Commercial real estate professionals are the first to tell you they’ve been slow to embrace social media as a marketing strategy. Putting yourself out there can be intimidating, but your competitors may already be in the space. “For brokers age 35 to 55, social media commerce will have the greatest impact on our business success,” says Carrie Bobb, founder and CEO of Carrie Bobb & Co. in San Diego. The fact that commercial brokers are late to the social sphere means you can still be among the first in your market to build a strong social presence. Before you jump in, though, learn from pioneers leading the way.
Learn As You Go
The pandemic drew many commercial brokers to social media. “I had time and wanted to be a part of social, but I didn’t want to look silly doing it,” says Cory Zelnik, founder and CEO of Zelnik & Co. in New York City.
This is a common fear, especially among established brokers. “It’s OK if [a social media post] isn’t perfect right out of the gate,” says Jeanne Heller, director of marketing for The Feil Organization, North Riverside Park Mall, in Chicagoland. “We all fumble through it at first.”
After Zelnik saw some friends (and competitors) in the space, he strategized with his marketing specialist and started posting on several platforms. “We got the most traction on Instagram and LinkedIn, so that’s where we focus,” he says. “At the beginning, I had about 50 followers—mostly friends. Now it’s 900 on my personal account and north of 2,000 on our company account.”
Jayson Siano, founder and CEO of Sabre Real Estate Advisors in New York City, believes commercial pros should be using social media no matter their age. He started vlogging, or video blogging, heavily in 2016. “In the beginning, people in the industry made fun of me.” Using the camera like a fly on the wall, Siano let people see what his team did day-to-day.
“I used it to grow Sabre from a regional to a national business,” he says. “In 2016, we did deals in three states. In 2021, we did deals in 42 states.”Jay Siano, CEO + Founder, SABRE
Tips for a Social Strategy
Your social strategy should be unique, but consider these best practices from the field:
- Be authentic and talk directly to your audience.
- Maintain a balance between personal and business, and don’t make it all about you.
- Post regularly using themes, such as “Fun Fridays,” and adhere to your brand.
- Use video but don’t feel pressured to create sophisticated production.
- Engage with followers—and on others’ posts.
- Focus on meaningful metrics to evaluate impact.
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