Eyes Wide Shut

by CoyDavidson on October 20, 2012

Why CRE Hasn’t Embraced Social Media?

InkHouse Media + Marketing a boutique communications agency based in Massachusetts posted a great article on their blog this week titled, “Three Ways Commercial Real Estate Firms Should Change Their Public Relations Strategy.” The post summarizes the commercial real estate industry and its lack of innovation in terms of public relations strategies in the social media age.

The commercial real estate industry has a reputation as a laggard in adopting new technology and embracing new trends. While I think that CRE’s reputation as a late adopter is for the most part accurate, our industry is not alone. There are many other industries in the B2B sector they have been slow to dive into social media. When you look at Law or Finance, these industries which are highly regulated have been even slower to incorporate social media into their marketing and public relations strategy.

Fear and Skepticism

I made the decision over three years ago to dive heavily into social media and at the time my biggest concern wasn’t whether or not social media would prove valuable, but rather how it would be perceived by my colleagues, peers and upper management.  Would corporate put restrictions on social media and would my colleagues snicker at me? While at the time I firmly believed that social media would become a standard practice in business including commercial real estate, it has only been over the last year or so the skepticism about social media has begun to subside.

Lack of Expertise

Today, I like to think of myself as fairly savvy in terms  of how to incorporate social media into my commercial real estate practice. However, I have a tons of trial and error experience over the last three years. The reality is most commercial real estate firms don’t have the staff who have a strong grasp on how to effectively implement social media. When they do decide they better give it a try, they make all the classic mistakes and are disappointed with their results and either give up or refuse to dedicate the necessary personnel or resources.

Eyes Wide Shut

Today, I don’t think many in the commercial real estate industry believe that social media is a fad that will go away. However, they still don’t know what to do. I predicted two years ago that one of the major CRE brands would hire a social media director. I am not aware that this has happened, but the big brands are adding social media responsibilities to their marketing and communications staff. The problem is that they are learning just like the rest of us. I predict that the commercial real estate industry will become more innovative with social media when they begin to hire the talent that possess the skills to effectively implement social media into their marketing and PR strategy. However, until then, they will just be content with keeping their eyes wide shut.

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