Recently I posted on the Facebook page the successful use of Instagram by some international Real Estate agents to sell their properties. Subsequently, I met a Real Estate Agent who proceeded to tell me that ‘Social Media sales’ is all hype, and his efforts on the platform were not generating any success.
I listened attentively to his expression of disappointment and it occurred to me that he was expecting too much of the communication channel. I reminded him that a buyer goes through a decision-making process to purchase a property. Marketing 101 teaches us that this process can be captured in the mnemonic AIDA, with each letter representing a stage in the process.
AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. The prospective buyer goes through each stage sequentially before arriving at ‘Action’, which is the start of taking action to purchase. She is first made ‘Aware’ of the property, then she has to have an ‘Interest’ in the property, followed by a ‘Desire’ to own. Most prospects drop off at one stage and do not make it to the ‘Action’ stage. Hence the process is sometimes described as a funnel, the ‘Sales Funnel’.
Social Media is good at generating ‘Awareness’ and if well done may start the stage of ‘Interest’ but it certainly cannot generate ‘Desire’. ‘Desire’ is generated the old fashioned way, one on one personal selling. Usually the prospective buyer has to visit the property to desire it. And we need to get through ‘Desire’ before we arrive at ‘Action’. Social Media can therefore help with generating leads. When one sees it in the correct perspective, it becomes valuable in identifying prospective buyers who may be willing to traverse down the decision-making path.
Marketing 101 also teaches us another gem of an idea which we often forget. Persons only see things when they are in the market for such an item or service. If one has no interest in purchasing a home, all advertising for homes become, for the most part, invisible. When we wish to purchase a home our awareness peaks for all communication on homes. We are open to such communication. Marketers speak of a window of awareness in a particular product or service.
Social Media therefore acts as a magnate for prospective buyers, but has no effect, is invisible, to non-prospective buyers. It saves us time from pursuing persons with no immediate interest in purchasing a property. It acts as a sieve, only allowing prospective buyers of properties to become aware of your social media posts. Social Media, well used can be a very effective tool in marketing your Real Estate services. It is also very cost effective in generating awareness among certain pre-determined groups of persons with specific attributes, by using paid for advertising. In fact advertising on social media costs a fraction of broadcast advertising, and can be much more targeted. BUT DON’T EXPECT IT TO SELL YOUR PROPERTIES FOR YOU.