Estate agency software providers go social

| November 23, 2009 | 6 Comments

PropertyADD Estate Agency Software have announced the release of a new function enabling agents to send twitter updates straight from their desktops to their community of followers. The new development, the first of its kind from one of the major UK estate Agency software companies, fits in with the movement of agents wanting to embrace social media as a way to personalise their online activity. Having spoken to other software providers I know that others are looking at ways to follow suit.
 
The system automatically creates a tweet for agents to customise and then send out and whilst I certainly wouldn’t recommend agents splurge out all their listings via twitter, as part of a balanced communications plan this functionality is ideal for new instructions, price reductions and pre-marketing teasers.  

Martin Smith of PropertyADD says “Twitter is really taking the social media world by storm and we want to ensure we make the tools available to streamline our client’s activity in this area. By adding this functionality we have simplified one aspect of using twitter so that agents can focus more time interacting in other ways.
 
This new feature sits alongside PropertyADDs ‘Clever Website Technology’ package, a suite of tools focussed on improving the interaction between an agent’s web site and its visitors. This package includes an agent blogging tool and I personally think agents that don’t have a regularly updated blog are seriously missing a trick. 
 
When it comes to company web sites, most agents settle for a brochure style site which gives no opportunity for interaction. Tools such as these can play an important part in helping you to get to grips with this interactive approach and can help you to focus effort on producing the kind of content that will interest your community and set you up as credible experts. 

 

 

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Category: Estate Agency Software, Estate Agents, Marketing, Social Media

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  1. New Media, marcomms and the interactive audience | The Inside Edge | March 17, 2010
  1. James says:

    Thanks for another useful article Ben.

    It’s funny I was just thinking this morning: were I an estate agent (which I am not) would I bother with social media – or would I use my efforts/ budget to improve the core business – i.e. customer service, local reputation, finding buyers and sellers, local networking.

    After all, the time and effort invested in social media marketing (facebook, blogging, twitter etc..) could be a good few hours a day which for a small business could be used on more local promotion in the area the business operates.

    Most of the estate agents’ tweets and blogs I’ve come across have either been hilariously raw, honest and entertaining, but enough to totally put you off selling your house with them (http://agentsdiary.blogspot.com) or totally dull and half-hearted rubbish about the new photocopier arriving and BTW a new 3 bed house in Lancashire has come onto the market (very useful for your 2459 followers based in Asia and the US).

    I think estate agents are ‘having a go’ at social media out of fear of being left behind or not seen to be at the forefront of developments, when realistically the effort only rewards a tiny percentage of their target market who are using social media.

    Your point about making estate agents’ websites more interactive is a good one and incisive – but why invest in this for a single office agency when the national portals can do this so much more effectively and better than you can?

    Leave twitter to the big brands – focus on getting your customer service and local reputation right, thats my advice.

    rgds,
    James

    More property news and views at http://www.thebigpropertylist.com or follow us on twitter @TheBPL

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    • housingdabble says:

      Hi James,

      Thanks for the comments – it is interesting to hear your perspective as a for sale by owner portal

      I can see why you are unimpressed with the social media efforts of the majority of estate agents as the majority are still learning how to make this activity work for them and I have to agree that it is the smaller number that are being successful.

      However, I disagree with your view that estate agents should leave it to their portal to interact with clients or to leave twitter to the big brands. The portals are not effectively representing them in client interaction in any way shape or form and rather it is the agents themselves as local businesses that are in the best position to fulfill this role – never rely on someone else to promote your business. Social media can be used to enhance customer service (feedback sites and assistance etc) and build a local reputation with people that want to engage and will recommend to their wider networks if you get it right.

      I know of a number of agents that are doing just this and seeing great results from their efforts in comparison to other activity they were doing

      Ben

  2. James says:

    Hi Ben,

    I’m sure it would be helpful to hear more about how the successful agents are using social media. Do you have any case studies or future articles in mind to share these experiences?

    My anticipation is that it’s more the large city chains of the foxtons ilk that are using social media to best effect rather than the 1 branch independant in Exmouth.

    I’m not saying agents should entrust their business promotion to a portal – just the enhanced website features such as map views, local information, house price comparison, mobile access etc..

    It’s pretty easy to add your blog and twitter account to a website, its just the effort and relevance to your customers as compared with investing your time in other areas.

    Small agents have to justify ROI on any investment, and yes balance this with experimenting with new ways to communicate.

    However my view is that the communication is more important than the medium.

    J

    • housingdabble says:

      Yes James, there are many examples I can/will give of agents that have had success in this area. I have had the pleasure of speaking at a few events over the last month where I go over a few specific case studies and I will share them in future posts.

      Interestingly, they range from single branch agencies through to larger chains and I am also in discussion with a couple of national firms at the moment who are looking at straetgies to launch their own activity.

      Measuring ROI is extremely difficult in this area and I am not sure the debate will be settled in the near future. It’s like saying how do you measure all the different phone conversations you have with clients and whether you get a return on your time. Most agent I know who have tried to measure return on multiple activities have found it very difficult to attribute results to specific activity and end up relying on a bit of gut feeling.

      I heard someone say recently that ‘it’s never as good and it’s never as bad’ and I would say this sums up the need for a measured approach. It can stea lots of time if you get lost in the ‘habit’ but equally it can also bring direct results and improve a number of avenues of the business.

  3. Awesome post. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. Keep up it…….

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