Build Your Brand Series : Example of Social Media Tools For Real Estate

I have some friends who are realtors and got into some chat with them recently. Some realtors are builders and some are agents. In recent past, I have been in touch with them on some real estate information and the business process. This set me thinking to write this post.

Generally the industry involves the work of selling, buying or renting properties. Builders and some bigger agents have their own websites.  There are web portals which aggregate them city-wise(city listings as they are called), builder-wise, projects-wise(new projects, featured upcoming projects etc.) and even sometimes agent-wise. There are further classifications given for easier navigation.  Most of them invite the buyer first to see the property. They try to convince the customer to come and see the property and try to instill a confidence by their call to see the place.

In spite of all these efforts, every customer struggles to buy/sell/rent property and also undertake visits to so many properties spending so much of time and sometimes are unhappy at the end of it.

Real estate business is highly competitive.

There is a helpful way, if you ask me. I find none of them are using videos. Videos have a great place in this industry. If they can just shoot the apartment or property for a few minutes, it can give a real look and feel to all the description that they put in as many words. Guiding the customer with a video is a great idea in my opinion. Walking the customer through the deal gets easier. The customer can do some due diligence without getting up from where they see your post. People spend so much money commuting when they choose a place in a city other than where they live. They are sure to appreciate such value addition. If its a second sale, it could be even a better idea to let the current owner take you through his own house through a video. When people see the closets and the cabinets and peep from the balcony through your video, they may be closer to discussing the offer  and then if they go and see and get the same feeling, they will buy you better than imagining things with your descriptions and seeing it. Even if they don’t buy they will thank you for saving their time & trip and likely to come back to you at a later time and also might refer others.

Another general norm, I find, is to describe the neighbourhood of the property. So another great thing is to show the video with the access roads or the general neighbourhood which goes with your description of the property. Generally the agent’s depth of knowledge and his involvement in the neighbourhood  are their strengths and this can be amply demonstrated to customers through such videos.

Shooting a few minutes of video, editing and posting it in your portal or blog is much easier today, given the tools available.

Should your company blog?

A blog with a video embed (matching the description) and a description can give almost every information a customer needs to decide or before investing time to go and see the place before final decision making. The comments section in your blog could serve a great purpose for the customer as it becomes an extended discussion on your content. These conversations make things happen for you as they are human and real. They are natural and hence you should be open to such conversations.

Realize that you are not the only source of information on real estate properties and listings. Customers have a lot of information through online networking sites and conversations happening there.

Then the norm of testimonials. They always need not be only positive and in superlative terms. Customers know that you are expected to do so from the sell-side. People will stop reading them or considering them as a real feedback. Let a few genuine doubts or complaints remain as they happen but show how it got sorted out or how they were attended to. Open Conversations are always appreciated.

In one of my earlier example I had said,

“Within the Social Media tools, start with a Blog and use it to express yourself to your customers. Concentrate on helping people. If they find your content useful, they will go out and refer to others. If you help in one situation, they are likely to come back. Invite comments.  Be sincere and engage them.”

Everyone wants to know everything possible before buying a piece of land or a home from a seller. Social networks fit in perfectly to serve this need for information and make it possible for buyers and sellers to interact directly.

Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts?

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com
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