Technology is rapidly evolving; spurring an endless array of new gadgets and real estate marketing tools. So what are some of the latest additions to the lineup, and are any of them a viable replacement for good old fashioned human interaction?
Leaving Facebook in the Dust
New technology leaves social media platforms like Facebook in the dust. Facebook is still be an incredibly powerful real estate marketing tool for connecting homes with buyers, maintaining relationships and maintaining SEO for real estate websites. However, with revelations via Inman News that real estate brands can now only expect a measly 2% to 6% of their fans to see their posts and updates without paying extra, it’s no secret the platform is losing its appeal and value.
Facebook was once an essential real estate marketing tool because everyone was on it at one point or another. If they didn’t have a strong presence, they were losing business and credibility. Now that Facebook has lost its appeal as a free real estate marketing tool and new micro-blogging options have emerged, it may no longer be the ‘must-have’ it once was.
We’re now in the Instagram generation, with even shorter attention spans. The public has been trained to tune out most forms of advertising, regardless of their promises. They are increasingly frequenting inbound marketing via search, as well as embracing more personalized mobile push notifications, which alert them to things they are really interested in. However, while there are several incredibly valuable and powerful digital real estate marketing channels garnering adaption, some are finding that human interaction is still relevant.
Digital Marketing Trends
Instagram and YouTube continue to be far more useful to younger generations. These social platforms match their attention and interest demands. Of course, not all home buyers use these platforms, so what else is being developed?
Drones have reportedly been increasingly put into use by real estate professionals. They are being used for taking aerial photography, showcasing home listings in an exciting way, and even for monitoring properties for regular property management.
Augmented reality is also making leaps and bounds. From virtual reality glasses to wearable tech, and interactive print and signage, augmented reality is literally blurring the lines between on and offline. This merger is becoming the new norm, offering house hunters the best off all worlds at the same time.
One of the most exciting, and valuable digital trends for buying and selling homes has been micro location and mobile marketing in the form of iBeacons. At CT Homes, we highlighted this new Apple technology last year and its potential for use in real estate. Since then, iBeacon technology has been adapted specifically for real estate applications. Now using Bluetooth and mobile technologies, the public can receive instant notifications on their mobile devices, alerting them to nearby homes for sale, demonstrations of home features, and even allow for interactions like digital offers based on movement.
No Replacement for Real Live Human Interaction (Yet)
Far from replacing real world interactions, tech developments seem to have only made offline, in person and brick and mortar engagement even more important, and more valuable. Many young tech startups are now going from being exclusively online, to transitioning to brick and mortar storefronts. Real estate professionals are turning from being 100% virtual to more real networking, and a few leading brands are recognizing that providing human customer service can help them standout.
By no means is this a pass for ignoring technology, or failing to embrace and get ahead of the latest digital trends. Rather, it highlights how virtual and reality can work together to provide a superior experience, solidify positioning as a brand leader, and maximize conversions. This also does not mean that offline is a cure for poor online performance, or that going offline will provide any magical boosts to results without the right strategy, tactics, and great people.
In person networking is great for individuals looking to build a lasting relationship and working rapport. Whether at an open house, in a coffee shop, or in new style real estate storefronts, humans are taking on a new role. They are essentially becoming curators of personal experience.
Others, of course, have increased their value to their clients and their companies. Humans can either dramatically boost their value, or delete it. Think about renting a car. There can be advantages found in booking a rental car online. When it comes time for pickup, some might like the streamlined approach that allows them to go straight to their car. Others really want to talk to a real person, as to avoid issues that may arise. Some car rental services stand out by sending a real person to pick up clients from home, and drop them off. With each interaction, that person can either win rave reviews, a lifetime of business and hundreds of referrals, or turn that many people off.