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Best Practices: How To Use Social Media In CRE

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The Best Practices series asks CRE leaders around the country about how to best execute a single aspect of their business.

Commercial real estate has been slow to come around to social media as a marketing tool, and there is still a fair amount of uncertainty in the industry about the best ways to use the ever-evolving, sometimes hard-to-pin-down tools of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Bisnow asked experts in property management and social media marketing what the best practices are when it comes to promoting a commercial property or business on social media.

LeaseLabs by RealPage Senior Manager of Marketing Jonas Dominique

Jonas Dominique
Senior Manager of Marketing at LeaseLabs by Real Page Jonas Dominique

Social media can feel like the Wild West at times. Identifying which strategies are working and which aren't can be extremely confusing, with many variables. Because the current social media climate favors paid media, it's easy to abandon organic strategies that have become more challenging to master in today's pay-to-play landscape.  

It's extremely important that social media profiles contain updated and accurate information. Your credibility online is not completely in your own hands, however. Manage your reputation by responding to and generating reviews and ensuring timely communication.

Consider your content and where it's being placed. Your users are scrolling through photos of their friends at events, keeping up with their families, reading news articles and watching funny cat videos primarily from their mobile devices. Reward them for being a part of your online community with content that is helpful, insightful or entertaining. Your users want a story, so tell them one that builds their confidence and increases their sense of investment in your brand. No one wants to feel like they are being sold to.

Finally, leverage complementary and alternative approaches to native posting and targeted ads. Lately, one of the most effective ways to ensure you're reaching your most loyal, engaged prospects and customers is to create or sponsor a group that pertains to their interests. When you post to your general news feed on Facebook, you may reach 10% of your followers and friends. If you post to your group, 100% of those members will most likely be reached, and they will not just see your post in their newsfeed — they’ll get a notification.

LeaseLabs by RealPage provides digital marketing services and software to about 800,000 multifamily housing units nationwide.

Ruby Media Group CEO Kris Ruby

Best Practices: How To Use Social Media In CRE
Ruby Media Group CEO Kris Ruby

Instagram Stories: Instagram Story ideas include press placements, community relations, trade shows, polls and countdowns to launches.

Many have already figured out how to leverage Instagram feed posts for their commercial real estate marketing strategy, but one area that's still massively underutilized is the use of Instagram Stories in commercial real estate. The growth of Instagram Stories is far surpassing the growth of feed posts. 

Plus, user media consumption preferences differ depending on the demographic. Some users prefer to watch Instagram Stories, while others like scrolling through Instagram feed posts. This is why it's important to have a hybrid approach to make the most of your Instagram marketing strategy for commercial real estate. Use Instagram Stories to create interactive, behind-the-scenes content for your audience and followers.

LinkedIn: The organic reach on LinkedIn right now is significantly higher than Facebook. Take advantage of this massive opportunity from a personal branding standpoint. Create short videos to showcase new properties or even press mentions or industry awards with your followers. 

Another key power play social media move on LinkedIn is the ability to upload documents as a PDF directly to your LinkedIn post. These posts on average are seeing significantly higher views than static posts without any rich media. Consider sharing a presentation deck or property listing deck and compare the analytics.

Ruby Media Group is a public relations and social media agency based in Manhattan.

Halstead Property Development Marketing Executive Vice President of Leasing Carole Bloom

Best Practices: How To Use Social Media In CRE
Halsted Property Development Marketing Executive Vice President of Leasing Carole Bloom

A truly effective social media strategy for multifamily is a well-rounded one — including paid advertising campaigns, a strong organic content program and a focus on influencer and partnership marketing. Even though platforms like Facebook and Instagram make it easier than ever to capture leads, having all of these components working at once is crucial, because, as with all advertising, it takes multiple touch points to make a meaningful impression. 

It's also very important to remember that people tend to have shorter attention spans on social media, so you need to be concise and direct in conveying your property's best qualities — and crucial qualifying information, such as what type of apartment, where it’s located and the price.

Halstead Property Development Marketing is a sales and marketing firm that partners with developers and designers during property development. 

CRELIX Marketing Partners Principal Cary Brazeman

CRELIX Marketing Partners Principal Cary Brazeman Principal
CRELIX Marketing Partners Principal Cary Brazeman

Before diving in to promote your personal brand, real estate services firm or specific properties on social media, ask yourself if the tactic suits you. Most real estate pros are sociable, but for some people, being social on demand is tough. Likewise, receiving negative feedback from total strangers can happen on social media. If that makes you squirm, social media may not be a good fit.

But if you’re prepared for the interaction and accept the risk, the tactic can be a winner.

Focus on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. These are the channels where you’ll reach the most business prospects. Facebook can be great for residential real estate marketing, but not so much for commercial, unless you’re targeting friends and family.

Share insights on social media that demonstrate your expertise on the market, be it geographic, by product type or by some other definition. Your posts should include images and short videos.

Demonstrate that you are truly interested in community-building by asking your connections and inviting new contacts to tell you what they think. People appreciate being asked their opinions, and your views will be informed by their insight.

Use your social channels to tip people off about news, events and trends you see happening in the market. You’re likely to become a go-to source for information.

Listen to other conversations taking place on the platforms, and insert yourself into the chat stream. This is like going up to strangers at a party, so proceed with caution. But know that if you don’t talk to strangers, including online, you won’t expand your circle of influence.

CRELIX Marketing Partners is a national marketing and media agency specializing in real estate, financial services and tech, with offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Fairfield Residential Executive Vice President-Head of Property Management Kim Bender

Kim Bender
Fairfield Residential Executive Vice President-Head of Property Management Kim Bender

You have to look at social media as a pay-to-play space. In the past, it was all about organically reaching followers, growing your audience and getting engagement for free. But now, it’s a must to run paid social media ads, particularly on Facebook and Instagram. You don’t have to spend much – even $100 can get you a good amount of impressions and clicks — to reach people who may have never been exposed to your brand otherwise.

Also, you want to produce organic content that promotes engagement or conversation. Posts with the most conversation get the most reach. Promoting events on Facebook is a great way to get residents to interact online.

You also want to make sure you’re managing your reviews and reputation; responding to comments and reviews, even when they’re not the most positive, shows that you value your customer and the service you provide. Consumers love to see companies working toward a resolution even when there are problems — because problems are inevitable, but not every company works to solve them.

Fairfield Residential manages about 40,000 multifamily units nationwide, including new construction and renovated apartments in urban and suburban neighborhoods.