How Social Media Became One of CRE’s Most Powerful Tools
Social networks have transformed our lives over the last decade. Never before has it been easier to stay in touch with old friends across the world, meet new people who share similar interests, get recommendations from your network, and discover new things and ideas in general.
Social media has also drastically changed the way companies think about marketing. In fact, one study found that 88% of organizations use social networks for marketing purposes. This is probably because 81%% of adults are active on social media. To reach customers, you’ve got to go where they are.
When we think of brands that use social media, we tend to think of business-to-consumer companies—like Netflix, Oreo, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
But other kinds of organizations that you might not expect to use the technology—including hedge funds and industrial cleaning companies—are increasingly relying on social platforms to connect with their customers and grow their companies.
For the last several years, for example, residential real estate companies have used social media to generate interest in the properties in their portfolios. More recently, commercial real estate organizations have followed suit.
Why are commercial real estate businesses increasingly turning to social media? It provides these companies with a number of benefits, including:
Showcasing beautiful properties. At best, there are very few people who would ever sign a commercial lease without taking at least one look at the property. You’re going to end up spending a lot of time at your office, so you might as well enjoy the environment. To this end, commercial real estate firms are using platforms like Instagram to show off their most interesting properties and generate some word-of-mouth buzz. You never know when a simple photo can go viral, making it that much easier to rent a location. Even if that doesn’t happen, a curated, well-maintained profile should get at least some people talking about your company as posts are inevitability shared or discovered organically.
Networking with potential clients. Not everyone needs new office space right this minute. A number of companies are trapped in dreadful long-term leases. Others are stuck working out of glass cubes. While they might not have any immediate real estate needs, there will come a time, sooner or later, when the lease finally ends or the company finally decides to graduate from coworking. The right social media strategy helps commercial real estate companies pique the interest of folks who will have office space needs in the future. When those needs arise, potential clients will know where to start looking for help.
Establishing corporate branding. What does your company stand for? What’s its culture like? Instead of leaving the answers to these questions up for interpretation, social media enables companies to control their own narratives, making sure customers, pundits, and investors alike know exactly what they’re trying to achieve. Using social networks to communicate with customers and tell your company’s story is a great way to establish an ongoing dialogue and increase customer engagement in a cost-effective way.
Identifying opportunities. Social networks make it incredibly easy to discover people who are interested in the same things you are. Search for a particular hashtag and all of a sudden you’re potentially exposed to a whole new group of folks who are talking about your expertise or searching for something you can help them find. A quick search might reveal several companies that are looking for office space in New York City, for example. Armed with that information, it’s time to reach out and see if you can help.
Attracting top talent. It’s no secret that employers are increasing scanning candidates’ social media profiles to determine who they should extend offers to. In the same vein, jobseekers are increasingly looking at potential employers’ social media profiles to determine whether they want to apply in the first place. By establishing a solid presence on social media, commercial real estate companies can increase the chances they attract top talent, which in turn makes them that much stronger.
We think we run a pretty tight social media operation at Knotel.