word of mouth referralsIn the old marketing days, the biggest and best brands were the brands that had sufficient budget to throw at TV, radio and newspaper advertising. The rapidly changing landscape, spurred on by the rise of social media and brand discussions now led by consumers (and not businesses), has meant that smaller businesses have an immense opportunity to get some air time.

Consumers spend more and more time online, sharing their experiences and opinions on anything from personal stories, emotions and their feelings towards the businesses they interact with. Yes, that includes their local real estate agent too. These are the typical exchanges that clients could share about your real estate agency – both good and bad:

  • Promoting their own property online (linking to your website)
  • Reporting back on a negative experience in dealing with your agency
  • Telling friends and family how great your team has been to deal with

And the conversation doesn’t stop there. Consumers often invite and encourage others to engage in conversations about these issues, sometimes over an extended period of time. How can your agency leverage the power of consumer-led discussion to grow brand followers? Focus on good customer service and let your customers do the talking. Here’s why:

Consumers are constantly reviewing products and services

Consumers today are turning to social media to ask friends and family (or even strangers!) for reviews and advice about products or services they’re about to try. So before your customers even step foot into your agency or talk to one of your agents, they’ve most likely already done their homework on you. This ‘try before you buy’ mentality is a golden opportunity for your agency to stay top of mind with people looking to buy or sell a property.

Recommendations will boost your business

 A recent report by Nielsen called Trust in Advertising found that personal recommendations from friends and family are trusted over any other form of advertising by 84 per cent of consumers. The report also found that word-of-mouth recommendations also prompted the highest level of purchasing action.

As a real estate agent, assume that your potential customers are active contributors and creators rather than passive readers and downloaders. These days, both property vendors and buyers are well-informed and highly motivated, so make sure you tap into this energy.

Recommendations reduce risk

If a consumer is unsure whether your agency can deliver the goods on the sale of their property, they’ll feel reassured by the positive experiences by others. The sale of a property is significant, therefore the risk involved in securing the best price and the quickest sale is great. Ensure your agency attracts only positive reinforcement and your marketing efforts will be complemented by customers spruiking your agency.

You have no control over the discussion

Unlike the traditional testimonial, online discussions and reviews about your brand are unfortunately not in your control. The plus side of this is that the discussions are more powerful – because they’re unbiased and therefore more believable.

To get customers raving about your brand isn’t easy. ‘Good’ customer service doesn’t tend to raise eyebrows. Your agency will need to go way above and beyond to excite and delight enough to start an online discussion. Securing a great (quick) sale is a great way to do this!

Bloggers are the new influencers

Blogging is a self-publishing phenomenon which empowers individuals with voice and the opportunity to build decent authority. Blogging communities have a strong sense of community, which encourages relationships and ties. Consequently, bloggers rely on other bloggers for news, information and opinion to quote and reference each other too. Be the brand that’s top of mind when the next real estate story comes up.

Your social media channels are a great way to host the discussion

Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all offer opportunities to bring the conversations a little closer to home. By doing this, your agency has a better opportunity to become aware of such discussions and join in where appropriate. You’ll also have a good platform to encourage your followers to contribute their own opinions or views about your company or about real estate in general.

For more online marketing tips, check out our other posts Social media for real estate: how to build an army of followers and Successful blogging for real estate.

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