From SMEs to MNCs to whole industries, businesses of all sizes have begun the great migration into social media. One of the newest members of this great movement is the real-estate industry, having already made noticeable strides in harnessing the power of social media.
This trend began in the US by real estate professionals who saw moving into social media as a gateway to recovery from the housing crisis. The world has caught on since. Singapore too has seen a surge in social media usage by real estate professionals, which compliments, and will probably, soon completely replace the flyers, mailers, billboards and television commercials we are currently used to.
Ascott, CapitaLand’s wholly owned serviced residence unit, has been in the forefront of social media practice among real estate players in Singapore since 2009. Today the group has a healthy following of over 20,000 fans across different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
“Fans following our Facebook page as well as our Twitter feed are privy to exclusive deals, promotions and contests that are only available through our social media platforms. Ascott has also received reservation enquires which translated into actual bookings at our serviced residencies,” said Tony Soh, Chief Corporate Officer of The Ascott Limited.
Belysa Executive Condominium recently had great success, having sold out their 315-unit apartment in just two months! Since May of this year, when they first started offering their units to buyers, their Facebook page saw quite a buzz among prospective buyers. A quick glance at the Belysa page will tell you that they’ve shared the right amount of information, carried out timely and quality engagement with their page visitors and drawn in a healthy amount of traffic into their page.
Blossom Residencies at Segar Road and RiverParc Residence at Punggol - City Development’s latest projects - hope to achieve success similar to Belysa. Their brand-new Facebook pages seem to have gotten off to a good start; it will be interesting to see how their progress unfolds.
More real estate professionals now need to go beyond building four walls and a roof and create a virtual ‘go to place’ where potential buyers and sellers can have an interactive engagement avenue.
However, most real estate agents in Singapore still think of social media as an avenue to blast out information, not realizing that maintaining dialogue to engage customers is an important aspect of customer relations, and making conversation one-way is just not good enough to maintain a relationship with your customers.
Singaporean’s trust in consumer opinions posted online is relatively high, according to Nielsen. However, social media usage has not been fully realized in the Singapore real estate market. Individual real estate professionals have not yet discovered the full extent of the power of social media, and unless they do, they will not be exploring the full potential of their marketing efforts.
With HDB announcing 25,000 new flats for 2011 and with 10,000 new private homes expected to enter the market in the second half of 2011, real estate professionals need to reach out to Singapore’s rising housing demand - and they can do so by actively and strategically engaging in social media.
In places like the US where social media has become part and parcel of businesses, it is not surprising that 84% of real estate professionals have turned to social media to actively engage with clients, garnering considerable results with leads, sales and brand building. And with 94% of home buyers who look to the internet before making a purchase decision, real estate agents have been successful in making sure their listings, information, advice etc. reach out to the largest number of prospective buyers and sellers.
Could Singapore’s real estate market soon reach a similar figure? Perhaps they can. Judging from the recent Singapore elections and the realization of the effectiveness and reach of social media, the real estate industry in Singapore could do well by fully embracing the potential of social media.
Companies can build excellent customer relations by engaging their consumers online; they can monitor online chatter about themselves, their competitors or the industry at large. or simply build brand recognition - the possibilities are endless.
Social Media is changing the way we do business. Scott Monty, head of social media at Ford puts it perfectly; “LinkedIn is the business meeting, Facebook is the hallway conversation and Twitter is the cocktail party.”