Go easy on me people - this is my first post! This is quite topical for me at the moment. I am moving house and have quickly learnt that estate agents and solicitors both love the old methods of communication. They even make you sign a form that states you understand email isn't the most secure form of communication you can use! And storing all my personal details etc. on a piece of paper in a filing cabinet in your office is? So it started me thinking. If both parties in this process embraced new forms of communication, how easy would it be for the potential punter? Here are just a few ways they could use social media to improve their communications: 1) Twitter accounts per branch would allow tweets to be sent out about new properties added or sales agreed on. With the increased use of social media on mobile and the Twitter apps available, potential buyers and renters could access this information real time to find out what properties may interest them.
2) Open up communications on Twitter. If estate agents and solicitors monitored Twitter accounts regularly, then this may result in them attracting more business through quotes and valuation appointments. For agents, it could also mean that questions could be sent back and forth for a certain property. If this was integrated with the website, then these questions and answers could be displayed alongside the listing, as Ebay does so well with questions on an item. 3) Social media case tracking. Solicitors are in the dark ages when it comes to communication. They only want to hear from you via signed forms, phone calls and letters. Emails get a blunt reponse usually and are not trusted. Wouldnt it be nice if your solicitor offered an online case tracking system, which integrated with Twitter or Facebook? You could get a DM or message updating you on your case or passing on some vital information. This would speed the whole process up and take out a lot of the frustration in dealing with solicitors. 4) Facebook groups and pages for estate agents would be useful too. Uploading images and videos of properties onto Facebook would allow people to browse through a property without having to visit the agents website. In order to book viewings or request more info, the call to action would then be to contact the agents using the property ref shown on Facebook. 5) Be proactive. Agents and solicitors could post questions on Twitter about their services (Anyone got any questions on conveyancing?). They could post about interesting developments in cases or chains they are handling which is informative or could even post special offers on fees for a particular month. Some estate agents have made good strides in this however. The launching of iPhone apps is a great way of connecting with the right audiences (allbeit ignoring the growing Android market). These apps however can cost thousands to develop and whilst they have a huge amount of value in today's market, monitoring and utilising social media channels is much more cost effective and opens the lines of communication with potential purchasers. These days it's hard to find people in these businesses that you can trust instantly, and whilst social media shouldn't be seen as the only qualifying tool in selecting one of the parties, it is a sure fire way of connecting with a target audience who are increasingly using social platforms as their main forms of communication. Please feel free to leave comments as I would be interested in knowing your opinions! (Photo: Estate Agency Academy)