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Guest Column: Realtors rise through social media

16-August-2012
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Guest Column: Realtors rise through social media

Today, when any industry that one could possibly come across has chewed on a slice of social media, what are the odds that housing and real estate would lag behind in grabbing a piece of the same? In fact, it often poses as one of the most lucrative of all industries to monetise and mobilise buying and selling of properties through social media.

A new generation of tech-savvy home buyers, sellers and real estate agents are increasingly taking to social media to expand their scope of visibility and amplify their reach to potential customers. In fact, our understanding of the space is such that social media has reached a stage where merely having a presence on a social networking site does not assure success for a brand. For real estate and housing too, it becomes imperative to have the right mix of platforms and strategy to drive in engagement and eventually returns.

A stellar click
In order to understand how deep this industry has spread its roots into the social media and how tactfully this space can be used to a firm’s advantage, let’s take into account a recently conducted campaign by Qatar Coral for Real Estate Development LLC. The campaign was driven through Instagram for Ramadan (a holy month) titled ‘#Ramadangram’. Leveraging on this popular photo-sharing social networking forum, the weeklong contest invited users to capture and showcase their special Ramadan moments through their eyes. The winners stood to win fabulous prizes including iPads and a Nikon D-90 DSLR camera. Participants entering for the contest were required to have an account on both Instagram and Twitter. The winners were contacted through a direct message on Twitter and announced on the company’s Facebook page, which had by then become an interactive forum for Qatar Coral to engage with its fans. All this happening in the wake of their recently launched twin plush towers for contemporary living at the heart of the state of Qatar just worked wonders for the firm.

The result was most commendable. It served as a boost to the company’s image and helped it in forging a lasting bond of trust and mutual admiration with its existing patrons and prospective buyers and this campaign bags an ace in our books.

Zero down
An emerging trend for a handful of real estate firms on social media is the use of the geo-location function. By employing tools such as Hootsuite, keyword searches could be made and the targeted pool of potential buyers, sellers, and investors, etc. who are looking for properties in a particular area could be tapped into. From here on, people who tweet with search queries could be directly engaged with by the firm.

The audio-visual boost
Talking about the right mix of platforms, here’s how a certain real estate firm made an impression on the social media. YouTube channels, that have become quite a rage lately due to the audio-visual nature of the platform fetches Coldwell Banker quite a few brownie points. The real estate firm has enabled the geo location function on their channel that upon having granted permission, uses the user’s computer’s IP address to pinpoint his/her location on the globe and then displays the most relevant videos. In our opinion, it’s quite an ingenious move on the firm’s part. What’s more? Through channels such as this realtors could provide a sneak peek into a property by adding walk around or slideshows of the interior and various features of the property. This not only improves the visibility but also the increases its chances of appearing higher up on SEO.

Base camp
Facebook, the largest social networking platform too, has a lot in store for housing and real estate industry. Say for instance, way back in 2008, Jonathan Rivera created one of the first Real Estate Referral group as a way to find agents to refer and exchange property cues for ‘out of area’ leads. The page has tabs such as ‘get referrals now’ and ‘how to’s’ which have videos that provide a know-how of generating referrals. If numbers are anything to go by, the page currently boasts of 59,343 fans and reflects on how successful the venture has turned out to be. Ever since then, many such property referral groups have come into foray.

Acquire and expand
Last but not the least, when it comes to housing and real estate, how can one possibly not consider the biggest social media platform for professionals. Linkedin presents a unique platform to property dealers and investors to hold discussions and establish connect with potential customers. Landlords, property developers and builders could get a great start with the ‘groups’ feature. A quick search in the ‘Groups’ search bar for properties, real estate or housing and the results it throws up is not even funny. Basis these, potential connections could be formed and further information about properties could be discussed through various other forums for more details.

Closer home, developers have already started championing the benefits of social media. Take for instance, Lodha Developers Senior Marketing VP, Samujjwal Ghosh. According to him, his company’s involvement in the social media platform is fueled by its intention to leverage the large pool of active social media users, inform, engage and interact with them and their peer groups, causing for a positive perspective of their brand and subsequently influencing purchasing decisions over a period of time.
Social media has most definitely arrived but it appears that although some housing and realtors have already started utilising this goldmine of a platform, there are some who are still wary about it.

The article is a contribution by Windchimes Communications, an integrated social media agency with expertise in social media marketing.

Tags Windchimes Communication Real Estate Ramadangram Qatar Coral Coldwell Banker Huitsuite

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