Social media has forever changed commercial real estate marketing. It is not just about direct emails, cold calling, and random leads anymore. Instead, marketers have leveraged effective social media marketing techniques to engage audiences and reach out to the most likely customers. This generates quality leads, as opposed to chasing after random clients. Moreover, there is considerable variation within social media – ranging from traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to the more current and emerging apps such as TikTok and Discord. This has opened up a world of possibilities and endless campaign opportunities, allowing marketers to reach primed customers. The most prominent examples of these marketing campaigns are using drone photographs and real estate virtual tours on social media.
Over the next decade, commercial real estate is set to experience a gradual change in the customer segment. While baby boomers dominate the market currently, millennials are soon expected to be a substantial CRE customer segment. Given that millennials account for the largest percentage of the United States workforce, it is not surprising that they will soon be the biggest decision-makers in the economy. Hence, to mitigate against this change, CRE marketers will have to implement marketing strategies that can cater to the millennial mindset. This is precisely why drones and virtual tours on social media platforms are the right steps in this direction.
For millennials, marketing campaigns should focus on selling a lifestyle. You have to display the true potential of your property to attract the best customers. For example, a piece of land has multiple uses. As a real estate agent, it is your job to demonstrate the best possible use of that land depending on your seller’s preferences and objectives.
These are the most effective platforms you can consider using:
- Facebook – Facebook is perhaps the oldest and most well-known social media network. Given that it is the world’s largest social network, it is an ideal place to launch your marketing campaign. You get access to almost all kinds of customer segments, not just super niche ones. Moreover, 3D photos and virtual tours are commonplace on Facebook. 3D images allow viewers to get a 360-degree view of the picture, making it more interactive and immersive.
Additionally, Facebook’s rebranding to “Meta” and the creation of the Metaverse will forever revolutionize virtual reality. You can put your listing on the Metaverse, allowing potential customers to explore every nook and corner of your property virtually.
- TikTok and Reels– if you want to target millennials and younger clients, TikTok is an excellent place to start. It has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps. Numerous CRE marketers have already capitalized on this trend by uploading videos and photos of their properties to make Reels. Reels are extremely trendy and a creative way to engage your audience. However, making a viral Reel is a skill in itself and requires practice and talent.
Moreover, you can leverage influencer talent and their impact to make your properties stand out. Influencers develop creative ways to involve marketing content within the theme of their Reel. This alignment of the marketing content makes advertisements less annoying and more impactful.
- YouTube – Similar to Facebook, YouTube offers a wide variety of audiences, allowing you to reach different customer segments depending on your requirements. For example, you can use drone videography and aerial shots to display your property. Supplement the aesthetics with a guided tour, and you have an easily marketable product that will appeal to most customers.
Conditional on your property, you can produce videos that highlight the key features of your property. Videography can get technical. Ensure that the lighting, angles, editing, voiceover, pace, etc., are optimized. You can consider hiring external help to produce professional-looking content.
Grabbing audiences’ attention on social media is difficult. With content being generated by the second, most people do not spend more than a couple of seconds on a post. Unless, of course, your content is truly engaging. Drone tech has the potential to make your content stand out. It is new, exciting, and futuristic. Customers tend to gravitate towards content that is not generic.
Drones have reduced the cost of aerial photography substantially. Traditionally, aerial shots required hiring helicopters or airplanes, which bumped up marketing budgets. Hence, CRE executives reserved aerial photography only for the most exclusive projects. With drones, you can take aerial shots of properties from multiple angles. In addition, they provide higher flexibility than airplanes as they can fly much closer to your property.
Thanks to faster internet, drone technology is becoming gradually more common. For example, with a 5G network, drones can transmit information to your system faster than drones that rely on a wifi network. You can hold virtual live streaming of your property using the drone’s camera. First-hand perspective and real-time footage is a fresh approach to marketing your property.
Drones overcome various restrictions imposed by handheld cameras. For example, the best way to display a tall building might not be from the ground; rather, a bird’s eye view can be far more impactful. It also helps with contextualizing your property within the larger neighborhood. Your clients will be able to see other commercial properties in the area, the distance from the nearest intersection and public transit, traffic patterns, and more.
Lastly, drone photography and videography are important first steps toward offering virtual tours on social media. You will have to consolidate, edit, and enhance the content recorded by your drone to create it into a virtual tour. Hence, it is crucial to ensure that the content is professional.
Real Estate Virtual Tours
Virtual tours can encompass multiple options. It can be a simple guided walkthrough of your property, or it can be 3D images. More advanced techniques include virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR) experiences that enable customers to interact with your property without actually being there. Depending on the technology, clients can also customize your property virtually. For example, they can change furniture and interiors to verify if it aligns with their goals and objectives.
The biggest advantage of virtual tools, especially those that incorporate emerging tech, is that it allows you to capitalize on current trends. However, differentiating your content or marketing strategy from the competition is difficult. Grabbing customers’ attention and getting them to take your content seriously is even harder. Hence, leveraging novel, creative, and immersive tech is the only way to gain a competitive edge.
In addition, virtual tours imply that you’re always open for business. Regardless of temporal and geographical constraints, prospective buyers and their agents can view your property anytime they want. This reduces costs remarkably for both you and your clients. An increasing number of people browse real estate properties online before visiting in person. Hence, a well-made virtual tour can attract high-intention clients that are already interested in your property before even visiting.
Factors to Consider
To produce high-impact social media campaigns using drone photography and virtual tours, you should consider the following factors to maximize the impact of your campaign and minimize costs:
- Type of Property – Ensure that you design a campaign that best suits your property. For example, if your property is a tall commercial building, make sure you shoot it from angles that best represent its potential. Weather, time of day, and the general aesthetic appeal of your photos/videos have a massive impact on your campaign. Similarly, for virtual video tours, show the potential of your property virtually. For example, if it’s a large plot of land, use tech to demonstrate its various uses depending on the client’s preference.
- Budget – advanced tech is expensive; hence, the extent to which you can use sophisticated tech will depend on your marketing budget. However, keep in mind that with the right tech, you can get it right in the first go, reducing the costs of running multiple campaigns. Moreover, virtual tours can reduce the costs of agents considerably. A high cost for innovative tech is worth it if your return on investment are much higher than traditional campaigns.
- Know Your Clients – it is vital to understand your buyers. Marketing campaigns are ineffective if you do not design them keeping your customers in mind. Different customer segments use different social media apps. You should select the social media platform depending on your clients and their demographics. For example, LinkedIn is one of the biggest B2B networks globally. Hence, if most of your clients are other businesses, consider using LinkedIn to engage with them and generate leads.
The Bottom Line
Using drone photographs and virtual tours on social media is an effective marketing strategy for commercial real estate firms. However, different social media platforms have different strengths that you can leverage to produce high-impact campaigns. For example, while Facebook and YouTube can connect you to a more general audience, TikTok and LinkedIn offer more niche customer segments. So it is critical to understand what kind of clients you cater to, along with your marketing budget and the type of property under consideration.
One of the biggest advantages of using social media and virtual tours is that it allows clients to view your property regardless of temporal and geographical challenges. Additionally, virtual tours and drone photographs are convenient, immersive, and insightful. Finally, advanced tech such as virtual reality can further improve your campaign performance as it’s novel and capitalizes on emerging trends.
Start utilizing social media by using Up Sonder’s state-of-the-art drone service. We offer a dedicated network of FAA-certified commercial drone pilots. Go beyond traditional marketing to bring your clients closer to your commercial real estate with stunning drone footage.