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Social media can be a hugely powerful tool for business of all types when it’s used correctly.
If you want to get your estate agency in front of a local audience, Facebook, in particular, has many benefits. It’s not only the most widely used social media platform on the planet, but it also allows you to post different types of content including detailed articles and video.
The first step is to create a branded Facebook page for your business. It’s free to do and relatively easy to set up.
The mistake many businesses make is they don’t fill in all the different page sections so it’s important to make sure you do that. Use quality images and don’t forget to include your estate agency details such as an address, contact details and link to your website.
As with any marketing activity, any content you post must have a reason to exist. You need to be clear about what you are trying to achieve with every piece of content.
Many businesses take an ad hoc approach and don’t have much in the way of a strategy when it comes to posting content. They quickly get disheartened when the platform doesn’t deliver the results they were expecting. Goals might include:
Settle these in your mind and produce content that is designed to achieve specific results.
Great content gets shared. That may sound simple but it’s the foundation of social media for businesses, especially Facebook. Here are our four top tips for getting it right:
Keeping your Facebook page live is important. You should be posting at least a couple of times a day with content that is relevant and engaging. This doesn’t have to be a post selling a property either, it could be something you’ve seen somewhere in the news that you think your audience will be interested in.
Quality content is vital and it’s what will keep your audience watching out for what you post next and leaving messages in the comments section. Ensure that the content is well-written, has a purpose and comes with a high-quality image (posts with images or video tend to get shared more).
Don’t forget, however, that posting too much can be negative too. If you are filling someone’s timeline with countless messages, they are likely to tune out and turn you off. It’s important to get the balance right.
Widening the scope of what you post is also essential. While you’re operating within a specific niche, you can afford to stray beyond the boundaries.
Yes, you want to post those property details but you can also include interesting news articles, advice on how to hunt for a house and even humorous articles related to your industry. You can even use live video to give your fans a virtual tour around a property if you want to spice things up.
Take the time to join local groups and get involved. Offer advice to those that are looking for it. If someone writes a good review on your site, reply and thank them. If they write a bad review, also reply. See if you can help them out, apologise or explain how you have put in measures to prevent a particular problem happening again.
In addition, take the time to connect with other local businesses and build a relationship with them, share their posts and comment on their Facebook pages. You’ll usually find at least a few who will return the favour.
In short, don’t always be in a hurry to sell.
Like many organic marketing activities, building a presence on Facebook so that it contributes to sales and provides exposure for your business takes time and effort. Set aside a period each day to engage with the site and keep at it.
Finally, there is another, more direct way to use the platform and that’s through paid Facebook Ads. This allows you to target a specific audience, in your case, people who are looking to buy or sell a property in your local area.
The platform allows you to set your budget and target a wide range of demographics and interests. Get it right and it can prove a valuable tool in addition to your organic Facebook page development.
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There is no doubt that technology is changing the wider business world in many different ways. We spend much more time online shopping, for example, than we did just over a decade ago when smartphones first appeared on the market.
But can new technology such as chatbots and messenger apps make a difference to a business such as an estate agent?
A chatbot is a piece of software that mimics human beings and answers questions or queries from potential customers or a website’s users.
If you’ve ever complained about a company on social media and got a reply directly from them, it’s most likely an AI program that is producing automated responses rather than a real human being.
Many businesses have either a chatbot or a messenger app on their site which visitors can use to ask specific questions. These can either be powered by AI or be manned by real humans or a mixture of both.
The early technology in this field was pretty unremarkable and led to the growing opinion that AI chatbots weren’t much use. In the last five years, however, AI has come on leaps and bounds.
In fact, most people conversing with a chatbot don’t realise they aren’t dealing with a person at all.
This is a slightly apocryphal notion. People want their questions answered and are not at all bothered that it’s being delivered by a chatbot, whether on a business website or social media.
Chatbots are becoming the standard on many business sites, especially those that provide a service. You will find them on legal sites as well as healthcare providers such as chiropractors and physiotherapists.
Some of these are automated, others are direct contact systems with specialist advice from staff members which can give a much wider range of advice and guidance in real-time.
The use of chatbots is becoming more nuanced than a simple FAQ provision. You can now use ads on Facebook, for example, that link directly into the Messenger app. This enables you to target your ads at particular audiences and tailor the conversation to improve engagement and boost conversions.
The majority of chatbots are text-based where someone types their question into an online box. With the rise of home communication systems like Alexa, however, the future is likely to be in voice-activated systems.
It’s well worth investigating the potential for using chatbots and messenger services for your estate agency. As a cost-effective way to engage potential customers, it also provides you with another opportunity to move both buyers and sellers down your sales funnel for better conversion rates.
Estate agents are increasingly using technology to deliver a better service to home buyers and sellers across the UK. With the trials and tribulations of the Covid-19 pandemic, this move towards more innovative approaches has been given even greater impetus in recent times.
Here we take a closer look at how video technology such as 3D tours, augmented reality and VR can have a beneficial impact within the industry.
The great news about today’s tech is that it is a lot cheaper than it used to be. Online resources mean you can create virtual property tours at a low cost but without compromising the quality. And they can make a big difference in how you build interest and attract buyers.
There are several benefits to creating virtual tours for the properties that you currently have on your books. First of all, they give potential buyers the chance to view the location without having to travel to and physically walk around the building.
These tours are available 24/7 and can be accessed on devices such as mobile phones and tablets as well as desktop computers. A buyer could view the property while they are travelling on the train, from the comfort of their own home, even when they are abroad on holiday.
The traditional practice of posting images of a property is all well and good but virtual tours offer much greater detail and are highly engaging. A 360° image of the kitchen, for example, means that the viewer can see everything in one image, zoom in to specific details and get a real feel for what the place looks like.
Virtual tours using VR are a little more complicated but give the buyer the chance to ‘walk’ through the building from room to room as if they were there in person.
A lot of time is spent by most estate agents taking buyers around properties. Buyers often look at several different properties before making up their mind.
A virtual tour should help this process move quickly because buyers got more insight and make up their mind without needing a physical visit to the property.
These are highly dynamic and engaging. The image starts with a birds-eye view of the property and the viewer can then zoom into particular rooms. A 360 image means they can see every part of each room and look at it all in much greater detail. The software then allows users to zoom out again and pick another room. This kind of tour can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet.
These are more sophisticated and allow you to ‘walk’ through the property. If you want, you can also add a virtual estate agent or voice-over to point out areas of particular interest. This tech usually requires a VR headset but smartphones can be converted using a relatively cheap casing that costs just a few pounds nowadays.
There’s no doubt that virtual tours can help bring any property to life. You don’t have to spend so much time getting the flat or house ready each time you have an enquiry. You also ensure you only get people who are very interested in the property when they book a physical viewing.
There’s no doubt that the last few months have taken their toll on all sorts of businesses, not just here in the UK but around the globe.
While estate agents in England are beginning to take tentative steps to reopen their operations, keeping up to date with the current guidance can be challenging.
Here we take a closer look at what a world in the shadow of Covid-19 will look like and how estate agents can continue to prosper and provide a service to buyers and sellers alike.
Once you start researching and reviewing how your estate agency will operate from a Covid-19 point of view, the list of things you need to have in place can seem overwhelming.
These are just a few fo the questions that businesses all across the UK are trying to find answers to. The guidelines for England have been out for a few weeks now when it comes to buying and selling a house and they are worth taking a closer look at. Check out the current guidance here.
Estate agents, under normal circumstances, will undertake numerous viewings on one property before a buyer comes forward. Fortunately, there is a lot of technology available nowadays that can help streamline this process and reduce the number of physical viewings.
3D tours and virtual reality viewings give potential buyers the chance to take a much closer look at a property and decide whether it meets their needs and if they want a physical visit to be arranged.
Any way that you can incorporate technology into your sales process will help reduce physical contact and reduce risks. That includes using video conferencing, for example, rather than face to face contact.
Coming out of lockdown isn’t about lifting restrictions and going back to normal. Your estate agency may be open for business but that doesn’t mean people will want to come out for viewings. Certainly, they won’t want to if they aren’t confident you have the appropriate safety measures in place.
Communication is vital here. It’s important to make sure that you have the relevant and easily accessible information about viewings on your website and talk directly to people to lay down the ground rules and set their minds at ease.
Once you get to the stage of running a physical viewing, the Government advises having a set process in place that you stick to each time.
Another safeguard that estate agents might like to consider is asking the vendor to vacate the property when someone is being shown around. This means there is less of an issue with distancing and the environment can be better controlled and cleaned properly afterwards.
Most estate agents in England are implementing changes such as these to their business practices right now. One of the biggest challenges is how this new reality is maintained over a longer period.
Covid-19 is likely going to be with us for some time to come and it’s not a process change that we need to put up with for a few weeks but many months and perhaps for much longer.