On the back of our investigations into digital marketing in the property sector, we decided to do some first-hand research into what the north-west's property agents think about social media and how they use it on a day-to-day basis.
We surveyed 26 property agents on their social media usage via a web survey and looked into various facets of how they perceive social media in terms of both industry and personal usage.
As well as looking at the raw figures in regard to usage, favoured platforms and time spent – we also asked for qualitative impressions on how property agents viewed social media and its use within their industry.
Facts and Figures
Personal Usage: Our agents' personal time spent on social media was pretty evenly split between Twitter and Facebook, with LinkedIn taking a backseat. Only one of our sample put forward Instagram as their platform of choice.
A similar picture was painted in terms of which platforms our surveyed property agents would favour when communicating with friends. Although it's worth noting that Instagram and even Pinterest made an appearance.
Only one respondent stated they wouldn't use social media at all when communicating with their nearest and dearest.
Corporate Usage: Facebook was nowhere to be seen in terms of company usage, however, with Twitter comfortably taking the top spot and LinkedIn a comfortable second place.
When communicating with colleagues, Facebook took a backseat to LinkedIn and Twitter, while two agents claimed they simply wouldn't talk to workmates via social channels.
Networking: When making new connections – either in or outside a work setting – LinkedIn was the overwhelming favourite, with Twitter and Facebook taking second and third place, respectively.
Only one agent said they would neglect social networking, while another put forward Tinder as their favoured means of making new connections.
Familiarity: Our property agents were, for the most part, no strangers to social media – with the majority having used them for between one to two years. More than 30% were also veterans, clocking up between two to four years on social networks.
Comfort: When asked how comfortable our agents would be using social media to make business connections, the majority claimed they'd be 'Quite Comfortable' with a couple stating they'd be 'Very Comfortable' and the remainder fairly evenly divided in being reasonably uncomfortable with the prospect.
New Business: Nearly 60% of our surveyed agents said they'd made a fruitful connection via social channels that had resulted in a new business opportunity.
Of these, just over 86% pointed to LinkedIn as the source of this connection, with Twitter coming second and a single respondent pointing to Facebook.
Marketing: All but two of our respondents used social media to market the schemes on which they are instructed, with Twitter standing out as the platform of choice.
Similarly, 24 out of 26 respondents would recommend using social media as part of the overall marketing programme for a property/scheme.
However, when it came to social media marketing, our agents were split down the middle in terms of providing advice – 50% rated themselves as 'Quite Comfortable' while the remainder were split between 'Very Uncomfortable' and 'Not comfortable'.
Who does it best? We'll let the numbers speak for themselves here, but OBI Property (whose use of video marketing we praised in our recent research) was the clear frontrunner.
One candid respondent also shared his view of the problems associated with selecting a company, noting it was "difficult to say as some use their corporate position and locals have more flair."
Thoughts and Feelings: As well as raw statistics, we looked for qualitative insights into the subject matter by asking how our respondents felt about the way social media was currently used in their industry.
"Not used much at all at the moment. Twitter has a place in marketing, don't see a use for Facebook in commercial property. LinkedIn has the potential to be useful, given that the property industry is so small everyone knows everyone anyway. Therefore the purported purpose of LinkedIn - to generate new business - becomes less relevant - it seems to be more of a tool for recruitment agents!"
"It's not a cure-all solution for property, but has a useful role to play and with today's evolving media, you need to be aware of all solutions and try and embrace a few. I don't think any are the best solution, but perhaps you need to be 'in/on it to win it' - you just never know who is reading/watching what."
"Social media still in its infancy in commercial property. Niche-based firms best exponents at the moments - but all the big firms are beginning to employ in-house digital marketing consultants."
"Not fully exploited by most agents."
"Promotion of property via social media is an idea which can easily be sold to clients, developers and agents. Mainly due to fear of not doing something which their competitors are, and for the fear of possibly missing out on the one enquiry which may make them [money].The reality, however, is less dramatic than say having a board on the property. Essentially, having 1,064 likes for a building will not end up letting the space, as most decision makers would not identify a highly expensive part of any business via social media alone. The real benefit is in providing a range of platforms for potential occupiers."
Do you agree with our respondents, or have any thoughts on how social media is used within the property industry? If so, don't hesitate to leave us a comment below or fire us over a tweet – we always want to hear your thoughts.
And if you're wondering on how best to implement social media for your scheme, or have any other questions on social media marketing – be sure to download our free guide for property companies today: