The year was 2014, and we were in our first year of business. We bought ourselves some plane tickets and hopped along to sunny San Diego to attend Social Media Marketing World – the largest social media marketing conference in the world (and one heck of an opening night party on a decommissioned US Navy Aircraft Carrier – the USS Midway).
Back then, the conversation around social media was fundamentally different. Engagement was the buzzword—likes, comments, and shares were the metrics that dictated success.
The dialogues, workshops, and panel discussions revolved around building communities and fostering interactions on these burgeoning platforms. Fast forward to today, and the landscape has undergone a seismic shift. While engagement is still critical for fostering long-lasting relationships with an audience, the question has evolved from only asking “How do we build engagement?” to “How can we generate more revenue?”
This shift in perspective is not merely a change in conversation; it’s supported by the advent of advanced tracking technologies, seamless integration with CRM platforms, and a data-driven methodology that has radically altered our understanding of social media’s function in fostering business growth, particularly within the real estate domain.
Reflecting on those early discussions, one might wonder if the notion of social media as a tool for selling houses was ever considered plausible. Fast forward a decade, and the answer to this question is not just a matter of speculation but one of concrete evidence that we now have the data for.
Australia’s Social Media Habits (and why it matters)
Australians are spending an average of 1 hour 53 minutes per day on social media.
Facebook, for instance, garners more than five times the monthly traffic compared to realestate.com.au. Further accentuating this digital dominance, Australians spend 50% more time per session on Facebook than on realestate.com.au.
These statistics not only highlight the ubiquity of social media but also its potential as a formidable venue for real estate marketing.
With Australians spending nearly two hours a day on platforms like Facebook, the opportunity to capture attention before buyers even visit traditional real estate portals is immense – intercepting their traffic and bringing back to your own website.
This approach is not just about visibility; it’s about strategically positioning your listings to intercept and redirect potential buyers’ attention from social media directly to your own website or listing page.
Here’s why this strategy is crucial:
- Early Engagement: By engaging potential buyers on social media, you’re capturing their interest at an earlier stage in their property search journey. This early engagement is critical as it allows you to influence their preferences and considerations before they’ve committed to specific properties on real estate portals.
- Targeted Reach: Social media platforms offer sophisticated targeting tools that enable you to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviours. This means you can tailor your message and listings to those most likely to be interested, making your marketing efforts more efficient and effective.
- Direct Traffic Control: Redirecting traffic from social media to your website gives you more control over the user experience. You can present your listings in detail, showcase your brand, and use targeted calls to action to guide potential buyers through the enquiry or purchasing process.
- Data and Insights: Driving traffic to your own site provides valuable data on visitor behaviour, preferences, and engagement levels. This information can be used to refine your marketing strategies, improve your listings, and tailor your approach to meet the needs and interests of your target audience.
- Cost Efficiency: Compared to traditional advertising or the costs associated with listing on major portals, social media advertising can be more cost-effective, offering a higher ROI. By intercepting and redirecting traffic, you’re also maximising the impact of every marketing dollar spent.
- Competitive Advantage: Utilising social media to intercept potential buyers before they reach portals can give you a competitive edge. In a market where buyers are bombarded with options, securing their attention early can make the difference between a listing viewed and a listing missed.
The Tangible Metric of Success
I recall a quote from Social Media Marketing World in 2014 that went something like “You can’t deposit your Facebook likes”. Which means, that while your likes, shares video views etc are nice, they don’t mean anything if they’re not contributing to the sale of the property. And if you’re using your client’s VPA purely to build your profile on social media, that’s not a good strategy either.
When you’re proudly telling a client how many views or clicks you’ve had, they’re probably thinking… “That’s great. But how many open home attendees and offers have we received?” Often referred to as ‘vanity metrics’, likes, shares and video views really only tell part of the story.
What really matters is how many of those people enquired and attended an open home.
“You Can’t Improve What You Don’t Measure”
One of the reasons many agents are still only dipping their tow with promoting listings on social media, with a $50 or $100 budget here or there, is because of a knowledge gap that has existed since we started posting listings to social media.
We simply haven’t been able to measure how social media campaigns are/were contributing to enquiries or open-home attendance. Until now.
We recently launched a new feature on our Advance platform that allows agents to track how many people have engaged with their campaign and go on to attend an open home.
Understanding and applying these insights is not just beneficial; it’s a strategic imperative for anyone in the real estate industry.
The ability to demonstrate the direct impact of social media advertising on open home attendance and, by extension, on sales, is a powerful argument for allocating resources towards these channels. It’s about making informed decisions that drive results, leveraging data not only to justify but also to optimise marketing spend.
The Final Verdict
So, does social media sell houses? The answer is a resounding yes.
The evidence is clear: when leveraged with strategic intent and supported by data-driven insights, social media advertising not only sells houses but does so economically when compared to the spend on other mediums. This strategy, which places social media as a crucial piece alongside traditional portal spending, optimises marketing budgets, enhances exposure, and drives the metrics that matter most to sellers – open home attendance and, ultimately, sales.
Agents selling social media to vendors with “look how many likes we got on another property” will lose listings against agents armed with more solid data. And those vendors will spend more on social media advertising with their agents because they can see the real return on investment.
The evolution of social media’s role in real estate marketing is undeniable. With the ability to measure direct outcomes such as open home attendance, agents and sellers are equipped to make informed decisions about their marketing strategies and have a much more intelligent conversation with vendors about the role social media plays in the sale of their property.
Social media is no longer a mere adjunct to traditional advertising avenues but a potent, indispensable tool in the marketing arsenal. As the industry continues to evolve, the integration of social media into the marketing schedule will not only become more pronounced but essential for those looking to maximise exposure and return on investment.
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