When Melissa Alexander first began dabbling in social media as a industrial actual property dealer, like most of us, she did it initially simply to remain updated on breaking information. Alexander, Vice President of Foundry Commercial in Nashville and an industrial dealer, had simply moved again to the Music City and was “principally ranging from scratch” after being away from her hometown. She started her profession at Cushman & Wakefield in Memphis, spending about 11 years there earlier than shifting again to Nashville. When she acquired again to her hometown, she made a concerted effort to “up her social media sport.”
Alexander continued to observe breaking actual property information on Twitter whereas on the lookout for a new place in Nashville however determined to additionally do one thing else with the platform, one thing that has since confirmed to be a nice transfer. She teamed up with a former CRE co-worker from Memphis, Casey Flannery, in 2018 to create #CREchat, a dwell Twitter dialog that discusses sizzling matters in industrial actual property. Alexander stated the Twitter chat concept has helped them develop each their social media followings and their enterprise connections past any of their expectations. “Our concept initially was to remain on high of breaking information whereas bringing CRE folks collectively, and it simply took off,” she stated.
Flannery, Senior Associate at Cushman & Wakefield in Memphis, stated the preliminary concept for #CREchat got here whereas she and Alexander had been at the nail salon. They seen there have been fairly a few CRE professionals on Twitter they usually had been acquainted with how Twitter chats labored. A couple of folks informed them others had tried to make on-line conversations about industrial actual work earlier than and had failed, however they determined to present it a shot anyway.
“We actually didn’t know what to anticipate,” Flannery stated. “We did know, nevertheless, that we needed to create a platform and share info with others in the trade. We’ve turn into buddies, and have created highly effective info and deal-sharing cohorts with others all through the industrial actual property trade.”
Once a month, Alexander and Flannery decide a actual property subject and discuss it with the #CREchat hashtag on Twitter, producing a web based dialog with their followers and different actual property people. Their subject material varies significantly, the final two conversations they hosted centered on psychological well being in the actual property trade and the future of LEED-certified buildings. The chats normally result in sturdy, constructive, and fascinating conversations about elements of working as a CRE dealer and the trade typically.
“The chat performed a key function for us throughout the starting of the pandemic as a result of we had been all making an attempt to determine what was going to occur in actual property,” Alexander stated. “We ended up switching from a month-to-month to a weekly chat as a result of issues had been altering so quickly, and CRE folks had been saying we had been breaking information earlier than anybody else as a result of we had been sharing a lot anecdotal info from the markets. That anecdotal info all the time comes earlier than the knowledge.”
Being a industrial dealer is all about connections and relationships, so social media has turn into more and more necessary for a lot of. But whereas residential actual property brokers have thrived with social media advertising on websites like Instagram and Facebook, CRE brokers have been slower to capitalize. Flannery and Alexander suppose that is a massive mistake and being lively on social media could make a enormous distinction in a dealer’s success.
“When you’re lively on social media, you’re getting real-time info throughout the trade,” Alexander stated. “People are telling you what they’re seeing and what’s going to be trending down the highway. It helps with every kind of decision-making, whether or not you’re representing a tenant, representing a landlord, or serving to somebody buy or promote a constructing.”
Flannery agrees along with her #CREchat associate and stated that being lively on social media not only for private makes use of has helped her profession tremendously. “I feel in the event you exclude utilizing social media for enterprise, it doesn’t make any sense,” she stated. “People are doing analysis on-line, they’re discovering brokers on-line, they’re discovering listings on-line. Being discovered on-line can have a enormous impression on getting a deal completed or getting a new itemizing.”
In addition to their #CREchat account, Flannery and Alexander have each gained hundreds of followers on Twitter and are very lively on the platform. And in the event you’re in any respect skeptical that likes and retweets imply something tangible for a CRE dealer, they each stated their social media affect has led to actual enterprise outcomes. Alexander described a latest state of affairs the place she cold-called somebody about a land itemizing and the consumer referred to as her again in 10 minutes after wanting her up on-line. “I appeared you up and I do know you’re the actual deal, and I’m going to rent you,” the consumer informed her.
Social media utilization amongst all generations has been rising, however the pandemic accelerated it much more. Seventy-two p.c of folks surveyed by Digital Commerce 360 stated their social media use elevated throughout the pandemic’s first yr in 2020 and 43 p.c of survey respondents stated they posted updates extra usually. With an increasing number of folks spending time on-line, the significance of social media for CRE brokers and companies of all kinds is difficult to disclaim. Seventy-eight p.c of shoppers are keen to purchase from a firm after having a constructive interplay with them on social media, in keeping with Sprout Social, a social media software program firm. This statistic transfers over to actual property accordingly. It’s straightforward to see how potential purchasers would even be extra keen to do enterprise with a CRE dealer after having a constructive impression or interplay with them on-line.
While being extra lively on social media is a good begin, Alexander and Flannery shared with me additional ideas for increasing affect in the CRE world. They each stated the first step was to easily soar in with each ft, studying the ropes as you go alongside. They stated success, and the enterprise outcomes that include it, received’t occur in a single day. For Alexander and Flannery, constructing their private manufacturers and a social media following took effort and time. Both of them are very deliberate with the platforms they use and follow a constant posting schedule. Not each CRE dealer will turn into a social media influencer however with a little effort and ingenuity, being extra lively on social platforms can repay.
‘Just be genuine’
For Alexander and Flannery the platforms that may have the most impression for CRE brokers are LinkedIn and Twitter. Their #CREchats began on Twitter and has since turn into a podcast, and Alexander and Flannery are each additionally very lively on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest skilled community with practically 800 million members in additional than 200 nations and territories. But Twitter has emerged as a superb platform for extra casual discussions amongst CRE professionals.
Alexander stated it is best to decide one or two social networks and maximize your efforts there so that you don’t stretch your self out too skinny. She famous that Clubhouse, the social audio app, is an rising platform for CRE brokers, however, “you may’t be all issues to all folks.” Alexander additionally stated brokers ought to take word of the stylistic variations between platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. For instance, self-promotion is a bit extra acceptable on LinkedIn than on Twitter, the place it may be labeled as spammy. Twitter additionally has rather more tolerance for irreverence, wit, and humor. “Each social media platform has its personal persona,” Alexander stated. “Something you publish on LinkedIn might not essentially work on Twitter and vice-a-versa.”
Many folks like social media advertising as a result of they need genuine experiences, actual connections, and content material and advert campaigns that basically get them. This is far totally different than older mannequin advertising that was much less of a dialog and extra of a one-way road. In that vein, Alexander and Flannery stated one of the most important issues to recollect when constructing a private model on social media is to simply be your self. “If you strive too onerous, folks can and can see proper by it,” Flannery stated. “Just be genuine and soar proper in and do it. There’s a studying curve for everyone and determining what works for you.”
Alexander and Flannery stated a widespread mistake on LinkedIn or Twitter is consistently posting self-promotional content material, whether or not or not it’s information about your organization or one of your new listings or offers. This will simply bore your viewers, they usually’ll probably ignore you. They stated a key to gaining social media affect is to suppose of your self as a content material creator. Share content material that gives worth to your followers, equivalent to actionable enterprise insights, trade developments, market stories, or helpful and related articles.
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Self-promotion isn’t a unhealthy factor in itself, however it ought to be balanced with different varieties of useful content material. Alexander and Flannery stated the aim ought to be to aspire to turn into a ‘thought chief’ amongst CRE brokers in your space. It’s a regrettable enterprise buzzword, however the aim is the proper one. They famous that #CREChat gained so many followers as a result of it turned a supply of priceless info for CRE professionals, not as a result of they endlessly promoted their very own listings.
Remember the social half
Some folks dwell on social media and publish on daily basis. This isn’t solely mandatory to realize a following, however a constant posting schedule is, in keeping with Alexander and Flannery. Some folks solely publish 10 instances a yr or accomplish that solely sporadically. It’s onerous to realize any momentum in the sea of content material on the market in the event you’re not posting a lot. Flannery and Alexander stated they aren’t notably strategic about their posting, however they do have some guiding ideas, together with staying to a constant schedule. For instance, #CREChat sticks to a month-to-month schedule.See additionally
You might schedule posts upfront with a instrument like Hootesuite and meticulously plan out your content material, however Flannery doesn’t suppose that’s mandatory, both. “It does take time, however it doesn’t take as a lot time as you’d suppose,” she stated. “When the newest information hits my electronic mail inbox in the morning, I attempt to share that on LinkedIn, so I’m one of the first folks to share that info.”
Posting persistently additionally performs in your favor as a result of of algorithms. Each platform, whether or not LinkedIn or Twitter, has an algorithm, and when you begin posting often, you’ll most likely begin seeing a rise in likes and engagement. This is as a result of social media platforms improve your views on peoples’ timelines if you’re persistently sharing posts (so long as it’s not spam). So, the extra social you might be, together with interplay with others, the extra ‘airtime’ you’ll get.
Finally, Alexander and Flannery emphasised that interacting with others on Twitter and LinkedIn is vital in constructing a private model. It additionally results in making some enjoyable web buddies who chances are you’ll meet IRL and do enterprise with. Social networks are communities at the start and, whereas a lot has been written of their detrimental sides, they will also be wonderful locations to share concepts and make connections.
Flannery and Alexander stated they invite interplay from others on Twitter and LinkedIn by exhibiting their curiosity in constructing friendships by tagging and following others and interacting with different folks’s posts. “If you work together with different folks and influencers, your tide goes to rise as properly,” Alexander stated. “It’s good to be not so self-focused. Think about your posting as having a dialog with somebody and never speaking at them, as a result of folks reply on social media.”
The advantages of creating #CREchat and being extra lively on social media are clear for Flannery. She stated she and Alexander have developed robust private manufacturers for themselves, as others acknowledge them at occasions they attend, even outdoors of their regional markets. But, most significantly, Flannery stated #CREchat has made her a higher dealer. “When we first began the chat, I used to be simply beginning on the brokerage aspect of the enterprise,” Flannery stated. “So the chat has helped me study and implement finest practices for enterprise and purchasers. And for me, the coolest half has been assembly folks throughout the U.S. and all sectors of the industrial actual property trade.”
Roughly seven out of ten American adults as we speak use some kind of social media to attach with others, share info, and have interaction with information content material, in keeping with a latest survey by the Pew Research Center. With extra folks on social media than ever earlier than, there’s a big range of alternatives for CRE brokers to attach with potential purchasers and land IRL enterprise offers by maximizing their affect on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Flannery and Alexander’s #CREchat launched them into actual property influencer standing, however you don’t have to realize a large following to reap some of the advantages of utilizing social media for enterprise. However, as Flannery famous, not being lively on social media in a skilled capability doesn’t make sense anymore. The reliance on social media in the CRE world will solely proceed to develop and, as Alexander informed me, in the event you don’t have a longtime on-line presence as we speak, “it’s such as you don’t even exist.”