There was a distinct murmuring among fellow Twitterers today, led by PR-guru Nigel Morgan about two estate agents (I shall spare their blushes in this blog as I know many, many agencies are guilty) who are using Twitter simply as a free advertising platform.
The agents in question have been posting Tweets solely along the lines of “4 bed house for sale”, presumably not realising that simply bombarding users with whatever you’ve got on the books is not the most effective form of marketing or indeed efficient way of spending office hours.
So what are they doing wrong? Twitter is a fantastic way of connecting with relevant people much more easily than with Facebook or LinkedIn. It is a useful tool for building relationships, trust and perhaps eventually mutually beneficial backscratching. It takes time, effort and a little bit of knowledge. You would be well advised to seek the advice of Nigel or Twitterer-extraordinaire, Nikki Pilkington. Tweets should be a healthy mix of useful updates, informal conversation and relevant links.
What is it about estate agents? Having worked as head of marketing for a chain of rural property agents for three years, there was a certain viewpoint (some might say lazy) that actually the properties sold themselves and reflected the brand. This was true to a certain extent in the days of the property boom. However, since the slump, agents need to be looking at proactively MARKETING themselves (this is NOT the same as making quick sales). They need to be smart about it, researching who is likely to be buying or selling in their area and using all tools at their disposal, make contact with these people and begin to build relationships. Estate agents are notoriously regarded as being untrustworthy, so selling to these people is an absolute no-no until the relationship is firmly established.
Yes, it takes a lot of effort, but you will be broadening your network of potential vendors/purchasers and promoting your brand – vital for when the market recovers. You wil also find that a little bit of common sense marketing makes a lot more financial sense in the long run than hiring a long line of trendy sales speakers.