) has some interesting results when you search "twitter followers"

    Check it our for yourself >>>

  • Jessi Johnson on 2013-08-23 9:10:58 PM

    You are all making excellent educated points on this topic. @kiltedbroker you couldn't have explained my method better, it certainly works to get followers.

    Most of my followers following local topics and news, I don't add people in Singapore ;)

    Starting aggressively in Social media years ago certainly helped grow that number fast. I simply don't have time to engage in Twitter, I have found Facebook far more successful and enjoyable for this.

    It is true, the numbers of followers is irrelevant, it's the number of leads you obtain from the followers that gauges your "Twitter success".

    From "failed" experienced I have learned there are much better locations to spend your time. 14k in followers is just a pathetic ego trip :)

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