Unlike before, whereby the print and electronic media were the only channels toward reaching buyers in the real estate industry, the social media is becoming a powerful tool that offer a robust platform for marketing and sales of services.
Asides the fact that major firms now have presence on websites, the sites are further linked to various social media platforms which have transformed to aggregator for large market audience, especially the youth and the tech-savvy individuals.
Statistics show that over 60 per cent of those looking for homes now use the internet to search for properties against the age-long culture of first looking for an estate agent to perform that role.
Also with the technology-driven age, homebuyers are doing more than Googling but also using related hashtags and social media feeds for property searches and transaction. Consequently, platforms such as FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat among others, have assumed towering roles serving as channels for property advertisement far more than the conventional media.
Experts say, YouTube has become the second-largest search engine in the world used to explore houses and communities when considering property destinations. In fact, many estate agents have remained active on social media to monitor clients’ interest in newly listed properties following clusters on channels across the web.
Furthermore, real estate firms now partner specialised videography companies in interior, exterior and drone footage of staged homes, helping sellers engage potential buyers via video uploaded before they commit to a walk-through. Marketing professionals claim that video content has the best return on investment since 2015 even as 93per cent of marketers use video for online marketing, sales or communication.
Facebook’s ability to target posts and advertisements to users’ core demographics has also become so invaluable to real estate sector as more than 69 per cent of real estate agents use Facebook because it works. While sharing of photos of ambience of a luxurious home or a moderately priced abode would paint a picture of what living in an idle home should be, would-be buyers might show interest and reach out for purchase.
The power of the tools also resonates in showing detailed property listing information to a large group of people and at the same time engaging them simultaneously whereas, this could be impossible to execute in person.
For Instagram, its ability to receive instant feedback on property listing makes it a phenomenal tool and it’s considered as the fastest-growing social media platform, with over 500 million monthly users, according to experts.
But how has Nigeria’s realtors been adapting the platform for the profession, an estate surveyor and Valuer, Mr. Rawlings Ehumadu explained the effect of social media has really taken root in the real estate industry.
He said through the platforms, clients and prospect are reached very easily without spending so much like before, on advertising on major traditional media. According to him, social network comes very easily and has thus, become very easier to reach out to clients.
He said the big social media platforms like, FaceBook, Instagram, LinkedIn WhatsApp and others have commercial packages through which we promote real estate products for as little as between $2, $5 and $10 that you can afford to push your product for you as far as you want.
“It will pull your products to America and wherever you want it to get to while you are sitting within the comfort of your office. I have used it a number of times and it actually paid up and so it’s quite exciting”. In my practice, I noticed that I don’t move around as much as I used to. Anytime am on the road, it’s for something very serious. Time wasting on travelling has become much reduced and so it helps us a lot generally”, he noted.
On the trust people have on transactions via the social media, he observed that it depends on the background of the practitioners. It is left for the people to do their individual search on the personality advertising the product.
He said, “I have sold property for people that I have not met before and I transferred money to them. For client to give you some level of trust, they must have done their due diligence on you and perhaps realise that even though they meet you on social media, you are still a professional practitioner”.
If a client could further do a search on the person advertising, trust can’t be a problem especially if you have a website and belong to a credible professional organisation. For business to thrive, he noted there must be trust because service is about trust”.
Mr. Rawlings, who is also the principal partner of Rawlings Ehummandu and Company observed that the convenience of social media is remarkable having become a worldwide thing. Even though there are lots of junks on social media, he maintained that credible people still come on board.
Correlating Ehumandu, Mr. Laolu Iwarinde of Global property partners, declared that the use of social media for property advertisement has come to stay in Nigeria as most real estate firms on twitter, YouTube and FaceBook now deploy the tools to reach out to millions of people. He said there is a connection between marketing and social media as the two has remained a good pair for selling of goods and services to clients.
Iwarinde however, said businessmen including real estate agents would continue to use the traditional media and social media platforms to capture various segment of the market stressing that what could be witnessed is the reduction in the towering role of the traditional media in property advertisement.
On his part, Richard Olodu, the principal partner, Richard Olodu and Company, said the platforms has been adapted by professional real estate practitioners to specifically showcase properties for people within the profession as well as contacts on the platforms who are friends and families who might have a client for advertised property.
He said, “If I have 1,000 people within my network and I advertise through the social media, the people will see it and perhaps share it for others to see.
“Though the platform is close ended, the traditional media still remain open ended. People have trust in their friends and families. Any advert through such platform everybody knows where each person lives and much about themselves. I have sent property request on WhatsApp, I know of FaceBook, Instagram, and LinkedIn as good platform to advertise.”