Good marketing campaigns sell goods, services, or a combination of the two. When it comes to marketing for commercial real estate, exceptional campaigns help buyers see themselves working in a space or show investors the possibilities of a particular environment. The most successful approaches showcase properties, aligning them with buyer or tenant dreams, goals, and specific requirements.
Residential real estate has leveraged social media for quite some time to great effect, but it’s taken a while for commercial real estate to catch up. Getting into the social media game, however, offers plenty of benefits, including gaining broader attention for your CRE brand and its properties.
Leveling up to use social media more actively in marketing also gives target markets like the Millennial market, whose buying power has increased and will continue to grow, the authentic experiences and real connections they expect. Old school “analog” brochures and EDMs don’t pack much of a punch. According to Statista, 82% of people ages 30-49 and 69% of people ages 50-64 use social media.
If you want to meet people where they are, social media must factor into your CRE marketing. Well-conceptualized, developed, visually rich and textured social media enables CRE professionals to build trusted connections. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all offer you the opportunity to start conversations, attract followers, and grow your outreach.
Perhaps the best thing about social media is its inherent “opt-in” approach. People choose to follow you. They can interact with shares or private messages, click a link to visit your website, like a post or leave a comment. Social media has created a type of marketing that’s a two-way street and gives consumers ownership over advertising. So if you want to attract followers, you have to up your game and give them content they need or find useful.
So how can you maximize its effectiveness?
Not All Social is Equal
Dozens of social media platforms exist. But the most effective platforms—and ones with which the most people have the greatest amount of familiarity—are listed below. But don’t just limit yourself to one or two platforms. The more you cross-post, tweaking according to each platform’s strengths, the more you can grow and amplify your market reach.
If you haven’t already done so, create a business Facebook page for your company. Use it to feature various properties, post updates, invite interaction from page followers, and more. Its chat feature allows you to connect in real-time with people interested in your brand and offerings.
If someone has questions about a property, you can answer them quickly or send them links to your website with additional information about the building in question, for example. Sharing images increases interaction, too. Look at the popular Zillow, which has at least eight different Facebook pages (Zillow Gone Wild, Zillow Real Estate, Zillow Homes Near Me, Zillow Rentals Near Me, etc.) chock full of images.
A quick Facebook search of “commercial real estate groups” yields dozens of groups with tens of thousands of members—that’s a lot of outreach and networking possibilities!
This image-heavy platform works well for interior shots. Want to highlight a space perfect for a healthcare facility or office building? It’s a great place to start. Elevate brand-building with educational or informational posts, too. Far fewer CRE individuals and companies use Instagram, although CBRE has found it very useful in its marketing strategies.
The professional’s social media similar to Facebook, LinkedIn provides another avenue for targeting decision-makers. You can upload images, long-form posts, videos, and even advertisements. It’s a good platform for positioning yourself as a thought leader in the CRE industry as well. Another use for this powerful platform? To highlight awards you or your company has received, participation in charity events or giving back to the community, commitment to ESG, and major wins and developments.
Hundreds of quality private CRE groups exist on LinkedIn. It’s worth it to check out:
- International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
- Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
- Peter Asmus’ Real Estate Networking Group (Investor Strategies)
- Peter Asmus’ Commercial Real Estate Investment, Development & Property Management
- National Real Estate Investor
- Corporate Real Estate
- Technology for Commercial Real Estate
- Commercial Real Estate Executives
- Social Media Commercial Real Estate
Are you a CRE professional specializing in interior design of office buildings? Pinterest is the perfect platform to curate boards featuring current furniture or color trends. Create themed boards to share niche image content. Google Image Search plays well with Pinterest, giving a powerful SEO boost for searchability while using its image “repinning” function to promote virality.
A few caveats: Do create a business Pinterest account and take time to plan how you’ll use this platform. Your strategy should create brand consistency with your pins that grabs your audience’s attention via identifiable color schemes, fonts, logos, imagery, pictures and other visual elements. Creativity and originality is key here.
SEO is important for Pinterest, too, so choose an SEO-friendly user name related to your CRE business, pay attention to keywords, and write natural descriptions optimized for search engines. Use #hashtags (because they’re not just for Twitter any more). Create content that’s evergreen—or at least will have a longer shelf life (which increases visibility and market outreach as more people discover your boards).
Find, connect with, and engage with other CRE boards, too. As an active member of several groups, you have access to—and should share—high quality content that’s valuable to your target markets and which will attract new followers to your own boards.
Used by many decision-makers and business influencers to share breaking news or updates in real-time, Twitter’s #hashtag search function makes it easy to find relevant information and even “go viral.” It’s also a great place to get updated information about local events and current news.
Your tweets should include links to your blog or website content, direct links to other people’s content, and information about your business (or other marketing materials). It’s also great for building those connections, with opportunities for personal interactions, networking, and even small talk.
Post your available properties for sale or lease. Take and upload good quality images, and conduct a little research to determine the best times to tweet based on property type, location, and target client demographics. Actively engage with relevant business accounts and always use relevant #hashtags.
It’s sharable and embeddable and a great platform for sharing marketing videos of interior and exterior shots, virtual tours, and more. YouTube also connects the real person to the brand, making it a valuable tool for sharing thought leadership and insights.
Not sure where to start? You could create videos of commercial areas where you have available buildings for sale, lease or space to build. Create a channel where you include market updates and trends, information about your latest property listings, tips for landlords and tenants, and more. You could also invite other CRE professionals to chat on video, offering their expert opinions on topics relevant to those in the CRE industry.
Since launching in 2005, YouTube has about 2 billion monthly active users who spend a billion hours collectively each day watching videos. Over 70% of US adults use this platform—which is another reason to incorporate it into your marketing mix. Plus, because Google owns YouTube, it’s easier to rank for SEO—especially if your videos incorporate effective keywords in their headlines. It’s also effective for inbound marketing, attracting customers by creating tailored, custom content and experiences relevant to your target audience. Inbound marketing forms natural connections from potential clients seeking CRE solutions—and your videos can provide those answers. Finally, videos are among the most engaging forms of media.
Ultimately, you’ll want to set a strategy and communication plan for each social media channel you opt to use. Define your content and goals. Determine how frequently you’ll post—and who’ll own responsibility for developing and posting the content.
Looking to get started in CRE or expand your current portfolio? Talk to the professionals at CREA United. Its mission is to provide an organic approach to networking among its members, now over 75 strong and representing every discipline within the commercial real estate industry.