Social media has invaded almost every aspect of our lives right from what we buy and use to what we eat and almost everything else. There’s no ignoring the rapid rise of social media as the biggest channel for new-age businesses and brands to attract and retain customers while enhancing overall engagement at the same time. In an earlier day and age you’d be forgiven for asking What is this Facebook or Why should I be on Twitter. Not anymore.
Reports state that with more than 450 million users of the internet and counting (in recent times this growth is measured parallel to the number of Jio Sims being bought by citizens!), India is second only to China when it comes to global online markets. Experts have also estimated that India will have a whopping 635.8 million internet users by the year 2021. There are naturally some major influences behind this growth, namely the democratization of data packs or the availability of internet plans at cheap rates and also the rapidly reducing prices of smartphones. It goes without saying that this has also fuelled the rise of social media in India. Reports estimate that by the year 2019, there will be close to 258.27 million users of social media networks in the country which will be a major increase from almost 168 million users in the year 2016.
Real estate and social media- what’s the equation like now?
The Indian real estate sector was initially slow to adapt to a rapidly evolving social media universe although the emergence of technology driven online real estate players and brokers has revolutionized this aspect of the industry. Here are some of the key trends worth noting in this regard:
- Facebook and YouTube are the most popularly used social media platforms in the country followed by WhatsApp, the popular messaging service.
- As of October 2018, India was in first place globally with regard to Facebook users, ahead of even the United States. India had 294 million users of Facebook in this period and this number may increase to 319 million people by the year 2021.
- Social media is now employed for a wide gamut of activities across generation of leads, customer engagement, content marketing, promotions, advertising and even management and retention of customers.
- Facebook works best for customer acquisition and branding while Instagram is best for creating a visual impact with strategic images. Twitter helps in building web influence while LinkedIn plays a major part in B2B categories and branding for companies.
- Rural web penetration has gone up stratospherically in recent years. Google reports estimate that non-English language users of the internet have touched 234 million and are higher than English language users at 175 million. The former is expected to grow by a whopping 18% over the next 3-4 years to touch 536 million while English users will increase by just 3%.
- Target audiences are now more comfortable using regional languages on social media and this is working well for developers with regard to advertising their projects.
- Content is being tailored particularly for mobile phones and this trend is here to stay and hence developers are getting results from social media content that is mobile phone friendly.
How social media benefits the real estate sector
While the jury may be out on whether social media works to increase real estate sales or not, there’s no denying its overall benefits and impact.
- Lead generation happens at a fraction of the cost required for doing this through offline channels.
- The huge reach of social media and relatively cost effective digital marketing tools are a major benefit for promoting projects.
- Social media is where customers naturally explore perceptions of other people and prevailing sentiments regarding brands, companies and campaigns. This is where realty brands can hit the sweet spot by building positive perception about projects, USPs and track records.
- Social media platforms enable immediate targeting of suitable audiences at considerably lower costs as per several developers.
- Research states that close to 92% of prospective consumers do thorough research online before making any offline purchases and that is where the opportunity lies.
- Social media platforms also offer analytics and other measures of overall impact, reach and targeted audiences which benefit developers since they get invaluable insights.
- Creative displays of projects and other campaigns are easier through social media platforms along with suitably tailored content that appeals to users. There are multiple ways and means available for realty players to showcase projects online.
- Generating buzz is the easiest through social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube, particularly for new launches and events.
It can be safely said that social media platforms help developers generate higher leads and reach out to larger audiences instantly while lowering marketing and promotional costs at the same time. As a result, they do contribute towards enhancing sales volumes as opined not just by us but by numerous industry experts as well. We hope that the realty sector continues getting more social in coming years since this is where the action lies.