Elite AgentTECH + SOCIAL

The Rise of Social Media

Facebook…Twitter…MySpace…just what are these things all about? If you haven’t yet embraced the exciting new online world of social media, then you’re likely missing out on what may prove to be the most lucrative networking opportunity to ever hit the property industry! Story by Kelly Millar.

Social Media: it’s where your prospects are today
Site Monthly users (Australia) Global Users
Facebook 8,649,000 400,000,000
Myspace 2,121,000 100,000,000
Twitter 1,185,000 18,000,000
YouTube 6,127,000 100,000,000 visits/day
(Stats compiled via Hitwise, and sites’ reported traffic. Note: these stats are rising rapidly each day.)
If you thought that Twitter, MySpace and Facebook were the domain of the younger generation, think again!

Imagine the following scenario: You’re conducting an open house. You’ve spent heaps of time, energy and money advertising the event, ringing up potential buyers and trying to generate some real interest. Throughout the day of the open, you have conversations with various people looking through the home. You chat about the suburb, the house itself, what they are looking for in a “dream home” etc. At the end of these conversations, you may get their name and mobile number, and if you have the time, you may even ring them up later — one-by-one — as a courtesy follow-up. But in reality, you may never chat with these people again. They’re a lost opportunity.

The next time you list a house, the cycle begins again. Different people, same conversations. It’s enough to make you feel like Bill Murray’s character from the movie Groundhog Day.

But what if you could have an ongoing, interactive conversation with all of these people, on a regular basis, while continually getting your brand or marketing message seen many times over by this “community” of prospects, customers and their friends and family? And what if these people actively shared your messages (and your branding) with their friends, and even added their own ideas and positive feedback?

Social media – a better way to communicate
Enter the world of social media, today’s most important and effective tool for networking, marketing, PR, loyalty building and customer engagement. All rolled into one!

Think of social media as a “conversation”. But not just with one person – instead it’s an open-ended dialogue with a group of like-minded individuals who are actively engaged with your brand or message. And these individuals even share the conversations with other like-minded individuals on a global scale. To put it another way: social media is like word of mouth on steroids.

Two-thirds of the global internet population visit social networks. In Australia, there are approximately 12 million monthly users across Facebook, Twitter and MySpace alone. If you thought that these sites were the domain of the younger generation, think again. More than 80% of users of these sites are over 21 years of age.

So it’s clear that social media has become a mainstay in our online lives. Whether it’s through a Facebook fan page, regular YouTube videos, daily Blog posts or hourly tweets, social media has become a major influence on the way in which your brand is perceived.

In the property realm, social media is becoming the “next big thing” for agents, buyers, sellers or anyone in the industry.

Social media is becoming a powerful tool for agents who not only want to gain significant competitive advantage in the industry, but who also want to position themselves or their brand as a leader in the online marketplace,explains Simon Baker, founder of Classified Ad Ventures, and the company responsible for launching SOBOX Pty Ltd.

Baker, the former CEO and managing director for the REA Group (which operates realestate.com.au) is so convinced that social media is set to be the “next big thing” for the Australian property industry, that he launched SOBOX in March of this year. SOBOX – which is short for Social Media in a Box — provides Australian real estate agents with a presence in the online social media world.

Many agents realise that they need to be online if they want to succeed. But they are not sure where to start or how to build their brand through social media. It’s not just a matter of establishing a Facebook page and pumping through listings. It’s about relationship building and positioning, which is the key to generating listings and future business. With SOBOX, we’re there to give agents a one-stop-shop approach, giving them the guidance, services and tools they need to establish a successful social media presence, he adds.

What IS social media?
Social media is an umbrella term for a vast (and growing) selection of tools and services accessed either via the internet or web-enabled devices like mobile phones. Currently, the most popular sites and tools include Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube and Blogs. Each of these features a distinct offering:

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Kelly Millar

Kelly Millar is the National Marketing Services Manager at Metricon and also a published author and regular blogger