Social Media for Commercial Realtors
Commercial Real Estate has a known sales cycle with considerable investment of time and resources for both seller and buyer. As in all aspects of sales, the sellers are searching the Web for more resources before they initiate an agent than in the past. Are you providing the information they are looking for? Have you looked at the “staging” of the properties, the agency and even your own web presence? Lack of content is generally more of a detractor in a sale than a positive, and unknown negative content is an even greater detractor.
Most commercial realtors already know what the most popular social networking sites are. However, few are aware of how to effectively use these social sites to market their business and/or connect to others within their industry.
The most popular social sites currently include (*=1st choices):
- YouTube *
- Google+ – and “Google My Business”
- Pinterest *
- LinkedIn *
- Blogs *
- Tumblr Blog
- And more!
Of the social sites mentioned above, commercial realtors need to ask themselves, “How can I use each of these social sites to leverage my business?” While you may not use every single social media outlet, it is certainly worth considering the many uses of each when trying to boost business and build connections. Let’s take a look at how this can be done, using a select number of social sites as examples.
Using Social Media to Stage a Property Sale
Business Listing on Google Maps and Google Street View
Google Maps is the most used mobile app in the world, according to GlobalWebIndex data on global smartphone users in Q2 of 2013. Is the property on Google Maps, with photos, content, videos, reviews
What it is: Owned by Twitter, Vine is a mobile app that enables users to create and post brief, looping video clips of 6 seconds. Vines can then be shared within the Vine social network or to other social sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Why it’s valuable to commercial realtors: Some commercial realtors are finding creative ways to show properties, or give “sneak peeks” or “teasers” of properties by creating Vine videos and sharing it to social media.
Can you sell a commercial property in 6 seconds or less?
Having a 6-second window of time forces realtors to think outside of the box. At this point, Vine seems to function more as a promotion tool than anything else. However, with the right amount of creativity, the possibilities are endless for the right realtor.
What it is: Originally created by several, former PayPal employees back in 2005, YouTube has since been taken over by Google. It is a video platform on which users can share, view, and upload videos of up to 15 minutes each in duration.
Why it’s valuable to commercial realtors: YouTube is an invaluable tool for social media and web presence staged for the property you are selling. You can create a slide show directly on Youtube with royalty free audio. Here is an example of a fun one I just created after visiting St. Pauls NC (I recommend making yours shorter): http://youtu.be/AxrWlJTrL-A
Using Social Media to Interact
What it is: Originally launched back in 2010, Pinterest is essentially a visual storyboard of images. Users can upload, save, sort, manage and share images (also known as pins) via collections referred to as ‘pinboards’. People love images, and Pinterest provides an easy-to-use platform for users to organize and sort through the data they find the most interesting.
Why it’s valuable to commercial realtors: From creating pinboards related to DIY home projects to advice for first-time-property buyers, to collections of interactive boards related to clients and/or community – realtors can capitalize on the power of Pinterest!
Personal Reputation Branding & Why It Matters in Real Estate
When it is boiled down, commercial real estate is all about relationships; and so is social media. That said, social media is a great resource for brand management and building credibility. Why? In some social formats, such as Twitter, realtors can quickly identify who is talking and what is being said about their brand name. Regardless of whether it is good or bad, having this information at their fingertips allows for a significantly faster response while also keeping the lines of communication open.
Commercial realtors stand to greatly benefit from utilizing social media as a tool to help them forge new relationships with customers both online as well as offline because social media:
Makes networking faster and more efficient. Commercial realtors can use social media to drill down to specific target audiences and truly find out what their target consumers are looking for in their ideal commercial properties. Also, knowing where potential buyers spend time online can remove a lot of guesswork and aid realtors in understanding online networking behavior for their audience.
Is something that most people are using (or will be). Towards the end of 2013, Pew Internet Research revealed that more than 70% of online adults use social networking sites. Of these adults, 71% used Facebook, 18% used Twitter, 22% used LinkedIn, 21% used Pinterest, and 17% used Instagram.
7 Tips for Using Social Media to Sell
#1 – Position yourself as a leader.
Social media can allow you to demonstrate your real estate firm’s thought leadership via video sharing on YouTube, downloadable brochures via your website or interesting tips posted in a blog article. Make sure your Linkedin is showing off your best, rich with a photo, full summary and media. Dress it to the nines! It maybe your digital 1st impression! Make sure your company page on LinkedIn if updated along with the Google map listing of the agency.
#2 – Promote your commercial properties.
The world has gone digital. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do business face-to-face. Rather, it means you should take advantage of being able to connect to even more prospective buyers in the online arena. Research your niche and find out where they spend the most time online. Create social accounts in these areas; listen, and engage.
#3 – Use social media to assist with market research.
There are countless social media engagement tools to help you monitor your competitors as well as listen and engage with your current audience as well as your potential audience. Use social sites, such as Twitter, to perform keyword research, follow current conversations and learn which phrases consumers are using to discuss the commercial real estate business. Look in online forums for any questions that folks may be posting, and see if you can find ways to address their concerns.
#4 – Increase brand awareness & sponsorship.
If your commercial real estate company is doing something good for the community, let others know about it. Hosting an open house for one of your properties? Have big news that you’d like to share? Social media provides a great platform for broadcasting big messages.
#5 – Follow other people’s blogs.
One of the keys to blogging successfully is knowing what content will attract readers. A great way to get started is to follow the conversations and topics taking place on other blogs within your niche. What is being said in your industry? What are the general or overarching concerns that people have when it comes to real estate? Take these concerns and address them in a blog article. The more useful and informative the information you share, the greater likelihood that others will not only read your article; they’ll want to share it as well.
#6 – Maximize Reputation Monitoring Tools and Social CMRs
Using reputation tools to monitor yourself, your agency and your competition, such as http://Google.com/Alerts ; http://SocialMention.comhttp://topsy.com/ ; http://Trackur.com https://en.mention.net/ and for yourself http://klout.com/ to name a few. Also does your CRM (Customer relationship management) bring in social content like Nimble.com; Salesforce.com and Sugarcrm.com.
#7 – Be open to new technology that gives your customers a better experience and current information.
Newest trends include: Low altitude aerial photography/video with a professional quadcopter that will let them see an angle not possible from a regular aerial photograph taken from a plane. Photosphere virtual tours that let them walk inside like Google’s street view. A video profile of yourself that will give the viewer a sense of who you are and your qualifications placed on YouTube – that can then be imbedded in your website or blog.
By monitoring conversations online and plugging into the appropriate social media channels for engagement, commercial realtors can pinpoint exact topics that their prospects will find the most interesting while offering tangible information that their target audience will want to share. Simultaneously, using social media can help to build brand awareness while also engaging in meaningful conversations with prospective buyers.
Love to hear your views and how you have used Social Media in Commercial Real-estate?
by Martin Brossman
Example of a quadcopter video by Cramer Gallimore or CGPhoto.com (He also does Commercial Photography):