Recently, The News Funnel conducted a poll on the impact of social media on the real estate industry, both commercial and residential. We polled a broad group of professionals via a variety of methods, including email, LinkedIn, Twitter and general outreach, in order to understand how much of the industry is using social media. The results were surprising -- they even surprised me, and I am someone who is highly focused on the digital space and its convergence with the real estate industry. What was most surprising is how many real estate professionals are actually using social media. The real estate industry is widely considered a laggard when it comes to embracing social media. But our poll results absolutely contradicted this notion. Here is a short summary of what we found:
- LinkedIn was by far the most widely used social media tool according to our survey, with almost 98% of those polled having created a profile on the site. The next most popular sites were Facebook, followed by Twitter and then YouTube. All of these sites combined though did not equal the popularity of LinkedIn by real estate professionals.
- Over 65% of those surveyed say they spend between 15 minutes and an hour on social media each day. Even more surprising was that 25% of those polled said they spend an hour or more a day on social media sites, and only 2% said they never use social media.
- Real estate blogs are not as popular as LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites. Less than half of those polled said they do not follow any blogs.
- In terms of how these real estate professionals are using social media, the majority said they use it to forge new business connections. The second most popular reason given was to stay current on news.
- Lastly, when asked what prevents our sampling from using social media more, the majority responded that they simply didn’t have the time nor the tools to efficiently take advantage of social media sites.
When analyzing the survey results, what struck me was how active real estate professionals actually are on social media and how effective LinkedIn has become in gaining penetration in this industry. While one could argue that beyond LinkedIn, few other sites have gained significant penetration into the industry, our poll results are still a good sign for those sites that are building social media tools and applications.
However, my prediction, and this is just my opinion, is that there is going to be a backlash against LinkedIn, as the site tries to do too much and is oftentimes overwhelming in the amount of emails and messages it sends to its subscribers.
What LinkedIn has done a good job of is creating awareness about social media and how effective it can be. Clearly it’s where the future of communications for the real estate industry is headed. Which new sites will emerge and effectively capitalize on this trend is something that is hard to predict. But what is certain is that the industry has turned the corner and is becoming much more focused on technology.