Why a Social Media Presence Is Non-Negotiable for Real Estate Agents
You probably saw it in the news over the last week or two but in case you missed it Facebook is now over 14 years old! Yup, Facebook joined us 14 years ago! But I bet you didn't that social media is actually over 20 years old?
Founded in 1997, the first official social media channel allowed it's users to create a profile and connect with other people on the web and went by the name, Six Degrees.
Because social media is often positioned as a "disruptor" or and "up & coming" or "new innovative marketing tool" it's easy to forget that social media is not really all that new at all and is in fact quite an established medium.
I know that Kiama and the South Coast is renowned for how laid back we are but now that we know this can we REALLY keep using the excuse that "we just haven't gotten around" to the whole social media thing? It's a little bit like saying "I haven't gotten around to the internet" when in fact the internet became widely accessible to people in 1994 so only three years before social media. It's a it silly when you look at it that way isn't it?
If you still haven’t jumped on the "social media bandwagon" when it comes to marketing yourself and your real estate business we are about to have the tough love conversation (and hopefully there's a little bit of inspiration) you need by breaking down why social media is no longer just a ‘nice to have’, it is absolutely 100% essential for businesses.
Let's take a look at why that is.
REASON 1: YOUR VENDORS AND LANDLORDS NOW EXPECT IT
Vendors and landlords are now more educated than ever. The time has come that vendors are now expecting that social media is included in a standard marketing package when they list their home for sale. This is largely because they know that social media channels can have ENORMOUS reach.
Australia has over 17 million Facebook users and 61% of 40-49 year old's log in to social media daily.
In the past year and largely in response to this new demand I've seen many agencies start using social media products that will allow them to execute vendor paid advertising on their social media channels. Real Estate web portals like Domain and Realestate.com.au have also rolled out similar products to meet these demands.
However, if you're an agent putting all this effort in to social media you naturally want a return on your investment right? Well, unfortunately for a lot of agents while they're ticking the box for their vendor's they're running all their social media campaigns through their company's social media portals. While this is great for the company, it does little to no good for that individual agent's profile.
Let me explain.
Agent's will typically get new business from exposure in the market due to current listings they may have. However, with this approach they miss out on exposure of their own profile. The way around this is to run your VPA (or at least some of it) for social media through YOUR OWN social media channels. To do this you will need a business profile on your social media accounts. Don't run these ads from your personal accounts.
I mentioned before that vendors and landlords are more educated on the property market now than ever. Not only do they now EXPECT social media as a crucial part of their marketing campaign but they're very aware of how these platforms work as they use them themselves. Unlike your standard real estate search portals.
Vendors know that social media can provide the extra leverage their property needs to find a buyer, or achieve a premium result. This means agents now not only need to have a social media presence, but they need to understand how the platforms work themselves and not rely on others.
REASON 2: ATTRACTING QUALITY BUYERS IS BECOMING MORE DIFFICULT
As the Kiama, Wollongong and South Coast property market continues to stabilize, agents are starting to shift their focus from attracting vendors to looking at new ways to market their listings to buyers. Social media not only has the power to give your property exposure to more potential buyers, but perhaps even more important, you can build a buyer database with social media, so when you have the right listing you already have a hot buyer waiting.
REASON 3: CRITICAL BRAND EXPOSURE
I wont bang on about this too much, we’ve already mentioned the impressive number of users on the social channels and the frequency these platforms get used. Agents who aren’t leveraging their profiles on social media are simply missing out on brand exposure in their marketplace. Previous blog posts I have written have talked about being the authority or the "go to person" in your marketplace. The only way you can do this is if you have a great brand profile and social media is critical to getting you there.
REASON 4: THE WAY CUSTOMERS COMMUNICATE HAS CHANGED AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO
Is it possible that email could be made redundant in the next 5 years? Mashable recently reported that many Millennial’s say that they find email ‘too slow’, preferring to use instant messaging systems (such as Skype, facebook messenger and WeChat) that are quicker, have tonnes more functionally and integrate with multiple business systems. With email potentially on the out, it is not hard to see that the way real estate agents communicate with buyers and sellers is set to continue to transform over the next 5 years. People now expect to be able to communicate with brands through social media messaging and also to find out more information about a business through their social platforms. No longer can the email "get lost" or go to junk because your clients can see they get delivered and see when you saw their message. Clients can and already are expecting more when it comes to communicating with their agents.
REASON 5: GOOGLE IS NOW COMPETING WITH SOCIAL CHANNELS FOR SEARCH
Google is in fact now competing for market share with some social channels like Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram. There is an abundance of content on the social platforms and these channels are seeing more people coming directly to them to search for information, by-passing the search engines. In response, Google is giving its search console a face-lift to make it appear more like the social media platforms. New features will include more photos and videos as well as a personalised ‘Discover’ feed which sounds awfully similar to Instagram’s ‘Explore’ function. Coincidental? I’ll let you decide.
So there you have it, 5 important reasons why social media for agents is essential and I really hope it helps you build your business, and your profile.