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The Role of Social Media in the Real Estate Industry

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At this point, it is safe to say that social media has revolutionised online marketing in every industry. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and other social media channels have become a large part of the marketing campaigns of companies. The Real Estate industry is no different. Real Estate involves the selling and buying of land, property, apartments and other buildings. This makes real estate the perfect candidate for social media platforms. In an industry where buyers and realtors need to meet, social media is the bridge that can provide the means to the end. . . .

At this point, it is safe to say that social media has revolutionised online marketing in every industry. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and other social media channels have become a large part of the marketing campaigns of companies. The Real Estate industry is no different.

Real Estate involves the selling and buying of land, property, apartments and other buildings. This makes real estate the perfect candidate for social media platforms. In an industry where buyers and realtors need to meet, social media is the bridge that can provide the means to the end.

How then can social media be leveraged to create maximum ROI for the real estate industry?

The Social Media Channels

Facebook is primarily a B2C communication channel, where you already have a readymade audience with whom you can converse with regarding a sale. The added advantage with the launch of Facebook timeline is that there is greater filtering with regard to demographic data. For examples, if a person were to update their “Life Status” as Just Married or Had first baby – then is the probably the opportune moment in their lives when they would be looking to buy, lease a new house or move to a more sub-urban environment. As realtors, this gives you the perfect opportunity to create a lead and convert it to a sale. Another major advantage of Facebook Timeline is that over a period of time a history of the postings, sales, listing will be created. This will contribute towards enhancing your credibility and reputation online.

Fig 1 . Facebook Page of Corcoran Group – Real Estate Agents

Twitter can you used both as service channel and a public announcement board. For example, if you are having an open house or having a new properly up for sale, these postings can be done via Twitter for maximum engagement. Every time you have a new listing or a sale has been made an update can be done through Twitter. Furthermore, it can also be use to post real estate related news, home renovation tips and other local relevant news. This will create a value addition for the user and they will continue to engage with you long after they have purchased the property.  Furthermore, encourage your users to participate over Twitter by posting pictures of open houses they attended and to rate your service levels online. This creates a level of transparency which was unheard of in this industry 5 years ago.

Channels such as YouTube and Flickr can be used to sell the property better. Videos of the property can be uploaded, enabling the user to view the property virtually. This will sometimes help you to make the sale even before the potential buyer has ever visited the property. It will also become a time saving mechanism for you, as you can direct potential buyers to virtual tour videos of sites they may be interested in. This in turn will help the buyer narrow down their choices and the properties they want to visit.  Flickr can be used to post pictures of the properties that you are representing tagged with proper keywords, relevant to user searches. As the saying goes – a picture is worth a thousand words.

Fig 2. Engaging via Facebook

Common Points to Note

People are increasingly using mobile phones and tablets to search for data online and to engage. You need to keep this in mind when listing your properties. Ensure that your properties are tagged to Google Maps and are searchable. Furthermore, encourage your clients to check in via Foursquare, Facebook Places or Google Latitude. This will immediately create a crowd sourcing opportunity for you on the location you are trying to sell. Buying behavior has changed over the years, with people exhibiting collaborative buying behavior where they use Social.Local.Mobile(SoLoMo) to maximum advantage. In this digital age, expert and peer-validation for our buying choices are instant, global and inexpensive.  Use these to your advantage and design your social media platforms to appeal to the psychological triggers of your audience.

Fig 3: Architizer is a good example of an open community for architects created by architects

With Facebook and Twitter, follower industry experts, local businesses, past clients and other real estate professionals. This ensures you gain maximum exposure for your postings and tweeting.

Use Google+ to create live hang outs – create value addition by answering common problems a potential buyer might face and how they can solve it. Remember search is no longer just generated by search engines, but by social media channels as well and with Google+ there is a convergence of social and search. It is more pertinent than ever to not just have a website but to maintain an active social media presence.

It is no longer relevant if you are slick marketer, you now need to be a social media savvy marketer who is not afraid to engage your clients via technology. Use LinkedIn to your advantage to connect to industry experts and gain expert knowledge first hand for free!

If you would like to succeed in social media & real estate, be willing to take risks, learn from others, explore new tools, and engage with the larger community buy lending expert advice and tips which helps establish you as an industry leader and trendsetter. Remember the power social media lies in peer recommendations and collaborative buying. So the more people who recommend you online the greater chances are that your client will trust you offline!

Fig 4: Study conducted in 2011 via Mashable.com

As of April 2011, 84% of real estate professionals were using social media (as shown above), are you one of them? If not you could be losing a sale even before you start selling. Furthermore, it no longer matters whether you want to be on social media or not, your customers and your competitors are already there. So if you would like to create leads and engage with potential buyers – start engaging via social media.

About Logan Nathan

Social Media Business Consultant | Internet (Web) Marketing Strategist Speaker | Trainer

Based in Sydney, Australia, Logan has been an avid & passionate social media user since the advent of Facebook. Logan runs his own workshops on the social media for business in Australia. He has also written a number of eBooks on the same subjects (Social Media Secrets for your Business, Twitter Secrets for Your Business and Social Media Startup Guide for Business), all of which are now published and available online. Logan is also a passionate speaker on the subject of using ‘Internet and Social Media for Business’ and spoken at number of Business conferences in Australia and overseas.

Watch testimonials from Logan’s latest workshops on http://www.youtube.com/logannathan

Book your seat at the upcoming workshops, refer http://www.ictsocialbusiness.com.au/social_media_education/social-media-training-workshop