Social media has never been more important to business, and real estate is no exception. It’s already caused some major changes to the industry, and there are even more set to come over the next few years. Below I’ve looked at the ways social media is disrupting the real estate business, and what that means for your company.
Recommended reading: How Tenants & Homeowners Can Earn Money from Renting on Airbnb
Everyone knows everything
71% of internet users have at least one social media account and by 2019 it’s expected that there will be 2.77 billion people across the globe who are signed up to social media. It’s not just the numbers that you need to think about, though, it’s what those numbers mean.
The greatest impact of social media is that it has forced information into the public domain — everyone now knows everything.
What does that mean for your business? Plenty:
- Your customers now know all the good and bad points of your business
- Your customers have a higher expectation of what service they expect from you.
Your customers value the opinion of their fellow customers almost as much as advice given by their friends and relatives. Social media is a platform where people publish their thoughts and experiences with companies and you need to make sure that they are saying positive things about your company.
But not only that, social media means that as your customers now know everything about the real estate industry, you need to work harder than ever to win them over ahead of your competitors.
What your customers want now is a story. They need to feel like your business and the products that you offer add to the narrative of your life and that buying, or renting, real estate from your company will write a positive chapter in their lives. Not convinced? OK. Your story is one of the psychological triggers that win sales. Make sure you use your social media account tells the right story if you want your brand to live happily ever after.
You’re living in a post-Airbnb world
Whether you like it or not, you’re now living in a post-Airbnb world. The social platform has revolutionized your customers’ real estate mindsets and revenue avenues, and forced a ‘before and after’ road marker in the business model of real estate.
Don’t believe me? OK, believe the figures and stats:
- A 2015 study confirmed that 7,000 house in LA had been taken off of the rental market and been listed for short-term rent, Airbnb’s specialty
- If the number of Airbnb properties within 300 meters of a house doubles this will lead to an increase in property value of 6-9%
So, Airbnb are taking your properties off the market and they’re increasing the value of your customers homes.
The result of this, and all of the other changes that have come in the aftermath of Airbnb, is that your customers now demand greater control over their ability to make money from their real estate.
However, you can take this as an opportunity. Why? Because you can use Airbnb’s rise in popularity and the increase in house prices to sell the unique value of your business proposition. You are a specialist: you’re here to get your customer the best price for their home, and make the most of the 9% increase in the value of their real estate.
Show that you understand current consumer trends, rather coming across as antagonistic by working against them.
And you’re about to be surviving in a social commerce reality
If you think that Airbnb had been disruptive enough, you’re going to love what Mark Zuckerberg and his silicon pals have cooked up for the real estate business. Airbnb created the real estate marketplace and Facebook want it for their own.
Facebook Marketplace has given your customers to list their goods, services, clothes, drones, and old phones for sale via their social media accounts. Now Zuckerberg has given your customers the freedom to list their homes for sale or rent through Facebook.
Right now this is a feature that’s rolling out gradually. However, it is available on the phones of US customers right now and the process is extremely simple. Soon it will be in other countries across the globe, meaning it won’t be long before Canadians can sell and rent their home by just listing it on Facebook.
Right now there are 19.6 million Canadians who are using Facebook and that means that 54% of Canada may soon no longer need to use a real estate company to sell or rent their home.
This could be a huge disruption for the real estate industry and while I’m sounding like a broken record here, the only way for your business to fight the threat of Facebook is to thicken up and give a new lick of paint to your USP – that you’re specialists in the business of selling and renting properties. If you don’t then you give your customers no reason not to list their home on Facebook.
Social media has revolutionized the world. It’s opened up new lines of communication between brands and customers, given users access to more information than ever before, and enabled followers the freedom to bypass traditional sales channels.
As with all revolutions the question is not whether you accept but rather how you provide an answer to the shifting landscape that it’s created. In order for your real estate business to turn the disruption of social media into an opportunity for increased growth, you need to nichify your proposition even further.
Because while it’s great for your customers to have the freedom to sell or rent their house on Facebook, all they care about is getting the best price and you need to reassure them that that’s what they’re getting from you.
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Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from the sector. A social media specialist, you’ll find plenty of articles on the topic at his blog. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.