There is a technological revolution afoot in the real estate industry, one that goes far beyond conventional definitions of this term or traditional means of promotion. We refer, specifically, to the rise of social commerce: The union between social media (Twitter, in particular) and e-commerce, so a consumer can tweet or join a live conversation about a brand, along with the ability - within Twitter - to click on an ad for that company, and immediately buy a product or service from that business.
That seamless integration within a second-by-second, real-time global conversation is a working explanation of social commerce, which is dynamic, highly responsive (ads reflect the interests of users and the theme of the tweets people publish) and far more scientific than any standard form of marketing. The opportunity rests, however, with working with professionals who have absolute command of this process.
As the Executive Directors of TWT2PAY, which securely and efficiently processes these transactions, we also see significant opportunities for the real estate industry - for landlords, tenants, lenders and homeowners - to make social commerce a professional staple.
Indeed, we are already strong advocates about the convenience of online rental payments, a point we have had the privilege to address on this site (for which Total-Apps, a separate company we run, handles traditional processing of credit card and electronic transactions), but social commerce adds a new dimension to the way realtors can maximize their presence on Twitter. Concerning that point, we have some advice and insight about this venue, because too many people - from all manner of companies and industries - are on or using Twitter for the wrong reasons.
Which is to say, Twitter should not be an exercise in self-indulgence and congratulatory rhetoric; vanity has many forms and narcissism has many faces, but, in the end, that behavior alienates people - it certainly upsets consumers - leaving just you to admire your own (cyber) reflection. Translation: If you have a business and plan to have a presence on Twitter, if you seek to use Twitter to distribute relevant content and foster conversation, then you need to do just that: Have a voice, amplify it with educated opinion and even some respectful controversy, so people will recognize your tweets and reply in kind.
After all, followers (Twitter's described category of users who, well, follow a person's feed) are not a synonym, within the realm of social media, for zombies or lemmings. These individuals have strong beliefs and a seemingly exhaustive list of thoughts about everything from politics and sports to finance and travel.
Give these people a reason to follow you, so they can react and interact, meaning: Well before these members click on an ad or make a rental payment through Twitter, processed by TWT2PAY, they should be a realtor's ally and prospective client. That relationship begins with saying something - and saying it often, within 144 characters - which makes your feed a must-read site for colleagues and customers in the fields of commercial and residential real estate.
Notwithstanding this free marketing advice, our comment to realtors about social commerce is simple: It exists, period. Its growth is exponential because its convenience is undeniable; it represents the full integration of community and commerce, where messaging from all parties - brokers, clients, colleagues and prospective customers, as well as members of the media who cover real estate - coincides with targeted marketing.
That outreach showcases relevant, real estate-related themes like online rental payments, home improvement products and professional services (carpentry, roofing, plumbing, siding and painting), making it easier for a follower to click and consummate a transaction for any one or all of these things. In seven words: Welcome to the world of social commerce!
The final but most important component of this process is the process itself, the efficient, secure and consistent execution of transactions. That responsibility - think of it as E-commerce-Engineering-with-a-Customized-Touch - is the result of working with realtors, landlords, developers and property managers, so social commerce reflects their respective needs.
For, this process must never be a generic service, which, by its very nature, is then unable to accommodate the expectations of users, the demands of marketers and the realities of the way Twitter functions. In other words, know thy audience so you may know thyself.
By engineering these solutions, social commerce can be a realtor's greatest asset and another avenue of introduction for leads. But, and this caveat applies to any and all forms of social commerce, the process must work - always - so trust (by consumers) can emerge (for vendors), permanently. Offering that service is our commitment to realtors and their peers, professionals who should use this medium to communicate, educate, empower, inspire, unite and enable themselves to prosper.