Social media is one of the most powerful tools available to commercial real estate brokers (“CRE’s”) for purposes of engaging with your target prospects, building an audience for your brand, turning yourself into a digital thought leader, and ultimately growing your business.
Activities such as:
- Sharing photos and insights from attending an industry conference can result in your leaving the conference with dozens of new professional connections;
- Sharing photos and videos of a new property listing or construction project can result in immediate feedback and comments that turn into leads;
- Connecting with industry organizations and other experienced brokers can build a strong network that will serve you throughout the course of your career, and.
- Following and connecting with the right industry influencers can help to better reach your target audience, build trust, and drive engagement.
In order to maximize the benefits derived from utilizing social media, however, it is essential to have a clear understanding of your target audience, identify the platforms that work best with reaching your target audience, and detail a communication strategy and plan for implementing your social media marketing efforts.
The 3 most powerful social platforms for commercial real estate brokers
Although there are literally hundreds of social media platforms available, the three that deliver the most value to CRE’s, in terms of lead generation and new connections are LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn for real estate can be the most effective social media platform for CRE professionals. With more than 260 million monthly active users all focused on business, LinkedIn offers the greatest opportunity to engage with prospects and potential partners, as well as to generate brand awareness and leads through content and advertising. In building your LinkedIn presence, keep in mind the importance of building your personal profile, which is the first thing potential and current prospects will see when conducting their due diligence on your company. At a minimum, your profile should mention your title and describe your primary responsibilities within the company. You should also link to your company website, project and property websites, and organizations in which you are involved. Posting on a consistent basis is crucial to maintaining your social media presence. And, posting on various topics that include educational content, industry articles, and updates concerning your ongoing business efforts will help maintain your social media presence.
Instagram. If you believe in the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” you will LOVE Instagram. Instagram, which is the fastest-growing social media platform in the world, has become increasingly popular among landlords, retailers, and brokers alike. It is an image-focused, rather than text-focused platform, which facilitates the development of visually compelling content in the form of pictures and video that can forcefully deliver your message. For instance, with the new Instagram carousel feature, you can post up to 10 videos and static images in one single Instagram post; now that’s powerful posting! This platform is ideally suited for posting visually appealing stories and pictures of development projects and grand openings and can also serve to showcase your brand and generate new leads.
Twitter. Twitter is a key social media platform CRE’s can utilize to create brand awareness, build relationships, and stay abreast of industry-related topics and news. Among other things, it is ideally suited for the following: highlighting your company’s capabilities, selling points, and awards or achievements; sharing information concerning recent sales and acquisitions; highlighting new development projects; sharing market-specific news, executive insights, and articles on trending topics; and posting customer testimonials. Using hashtags such as #CRE, #CommercialRealEstate, #PhiladelphiaRealEstate, or other popular tags can help interested parties easily find your content related to a specific event or topic.
Keys to successfully using social media
Beyond selecting the platform(s) most relevant to your work, the key to successfully utilizing social media depends on establishing a strategy and implementing a plan to achieve your overall marketing objectives.
Here are five pointers on how to generate leads, elevate your brand, and develop your network by using social media.
- Develop a strategy and plan. While It’s important to maintain a consistent online presence, it’s equally important to not post just for the sake of posting. Take the time to define the content, your posting frequency, and the goals you’re looking to achieve in posting on your various channels. Decisions concerning your purpose in posting, such as trying to build brand awareness, generating leads, or looking for outreach, will shape your strategy. Make sure you’re sharing quality content, targeting the right audience, and delivering value to your followers. Spending time strategizing and planning who your audience is and how to reach and personalize your messages can equate to dividends in the end. And, when reposting an article or a property listing, be sure to be clear and concise, and to include a caption with important contact information so followers can easily reach out to you for additional details regarding your post. There’s nothing more frustrating to a follower than wanting to receive more information with no instruction on how to get it.
- Connect with the right people and organizations. Follow key professional CRE organizations, such as ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers), ChainLinks, BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association International), ULI (Urban Land Institute), as well as those in your local market. You can learn a great deal by connecting with industry leaders and other successful brokers that have been in business for a long time.
- Use your handle as a business card. With increasing frequency, brokers are exchanging Instagram usernames instead of traditional business cards. It’s a clever move and leads to an instant connection and engagement. It also makes it easier to maintain relationships with followers and potential leads on an ongoing basis with little effort.
- Make sure your posts can be found. Use hashtags liberally in your posts. I’m always investigating new hashtags. For example, when you attend a networking event or an event like ICSC, tune into the conversation by using the conference hashtag to get in front of everyone following the show on social. Tagging relevant people in your posts and using popular keywords like #grandopening #CRE also allows you expand your following.
- Build your brand. Remember that every post is a reflection of you, your company, and even the industry. Be careful what you post. Maintain a professional approach to social media and you can quickly build your brand and better market yourself.
Consistent social media presence can be time consuming, and at a certain point, you may require third-party assistance, such as a social medial account manager, to assist in developing your posts. And, regardless, whether your company offers it or you do it yourself, be sure to obtain social media training to help broaden your skills. Social networks are always adding new features and updates, and it’s important to stay up to date on how to best use them to your advantage.
Though it may seem like a lot to take in, the most important thing you can do is to get started. Select your platforms, identify your audience, develop a strategy and plan, and start posting. Follow me on LinkedIn or Twitter and happy posting!