The power that social media has in our day-to-day lives means that anyone who’s serious about building their brand needs to get in on the action.
Having a strong social media presence is important in most industries – and in property it’s crucial. It can not only help property execs make important networking connections, but can also lead to some pretty eye-catching deals.
I spoke to three of the property industry’s social media moguls to find out how they’re using social media successfully and to gather some top tips for those who want to replicate their achievements. They are property developer Nicole Bremner; buying agent and industry expert Henry Pryor; and super-prime real estate broker Daniel Daggers.
Former banker Nicole Bremner, who set up her property development company East Eight in 2012, features on pretty much any social media platform you can think of: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
She’s managed to gather 12,400 Twitter followers and 14,900 Instagram followers, so she’s clearly doing something right.
The key element in all of Bremner’s social media activity is storytelling.
“We are always looking for the best way to tell our stories, no matter the platform,” she says. “Of course, we want to keep building followers, however to really benefit from social media, it’s about engaging with people. Telling our stories, in an informal way, from site, office and even in our social time, really helps to do this.”
Bremner says she tries to avoid promotion: “People don’t want to see ads and brands which just keeping posting their wins. They want to see the real day-to-day life of a brand, and to come to trust it in their own way.”
Instead, she focuses on real stories – and it’s here that Instagram really comes into its own. The story function keeps the energy flowing, and it’s possible to offer a mix of professional and raw content.
Bremner is also a fan of LinkedIn for using video to engage with people.
“We will be focusing a lot on this in the coming months. We still use Twitter and Facebook Live too to speak to the community and bring value,” she adds.
The success of Bremner’s social media activity is best demonstrated by the multiple networking connections she’s managed to make.
This year she met Robin Rathore from Bamboo Auctions on Twitter, and got into a discussion about women being key users of online property sites. She went on to invest in Duomo, an online reservation platform for new build properties.
Bremner also joined up with Salacia of London, which is a new online bathroom suite and interiors supplier, disrupting the way we buy bathrooms, both for developers and consumers.
“I also regularly meet interesting property speakers online who we invite to do podcasts and live videos with on a diverse range of subjects,” she says. “We have also have partnered with Simplecrowdfunding.co.uk, the property crowdfunding platform.”
Bremner points out that social media is about exactly that – being social.
“If you put the effort in to engage with people, respond to them and have discussions, there’s no limit to the projects you might get involved in.”
Henry Pryor is a well-known buying agent who looks for homes (and other assets) and seeks to acquire them on behalf of his clients.
He’s a self-confessed “media tart” whose outspoken views often feature in the national newspapers.
Pryor has gathered an impressive 26,000 Twitter followers.
Pryor previously used LinkedIn but stopped because of “the number of unsolicited approaches of people ‘reaching out’ who were total strangers”.
He has a Facebook page – mainly because his teenage daughters tell him he should – but his main focus is Twitter.
He uses Twitter to make comments on the property market, promote his services, keep in touch with others and engage with new people he wouldn’t otherwise get to meet.
Pryor has tweeted an immense 21,500 times – proving the platform is a key way for him to get his messages across.
Pryor is prolific on Twitter. He says it’s “time consuming, often depressing, occasionally amusing but incredibly powerful”. So powerful that he’s managed to amass an incredible £100,000 worth of business from Twitter alone.
“I’ve had clients wanting to hire me at £1,000 a day, people wanting my £100 Quick Checks, all the way through to home buyers wanting my bespoke buying service costing £30,000 and up” he says.
Pryor’s number one tip is this: be real.
“Make comments and observations on what others say. Approach it as if Twitter were a bar or a pub. Don’t sit in the corner brooding, don’t be the loud drunk at the bar, but engage with people, respect their views; disagree if you do disagree, but try and leave as friends.”
He reckons people shouldn’t follow more than 500 people or they’ll spend all day reading comments.
“Ignore anonymous accounts,” he adds. “Trying to rationalise with Winnie-the-pooh1234 is tiring and ultimately pointless. My fridge has a serial number, but I’m not interested in what it thinks and I don’t live in a world where people have to hide for fear of being identified – although I appreciate that some people do.”
Pryor has one word of caution: “Oh, and be careful, it’s as addictive as heroin!”
If, like me, you love a bit of property porn, Daniel Daggers’ Instagram page is the place to be.
It’s filled with stunning photos of the multi £10 million+ properties he’s selling on behalf of his clients. It’s no surprise that he’s managed to attract almost 10,000 followers.
Daggers says social media is very much a professional platform – as long as you approach it in a professional manner. “Most people haven’t cottoned on to that,” he says.
Daggers says he’s building his profile now so that he has an established platform for in two to five years’ time when people see social media as “a digital CV and a platform to show people what you do, what you’re like and how you go about doing it”. He’s set himself an impressive goal to generate £500,000 in income from social media in the next 12 months.
“My rules of engagement are that I never disclose my client’s name or any sensitive information that could harm my client or the assets they own,” he says.
“This isn’t a platform for me to show off. It is purely ROI driven,” Daggers says. “I want young people in the business to appreciate what they have to do to they climb the ladder. I want my clients to understand me better as a person and I want to generate business from a platform that can network for me, without me always having to be there. Instagram is where such a large percentage of people spend their time therefore if I’m not on the platform I’m invisible to such a large emerging community.”
The account is very much about promoting Daggers’ profile and his work for Knight Frank in the super prime market.
“If I asked you to look up someone today you would probably Google them, check Facebook, and go on to Instagram. Why wouldn’t I want to be associated with a platform that enables people to find me and where I can deliver a professional message to them?”
Daggers’ social media activity has another huge advantage: servicing his wealthy clients.
“By being on Instagram I have the opportunity to reach people who are interested in property, and in that sense I’m facilitating my clients’ needs more than anyone else. It’s another form of marketing. Some of our most established developer clients in the super-prime market are asking me to post their assets for them because they appreciate the exposure I can provide.”
Daggers says Instagram is the ideal platform for his field of work because “so much of what I do is visually stimulating”.
Daggers has had a huge amount of professional success from his Instagram page. He says lots of his clients communicate with him through Instagram because they feel comforted by the fact they know him on a personal level.
“I’m currently advising on a property in New York that’s value is in the region of approximately $50 million – that came to me via Instagram. I also get a lot of traction from my existing clients. I’m able to give titbits of information about their properties that can really add value.”
Daggers has even created his own hashtag, #MrSuperPrime, which he says is great for search engine optimisation (SEO).
The luxury real estate broker’s top tip is this: follow him. And he doesn’t mean that in a conceited way.
“Almost every day I leave a tip for people who want to advance their careers in the industry,” he explains. “If you follow me you won’t just be looking at a series of pretty pictures – you get value-add and an insight to an amazing world.
Daggers firmly believes that early adopters of social media will benefit greatly, as long as it’s in a professional capacity. He has an “80-20 rule”, whereby 80% of his social media activity is work-related and 20% personal.