Since the advent of the internet, we have been living in an age of instant information. Everything that anyone would like to know has become accessible and is just a simple click of the mouse away. Computers and technology are elements that have transformed the way in which people interact and communicate with one another, making the world a smaller place. With technological advancement constantly pushing forward, the face of business and industry has been forced to adapt to the ever-changing environment in order to accommodate the new way in which business interactions are undertaken.
According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, within the real industry, agents have had to make adjustments to their marketing methods to ensure that they are integrating new forms of media into their marketing plans. “Gone are the days that real estate professionals could just use the traditional methods such as signboards, newspapers and flyers to promote and sell property. While these elements still have their place, property websites as well as social media channels play a pivotal role in the strategy used by real estate professionals to market their property listings,” says Goslett. “Since the introduction of the internet, consumer behaviour has changed considerably. As many as nine out of ten property buyers are first searching for properties on the internet before turning to any other form of media.”
While publishers and editors were once the only gatekeepers of the media world, the introduction of social online platforms has changed the balance. “Traditional media platforms still hold a part of the media networks, but social media has given consumers an influential voice, making them a new form of media network. Social hubs continue to grow and influence consumers in the real estate industry as well as other markets. In other words, it is the consumers themselves who have the power to impact the market and the opinions of other consumers,” explains Goslett.
He notes that both consumers and real estate professionals have the opportunity to share information, wisdom and speak their mind regarding the housing market or conditions that surround it. This has given estate agents the opportunity to market property in a different way, provided they change their approach. With the new generation consumer having the information readily available at all times, the relationship is no longer based on a trusted adviser capacity, but rather as another trusted resource. Buyers and sellers require the facts, figures, graphics and comparative market analysis from an agent that they can’t get from other resources.
According to Goslett, once an estate agent has become a conduit of information to the buyer and seller, their role would then be to guide them through the details of the transaction and help them make the best possible decision. “As a resource, the real estate professional will be able to provide access to the information and knowledge needed to conclude the transaction. However, it is the seller who will determine how that information is used. The buyers and sellers that do their own research will normally consult with the resources they have on social networks before they make a final decision,” says Goslett.
He concludes by saying that as social media networks and their influence on the market grows, the face of the real estate industry will continue to transform accordingly. There are approximately 500 million users on Facebook, of which more than 50% are within the home buying age bracket. That is a massive pool of potential buyers and sellers that can impact the market and the way in which their peers view property investment.