07.11.2014

Why Estate Agents Need Social Media

This morning, Ann Stanley, MD of Annica Digital, gave an excellent presentation on the importance of social media in business. It probably hasn’t escaped you that FM is quite fond of social media and we’d love you forever if your response to this information was “why go to a seminar? you’re already the most engaging and entertaining channel I follow/like/read at every opportunity.”

While that would be lovely of you, we know how important it is to keep learning and improving the service we offer.

Within the presentation, Ann touched on a few really key things which were both surprising and really quite interesting. We’ve decided to go off on a tangent slightly and explore one tiny stat in more detail, simply to illustrate the potentially massive implications of just one figure in the digital age.

So here’s your starter for 10. In a population of 70-ish million people, how many mobile phones would you estimate there to be? If you said 81 million, you’re clued up or cheating. Either way, have 10 points. Considering that many of the population are babies, young children and our respected elders who may not necessarily use mobiles, we find that number to be staggering. Essentially that means that quite a high number of people have got 2 phones and what are smartphones very famously used for? Checking social media.

This is incredibly important when you also consider that last month (September 2014), mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, overtook desktops as the most used media for online retail for the first time in human history.

So what does that mean for us? On the back of just that one stat, we can already start assessing whether our strategy is as relevant as it should be. How can we make sure that people are going directly from social media to our website? How mobile-friendly is our website? What does the brand look like on the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla when someone accesses it through their phone? How easy is it to get from Candy Crush to FleetMilne? All of these things need considering, just to stay with the times.

When you think of the inner workings of our office, we won’t be offended if your thoughts don’t immediately turn to Dan and Gary sitting in the flashing lights of their little tech bubble. However, you’d probably be amazed at the amount of time that goes into trying to make sense of analytical data which can track the journey each individual person goes on: from laughing at one of our hilarious jokes on Facebook, to clicking on a link to a property, to then booking a viewing and subsequently living happily ever after in their new home. The marketing guys (nerd squad) have to pinpoint critical moments within that behavioural pattern, translate that data into a marketing strategy to ensure we are doing more of whatever it is that prompted our new best friend to start the journey in the first place. In this case, if mobile phones run the world, then the guys need to make sure they know why people are looking at FM on their phone, when they’re looking at our various channels and what turns a casual glance at a phone into a potential new tenant or landlord.

Obviously retail and property have their differences and our data still shows us that we do more business on the back of desktop enquiries and word of mouth; but the margin between the two is not very wide at all these days. Plus, the retail industry could have said the exact same thing in August 2014, and look what happened there. Things change quickly and, to stay on top, we need to be taking full advantage of every avenue available, which means optimising absolutely everything to fit into current market patterns and pre-empt future developments in the way people behave.

So what’s the short summary? Mobile devices are now a huge player in most industries and will only continue to grow. Even when it’s a light-hearted post about something fun we’ve been doing, it’s all there to create brand awareness and loyalty, which then leads to our dear friends checking our channels more regularly, which then leads to seeing something they actually would like to live in, which then leads to a new customer. You see? The cogs are always turning.

As the advances get bigger, the devices get smaller and the user-journey gets quicker. We think the key to success is to put the time into staying on top of it and making sure we tailor our media to ensure everything we put out has a purpose. We’ve never done anything for the sake of it and we don’t intend to start now.

So now our attention turns to you. When you think about mobile interactivity, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Slideshare, Snapchat, Whatsapp and the huge variety of other platforms which people are using to engage with online content these days, how does your business stand up? Just food for thought.

Last thing, thank you very much to Ann for such a fantastic morning. We learnt a lot, some things we knew before and some we most certainly did not and all of it has proved incredibly useful.

#planetmobile #socmed #nerdsquad

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