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17th Nov, 2012 Real Estate Investment

Social Technologies Changing the Real Estate Industry

The recent disappointing share price performance of several big names in the social media industry may have taken the wind out the industry’s sails, but there is little debate that social technologies are changing the manner in which real estate companies are conducting their marketing and customer service.

Historically, real estate firms have not been early adopters–eagerly willing to embrace new technology. Social media technology has not been an exception! Without any obvious impact to a firm’s bottom line, social media is difficult to justify. Yet the real estate industry is slowly realizing that there is real value in engaging with the online community and building trust. Social media allows companies to market themselves without the costs associated with traditional print advertising and/or PR.

Corcoran Group, the largest residential real estate firm in New York City, is exemplary of the manner in which a real estate agency has used social media to disrupt the industry. Corcoran Group uses Facebook to do so much more than just post images of the fanciest lofts that they are marketing. For example, the company includes commentary on the state of the housing market, interviews from highly reputable interior designers, tips on which new restaurants have the tastiest burgers and recommendations on where the most breathtaking rooftops are located in Manhattan. Corcoran does, however, not limit itself to Facebook. Other content includes a 430-video YouTube channel, a Tumblr blog and a Foursquare account. Foursquare is a location-based, social-networking website which Corcoran uses to interact with its customers and provide suggestions about key must-visit locations in New York such as the company’s choice of the top twenty eight dinner spots in the City (on a side note, my personal favourite, Balthazar, has made the list) or the addresses of the coolest pools in NYC where you can soak up the summer heat.

One social media platform that is consistently and surprisingly underutilized by real estate developers is YouTube. As YouTube is owned by Google, videos have the benefit of achieving the most desirable search engine preferences when compared with other content. Trident Real Estate Capital showcased its most recent prime multi-unit residential development, 52 Marine Parade, using YouTube with the intention of broadcasting it to a broader audience. The benefit of using visually rich media can be seen by viewing our video below:

There is little doubt that social media is a valuable marketing tool for real estate companies. With an increasing variety of social media outlets, together with the limited resources most companies have at hand, real estate firms will find it increasingly difficult to decide where to focus their energies.

Is there a single successful model that optimises social media? Perhaps you can help me out by sharing your thoughts below.