In this age of instant information, where technological advances occur almost on a daily basis, social media has changed the way that buyers and sellers interact and the way in which business is conducted within our industry.
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that social media – and how it can be used to influence and interact with consumers – is shifting his agents towards a more holistic online approach. “We are utilising property portals and social media as key components of our property marketing strategy. This is largely because consumer behaviour has changed over the last 20 years, with 90% of property buyers now first searching the Internet before using any other form of media to look for a home.”
Traditional media platforms only form a part of the media networks today, with social media becoming a continually greater influence over public opinion. This has not only impacted on business within our industry, but many other sectors as well. Consumers now listen to other consumers, and have the power to make an impact.
“Social media provides consumers, homebuyers, sellers and real estate professionals with an opportunity to share opinions and information, or provide advice to those who seek it. It’s a way to communicate with a wide audience regarding an endless range of topics and ideas,” says Goslett. “This has resulted in us being able to market property in a different way. However, it has also changed how we approach, and deal with, buyers and sellers.”
Because consumers now have information at their fingertips at all times, the relationship between you and your clients is no longer based on a “trusted advisory” capacity, but rather more as a guide and trusted resource. Today’s buyers and sellers want information from you which they can’t get elsewhere. You need to be able to provide them with facts, figures, graphics and a comparative market analysis.
“Aside from supplying valuable information, your role is also to guide buyers and sellers through the process of a property transaction and ensure that they have the necessary details to make an informed decision. While it is you who will provide access to the information and knowledge to conclude a property transaction, it will be your client who decides how this information is used. The buyers and sellers that undertake to do their own research will normally consult with the resources they have on social online networks before they make a final decision.
As social media platforms, and their influence on the real estate market, grow, the face of the industry will continue to evolve. “More than half of the users on Facebook are of home-buying age and with approximately 500 million users, it is a massive network of potential consumers who can change, shape and influence the market. The social media phenomenon is here to stay.”