Or does he think Facebook is some sort of school photo album?* Love it or loath it, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a 21st century phenomenon. They are changing the way people communicate with each other and offering businesses, new ways of working.
So how does this affect you, if you are trying to sell or rent your home through an agent? Should you care if your agent Tweets or, has a business Facebook page? In a word; yes! And in rather a lot more words; here’s why.
It was not that long ago that all that was required for an agent to convince you he was marketing your home was a card in the window and the occasional advert in the local paper. Then websites came along and the rules changed. A local paper might have been read by a few thousand readers but a website could be seen by millions! (key word there is ‘could’; few actually were). However; that was not what made it effective. No, what made having a website so vital was the ability to show properties to a wider, genuinely interested, audience in a better, more imaginative ways way than ever before; in short to increase the likelihood of a sale or rental at a higher price. The bit that matters to most customers.
So where do Facebook and Twitter fit in? Along with other factors, by building a trusting relationship with people and widening the audience of potential buyers/ tenants.
A wider audience of genuinely interested buyers/ tenants: By using Twitter and Facebook effectively and providing useful informative comment and information, an agent will be able to engage with people who might have otherwise bought/ rented elsewhere. If the agents’ social media page users like what he has to say they will, in turn, recommend it to a wider audience who may also become engaged and so on. An agent who is using social media effectively is able to utilise page visitors own networks to the advantage of his sellers and landlords whilst providing a valuable service to those users as well.
Trust: A good agent doesn’t just sell your home with advertising; there is much more to it than that. To be able to introduce a buyer to a property is one thing, to be able to negotiate a good offer and keep that offer alive all the way through the hurdles of surveys and the conveyancing process to completion, takes skill and trust. By using social media well, an agent can demonstrate his knowledge of the local market, common problems that might beset customers and, how to deal most effectively with those challenges when and if they arise. In doing so, an agent can build confidence on the part of tenants and buyers that the agent is a professional who can be trusted when problems inevitably hit. Incidentally, these aren’t new skills, good agents have always had them; it is just that Facebook and Twitter offer a new way of deploying them to a wider audience more effectively.
So does your agent Tweet? Should you care? Consider this: on our Facebook page alone, we are now securing 25% more visits a month** than we achieve from Rightmove (the UK’s top ranked property portal); in late 2012, our Facebook presence had a weekly reach of over 90,000 (equivalent to a capacity crowd at Wembley!). Additionally, our Twitter page is followed by hundreds of property professionals, businesses and people who have an interest in what our views are on the property world (along with my own views on life) many of whom either live within West Cornwall or, aspire to. This additional potential buyer/ tenant traffic is simply not available from our competitors at present so; if your agent isn’t tweeting, perhaps you should speak to one that does? Good luck.
About Chris Wood: Chris is an estate agent with over 25 years of property experience and is based in Penzance and Helston, West Cornwall. He has worked with all sizes and types of businesses from single office independents to the management team and board of RBS and Tesco. A former President Elect of the NAEA and board member of NFoPP until he resigned in 2009, Chris has always championed the highest professional standards for estate agents in the UK. No stranger to the media, he has appeared on various programs including BBC, News 24, ITV, independent and BBC radio and is a regular contributor to trade journals, local and national Newspapers. Chris is on LinkedIn Ecademy Facebook and Twitter lives in Penzance and is a former long-standing member of the Territorial Army. In 2010 he mobilised for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with 1 Rifles as part of 3 Commando Brigade.
*Bar my sarcasm, Facebook was, in fact, created by a couple of American students who wanted an easy, modern way to share their college graduation photos. The rest, as they say, is history.