Digital media essential for agents: YES or NO?

Darren Moffatt

Some fascinating articles today in Property Observer on the future of digital media and social media for real estate agents. There are two different pieces putting essentially opposing views, which is perhaps the perfect snapshot of how conflicted the industry is on this topic.

On the one hand, we have respected agent Robert Simeon arguing that the industry faces a looming 'kodak moment' where those that don't get on board with digital marketing will be left behind.

On the other, the CEO of REIV quotes a new survey of its members that indicate social media and online lags a long way behind word of mouth and other mediums for referrals.

My view is that both are right - kind of. Firstly, I would question the methodology of the REIV survey however. How were respondents selected? There's no question that many agents are using social media very effectively to attract and win new business. If take-up and effective use for social media however is only at 5-10% across the industry, then OF COURSE the survey results will poll poorly for social media generally.

My question to the REIV is: have you polled your membership on this important point? if so, you need to publish this alongside these latest poll results so we can see them in context. If, say, only 5% of agents ARE using social media, then a 1% Twitter result and 3% Facebook result for source of new leads is actually pretty good. I would be keen to hear comments from social media trainers and consultants working in real estate on this issue.

Having said that, this IS a 'kodak moment' for real estate agents, although existing social media platforms also may not be working for many agents. This is due to several factors:

  1. Education. It takes some training & skill to use social media effectively for real estate. There are some good people around who specialise in this, including some Housenet members; 
  2. Existing social networks are not designed for real estate.

This is where comes in. It's social media, just for real estate. Increasing numbers of agents are already getting on board with Housenet and embracing the opportunity it represents for:

  • Online personal branding
  • Deepening existing client relationships
  • Prospecting
  • Networking
  • Listing properties

Either way, those that fail to adapt to the burgeoning online world of real esate WILL be left behind. The internet has form when it comes to disruption of old business models, and real estate is no different. Just look at music and publishing. That old adage 'Adapt or Die' has never been more true.