A Guest-Blog Post To Knock Your Blog-Socks Off.
Today we’re featuring a guest-blog post by Willie Pena, a writer for Right Residential, and he’s really packed together a great article. We’re not just being biased here at REsheets, a social-media CRE analysis group, in fact, we think (we know) we’ve learned a thing or two. Enjoy!
The Social Verse
With all the protocol, legal rules and financial details, it’s easy to forget that commercial real estate is first and foremost a people-based industry that thrives on the human art of negotiation. The incorporation of social media into real estate practices, reminds us of the importance of relationship, of the effectiveness of a personal touch. More and more CRE professionals are creatively using the virtual social world to expand their practices and achieve greater success through the simple leverage of human ties on both a local, regional and global scale.
The following are ways real estate firms can make the best use social media:
Forge relationships with potential buyers and sellers
Beyond face-to-face connections, analysts predict that by 2015 professionals in real estate and all corporate realms will use social media as the second most powerful way to connect to clients. With phone books being passé, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are venues where many entrepreneurs and business managers go first to research and find brokers, agents or realtors to handle property needs — not websites. If a client on an iPad is searching for a real estate firm and doesn’t find them in social media, for all intents and purposes the firms don’t exist. That is the new reality with social media becoming so dominant.
In addition to making new relationships possible, social media encourages relationship maintenance, giving agencies a direct line to current, recent and old clients in the event they require further services in the future. This is more effective for follow-up promotions than the previous tactics of sending newsletters, calendars and emails to former clients.
Don’t make the mistake of sticking to just the high profile social media venues. Since there are at least 11 million social media platforms, firms should find niche sites that cater to real estate interests and would be likely places where potential real estate customers lurk.
Increase brand value
As a real estate agency’s name appears in social media trends and exchanges, the value of the brand grows. This is because social media can expand awareness of a real estate firm, elevating image by the positive attention. When social media users organically endorse commercial real estate professionals and share their experiences through video, texted testimonies or photos, the sentiments can be contagious, making posts about the company go viral. Good feedback and reviews can push a brand to higher demand. Even if followers don’t make immediate contact, clients, by “friending,” or “following” stay aware of agencies and firms they want to do business with in the future.
Social media makes it easy to promote listings for commercial real estate. This is one of the most popular uses of social media for realtors. Not only can links to listings be circulated, but photos and short videos of the inside and outside of properties can be shared and promoted with hash tags. Maps can even be added and prospective clients can use geolocation to acknowledge they were at a site.
This kind of viral marketing for property allows listings to get wider exposure and also exposes the masses to real estate offerings on a regular basis. It is most effective when several social media sites are used at the same time.
Contribute to the community
The best social media campaigns for CRE involve more than promoting real estate services. Social media pages also allow firms to present a more personal, caring side. This is where the general public learns about deeds a brand is doing to help the community, the environment, neighborhood kids or non-profit organizations. Often, community aid is in the form of simply education or entertainment through posts on social media that answer basic real estate questions. On Facebook in particular, such engagement inspires respect and greater participation among social followers, and firms that present their pro-community side tend to have larger fan bases than pages that focus just on business.
This represents a paradigm shift. Clients no longer just want to connect to a faceless real estate brand, they want to feel they are in personal contact with specific brokers and realtors, a illusion or limited reality that is indeed possible with a strong online social presence.
Because social media is a free flowing style of interaction where conversations move fast and can get out of control, CRE firms must have a formal social media strategy, designated people allowed to post on social accounts and written policies setting limits on what can and cannot be said in the social sphere. Many real estate professionals who don’t have time or staff to chat online with followers elect to contract with experts who can manage and monitor social media accounts.
Willie Pena is a writer for Right Residential along with being a video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. Catch his rare blog posts on williepena.com, and connect with him on Google+, LinkedIn.