June 28th, 2012

Is Social Media Imperative to Business Success?

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There has been a lot of commentary within the real estate industry recently with regards to the use of social media. Opinions are divided amongst agents and principals on the use of social media with some stating that it shouldn’t be a key focus area.

There are currently over 11 million Facebook users in Australia making us number 19 in terms of world rankings. 52 per cent of the Australian population is on Facebook. The age group of 25-35 is the largest user of Facebook.  46 per cent of users are male while 56 per cent are female. The biggest growth group in the last three months is those aged 45 and 54.

Sadhana Smiles, Chief Executive Officer of Harcourts New South Wales, finds these statistics compelling but questions how well real estate industry professionals play the social media game.

“There are a number of channels available to us, and it seems that the person who effectively uses the most channels wins.

“Marketing to consumers is the most common and potent use of social media. Most top performing businesses and CEOs are using social media to open their doors, connect with their clients, show they care, and accept positive and negative commentary on their products and services,” Ms Smiles said.

“We sell real estate to people, and our business is based on people and relationships. Isn’t that what social media is about – social relationships?

“We use social media to get referrals, opinions, suggestions, and recommendations from a trusted source – your friends, family and the extended online community,” Ms Smiles continued.

Ms Smiles suggests that while social media shouldn’t be the only communication tool businesses employ to interact with people, it should be part of their overall communications strategy.

“As agents today I believe we need to have a number of channels to play in. It seems by virtue of popularity those channels should be Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and YouTube.

“It is worth hiring an expert to help you or your business put a social media strategy together. Remember, in social media it’s about connecting with your clients and becoming a trusted online ‘friend’,” Ms Smiles said.

In order to succeed in the current marketplace, Ms Smiles believes that businesses have to be globally connected, technology literate, mobile compliant and resilient.

“We no longer have a choice about social media. You don’t need experts to tell you that you need to be playing in this space. That answer is obvious.

“The person on the most channels, that connects with people and creates trusting relationships wins. Social media is simply one of those channels,” Ms Smiles continued.

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