Technology is advancing fast and is now an essential part of our businesses, enabling firms that correctly adopt it to stay ahead in their industry, helping them to maintain existing business and increase their portfolio of clients.
Agents can experiment with marketing across other platforms, from sharing images and URLs to uploading videos. Christopher Walkey, Marketme
The potential benefits of using technology, such as sales or letting agency software, have never been greater for agents, especially letting agents, according to Rajeev Nayyar at Fixflo, which provides tenant repair reporting software suitable for property or block managers.
He commented, “The lettings industry has an increasingly complex and fragmented legislative framework and there are ever growing demands from landlords and tenants. That said, in order for technology to deliver on its potential, an organisation needs not only to adopt best in class solutions but to also robustly embed them into staff workflows.”
Estate and letting agency software products have improved dramatically in recent years to feature all the tools needed to run a modern sales and letting agency, or property management firm, providing one stop internet marketing solutions. Agents are now able to manage more applicants and landlords by communicating more effectively with clients through automatic emails, text messages, phone calls, as well as social media.
Social media and online marketing strategies
Social media is now one of the biggest marketing channels for businesses across the UK, within most business sectors, including estate agency. Social media can help you to build your firm’s brand online, better engage with your audience and develop new connections and secure more sales. “Effective use of social media is of increasing importance to our letting agency clients,” said Nayyar.
He continued, “My advice for agents is to view social media as a conversation. If you met a prospective client in your local pub you would not just talk at them about your agency. Carry that approach into social media by focusing on your community’s interests, needs and concerns. By doing that, you will engage with the right people to grow your business.”
Rush Somauroo of Propertyflock.com, which specialises in developing tools designed to enable agents to get better results from social media, describes 2015 as “an amazing year for innovative products and service providers”, and as consumers demand more from agents, the way in which property professionals working in the industry are now required to communicate with customers is rapidly changing.
He commented, “Gone are the days where estate agents use social media for the sake of having a presence and we are starting to see the industry split into two camps. Whereas some still rely heavily on canvassing and calls, others are interacting with their audience on a daily basis via social media, building relationships online that are informed by real-time data.”
When it comes to posting content on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, agents should naturally focus on providing information that their target audience will find relevant and engaging, increasing the chance that it will be re-shared with their followers, such as a ‘retweet’ on Twitter or a ‘like’ on Facebook.
While some people will find updates on Twitter and Facebook regarding the latest property listings relevant, others will be far more interested in alternative types of content, such as local or regional news, views, reports or guides.
Aside from advertising new or existing property listings, agents should also consider experimenting with other forms of marketing across platforms, from sharing images and URLs to uploading videos and hashtags. Whatever sort of content you choose to offer, always ensure that you keep your target audience in mind.
Top Tip: Get yourself a theme on social media, get known for your style of communicating and stick at it with real consistency to establish a name for yourself and increase brand awareness for your agency.
Facebook has over 30 million users in this country, more than any other social media platform, but user growth is slowing. A 2014 Ofcom report notes that Facebook remains the default social networking site for almost all UK adults who are online – 96 per cent.
Almost half of Twitter users worldwide prefer to read, rather than send out tweets themselves, while about 40 per cent of users worldwide use Twitter as a curated news feed of updates that reflect their passions.
There are a number of websites, such as YouTube and Gmail, which allow users to log-in with Google + user IDs, contributing to the rapid growth of this network.
Pinterest has seen huge growth in recent years. UK user stats show that there were around 200,000 users in late 2011/early 2012, growing to over 2 million in mid-2013. Disappointingly, Pinterest did not release any numbers last year. Recently introduced features, include “place pins” to encourage “dream trip” planning and “article pins” to create virtual reading lists.
There were around 150 million global Instagram users reported in late 2013, but with UK specific figures unavailable, it is difficult for UK businesses, including sales and letting agents, to evaluate where, or if, Instagram fits into their online strategy.