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Why estate agents need to embrace social media29 Jan 2015

About 4 years ago I attended an ARLA Regional Meeting and listened to a great presentation from Ben Harris (TM Group previously Sales Director of The Property Academy) on social media for the estate agency business. At that time I was unaware of any agency with their own company Facebook page, surely it was for your family and friends, all about the personal & social life of the individual, not about promoting a company??

I was sceptical but I spoke with Ben after the meeting and then again for some weeks afterwards, and thought I would give it a go, setting up 2 Facebook pages for my estate agency, one (at that time) more property focused and one for the community we worked within, highlighting our ‘reward card’ which was something we had recently set up within our local towns and gave our customers lots of offers and discounts from other local businesses and shops.
Well it really was trial and error and very difficult to fully promote the benefits to my fellow directors at the outset and I constantly came up against ‘what the heck are you doing’ ‘this is a waste of time and effort’ and ‘you’re asking for trouble giving customers a social platform to moan on!’

However, I felt that there was going to be a benefit for the company, it just needed me to work hard on the content and the feel of the page, to encourage the clients to like it and start to interact me with and the company. I was adamant that this would eventually bring a great return on the time I was investing and I stood my ground at all of those board meetings when I couldn’t really give evidence that social media was working and was going to bring us business in the long run.

After a few meetings where I felt I was defending my actions without too much success, I started to really monitor the posts by looking at the clicks / comments and shares being received. I quickly realised that the more chatty and personalised posts were faring better than the stream of ‘new on the market’ posts and I started to adapt my strategy accordingly.

Whilst I am not going to give away my social media insights on this blog, I would stress that Facebook for your estate agency DOES bring you business, I now have lots of examples of that, but it does take time, it does take constant work (of course you can track the best times of day and the best days of the week and work this into your diary) and it does need you to have a ‘face of your company’ someone or a group of staff who are happy to share their insights and views on property, on the community, on the ups and downs of the industry, because this is what will attract and keep your following intrigued to the point that they click, comment and share your posts.

Within 3 years of meeting Ben, my company Facebook page won gold at The Estate Agency of the Year Awards sponsored by The Times & Sunday Times newspapers. It was a hugely proud moment and it spurred me onto other social media platforms such as Google+, Pinterest and most recently YouTube for our property videos, agency info videos, area guides etc. There really is no quick fix, pointless ‘buying’ likes, these people will not bring you business, you just have to work on knowing your customers, your community and what they want, then give interesting, informative and personal viewpoints on all of your topics, whether they be your property listings, your local market, your company achievements, local attractions and events etc. Year on year you will be able to see how your customers react to your agency, how satisfied they are with your service and how they are recommending you to their friends and family by liking, commenting and sharing your posts.

Facebook and social media is now a part of most people’s lives, if one person from your following shares your post with their 100 odd friends, and one of their friends likes it on their page, it doesn’t take a math’s genius to work out how quickly you can reach hundreds and thousands of local people who are connected to your company by good vibes!

If you would like more information on social media for your estate agency please contact me on 01923 627777or email [email protected]