What can chartered surveyors get from Facebook?
09 May, 2012 | Web design
In April, we talked about LinkedIn and how it was the most effective social media channel for commercial agent and chartered surveyors. As a property professional it is essential that you have your own LinkedIn profile and that you regularly maintain it. Since that series of articles in April, a number of commercial property professionals have been asking us about Facebook and whether it has any value to them?
Could Chartered Surveyors be missing out on a network of opportunities for referrals, meeting potential talent, new associates and generally promoting their firm?
Commercial Agents Using Facebook
CBRE, Jones Lang LaSalle, Carter Jonas, Lambert Smith Hampton, Colliers International all have corporate Facebook pages, but it is only the likes of Savills, Knight Frank and Cluttons that actually make use of the platform as an integrated part of their wider marketing communications.
If You’re Not LinkedIn, Then Don’t Bother
LinkedIn is a must for all commercial property professionals and their first step into the world of social media. Facebook should not be your starting point but an extension of what you are already doing.
Separate Professional from Personal
Where LinkedIn is good for profiling you as a professional, I feel Facebook should be used as a company platform. Facebook is a far more media rich experience than LinkedIn. The best Facebook examples for the commercial property sector are heavily branded and feature photography and video.
Keep your personal Facebook account very separate.
So what could a chartered surveyor or commercial agent get from Facebook?
A Cheap Marketing Tool
If you are tightening the pursue strings and cutting back on you marketing spend, then social media like Facebook can be a cheap and effective solution. If done well Facebook can be a quick and relatively easy way to engage with clients and increase client loyalty. It has the potential to be targetable, enabling you to personalise your message.
Facebook can be a great marketing platform, visually rich enabling you to post videos, photos, notes and regular updates.
Source Of Referrals
Facebook can be a great source of referrals and clients. It could help you reconnect with old contacts and colleagues, while positive and regular activity will result in you making new contacts and connections.
Establish Your Authority
Seek out relevant groups for commercial property, clients sectors etc. that you could contribute to. Social media encourages open dialogue and discussion about shared topics.
Once you’ve joined be active and contribute value to the group. This doesn’t mean selling your services, far from it. Social media is not about shouting about yourself, rather you need to be helpful and knowledgeable.
Get Your Personality across
Most chartered surveyors will have 10-15 competitors within their immediate market that can provide the same services and claim the same knowledge. Personality is one of the few differentials.
Social media like Facebook can establish the personalities within your business helping to strengthen relationships with clients and peers.
It only takes a few minutes to build your Facebook Page. There’s no special programming knowledge required. That said you do need to plan your Facebook presence and how it will integrate into your wider marketing communication mix.
Half of Facebook users will check their news feeds daily, many will check multiple times a day Every status update you post on your Facebook wall, will appear in your fans’ news feeds. Posting once a week will give your clients and prospects 52 reminders a year to your services, for free.
Service sectors like commercial surveying and agency supply intangible products. That is to say a client only knows how good you are after they have bought and engaged your services. Therefore testimonials and referrals of your business are powerful tools. This is Social proof.
A Facebook Page can deliver social proof. Every time someone clicks the “Like” button for your business, each of his or her friends will see it. If one of those contacts is looking for a new agent or surveyor you will stand out. Even responses to your posts and on-going dialogue on your wall will provide social proof.
Increase the client bond.
A Facebook Page is not just about new clients, it is as much about client retention and relationship building. On-going dialogue strengthens the relationship and enables you to gain a greater understanding of client needs, market changes etc.
Traffic to your website.
Facebook Pages are now the third highest source of traffic to a websites, behind search engines and direct traffic via your url. Your website remains at the centre of your digital universe, other channels like Facebook catch the markets attentions, engage them and feed them towards your website.
A Facebook Page can drive traffic to your website and by using tools like the “Like” button on your website, visitors have an easy way to connect with you on Facebook as well as spreading your message to their own Facebook community.
Facebook Insights is an analytical tool that comes with your Facebook Page. It allows you to measure and understand visitors and fans of your Page. The more you understand them, the easier it is to keep providing the type of content that engages them.
Greater Google Presence.
Facebook pages will also appear in search engine results, giving your company greater visibility to the market.
Facebook is a huge leap for much of the property sector. Where LinkedIn is a social media platform designed for business professionals with business in mind, Facebook is still perceived within the commercial property sector as the domain of the young. In actually fact the largest growth area on Facebook has been over 50’s for sometime now.
Facebook for commercial agents is still in its infancy, but as we have seen, large players in the sector are starting to make use of the platform. And undoubtedly a focused and consistent Facebook programme will contribute to your overall marketing efforts. Perhaps now is the time to build your company’s Facebook presence and get the jump on your competition.
Philip Burrows, Marketing Consultant