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Public Relations (PR) and Social Media are integral parts of real estate marketing in the Middle East. It is a well-known fact that marketing budgets have been cut in many companies, so it’s even more important to ramp up the PR program. One of main advantages of using PR is that it’s cheaper than marketing. Paying a monthly retainer to an outsourced company, will mean any kind of property coverage you get in newspapers is free. It’s a much more economical way of getting consumers to read about your product and therefore creating interest and getting them to invest in property.
PR also provides real credibility. When a newspaper, in particular a broadsheet, or a magazine want to feature your property or development it adds a lot more credibility when seen printed in a publication. This is important because property buyers are skeptical about ads, some don’t believe them. They do believe stories in the newspaper, when they read a professional reporter’s article discussing real estate development they are more inclined to believe what is in front of them.
Social media in recent times has become a great tool for PR outreach. The integration of both social media and PR complement each other and in turn create success. Social media sites provide instant tracking and feedback from targeted audiences. Property businesses can target certain audiences with promotions at very little cost. The popularity of social media has resulted in a boost in free and low cost avenues for sharing an organization and their brand news. Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are now regularly featuring in PR plans. These sites are great tools for allowing direction and connection with people the company should be engaging with. Therefore making it very easy to interact with audiences that may bring benefits to a real estate business i.e. journalists. These social media platforms are also a great way to engage and interact with users by forming connections through; eliciting discussions, comments, “Likes”, “Tweets”, “Retweets”, “Shares” and various other social media interactions.
In the property industry, listening to the public can prove to be important. PR is based on building two-way mutual relationships between your business and the public and integrating social media can be used as a public forum, this lets companies find out what the public voice is saying about their development and providing feedback.
We are seeing PR and social media integration being taken more seriously amongst the property industry in the Middle East. For example companies post valuable and insightful content to their blogs regularly to drive traffic to their websites, through a combination of search and social media. The mobile market is vastly taking over internet use and property companies in the Middle East are creating websites with mobile friendly interfaces, along with iPhone/Android applications for example Sandcastles; an app which allows end users to find available property for sale using the camera on their mobile phone.
In today’s market with constant ongoing construction in the Middle East, it is important that property developers make the process of being able to buy their real estate projects more efficient and internet savvy. Therefore, proving that PR and Social Media are now not only an important tool, but a necessity when sustaining a property business.