Social media has cornered the market on marketing.
More and more businesses create Facebook and Twitter accounts every day, including realtors. Over one billion people are on Facebook, including half of adults in the United States, and Twitter boasts more than 400 million among its ranks.
“Everything has become about social media,” said Lisa Jackson, owner of Rockaway Properties in Belle Harbor. “When we started our Facebook page, we had hundreds of likes immediately.”
Rockaway Properties uses their Facebook and Twitter account to show homes and connect with their clients. After Superstorm Sandy, they used social media less as a tool for promoting the business and more as a way to relate with people and their struggles with the storm’s aftermath.
“We didn’t show as many properties, it was more about community relations at that point,” Jackson said. “We shifted to Sandy aid and places to go and what was happening in Rockaway.”
Roughly 92 percent of home buyers use the internet as part of their search, according to a 2014 report from the National Association of Realtors.
Parkside Realty of Kew Gardens was lucky to be spared the brunt of Sandy because of its location just north of Jamaica Avenue. In addition to having its own Facebook page, Parkside Realty encourages its agents to post on their personal social media accounts.
“As soon as it hits social media, we’ve been inundated with replies and requests for the [particular] home or apartment,” said Regina Schaefer-Santo, a Realtor with Parkside Realty. “I think we’ll be looking to expand with social media, maybe with a Parkside Instagram. We don’t have one right now,” she added.
Many of the social media posts by Rockaway Properties and Parkside Realty pertain to real estate news and design trends in addition to property listings.
“Every day we hope to post something real estate-related,” Jackson said.
Even as the use of internet and mobile apps has increased among home buyers, 89 percent still use realtors, and 2/3 of them work with the first agent they contact, according to a 2014 report from Properties Online Inc. Some studies have shown as much as 70 percent of buyers and sellers find their real estate agent through social media.
Additional research indicates that 73 percent of customers are likely to choose an agent that creates videos, even though only 9 percent of real estate agencies said they are comfortable with the technology, according to Properties Online Inc. Rockaway Properties agent Nia Casilla is one of the few who reaches out with videos posted on YouTube with listings and market advice for people in the home buying market.
In addition to social media, companies are increasingly using real estate listing websites. Parkside Realty and Rockaway Properties both post with the Multiple Listing Service, which posts on sites such as Zillow.com and Trulia.com.
Jackson said she isn’t sure how many clients have chosen her business because of social media, but it has been a great tool for them.
“I personally think for the younger generation, everything is online,” Jackson said. “The way to reach a lot of our buyers and sellers is through Facebook.”
By Greg Zwiers