How to target foreign buyers with social media

It’s logical, really. To do business with someone – such as selling them a property – you have to first attract their attention, get on their wavelength and show them what you have to offer, and then close the deal.

It’s no use if you can’t be seen, or can’t communicate. No one’s going to come looking for you – you have to be out there on show – and, hopefully, in demand.

Social media has made huge inroads by exponentially broadening the marketplace, and helping buyers and sellers from all countries get in touch and do deals.

But what if you are trying to sell into a huge market – such as China – where their versions of social media are different to ours? To show them your listings you have to do things their way. And our local social media giant – Facebook – is not the lingua franca over there.

According to China Internet Watch the giant local internet portal, QZone, has 603 million users – far more than Facebook – making it the logical place to focus your sales offerings.

In a new e-book, ‘7 Ways to Improve your International Social Media Marketing’ –’s CEO Andrew Taylor says: “You might use Facebook to keep up with your friends because most of them are on it.

“To reach prospects, however, you have to go to the social networks they prefer. You might be surprised how limited the international reach of networks like Facebook and Twitter are in other countries.”

According to Taylor, Facebook has 50% penetration in the United States, and the world average for Facebook penetration is only 12.1%. In the Middle East and Asia, both major sources of wealthy international buyers, Facebook’s penetration is only 5% and 9%, respectively.

In Russia, social network VK has 100 million active users - more than Facebook in that country, he says.

The Chinese property listing site has tips on how agents can best use social media to reach international buyers. “Once you have a connection with these buyers, you can pull them forward into your marketing process, bringing them to your website, or getting them to contact you,’’ Taylor says.

He believes buyers who find and contact sellers directly via social media tend to be closer to purchasing than other prospects, and that international buyers - making up an increasingly important share of real estate transactions - are not just targeting the traditional cities like New York, London and Sydney, either.

“The value of using a smart international social media strategy is that you attract and connect with buyers from other countries, so that means more reads and ultimately more sales.

“It also differentiates you from other agents and it becomes a powerful listing tool.”

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