Economy

Social media not for all as agents abandon Twitter

Alistair Walsh /

Social media is often touted as among the most important marketing techniques of recent years, but many real estate agents are abandoning the platform.

Many agencies have stopped tweeting in recent months after lengthy periods of activity.

A recent survey by REIV found Twitter was little use in attracting clients.

“Online is … clearly having an impact, but that does not extend to social media,” says REIV chief Enzo Raimondo.

“Social media, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter had practically no value, endorsed by only 1% to 3% of respondents.”

The REIV 2012 member poll surveyed 600 Victorian real estate agents.

“This reflects the fact that buyers and sellers are used to engaging with real estate online. They seek advertisements on real estate websites, such as realestateview.com.au, but are far less likely to come across a real estate agent’s Twitter account.”

“With regard to engaging with clients, social media has a long way to go until it is a familiar tool.”

The survey found the most valuable tool for finding clients was word of mouth, followed by real estate portals and agent websites.

At the recent Inman Real Estate Connect conference in San Francisco, agents were advised not to use Twitter to spruik themselves but to be personable and build relationships.

“Agents who use social media well understand that it’s all building a relationship with a potential client, not focusing on the transaction,’’ Ray White’s Sam White told conference goers.

“Most people get the idea of getting a recommendation from a friend. This is just doing that on steroids, but you have to do it sensibly.”

Real estate agency Bennison Mackinnon had run a somewhat active account Twitter account from July 2010 but stopped tweeting as of March this year.

Director and sales manager Andrew McCann says the company’s social media use required greater engagement in the community than what had been doing in the past.

“We didn’t have the right strategy, it wasn’t a case of not getting results,” McCann says.

“We started tweeting our optimum results, but the reality is you need to be giving people better information than whether something has been listed or sold.

“It’s a community opportunity to communicate with people in our marketplace rather than just beating your own drum.”

He says social media shouldn’t be discounted as a useful tool, even if it doesn’t directly sell properties.

“It is interesting and it probably is true that agents aren’t really selling properties off Twitter or Facebook, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a useful tool.”

“We’re currently investing in a social media strategy which will use Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and potentially other newer ones that might come out.”

Other dramatic endings to Twitter Property Observer found included Ray White Willoughby, which stopped tweeting in March after 1,828 tweets; DM Realty in Townsville, which stopped tweeting in July after 762 tweets; and Colliers Parrish, which stopped tweeting in December last year after 367 tweets.

For advice on navigating hotspots, download our free eBook: Tools for Getting Through the Hotspot Maze. This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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