“Maintaining social media contact with former and current clients can provide an excellent way to get referrals. Whenever estate agents post something on their accounts, they can ask readers to share the article or link with people who might be looking for a house.” – Emoov
Once, it was customary to see couples perusing the window displays of an estate agent’s office whenever you walked down the street. Today, this type of behaviour is on the decline. Why? The entire property market is at their fingertips, all courtesy of the internet. These days, all house hunting is done online and we are now in an age where the most powerful forms of marketing for estate agents are digital.
With over 3 billion internet users worldwide, and over 2 billion active on social media, it is guaranteed that all of your potential customers will be connected online. Instead of scouring brochures, couples are scrolling through property listings in search of their dream home on their iPad in the comfort of their own home. Customers no longer have to leave their sofa to search for a new home.
To stand a chance of keeping up with the fast-moving modern property industry, marketing for estate agents must be centred around online house hunting. So how can estate agents use social media for unprecedented success both now and in the future?
Marketing for estate agents – the old approach
For many years, marketing for estate agents was conducted in the same few ways, relying on print media and word-of-mouth. With the growth of the internet, this developed, and tools like property aggregators such as RightMove took the helm. However, displaying properties on these sites became increasingly expensive, and soon these platforms became overcrowded, making it difficult to compete. Marketing channels such as Google AdWords have also been the norm for many years, but estate agents who rely on this tactic alone will find that they are paying a lot of money with few results, as the market has become so saturated.
It is no longer enough to simply upload your portfolio onto a property aggregator site, pay for web advertising and expect success. As the online world becomes more complex, crowded and accessible, it is essential to use it to connect with potential buyers and renters on a more personal level. Luckily, that’s where social media marketing comes in.
Why social media is powerful for estate agents
You may be wondering how something so simple and ubiquitous as social media can transform an estate agent’s marketing strategy. Well, it is those two key features that make social media so powerful. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, social media is everywhere, on each of your customer’s devices. With push notifications, a wide-reaching and a simple interface, social media is an easy way to connect with potential clients, wherever they are.
Knowing your market
Many businesses think of social media as a way to advertise their services. This is certainly the case, but what should not be overlooked is social media’s ability to tell you more about your clientele. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are a rich source of data. Every day, thousands of users and potential customers post over 500 million tweets, ‘like’ over 4.5 billion posts on Facebook and upload 95 million images to Instagram.
This all provides an abundance of information about your audience’s preferences, interests and basic data such as age, location and marital status, all of which can be used to inform a targeted marketing strategy. Whether you choose to follow hashtags on Twitter, geotags on Instagram or join groups on Facebook, there is a plethora of market information at your disposal.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools available for providing customer service and should provide an essential element of any marketing for estate agents strategy. Even back in 2013, 67% of customers reported using social media for the purposes of customer service, whether that be asking a question about a property or booking a referral with an agent. Today, customers are less likely to send long, time-consuming emails or visit you in-office to find out the answer to their query when they could simply log on to social media, and send you a message directly in seconds. It is essential, then, to be ready to respond to any interactions across all of your platforms to give customers the best service possible.
Social Media Advertising
Of course, social media also facilitates highly effective advertising. Estate agents will see great results by targeting people who are house hunting within a certain area, or by following those who ‘like’ competitors such as Zoopla. These adverts can be further tailored to display to users based on age, gender, location, interests and behaviours, whereas LinkedIn adverts can target individuals with certain job titles in an area. You can even display ads to users based on the value of their current home!
The possibilities are endless, and the results speak for themselves. According to Small Biz Trends, over 75 per cent of companies using social media see an increase in traffic to their website, and thus a boost in their sales. This is no surprise when you consider how much time the average person spends on social media sites, exposed to your ads.
Engage with your customers
In a marketplace where everyone is vying for attention using the same channels, from Rightmove to OnTheMarket, social media is unique in that is offers estate agents the opportunity to connect with potential clients directly. Maintaining a professional and active social media presence builds customers’ trust in your company. In fact, research has shown that 81 per cent of people are influenced by a brand’s social media, and will visit their profiles before purchasing a product or service.
Ensure that potential clients find their new home through you by creating a personable profile across your social media sites. Here, you can post regularly about both your services and more general topics. You can interact directly with your followers via comments and mentions, and give them an insight into how your estate agency works and the people who work there.
Create a community
Through engaging with current followers on your social media, you can gradually begin to create a real community on your profiles. This will not only remind previous clients of your services for future use, but it will also help you to organically build your client base and brand reputation.
Nurturing a community of house hunters, former customers and potential leads is a great way to get your name our there with minimal effort and maximum effect. Better still, social media is a natural way to spread the word, and often, your followers will do the hard work for you!
It goes without saying that one of the main draws of any form of marketing is cost-effectiveness. In this regard, social media marketing for estate agents is unrivalled. Social media posting is affordable and effective. This is true when you opt to run paid promotions such as Facebook and Twitter Ads which yield far greater results for less money when compared to other forms of advertising. This delivers a much greater return on investment for estate agents compared to other marketing approaches.
How to implement social media marketing for estate agents
Of course, simply signing up to all of the available social media sites and leaving it at that will not fulfil your marketing needs. With social media marketing for estate agents, it’s all about how you use the tools at your disposal. Here are a few ideas to get you started with your marketing campaign.
Give followers an insight into your company
“People can be inquisitive and nosy and love seeing what is going on in other peoples lives. You may be decorating the office for “Sandra’s birthday” and could share a picture of some of the team along with the cake that “Michael” brought along and the bunting that “Joanne” has strewn across all the desks. Introducing your audience to your team and things that go on behind closed doors makes them feel like they are part of something and it makes a change from their news feed being clogged up with hard sell posts.”
– Property Hive
One of the best ways of creating a relatable company image on social media is to use it to give followers a glimpse of life at your agency. Of course, these glimpses must remain professional and reflect your brand values in a positive light. However, sharing company news is a great way to pique the interest of followers and allow them to connect with your business.
Share your blog posts
An absolute must in any social media marketing strategy for estate agents is to integrate your platforms with your website content. The best way of doing this is through content marketing. This is simply publishing articles on your website’s blog about relevant, timely content which people are likely to read and share.
Interesting blog posts show your target audience that you care, are interested in engaging with them and provides them with media such as videos and photos that they are genuinely interested in. At the same time, you are creating a brand voice that will build audience trust. For example, an article about quick, easy improvements to make to a property when putting it on the market will be a valuable resource for your customers and could be shared widely among friends. Use your social media to share these posts, gain feedback and boost your website in search rankings.
Become an authority on industry news
“Estate agents can easily attract new clients if they can position themselves as an industry expert. They can achieve this status by posting a steady stream of useful, interesting, relevant information. Clients can develop high regard for an estate agent who continually provides informative materials about different aspects of housing.” Emoov
Whether you write articles about current topics, or simply share news from other sites, engaging in a dialogue with followers and showing that you are up-to-date with current affairs will show that you are an estate agent in the know. Remember that it’s important to share any insights on industry matters on your blog, across your social media channels to ensure your blog is visible.
You can also use this tactic to connect with your local community. Property Hive suggests, “get involved in any fundraisers or events … You can then use this as something to talk about. Not only does it raise awareness for your business within your area, it also shows people that you are interested in the community.” This is also a great way to connect with new potential customers and business leads.
Collaborating with influencers
One of the most successful ways of using social media for marketing is to collaborate with online influencers. These are popular figures who use social media to share their opinions, blog posts, pictures or reviews with a wide audience. Today, people are heavily influenced by testimonials they see on social media, so if you can build a relationship with an influencer whose audience are active house-hunters, your company will be exposed to thousands of potential customers on an incredibly interactive platform. A good review from the right person can really transform your brand reputation.
Entice clients with offers
One guaranteed marketing for estate agents strategy to help you build your community of followers and encourage enquiries online is to entice potential clients with offers. Everyone loves a deal, so whether you decide to offer a discounted consultation to individuals who sign up through a social site, or run a fun competition for a prize or free service, social media is the perfect place to capture the interest of potential customers by giving something back.
Out-sourcing online estate agent marketing
Whilst social media is a cost-effective, versatile marketing platform with real opportunity for growth, getting it right does take time and knowledge. For this reason, social media marketing for estate agents is often most successful in the hands of a specialist agency.
Here at Greener Media, we have the expertise to maximise the potential of your social media for audience engagement and conversions alike. Check out our social media services to find out more, or use our package builder to create the perfect marketing plan for your estate agency.