SOCIAL MEDIA – the ‘friend’ of house buyers and sellers everywhere6th March 2014
The impact and usefulness of Social Media within the Property Industry would still seem to be a topic up for debate in 2014. From the perspective of Estate Agents, at least in some part, I suspect this is due to the unavailability of a reliable gauge of its effectiveness in increasing the turnover of its business. This is, of course, irrelevant to the benefits it provides house buyers and sellers, which I believe can no longer be disputed.
Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and Property blogs are all examples of valuable resources that can be tapped, for free, by those interested in property.
Facebook Page example
We know that the Social Media landscape can be a challenging environment for any business, possibly none more so than Estate Agents (well, except perhaps Bankers!). Any company prepared to engage with the public on an open platform, for all to see, must be confident in its service and brand reputation, which in itself is useful information for any potential customer.
Many statistics evidence the digital medium as significantly more important than newspapers as a house buying and selling tool. Social Media should simply be seen as an addition to the major property portals such as Zoopla and Rightmove. In a lot of ways, however, it is more effective in helping ascertain the character and points of difference between local Estate Agents. After all, whose customer service are you more likely to trust, an Agent who offers free and useful content, who is accountable and willing to answer questions via an open platform, or an Agent who is afraid to engage with the public via Social Media?
Twitter Feed example
For a company to maintain a strong online presence it must be effective at marketing, communication and customer service, all qualities which I am sure most customers will look for in their Estate Agent.
The social network feeds of Estate Agents often feature free property advice, tips and inspiration. This information is available to everyone, whether they become a customer or not. It is, therefore, a no-lose situation for anybody likely to move, now or in the future, to ‘follow/like’ these Agents.
Property Blog example
Some companies also provide a property search ‘app’ on their Facebook page. This allows users to search for property without having to leave Facebook. As most users log-in daily, this should be a convenient feature for home hunters. Other little bonuses for following some companies on Social Media include the many giveaways and competitions run in order to increase engagement in their pages.
Finally, the immediacy of Social Media (as opposed to Print Media) means that the news, advice, tips, and even the entertainment content shared by Estate Agents is bang up to date, providing an advantage of information to those customers who choose to follow.
With all this in mind, I recommend that house buyers and sellers everywhere start to look at the social network pages of Estate Agents as a valuable aid in the house moving process. (As an Estate Agent ranked in the Zoopla Property Power 100 list, it may not surprise readers to learn that I would politely suggest starting with Jackson Grundy!)