A couple months ago, I emailed a fellow CRE blogger who is based in the Midwest. It was a simple bit of correspondence, intended to say how much I enjoyed his site and to exchange links. “Oh yeah,” he said. “I know the Llenrock Blog–I read it all the time!”
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Despite living 1,000 miles apart, in very different markets, we were both familiar with each other’s social media efforts and respective companies. As in other industries, social networks have served to consolidate us, to create relationships between professionals and clients in a way that couldn’t have happened just a decade ago. Yet many CRE firms have been slow to embrace social media as a networking/PR tool, as reported in a recent CoStar Group article.
I can understand some CRE professionals’ ambivalence toward social media. While it’s made our industry (really, our world) smaller, it’s also made the world of marketing much bigger–and more confusing:
The number of choices is quite intimidating. While many professionals stick to the default platforms–Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, a company blog–there are plenty of other sites to consider, depending upon one’s needs. Unlike other brands–such as Pepsi, Southwest Airlines, and Lady Gaga–the success of commercial real estate’s social media marketing can’t be measured simply by a vast number of followers.
For those who finance, broker, develop and invest in commercial real estate, the return on investment is best seen in the quality of the relationships one generates. This is why, in an article on social media marketing published last year by the Urban Land Institute, one professional says:
…contrary to the traditional assumption that content is the most important factor in social media, the [Social EQ] study found that dialogue created by a person speaking on behalf of the company is the most critical.
Success in commercial real estate doesn’t come about by having the most recognizable logo, but the best-reputed individuals. The most important aspect of a firm’s brand, then, is the personalities (and resumes) of it’s professionals.
In choosing social media platforms, it’s worth considering which will best carry one’s personality and experience to potential contacts. Perhaps a YouTube channel or Tumblr page to show off properties from previous transactions (or Pinterest, for that matter)? Though social media seems dizzyingly over-saturated, it’s worth keeping up with new platforms and developments. The entire business world is still exploring what can be done with these tools. Plus, the technology changes so quickly, it’s easy to be left behind.
For more thoughts on social media marketing for commercial real estate, I recommend the excellent CRE Geek.