Social Media - not just for the young ones
Social media is ubiquitous in the digital realm; most people who own a smartphone or a computer will have a registered profile on at least one of thousands of social media platforms. It is true that other digital platforms such as websites and emails are extremely useful and utilized by realtors and brands every day; for example, 94% of realtors say they communicate with their clients through email, and 90% through text messaging. Likewise, real estate brands who have worked hard at building a useful website and exerted much effort in bettering their SEOs have seen great yields. 89% of marketers polled said their SEO marketing efforts since 2015 were very or somewhat successful.
Social Media is the new Classifieds
However, social media offers brands a completely new realm in which to better engage and connect with their audiences who are, after all, always online. People of all ages go online not only to be entertained, but they are now aware and tech-savvy enough to know they can post any query online and get a wealth of reliable answers within seconds. Real estate brands need to be able to leverage that in order to interact with consumers while they are in the decision-making process, with the ultimate goal being able to sway them towards your brand. From restaurants to concerts, to furniture to plumbing services, consumers today are very aware that social media is the new classified ads for any product or service they require, and this is equally true when they are looking for a new home.
It may be hard to fathom at first, but social feeds are now very much part of the marketing funnel when guiding consumers from introduction to fulfillment. According to studies, a person visits and revisits their social media account at least 3-4 times a day. In fact, 56% of B2C marketing professionals said they generated the majority of their revenue from Facebook in the year 2014 alone.
What Social Media Means for Real Estate
Millennials now make up 66% of the first-time homebuyers market, and 99% of those looking for homes in general use the internet to research properties. But now, real estate agents are realizing the value of going into their turf and including industry-related hashtags and property-related content in their social media strategy. Why? Because they know the value of being right where their consumers are, with the vast majority of consumers leaving their online digital footprint on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Youtube. And incredibly, users don’t seem to mind getting better acquainted with brands on social media platforms at all - Sherpa Marketing discovered that more people follow brands on social media than celebrities. 80% of Instagram followers alone follow at least one business. So the opportunities for a fruitful and engaging brand-consumer relationship is riper than ever before, offering both sides something to benefit from.
Because Facebook and Instagram provide image sharing features to an audience of 2.3 billion and 77 million (respectively), it’s offered brands a unique, relatively cost-free opportunity to showcase their product offerings to an ever-scrolling audience. Here are just a few of the many trends that have been escalating in the past few years when it comes to real estate brands embracing and posting content on social media feeds:
- 89% of social media users found photos as useful information
- 85% believed that more in-depth descriptions about the property provided were helpful
- 50% preferred virtual tours offered
- 41% found interactive maps offered useful guidance during research.
- Millennials who already frequent platforms such as Instagram or Twitter on a daily basis are more drawn to ads located there.
- 87% of marketers
- rank more exposure for their businesses as the primary benefit of their social media efforts.
- 78% of marketers who have used social media for 2 years or more report increased traffic to their websites.
- 76% of B2C marketers use Facebook ads.
- 72% of B2C marketers are interested in learning about Instagram ads
- 63% of realtors use video marketing in their campaigns
Already we can see that not only are realtors and brands starting to reap the benefits of engaging online, but they are increasingly becoming comfortable having and maintaining that online presence. 55% of realtors say they are comfortable using social media, which is still a relatively new method of brand-consumer engagement and truly a new addition to the skill set.
There’s still so much more potential too. 73% of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a realtor offering to do video, yet only 12% of real estate brands currently have a Youtube channel. In the apps field too there is so much room to move - an American realtor app discovered that users who downloaded the app would collectively look at an average of 20,000 homes each hour. What’s more, the average time spent on the app was 16 minutes, compared to the average 4-5 minutes people will spend on other apps.
Overall, social feeds offer brands the opportunity to:
- Build awareness - tapping into the widest network possible of existing and potential home-buyers.
- Grow an audience economically - even if your real estate brand doesn’t have a big budget to deploy on campaigns, social media advertising is still worth looking into because it yields such value for money
- Become an authoritative voice - when a potential consumer (or anyone really) stumbles upon your social channels, make sure what they see is not just price listings for the nearest available home lot to them, but content that is an easy read, engaging, and leaves them more informed of what you represent and have to offer as a thought leader in this industry.
- Engagement and Response - Social media gives an unmatched opportunity to respond to your followers and potential clients in real-time. Your team can reply to a posted query within seconds, or send a quick, public congratulatory message on someone’s page once they’ve sealed the deal with your brand, or even give a live behind-the-scenes tour of what a day in the life of a realtor looks like. This engages your audience and lets them know they can trust you, that they’re dealing with real people with real experience in the field.
Content is Still King
What real estate brands need to continue to focus on is newsworthy content that encourages engagement, create original content that not only anticipates consumer questions and interests, but answers them in an easily accessible and highly shareable way. Forward-thinking real estate brands know that the digital spaces they inhabit will need to be growing constantly, keeping up with digital consumers, and constantly adding value as they establish themselves as authentic experts in the field.