Social media has infiltrated almost every area of our lives, so it stands to reason that it would affect a number of industries, as well. One of the sectors where social media has taken off is real estate, and many agents have been looking to use it for several purposes, including reaching new customers that might otherwise have known about their services.

Previously, when a real estate agent looking to build his or her cliental, he or she could rely on the company they worked for or more traditional marketing methods such as radio or television. However, as the digital sphere grows and more and more real estate platforms are offering virtual home tours that do not require a physical visit, many agents have had to rethink how they present themselves.

“Social media is so important because that’s where the eyeballs are. In 2017, 81% of Americans had a social media profile, and over 200 million people in the U.S. alone are estimated to be on social media by 2020. What’s more, American social media usage is highest among people who live in the suburbs, people who earn over $75,000 a year and the most educated,” reports an article by Bubba Mills for Forbes.

In other terms, the people who are most likely to use social media are those who might be interested in investing in a new home. Social media allows real estate agents to find the perfect customers and those who might be looking to make a move. It also opens up a client base from those who might have heard about an agent’s services through word-of-mouth, to those who have marketed themselves properly on social media.

Real estate agents are not just limited to one social media platform, as well. Many industries have to find a way to reach customers by using the tools offered by one platform, but the housing industry can greatly benefit from using a number of them, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Each site offers a specific reason to post and engage with clients, and agents looking for new clients can find them much more easily by putting their businesses out there on a number of social media platforms.

When potential homeowners were looking to buy a house in the past, they would usually contact an agent or find a pamphlet with the available homes nearby. New websites such as Zillow and StreetEasy have now taken over as the primary marketing tools. While experts have expressed concerns that this might have negative effects on the industry, many agents see this as an opportunity to expand their client base and reach those who might not otherwise have sought out their services.

“Over the past decade, social media networks such as Facebook have disrupted how real estate agents find, engage, and market to prospective homebuyers and sellers. Real estate agents and brokers who can harness the power of social media to manage and market property will gain enormous advantage over the agents that don’t,” writes Andi Wickman for the Huffington Post.

On the other hand, many experts recommend that traditional forms of marketing are not completely abandoned by agents, and that they find a way to combine both digital and physical. They also suggest that agents look beyond posting pictures of the homes they are advertising, and that they consider video, VR, or drone footage, as well. Those who choose not to embrace these new forms of technology might find themselves behind their competition.

This is not only something to consider in the private sector. While social media lends itself toward a more personal experience, agents who sell commercial real estate can benefit from digital exposure, as well. By displaying pictures, the commercial lease agreement, or a history of the building they are selling online, they can give buyers a detailed account for potential business owners.

Many industries are struggling to find footing in the age of social media, but real estate is one area where agents can thrive. It might take a bit of research and being open to using new technology, but it can also help to develop deeper relationships with clients or to attract those who might not have considered contacting an agent. Those looking to use social media as a tool can yield some positive results, though they might need to make sure that they diversify which platforms they use.

Both commercial and private real estate agents might have to find themselves using social media and online platforms as a way to sell listings in the future. As our digital world and our current reality becomes more intertwined, it seems as though professionals from all industries will have to find strategies that can help them to thrive as a business.