Connecting the Dots With Social Surfing

I wrote and article last week for AMEX OPENForum about appending your customer and prospect lists with social network data to create a much more complete picture of a prospect. My guess is that most CRM systems and software will bake this in as a standard feature by the end of this year if not already.

I believe that the ability to layer a person’s social graph on relationship building activity is one of the most valuable marketing opportunities to spill from the widespread adoption of social tools. This trend will eventually become a part of how we as consumers begin to make decisions about the people and companies we choose to do business with. Instead of companies finding more about prospects, prospects will see who in their social network knows a good attorney. We’ve done this informally for years, but now the data is there to automatically mine.

This form of social surfing will enjoy a major boost when a visitor can stop by any real estate agency or law firm web site and turn to the listing of agents and attorneys and bypass the pretty pictures and fluffy bios and simply hit a button to see who in their LinkedIn of Facebook network knows any of these folks. That day is here in limited applications, but I predict this is functionality that will soon be a standard web site feature.

Colorado start-up is still in private beta, but you can see its social surfing option in action at Telluride Properties (click the agent match link). Imagine what a powerful tool this will be for someone shopping for an agent. With the click of a button they can scan their own networks and evaluate which of the agents they may already have a connection with. This will dramatically impact referral and lead generation. Even the business with only one employee could easily offer this kind of functionality so that when someone refers them a potential prospect could visit the web site and see who know who.

This dashboard allows you to scan your networks to see which agent you might already have a connection with

Once you find matching connections you can view the details of those connections – Click to enlarge

Of course, once this form of social connecting is commonplace it will also be a great tool for a sales person doing some research. If I’ve got something I want to sell someone having a quick way to scan and find our common connections might make it easier to get referred to them.

It’s tempting to call this another social media tactic, but in reality, this is just where we are headed with information and participation in the world of marketing.

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  • Jason Sullivan

    John, this type of technology is inevitable. It solves a meaningful problem for people, and it is technically feasible to create.

    What will this mean for future companies? How will they market themselves through 'relations'? It should be fascinating to watch. Insightful article, on a very interesting upcoming trend.

    Jason (Follow me on Twitter for more entrepreneurial advice)

  • Mike F- Highly Relevant

    I liked the article and it should be useful with future online social marketing. Good work.

  • Brian Moran

    John – Great information. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Paul Rudo

    Wow… this has a lot of potential for locally-oriented service businesses. is brilliant.

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  • Susie Marino

    Very interesting John. Thanks. Users of Rofo's free Real Estate Pro app on LinkedIn also have an easy way to see what real estate pros are in their network and how much expertise they have in their local market. It's at A how to video is at