Real Estate

Rodolfo Delgado is the Co-Founder & CEO of Replay Listings, the first platform to find apartments for rent in NYC focused on unedited videos.

Have you ever been haunted by ads for something you searched online? For me, that invasion of privacy I accidentally consented to with a click of a button recently took the shape of properties for rent. You see, I recently searched for “apartments for rent in New York City.” Today, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms have positioned what feels like hundreds of ads for rental buildings on my newsfeed. 

While online listing platforms present the information when you search for a property, social media is proactively showing them to you — even when you didn’t ask for them. Because of this, the relationship between property-hunters, real estate agents and the leading online listings platforms has dramatically evolved since the adoption of social media for real estate marketing.

From Reactive To Proactive

Targeted ads were designed to follow you around, sometimes even when you’re offline. They “make things happen” instead of waiting for you to reach out. Are they effective? You bet they are. Are they invasive? That’s for you to decide.

Online property-search companies used to be ready to show you availabilities whenever you were willing to move. Since the adoption of social media, they have been forced to adapt in order to compete for your attention. Because of that, dominant listing platforms, landlords and real estate agents alike have begun to allocate a significant portion of their marketing budget and their time to social media. 

Digital Is Hot, Physical Is Not

Since early 2020, people have understandably adopted a precautionary posture when it comes to exposure to crowded spaces and locations with a high rotation of human beings. Since then, touring properties through online virtual tours and real-time video has become wildly popular, while open houses and gatherings have become practically obsolete.

Either through investing their money or their time, real estate agents have joined the game of proactively reaching out to potential clients by growing their social media presence. For the first time in history, we are beginning to hear about celebrity real estate agents who have made six-plus figures a year by primarily acquiring new clients through social media platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat or Instagram.

Real Estate Courtship Through Social Media

A landlord’s behavior when advertising properties on social media is designed to persuade property hunters to commit. A patient dynamic begins with retargeting ads and showing properties often as well as in their best light. At the end of this courtship, a legal contract requires you to stay for at least a determined period. In the past, you searched for a property. Today, the properties are searching for you. 

My Recommendations For Property Hunters

Remember, you have the ultimate say. You may choose to opt out of targeted ads through your browser settings and turn off offline tracking. You may follow and unfollow accounts that are proactively competing for your eyeballs. Similarly, many people appreciate that the content appearing on their newsfeed is appropriate to their needs and desires, which is also a valid opinion.

Nevertheless, I have to admit that searching for a specific term online today is like throwing a piece of bread for a pigeon. Before you know it, there will be dozens of them fighting to get a crumb of your attention. Remember, you (still) have the ultimate control and can choose how to proceed.

My Recommendations For Real Estate Agents

In my experience, every successful agent has grown some kind of social media presence, so I’d recommend you get in the game. You may choose whether to allocate more time or more money to this particular medium, but you need to build a social media following. Yes, there are always exceptions — but my commitment to you is to vocalize my views on what I have experienced the new status quo to be. Advertising through social media platforms is here to stay.

Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?

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