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Virtual realty: Websites are now using social media to engage with potential buyers

Twitter for area-specific hashtags, Facebook Live for answering queries and Instagram to showcase homes - real estate promotions are getting increasingly interactive.

real estate Updated: Nov 15, 2017 14:32 IST
Amanda D’Souza
Amanda D’Souza
Hindustan Times
Digital,Marketing,Advertising
Companies are using data they gather through online responses, clicks and hits to predict future reactions and recalibrate campaigns.(Getty Images)

Instagram stories, online puzzles and jingle competitions — real-estate websites are jumping on the social media bandwagon, using online platforms in all-new ways as they attempt to engage with potential customers online.

“It’s not just about advertising and marketing any more,” says Neeraj Chaturvedi, group chief marketing officer for realty portal, housing.com. “We achieve business goals through social media platforms.”

That’s not all. These companies are also using the data they gather through responses, clicks and hits to predict future reactions, and recalibrate campaigns accordingly.

“The ability to predict human behaviour through qualitative data analysis of impressions and engagements on Twitter and likes on Facebook and YouTube has helped in understanding and evaluating data coming from formal sources and is allowing realty service providers to move towards a more predictive approach,” says Ramesh Nair, CEO and country head at realty consultancy, JLL India.

For instance, when housing.com launched #JoDikheyWahiMiley, an Instagram campaign that showcased unique homes, they realised that viewers were more willing to engage with the manifestation of a real dream home than with an ad based on a CAD drawing — and they also found that for potential buyers such images increased the perceived trustworthiness of the brand itself.

“Digital marketing is not a unidirectional medium,” says Hitesh Motwani, CEO of Socialopedia, a digital media consulting company. “Most online marketing is actually re-marketing. Sellers target buyers through cookies. But social media makes data more easily available, opening up consumers to targeted advertising. For example, if you sign up to be a part of a rental group or community on Facebook, your interest doesn’t go unnoticed by the industry that is hoping to sell you their commodity.”

Groundwork to ‘webwork’

As companies’ digital marketing strategies evolve, they are also beginning to using platforms very differently — Twitter to churn out area-specific hashtags, Instagram to showcase beautiful homes, and Facebook Live to have people’s questions answered by experts.

“We use social media channels very scientifically,” says Chaturvedi. “For instance, on Facebook, we have real-estate trends and news for our audience. On Twitter, we run hashtags like #DidYouKnow and #HousingDictionary to decode realty jargon.”

At magicbricks.com, 50% of total marketing spend now goes on digital promotions, says marketing head Prasun Kumar. Monthly campaigns range from interactive puzzles to contests on social media platforms.

Recently, the company invited users to reinvent the magicbricks jingle and post their entries online, promising that the winning entries would be played on radio ad spots and online.

Contest winner Siddharth Pandey, a 30-year-old Delhi-based pilot, says he ended up winning an Amazon voucher — and the thrill of hearing his take on the ‘Property ka supermarket’ jingle online and on the radio.

“Such forms of digital engagement find ready takers among young consumers like Pandey,” says Kumar. “And while he is on the move and not necessarily looking to be a homeowner, social media is a crucial medium for attracting audiences at a relatively younger stage, who are looking maybe for properties for rent. It also helps create a virtual word-of-mouth for the brand and all its properties.”

First Published: Nov 15, 2017 14:32 IST