Social Media, Facebook and Commercial Real Estate

by CoyDavidson on August 19, 2012

Should Commercial Real Estate Brokers Have a Facebook Page?

The general sentiment among commercial real estate professionals is that Facebook is not an effective tool to promote your business. Since I use all the major social media sites extensively, I have an opposite view based on actual experience and real results.

LinkedIn is the preferred social media tool among commercial real estate professionals and while I believe it is an effective tool, I also believe many consider it the “safe-choice” as it is now universally accepted as the social network for business professionals.

Yes, the C-Suite is on Facebook

LinkedIn  is undeniably regarded as the best social media tool to reach business professional and I don’t necessarily disagree with that premise. However, what if you are trying to reach the c-suite level executives? As a tenant representative, reaching middle level managers provides little direct benefit, I typically have to market to upper level management.

Despite social media’s growing acceptance in the corporate world, senior business leaders are noticeably absent in their presence on social media. The school of thought is that c-suite level executives don’t have time through out the day to spend on social networking sites.

Yes, there are some c-suite level executives on Linkedin, but for the most part they are not active. Beyond the time issue there is another reason. LinkedIn is filled with aggressive salespeople and marketers and many senior executives don’t see the benefit in connecting with professionals on LinkedIn who have very little to offer them in return in terms of network connections.

However, I believe there is on one social networking site where many senior level business executives spend at least some time. Yes, you guessed it, Facebook. Are they there for business purposes? No, of course they are not, but they are there to connect with their kids and close friends. Their kids and close friends are people they make time for.

facebook Coy Davidson

How do I know this? I am connected with several clients on Facebook and I can see how they use their Facebook page. Some of my clients follow my Facebook fan page and several that I have more close personal relationships with are friends on my personal account.

I don’t really care how the c-suite executive discovers my content, only that I capture their eyeballs and stay top of mind when they think about commercial real estate. I have also observed after three years of using all the major social networks that Facebook connections are more engaged and spend a significantly longer amount of time on my blog site. The first time I received a lunch invitation from a client on my Facebook page email, it really opened my eyes.

Newsletter 2.0

I should note the difference between a Facebook page and a personal account. While I have both,my personal account is private and my business Facebook page is in essence a public website. I tend to view my business page as my on-line newsletter. I prefer this to an e-mail newsletter because it doesn’t clog my clients email inbox. My blog, The Tenant Advisor is very focused and primarily my own content. My Facebook page serves as an extension of my blog, and allows me to share industry news, trends and show more personality, as well as engage with my community. While Twitter by far sends the most traffic to my blog out of the major social networks, it is my facebook visitors that spend the most time on my site.

Business Can Be Personal

Commercial real estate is a relationship driven business and the key to the elusive ROI with social media is to convert your best on-line connections into more personal relationships. What better social network is there for people that I have a personal or business relationship with to advocate me to their friends online? LinkedIn and Twitter are great for discovery, but I have found Facebook to be an effective tool in several instances to accomplish just that. Whenever I advocate Facebook, the LinkedIn purists want to debate me. LinkedIn is a fantastic tool, but it is not an “either/or” decision for me.

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  • Richard Podos

    Coy, good post… but I could not disagree more. LinkedIn will rule in the corporate community. Not sure yet, but I think there is a good chance that Facebook will flame out in general.

  • Coy – I agree with you. Facebook is a sandbox with 600 million + people. It is foolish to think that you don’t want to have a presence there. And I like how you view it as an online newsletter.

  • Richard, facebook does have issues at lease with Wall Street and LinkedIn certainly seems to be making changes aimed at increasing engagement which I am all for. My point is I am having some success with client engagement and turning online connections into clients with facebook. FB, LI and Twitter are all providing value for me.

  • Thanks Bo, its not a LI vs FB thing for me. Like I am pulling for my favorite team. My point is I am having succcess with FB

  • Stephen Hopkins

    Look at the “average visit duration” from Facebook on your referral chart…unreal!

  • Stephen, the avg duration from facebook visitors is running over 9 minutes for the first 20 days of August and Facebook is the number one referral source for that 20 day period. Its one thing to have a visitor land on your site, its another thing that they actually spend some time there reading your content.

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