It used to be that real estate companies kept themselves discreetly ensconced behind a professional veneer, relying on cold calling, traditional forms of advertising, and word-of-mouth referrals to generate leads. Those days, however, are fast becoming history. Today, the real estate development industries rely increasingly on social media channels to brand their unique message and attract potential clients.
Social media is an ideal medium for the industry not simply—or even mainly—because it has the potential to pull in new clientele. When used properly, it has the power to shape public opinion around proposed projects and to cement brand loyalty. Followers view themselves as part of a community, and just as human beings rise up to protect a member of their tribe, so will devoted followers take steps to help companies solve problems and diffuse public relations disasters. For companies that rely on good PR to get the job done, social media channels are effective messengers.
In order to be effective, social media engagement can’t be a one-way street, says Katie Lance, the head of social media and marketing firm Katie Lance Consulting. One of the leading experts in leveraging social media platforms in the industry, she views it as “an incredibly powerful medium to connect with the customer” as long as companies remember to reach out to their customers directly, developing a personal connection rather than using social media to sell a service or product.
Whatever channels a company chooses to use—according to Lance, Facebook still dominates, but all have value—it’s crucial to put yourself out there, deliver entertaining content, and above all else, engage.
Without further ado, here’s a look how some top real estate companies and developers are doing just that.
Century 21: “Social Media is the New TV”
At the beginning of 2018, the real estate giant made the decision to pull the plug on its national television marketing campaign, choosing to focus its energies on the development of an online radio program entitled, “C21 Talk Radio,” which they have co-produced with BlogTalkRadio. In order to cultivate their loyal fan base, Century 21 chose to create an unbranded online forum section, allowing listeners to create a “bi-directional” conversation that doesn’t stop at 140 characters.
Coldwell Banker: Facebook Can Activate the Hive
According to Klout, Coldwell Banker is the most influential real estate brand currently on social media. That’s because this industry giant encourages individual brokers to put their knowledge to work in creating targeted Facebook Ads and videos to market listings. The collective buzz helps to brand Coldwell Banker as both down-to-earth and locally knowledgeable, while the marketing cost to the company as a whole is kept to a minimum.
RE/MAX: Innovative Social Media Technology
Like Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX knows that the best way to cement its own brand is to have independent brokers working for them build a community organically, one location at a time. Thus, in 2017, the world’s most productive real estate network launched their own free social media marketing technology, Social Prompt for RE/MAX, which is designed to automate and facilitate the process of building relationships through various affiliated brokers’ social media channels.
Trulia: The Power of Youtube Ads
In 2017, fueled by one simple statistic —the fact that 84 percent of people consider neighborhood just as important a selling factor as the property itself—Trulia found a new way to market its data-driven website. “The House Is Only Half of It” features comically run-down neighborhoods colliding with wary potential buyers. These comic stories, easily consumed and digested on social media, effectively demonstrate how maps are an essential part of the home buying process.
JLL: Real Estate in a Broader Context
Global real estate advisory firm JLL has decided to expand its reach through the use of creative online content. Their thought leadership platform, Real Views, examines the impact real estate has on the world at large, telling stories about how development projects relate to broader industry developments and global economic trends. The sleek online journal exudes expertise while at the same time building trust.