Buying & Selling Property On Social Media – Really!?

Shirley Chan at GoodPlaceHQ, Setiawalk

Yesterday a good friend of mine James (name faked to protect the guilty) sent me this article on the Internet habits on Malaysians; apparently we (Malaysians) now spend five hours online everyday, and three out of those hours are spent on social media (mostly on Facebook possibly). “Khai Yin, time to wise up,” James (who, like me, was also running a startup) had said. “Your business can’t afford to ignore Facebook anymore.”

You see, I’m really not a big fan of social media. Personally, I am hardly a Facebook user, and for GoodPlace, social media is never high on the priority list. Trying to get eyeballs in Facebook can be tough and time consuming given the amount of clickbait crap that clutters up the place (“This model took off her underwear in a crowded street. You won’t believe what happens next!”). And truth be told, I’d rather spend time writing better articles than to figure out how to game Facebook for a couple of shitty clicks.

clickbait

For property agents or sellers, on the other hand, social media CAN be important. In fact, in the United States, it has been estimated that more than 80% of real estate professionals use social media actively to reach out to home buyers. Being laggards as we as Malaysians have always been, I would estimate that there are less than 20% of agents in this country who actively use social media to reach consumers, but one can reasonably expect this figure to grow because of a couple of reasons –

  1. Free eyeballs. It takes time to build up a following, but you’ll be able to reach your audience (sort of) for free (sort of).
  2. Authenticity. Agents come across as “real” as you can see their selfies with their pet puppies.
  3. Referrals. You can see who your mutual friends are with the agent. She’s my auntie’s second cousin’s piano teacher’s daughter, so…gotta be legit.
  4. Free form. Pictures and posts not limited to the “listings” format a la property portals. Also, ability to post videos.
  5. Interaction. Agents can directly engage potential buyers via comments, or even better – get them to share the listings to their friends.

So far, so good, but as with anything else, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. 🙂 Given how efficient capitalism is (even in this country), if social media really works better than, say, the traditional property portal listings then we should have a good number of startups in that space already. If Facebook really works for buying and selling property, I, for one, will be all over this like kari kepala ikan on rice. 😉

So, if you want to actively hustle properties on Facebook, then let me try to persuade you NOT TO DO IT for these reasons –

  1. People are on Facebook to look at pictures of cats, ridiculous pictures that make you go WTF, and more pictures of cats. They ain’t there to look for things you wanna sell them.
  2. On the other hand, people with INTENTION to buy property will already go to Google (if they are in the research mode) or iProperty (if they want to look at listings) or the GoodPlace DealMatcher (if they are smart/savvy/good looking/all three). Only when they get tired of those sites, they will go to Facebook… but to look at pictures of cats, not your shit.
  3. If your existence on Facebook only to flood people’s timelines with property ads, then your posts won’t appear that often (if at all) in because you’ll be reported as spam by overzealous people.
  4. If you then find your posts getting blocked, then the only thing to do to make your stuff “appear” is to bribe Mark Zuckerberg (i.e. to buy Facebook ads).
  5. If you’re an agent, and you think that uploading listings to property sites is a pain in the behind, what makes you think that creating Facebook posts and filling them up with pictures and videos is any easier!?
  6. If you’re an active buyer, looking for properties on Facebook (why oh why) is like trying to buy a wedding gown at Low Yat Plaza.

In short, if you’re telling me that you’re gonna use social media exclusively to get your deal flow then I can only conclude one thing…

Clueless Dog Meme

How About Property Groups On Facebook?

Online forums (I don’t wanna name them) used to attract hoards of people who would talk about properties (in particular, upcoming launches) and also share “tips” on how to make money by looking for the next sucker to sell their DIBS-laden crap to. Unsurprisingly, these places are bursting at their collective seams with gurus peddling their scammy $997 (their prices always end with 7 for some reason) “how to make teh moniez” seminars to unsuspecting (and greedy) newbies.

Craploads of moolah!

Many of these guys have since moved on to Facebook to form groups (no, I ain’t naming them either), but to be completely fair (I can’t believe I’m saying this), they can be a good source of “on-the-ground” information which you can use as part as your due diligence (for a new launch). Additionally, you get to connect with people with real passion for property and tap into their collective wisdom – although you will still need to look out for keyboard jockeys and shady negotiators posing as impartial bystanders subtly trying to nudge you to look at their stock. Remember to exercise the same caution as you would when you look at listings at property portals.

TL;DR version – Treat social media as a source of information, not a place to look for properties to buy or to sell. And don’t forget to turn up your BS detector!

About Khai Yin

When I am not writing for GoodPlace.my and helping my readers find properties though the DealMatcher service, I spend time doting on my three kids: Wenyi, Qinyi and Eian. My personal stuff, some published essays and contact details can be found at khaiyin.com

Comments

  1. Lee Meng Chee says:

    I can’t agree with you more! Last time attended a so called Property Guru talk by a guru called A*ri*n. Charged MYR4k and gave all the general info in the class only. It sucks!

    • Well, there’s always the follow up “Advanced Secrets Of The Billionaire Gooberoo” seminar which you can attend for $8,888, payable in eight easy payments. 🙂

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