BLOG POST BY SARAH MALCOLM, CHIEF DIGITAL STRATEGIST AT THE NEWS FUNNEL
In a 2015 survey by NAIOP Massachusetts, all of the responding real estate brokers said social media helped them do their jobs in some capacity. That’s right--every single one. The good news is commercial real estate agents and firms can benefit from social media marketing just as much as residential agents. Social media powers more than lead generation and audience engagement. CRE professionals incorporating a strategic social media marketing plan can report positive returns in key areas, like:
The old guard might wonder why they need social media when their current networking system seems to work. Face-to-face networking is essential, but combining with the networking power of social networks like LinkedIn expands a CRE pro’s reach. Research a professional client before the first meeting to make a solid impression that you know your stuff. Find new contacts, and use LinkedIn to make introductions that turn into promising leads. Besides LinkedIn, use social media groups on platforms like Facebook to engage in conversation or join Twitter chats to find new potential clients.
People tend to browse social media in their downtime--riding the subway into work, stuck waiting in the airport, or killing time on the lunch break. What if your content consistently appears in their news feeds? A consistent social media presence bolsters your standing as the commercial real estate industry authority. When you’re consistently delivering insightful, engaging content, the content marketing grows the brand’s reputation as a knowledgeable source. Each share and like of content reaches a larger audience, expanding brand awareness ever further. Distribute content like research papers and market analysis to cement your standing as the industry leader.
Marketing isn’t a one-stop shop. Today’s consumers expect content to be delivered where they are, not the other way around. Think about the rise of aggregators: travel search engines Kayak, Priceline, and Orbitz rose in popularity because consumers grew tired of visiting a dozen websites searching for inexpensive airfare. Now, if an airline isn’t synced with all these websites, they’re missing out on selling seats to potential customers. It’s the same with social media. By pushing content to several platforms, you’re delivering the brand name to a wider audience than you might think. Some users don’t check Twitter, but they skim Instagram several times a day.
Rise of the Millennials
Millennials are taking over the workforce. The generation tends to value efficiency and technology. The tech-savvy generation is all about sharing information via social media networks. As they rise through the ranks and become serious decision-makers, CRE pros will need to be ready to interact with them through mobile devices and social platforms.
Preparing to list a new space in a shopping center? Compare the cost of a mailing campaign targeted to a geographical area versus a social media campaign targeted to small business owners in a geographical area. Chances are the social media campaign will be less expensive and more likely to reach an interested customer. Social media marketing results in higher return rates, both in the dollar amount and in the lead generated, compared to traditional marketing avenues. Jeffrey Finn, CEO of RealNex, said as much in an interview with The Content Funnel. “I realized the power and potential of content marketing during the financial crisis. I was CEO of NAI Global at that time, marketing budgets were tight and social media/blogging was a burgeoning new field. We realized that we had vast information and there was a very cost effective alternative to traditional media to position ourselves. “
The long and short of social media marketing for CRE professionals is this: the time to adopt a social media marketing strategy has passed. To stay engaged with the CRE industry of right now and the future, pros must be active on social networks. We have the resources to help get started with a social media plan.