New media: CRE leaders explain why you don't want to miss out

The acceleration, reach and over-hype of social media has become a perplexing topic for some CRE executives, but not all of them:

  • A survey published by Real Estate Forum in August 2009 indicated that of the 85% of the CRE professionals who use online networking sites, 41% said it had already helped them make new industry connections or generate or augment their business
  • In April 2010 Commercial Property Executive Magazine (a CREOpoint Partner) published an article confirming the interest: «CRE professionals seek symbiotic relationships between social networking and personal contact.»
  • Colin Dyer, CEO of Jones Lang Lasalle, commented: «People do seem to understand the potential for social media to make organizations much more open and transparent, and to make the connections between organizations, their employees and their customers much more interactive. This should work in the favor of our firm, with our collaborative and ethical culture.»
  • "We are at a critical crossroads for the industry," said Robert M. White, Jr., president of Real Capital Analytics (a CREOpoint partner) "More than ever before CRE professionals need accurate, intelligent and concise information to make well informed decisions. Industry-specific online networking enables productive real-time conversations among our clients and friends worldwide."
  • Mark Kingston, CEO of ARGUS Software (a CREOpoint partner) remarked: “The speed of thought and dialogue has increased well beyond what traditional in-person communication vehicles can deliver. CRE professionals want quality networking and valuable real-time intelligence.”
  • Mark Faithfull, CNBC European Real Estate Editor (and a loyal participant in CREOpoint London events) added: «Some senior people are too conservative. There’s too many questions about why not at the moment!»
  • Paul Danks, SVP Corporate Services at NAI Global (and a long time CREOpoint member and friend) warned: «This will become the norm rather than the exception. As a profession we need to adapt or die.»
  • Coy Davidson, SVP Colliers International: Word of mouth is the most powerful recommendation for any CRE professional. The speed and reach of word of mouth in the social networking space can’t be ignored. It raises the awareness of your personal brand, allows you to spotlight your expertise, makes you more accessible and extends your influence. I don't get caught up in the short-term ROI debate. It is a long-term strategy”
  • Duke Long, an IN-based broker, owner, blogger (and participant in CREOpoint Chicago events): “Relevance,
    authenticity, sharing, connection, creativity. Does this sound like your brand? The market and the clients in commercial real estate think it should.”
  • Others also agree: a recent ULI Survey showed that 60% of executives see social media as «quite or very important» already.

You already know that decision makers are increasingly skeptical about traditional and company-driven advertising. They are increasingly going about their lives in a digital environment.

I recently had dinner with Sam Zell who said that "newspapers were like melting ice cubes” and that there is “a stressed importance in being able to understand people and build relationships that help you network yourself. Now in this age of digital progression, its easier than ever to connect with people.”

The above RICS report authored by REMIT Consulting recommends: «We don’t expect everyone to become as evangelical as Google about social media overnight; but we hope that you will be able to add these tools to your daily business and profit from your understanding of them.»

The CREOpoint team understands that commercial real estate is not an online business but online networking is the natural evolution of of what we have always done to build relationships. Now we can network 24/7 from anywhere.

Today, word-of-mouth is no longer an act of intimate, one-on-one communication. As Kevin Maggiacomo, CEO of Sperry Van Ness, remarks: «Social media doesn’t replace real relationships, it enhances and accelerates them. You simply don’t have time not to be involved in social media.»

Like others, commercial real estate professionals who don’t want to miss out have discovered fast-growing CRE online blogs and networks to:

  • Stay on the forefront of what’s going on
  • Grow their digital brand
  • Disseminate opinions
  • Virally praise or punish brands
  • Make purchasing decisions

Companies are jumping on the social media movement because:

  • “That’s where people are”
  • They know that the economy, young professionals and technology are obliterating old business models
  • They are «afraid of missing out»

They are often frustrated because they:

  • Rush into all kinds of experiments
  • Give it to junior staff
  • Expect immediate returns
  • Don’t yet get that shameless self promotion doesn’t work
  • Did not make the time to develop a thought-out plan
  • Have no way of measuring results

On the other hand, others who embrace the demand of the market and look to their future have raised their name recognition, received media exposure, broadened and deepened relationships and yes, closed real deals!

Steve Felix, Head of Marketing for Aviva Investors North America and a long time blogger on CREOpoint concludes: «The question is no longer should we network online but how do we maximize our time on various platforms without making mistakes?"

How do you best do that? Where are you in the process with your strategy development and the new tools below? Feel free to also add in the comments box below how the CREOpoint community could help you. Thanks, JC Goldenstein CREOpoint Founder

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Comment by Gunnar Branson on January 24, 2011 at 4:42pm
Social media seems especially suited to commercial real estate. It's practically designed for thought leadership - and helps professionals initiate conversations with a higher level of insight, better solutions and a deeper network.  This is the marketing methodology our industry has been looking for!  We are all about networking, thought leadership, relationships and conversations.
The care and feeding of a business network has always been a core challenge for this highly collaborative and relationship dependent industry.  The new tools outlined in this article help - but the central problem of getting a network to build business can feel like the maintenance of a tremendously powerful, fickle, and hungry beast.

To Steve Felix's note - how to focus, what content to provide, how to best use this world of social media tools - we're all learning how best to apply it to real estate.  Some notes I've collected on the challenge are in the articles below:
  1. feed the beast: the social media marketer's challenge 
  2. junk food or health food: what should we feed the beast?
  3. serve the beast
  4. trust and the beast: how to sell with social media
  5. satisfy the beast: start a conversation

I hope these articles continue to provoke questions and thoughts.  Mr. Goldenstein is on to something here and should be listened to carefully.  Based on my experiences with Commercial Real Estate clients, I've become an avid supporter of social media for our industry.  

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