From a property point of view, social media is perceived as a means of growing awareness and increasing engagement, however, perceptions could be set to change as Facebook enters the UK property market in collaboration with Zoopla and OnTheMarket. The new venture follows the platform’s success in the US, where it enjoys an increased use of its Marketplace feature, with 800 million global buyers and sellers each month.
OnTheMarket, set up by a consortium of estate agents in 2015, had established a ‘one other portal’ rule; which means that businesses advertising on their website have to agree not to use one of the big two established websites – Zoopla and Rightmove.
But following OnTheMarket’s Admission to the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in February 2018, it no longer requires the One Other Portal rule in new listing agreements.
Chief Executive of OTM, Ian Springett implied that the result of such a model makes agents only commit to one other major player as opposed to both; resulting in Rightmove and Zoopla suffering substantial hits to their income and property stock. So, considering that its competitor Zoopla is jumping on the social media bandwagon, could we expect a drastic downfall for Rightmove?
We cannot underestimate Facebook’s potential. The platform hosts an astonishing 40 million visitors per month in the UK, including 37 million on mobile. The Facebook Marketplace is already successful in connecting users through commerce developing the trend for ‘social shopping’. There is little doubt about the power of social media in terms of awareness and its ability to target certain users, and with the vast majority of property searches now taking place online, it was only a matter of time before a collaboration of this nature would develop.
WHAT’S AVAILABLE NOW?
Facebook’s new, integrative portal solely supports rental properties. However, with a positive reception from its users and the various UK estate agents, there could be an opportunity for alternative models; including purchase, lease and shared ownership. If Facebook Marketplace can prove its ability to convert its users to a more considered purchase, like a new home, this model could evolve rapidly.
While the social media platform can pose an affordable solution to marketing efforts, it will now increase in effectiveness, thanks to the filter feature, which allows property hunters to refine their search by type, price range and number of bedrooms.
Users will be able to find the exact property they have in mind – benefitting all parties; including small businesses, by giving them an opportunity to present their complete rental portfolio to key demographic groups.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR ESTATE AGENTS?
The newly emerged partnership between Facebook, On The Market and Zoopla will see a rapid growth among these portals and become increasingly popular for agents. There could also be some other partnerships cropping up in a bid to replicate the model with other portals and platforms.
While a small number of businesses still overlook Facebook and its potential to increase success, there will certainly be an increase of activity among those who are already utilising the platform. So, those who aren’t already on Facebook should certainly consider it as a new way of getting in front of potential customers.
While the new, integrated feature is in its early days, we’ve considered some top tips to help increase your chances for success:
- Increase overall Facebook activity: you would be surprised how many people neglect their timelines. By posting regularly and engaging with your customers, you are essentially increasing your validity. This then can surge your chances of conversions, as users will consider how reliable or active your business is before acting. You should post at least 1-2 times per week.
- Visual sells: an image says it all. Facebook’s marketplace gives sellers the ability to use up to 10 images on posts – so make the most out of this with a variety of property pictures.
- Remain active: by listing your properties on the marketplace, you are essentially communicating with your customers – with a channelled potential of conversions. Therefore, if you only have a few properties available, ensure that you relay your message by posting regularly. This will mean your posts are seen by your audience more often in comparisons to competitors.
- Increase online presence: increasing your online presence is sure to enhance your validity in the eyes of the audience. In addition, where Facebook may limit the amount of information you can give on a property, a direct link to your website will ensure everything is communicated about the property. This can be the case for virtual tours, videos and more.
Tara Dulake, Digital Marketing Director www.theoraclegroup.co.uk