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Online and on the ball

Christopher Walkey, CEO of Marketme, looks at some of the trendsetters in social media.

PROPERTYdrum

social_media_trendsetters Just as in other major industry sectors, social media is an online phenomenon that has taken the property world by storm, with various big name firms actively using it to communicate with fellow professionals across the UK as well as share content with consumers to strengthen brand awareness and grow their company.

Here’s an insight into how some online firms, including the main property portals, are embracing social media:

Zoopla

I would confidently say that Zoopla really grasps social media and the power it holds in building brand awareness. I recently contacted the guys from Zoopla and they shared some very interesting information with me, including some fascinating statistics.

With the staggering growth in the use of social networks in the UK, Zoopla has recognised that it would be an ill-informed business decision to ignore the huge potential social media can offer a business in terms of traffic and engagement.

Over the last two years they have focused on growing their social media channels and have seen a significant return, with a large audience across the various social networks helping to boost traffic to its main websites.

However, the reach of social media, and Facebook in particular, isn’t just restricted to the number of likes/followers you have. One of their recent posts on Facebook reached over 4 million people and they now have an average weekly reach of 4.5 million for the Zoopla Facebook page.

This provides them with excellent brand exposure, an ability to reach a large audience organically, and they are experiencing an increase in visits from social media that is in line with this growth in use of their social media channels.

Not all your followers want to move right now, they may just be nosey!

Houser

The Founder of Houser, Rocky Mirza, said that he views social media as holding the “key to the growth of Houser” and gaining the best exposure for listings that are live on its property search engine.

Aside from its main Facebook page, Houser is actively looking to work with others to syndicate posts to specific area pages across the UK so that information released is channelled to hit a more target and responsive audience, as part of its wider social media strategy. The website only launched recently and so there are no results available yet to indicate whether this method will prove successful or not.

eMoov

On the importance of social media to eMoov, the company’s CEO, Russell Quirk, stated, “We focus strongly on social media. It’s a key consumer messaging tool and is vastly underused by the estate agency industry. Many agents that do utilise it seem to think it’s just a neat way of following and being followed by other agents and sign erectors etc. Our Head of Marketing, Stephen Jury, has honed our messaging and exposure significantly in the last 12 months.”

How important is social to brand awareness?

“It could be argued that it IS brand awareness. We find that social is definitely transactional, however, because conversion is hard to track and embryonic. ‘Scommerce’ will be massive though soon.”

Have you seen growth in activity and web traffic as a result of your efforts on social media?

“Yes. But you have to do it right and I wouldn’t want to give any of our secrets away. It’s not for nothing that we are a Zoopla Power 100 top 10 agent each week.”

Social media in property

It is important to remember that social media is a channel that people use to be informed, educated and entertained. When it comes to sharing content, put yourself in the shoes of those that follow you and those who might get to see your content via networks of the networks that follow you. This should help to ensure that you are offering the right sort of content.

Consider the fact that not everyone following an estate agency on social media sites like Facebook or Twtter wants to buy a house right now. They may simply be thinking of buying one in the future, have an interest in property, work for a rival agency, be someone who is just nosey, or supplies a service to the industry, dislikes estate agents and wishes to trip you up, or just admires your brand, among many other factors.

In an ideal world, your followers will follow you because of the interesting information that you share. If it is the case that most people who follow you are not actively looking to buy or sell right now, then it may be worth sharing entertaining content that is not necessarily about property about 80 per cent of the time and devote the other 20 per cent to information about the properties that you have available for sale or to let as well as wider housing market conditions in your local area. Many businesses find that this balance works the best.

April 9, 2015

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