The importance of digital media in real estate transactions, has not escaped the attention of developers in India. The trend began, with builders using social media for customer engagement and interaction. Like any other consumer-oriented brand, builders are making efforts to entice buyers through this medium.
However, as transactions in the real estate sector are of high value, it is not easy for developers to sell properties by merely relying on social media. Vineet Relia, managing director of SARE Homes, maintains that digital media is an integral part of every organisation, today. “It is a very strong tool. It also showcases that the company is tech-savvy. Being active on various platforms, gives developers a better opportunity to serve, inform and share new developments with customers. It also enables customers to discuss, network and connect directly with us,” he elaborates.
Advantages of digital marketing, for developers and buyers
Nowadays, developers, irrespective of whether they are large or mid-sized, are keen to tap into social media platforms, to highlight their offerings. New technology platforms also enable developers to present their offerings in visually-appealing formats like virtual reality or augmented reality.
Digital marketing, hence, has made it easy for developers and the buyers to be accessible to each other, 24×7. Launching customised apps or establishing their presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, can help developers to reach their target audience. Today, there are actual photographs or videos of projects under development, progress in and around the area of the residential society and much more, shared on virtual platforms. Even details like the state of road networks and infrastructure development, are available to keep the buyers informed.
Social media offers an inexpensive and quick tool for marketing, gives instant connect with the target audience and is highly penetrative, says Abhishek Singh, chief operations officer, Paarth Infrabuild Pvt Ltd. “Companies in the real estate sector are employing the digital route, to enhance sales, build consumer connect, solve problems and build the reputation of a trusted brand. With social media empowering consumer choice, companies have been spending big bucks on reputation management. Companies have been deploying a major chunk of their advertising budget towards social media, realising very well the opportunities and threats inherent in it,” adds Singh.
Social media needs to be used for more than mere marketing
Besides marketing and sales, several companies have also made use of digital technologies, to enhance the occupancy experience in completed spaces. For example, Vineet Taing, president, Vatika Business Centre, explains how they have utilised technology, to revolutionise the visitor management process at their workplaces: “Our visitor management features enable you to manage incoming and outgoing visitors, whether they are planned or not. We have recently also collaborated with Truecaller, to facilitate high-security check-ins at all our centres. Vatika Business Centre also has an app for Android and iOS. The app helps one to find the business location, take virtual tours of our business centres and connect with over 4,000 working professionals across the country, via the Social Connect feature.”
Santhosh Kumar, vice-chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants, points out that no developer in today’s market, can afford to ignore the power of the internet.
“Social media has become an increasingly important tool, for marketing projects. Via social media, developers can not only announce their projects but also keep their audience updated about construction progress, the value-add that their projects provide and schemes and offers. This kind of publicity comes at a much cheaper cost than traditional marketing via print, hoardings, radio, or television promotions. That said, today’s internet users are also aware that social media promotions have created a rather bewildering jungle where both, good and bad vegetation, sprouts up rather democratically. They use social media to stay updated on the availability of supply in their target markets but will not make a ‘buy’ decision, based solely on a Facebook or Twitter creative. What developers need to focus on, is building their brand via social media, rather than focusing only on marketing. Brand awareness is a key criterion that can push property buyers either way,” Kumar sums up.