By Riti Verma
Changes in technology are reshaping how we do business. With these changes come many opportunities to gain a competitive edge in the real estate market.
Digital growth and expanded access to the Internet has caused a huge shift in how marketing campaigns are planned and advertising dollars are spent. Instead of focusing on traditional channels, savvy agents are increasingly turning to digital marketing to build their reputations and manage their brands.
The biggest technological impact on the real estate industry has been the ability for homebuyers to browse listings, both locally and globally, from the convenience of their computer or mobile devices. Across all age brackets, 42 per cent of last year’s homebuyers reported starting their property search online, without professional assistance. Only 17 per cent (a number that shrinks further among young buyers) of those who took action contacted a real estate professional from the outset of their search.
The agents who are able to successfully create a high-tech, high-touch approach to their customer service are the ones who rise to the top of their game. Leveraging the power of social media, while maintaining personal relationships, is the key to building a strong professional brand that resonates with the next generation of real estate buyers.
- 88 per cent of consumers trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
- Visitors who read reviews are 68 per cent more likely to convert to a sale.
- Those who read reviews are 30 per cent more likely to take action.
These stats demonstrate the power of social proof. Social proof or informational social influence is a third-party validation that can be a useful tool when it comes to consumer decision-making. In the era of digital marketing, it is absolutely essential to leverage the power of social proof to turn reviews into revenue.
How do you do that? By doing what social media does best: sharing!
Promote your personal brand and user-generated reviews using your social media channels. Your website, eblasts, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others are free platforms for you to share this valuable content with your network.
Here are five tips on how you can kick-start building social proof by using the power of online reviews:
1. Explain the importance of reviews
Many clients may not understand exactly how important reviews are in today’s digital age. Make sure that you point out how their feedback is instrumental in helping others just like them make an informed decision about the real estate professional they decide to use.
2. Don’t try to influence their feedback
Trustworthiness and integrity are at the core of a successful review platform. Instead of trying to influence what your clients write about you, make sure you provide the top-notch service that would warrant great positive feedback in the first place.
3. Rely on quality service, not incentives
Avoid offering any kind of incentive in exchange for a positive review. It is acceptable, however, to offer a small token of your appreciation to anyone who leaves feedback for you regardless of what they write.
4. Send passive reminders
Feel free to follow up with your clients after a successful transaction and ask them to leave feedback for you, but be aware that bombarding them with email or phone requests is likely to be counter-productive to establishing a great reputation. Instead, focus on passive methods of reminding clients to leave a review, such as posting links to your online profile across social media and through your newsletters or email signature.
5. Always acknowledge posted reviews
Make it a habit to acknowledge all reviews, regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.
Great reviews should be followed up with a personal thank you message, while less-than-stellar feedback gives you an opportunity to thank the reviewer for providing valuable insight that will help you improve your business going forward.
Today’s consumers want more than just a flashy marketing campaign or impressive stats – they want to use a professional that they can trust. Online reviews have grown to play a big part in gaining social proof and the trust of modern consumers. By working to build social proof you can stay ahead of the curve.