I would firstly like to say that I am not advocating that social media is currently the only form of marketing you should be partaking in as an estate agent, there is no way the property industry could continue currently without the likes of Rightmove, Zoopla, for sale signs, emails, local advertising and other commonly used marketing techniques.
I would like to look however how social media compares to marketing services and products that estate agents use from across the UK. I am sure that many estate agents will agree that placing property advertisements in their local newspaper is more down to keeping the vendor happy than actually attracting enquiries from potential purchasers. The main purpose of the local newspaper is to be sold to or delivered to the local community, these figures of target readership dictating the prices they can charge for advert space within. Looking at social media, isn’t it just the same marketing avenue where as you’ve an active target audience that you deliver your key messages?
Benefits of newspaper over social media:
- More likely to attract an older generation of reader to social media.
- Commonly known to contain a dedicated estate agency / property pull out daily or weekly.
- Frequently judged to be one of the major forms of marketing that property owners expect estate agents to use in order to showcase their active listings.
- Higher distribution and readership over most estate agent’s social media following numbers.
Property portals are what I would consider to be the most important tool for estate agents to showcase their property portfolios. The major names in this sector spend millions each year to keep their brands firmly in the minds of people looking for property online and those seeking to find the best estate agents to market their property with. Allowing you to list property on a dedicated platform which sole role is to provide consumers with a comprehensive list of property according to their requirements. Social Media allows apps to showcase property listings in the same way, especially beneficial if you want to keep eyes focused on your own property over general property portal listings which list you against your rivals. Social media will, depending on the size of your audience, build a stronger one to one relationship with your customers by listings property directly from your website thus helping you not to lose out to other agent listings.
Benefits of Property Portals over social media:
- The likes of Rightmove & Zoopla are household names and most people’s first port of call when it comes to researching property online.
- Millions are spent each year on their marketing budgets and development to enable them to stay fully in tune with user requirements and the latest in online technology / features.
- Estate Agency softwares / website are all designed to communicate directly with the portals allowing for ease of listings property with them.
- If you pay extra fees you can appear in front of your rivals or look to offer out certain features on a highly visited platform, such as ‘we are looking for valuations in SE1 region’ etc.
- Detailed analytics enable estate agents to track their progress against rivals or against their own performances of previous months.
It is safe to say that by just looking at Newspapers and Property Portals we can clearly see they have an important role to play in the industry. But it is important to remember that as social media increases in popularity and usage, adapting new technology and softwares, then it’s overall role in estate agency marketing will increase.
It will rely on your social media audiences to be as large as possible and importantly target, ie to your local community. If you had 20,000 followers in your local town and the local newspaper has a 20,000 readership, then surely you are as powerful as that local newspaper for distributing news to the local community?
As an example, one of the towns I used to live in I launched a Facebook page for which has now amassed 10,000 members which is well on it’s way to rivaling the local newspaper’s readership. If I placed my own advert on that group which has relevance to all that use it, then surely I would have a shop window just as big as if I’d taken out a double page spread in the newspaper? Importantly, that double page spread would have cost me £100’s if not more whereas that message on Facebook would have cost me £0 and possibly have given me the same results?
Benefits of social media:
- You can build your own active target audience on social media which you have access to 24/7.
- Messaging to your members via Tweets, posts, shares etc costs £0.
- A greater proportion of the population uses social media.
- You can take social media with you on the move as most mobile devices have them installed as standard.
- You are not restricted to the amount of content you can share daily.
- You can if you so wished, to advertise on social media to increase the chances of you being found or your key messages to be read outside of the following you have.
- Social media increases your SEO for you to be found naturally on search engine results.
- You can use social media to become a guru within your industry sector by delivering engaging and educational content to your audience which can set you apart from other local estate agents.
Author: Christopher Walkey
Founder of Estate Agent Networking and an internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Twitter and LinkedIn.