Home > Marketing resources > Social media and overseas property

Social media and overseas propertySocial media and overseas property

Can property developers and agents use social media to grow their businesses? This article discusses the benefits of social media for the overseas property sector and what tactics can be used to build value for the wide array of stakeholders that participate in these new and evolving communication channels.


The explosion of the social media revolution happened whilst the property sector has been down – and for many in the UK, pretty much out in 2008 and 2009.

Twitter has gone from being an esoteric texting platform for a select group of people, to a global communications phenomenon.

When Twitter initially launched, I couldn’t see the point of it. Facebook's purpose was much clearer.

But now things have moved on for Twitter and millions of people are sharing their thoughts and feelings online, can your business afford not to embrace this new type of channel?


Does using Social Media mean more business?


In the media and advertising press, there are the constant questions surrounding how social media actually helps organisations do business.

Can social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook do more harm than good for an agent selling overseas property? Or can they help bring in more buyers, improve sales turnover and reducing advertising costs and other overheads?



Is Twitter or Facebook an advertising tool – or communication platform?


Social media sites act both as communication platforms and advertising mediums. Social media is all about multi-step, highly targeted communications - getting your message to the right people at the right time.

This means it’s an open forum for dialogue, expression and conversation between an organisations stakeholder groups (customers, employees, investors, suppliers, partners, future employees, opinion leaders etc…)

Many brands, it is argued, see social media as purely a marketing channel. I think this is spot-on as marketing is all about understanding, interacting and satisfying customer and stakeholder needs.

Focusing the approach on customers gives a brand a strategy and guiding objectives in order to demonstrate and build value. A brand can take a holistic approach that covers all stakeholder needs but if I was an investor in a business, I'd prefer it if resources were being spent on selling more and building better customer relationships, than Tweets directed to me.

Of course with greater resources and a wider following then a businesses approach will have to adapt and evolve. Pointless Tweets or Facebook pages without purpose and direction are just a complete waste of time. Particularly in this age of information overload.


Estate agents, property portals and social media - is it a useful marketing tool?


If it’s done professionally and is consistent, then yes. Whether the value gains are immediately tangible is hard to say - only time will tell.

A quick search for overseas property on Twitter shows that PrimeLocation.com and Rightmove.co.uk both have Twitter pages.

I like what PrimeLocation are doing: they’re Tweeting about new listings with something interesting about them. This gives the page purpose and offers value to a wide range of stakeholders. It will also:

  • Have benefits across the search engines (much-hyped real time listings fed into Google)

  • Demonstrates to their agent-advertisers that they’re active in the Twitter field

  • And help their agents find a partner or buyer in other markets


Why should an estate agent or developer selling international property use Twitter or other social media.


5 reasons:

  • Instructions can obviously be communicated to a wider, targeted audience

  • Speed up the sale of instructions and reduce the cost of marketing in other channels

  • You can monitor people discussing your brand or company in various countries

  • You can deal with complaints efficiently and share your response with others

  • You can source new properties from other agents that you may have buyers from.

 

I want better agents and partners to work with - how can Linkedin and Xing improve the quality of the partners with whom I work?


Property developers hoping to sell into the international market rely on a network of good quality estate agents. Managing these agents (as in any sector using 3rd party distribution) is a game of hit and miss and personal referrals are a great way for a property developer in France or Spain, for example, to find a good agent in the UK.


LinkedIn is a great tool for staying connected with like-minded professionals. As a recruitment tool, it has its drawbacks as there’s only limited amounts of time you can spend looking and you also need to pay for certain online services.  You can list jobs and contract roles on the site but getting the right candidate is difficult.

 

Specific social networks for the property industry


Globaledge.co.uk is a great site with a huge network of overseas property agents and developers that you can contact and partner with.

OPP (overseas property professional) does have a network on LinkedIn but when we tried to join 4 weeks ago, we heard nothing back!


Conclusion:


This growth is typical of the digital age and represents another way to interact and communicate with stakeholders. It doesn’t change the nature of the marketing / business game but does offer businesses that want to embrace it, a way of exploring new tools.


There will surely be more and more innovative ways for brands and organisations to communicate with their buyers and starting now will develop experience and skills within a business. Don’t forget that Generation X are coming and their approach to the world is very different to the generations that have gone before them.

>>Return to Marketing Resources for more articles



Bookmark this with: