The internet is fast becoming an integral part of the modern society and our everyday lives. From the time the internet came into existence and social media emerged as a result, it has been used as a platform for connecting with people and communities, encouraging interactions and sharing content. Social media according to Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopaedia, refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.
We find today that lots of people are plugged into the internet in more ways than anyone ever imagined. The irresistible force that the internet holds and the vast opportunities it offers attract users of all sorts to explore its potentials and use its resources to the advantage of their businesses. Over the past few years, real estate professionals have found creative ways to overcome the real estate crisis, including finding innovative uses for social media. Real estate professionals have therefore been forced to develop their offline skills in an increasingly social way online. To be successful in an ever increasing competitive market, businesses must adapt to modern technology and trends, employ the use of social media as a platform to reach out to the public, interface with its target market, build a solid database and market their diverse products. The 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry reports that;
a. 94% of all businesses with a marketing department used social media as part of their marketing platform.
b. Almost 60% of marketers are devoting the equivalent of a full work day to social media marketing development and maintenance.
c. 85% of all businesses that have a dedicated social media platform as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
d. 58% of businesses that have used social media marketing for over 3 years reported an increase in sales over that period.
The use of internet in real estate is however not an entirely new trend. Social media has been used in the real estate sector as a very strong tool for communicating, promoting and selling. In the real estate world, listings, open houses and tours are the main triggers towards making a sale and online communities have made all these much more easier. The core objective of real estate professionals or companies utilizing social media is to generate leads/businesses, build brands (on an independent and corporate level) to attract sellers and buyers alike. Real estate professionals, brokers and realtors use the following mass social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Instagram, and Blogs.
Facebook is a great online community which boasts of nearly one billion users. The primary method used here is by creating a “Page” where information about the business is uploaded in the profile section. This platform allows realtors to share their listings using pictures, videos and information. Events for open house and display of upcoming activities can be uploaded in the “event” feature. Clients can have live personal/group chats or interactive discussions with realtors. Most liked or shared posts/topics are easily monitored. This way, realtors are aware what attracts people’s attention more, what does not and how engaging they are.
This has been described as the fastest growing social media network and now a marketing tool which allows the user post updates of up to 140 characters at once. It also allows the user give straight to the point information on products and offerings. It offers a great opportunity for real estate professionals to promote properties to a wider market. Twitter acts as a free press release tool that can generate traffic to a company’s site when enough followers have been built up. It creates room for a two-way interaction with potential and existing clients, thereby building trust, loyalty, lasting interpersonal relationships and ultimately the brand.
(To be continued)