It seems that with each passing week, another report, study or survey is published pointing to the impact social media can have on a real estate agent’s marketing mix. Coincidently, this data suggests a direct correlation with the world’s largest and most powerful market segment: millennials. While many real estate agents are attempting to embrace social media channels in their marketing mix, real estate brokerages are noticeably absent.
It’s difficult to deny that social media has surpassed traditional media, including cable television, with respect to audience engagement, time spent, and media consumed. Equally undeniable is the fact that the largest, most socially engaged and technology-dependent demographic in the history of the world has made social media the most powerful marketing channel. Millennials have become the largest segment of buyers and potential buyers in the history of the United States. This shift in marketing is creating opportunities for real estate brokerages to build one-to-one relationships with this group of customers like never before. Brokerages should be investing aggressively in social media, becoming the experts at using this channel to engage and interact with tomorrow’s customers, today.
After almost two decades of consulting brokerages, I can imagine that most would be asking the 64 million-dollar question: How? Building relationships with millennials requires social media specialization to maximize value. It’s important to note that if you don’t already have a social media specialist on staff, it’s time to recruit and hire one, or find qualified third parties that can assist.
Statistical data proves that recommendations and referrals from people via social media channels convert to clients at more than 70 percent, which is incrementally better than the traditional 2-3 percent conversion rates from channels like online portal leads. Add to this the fact that in 2015 and 2016, almost 80 percent of all revenue generated in real estate was procured via spheres of influence, not from random strangers. While the methods for connecting with people are evolving, the concept of persuading and influencing customers through direct contact is a time-honored practice that works. The cliché that real estate is a belly-to-belly activity still holds true, though the approach is shifting dramatically. Social media presence and targeted engagement is proving to deliver the highest returns on investment for those that understand how social media “works.”
Additionally, brokerages that focus on social media as a cornerstone for their marketing mix are emerging as the leaders in recruiting efforts while simultaneously finding new customers and business opportunities for fractions of the customer acquisition costs compared to traditional methods. The greatest challenge for most brokerages is that they lack the necessary knowledge to create an effective and impactful social media strategy. Fortunately, companies like Elm Street Technology offer social media consultation at the brokerage level and provide free social media boot camps for agents onsite in the brokerage office.
If the plan is to grow your business with the largest demographic of consumers in world history—and you agree that social media is a cost-effective method—invest the time to create a robust social media strategy or invite professionals to help you map out a plan. Avoid being anti-social and embrace more millennials with a commitment toward building more relationships.
Frank Chimento is vice president of Brokerage Development at Elm Street Technology. For more information, please visit www.elmstreettechnology.com.
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