Why Young CRE Brokers Should be Building their Online Presence

by CoyDavidson on May 22, 2013

News Flash … the internet isn’t going away

I typically get at least one phone call or email per week from one of my Colliers colleagues in some other city and they always want to know if they can have a few minutes of my time to discuss social media. While I certainly appreciate the courtesy of being respectful of my time, my response is almost always the same, “of course I have time, we play on the same team.” The reality is I am getting to know someone new every time a peer calls and while I am a team player, starting a new relationship with one of our brokers in another city is the real prize.

The questions are almost always the same:

  1. How much time do you spend on social media?
  2. Do you get business from it?
  3. Does your assistant help you in your social media efforts?

Typically it is the younger professionals calling me, sometimes because they feel it is something they should be doing but they need some justification to convince their senior broker or mentor that this isn’t a waste of time. Sometimes, it is the senior broker who directed them to call to and evaluate if this is something they should be doing. I know how CRE brokers think, I have been one for 23 years. They don’t like to be wrong, and even if they are, they will reluctantly admit to it.

So let me just answer those three previously mentioned questions:

  1. I spend between 30 minutes and 2 hours per day on social media.
  2. Yes, I get business from it.
  3. No, my assistant does not help me with social media.

Social Media is a Long-Term Strategy

I have stated many times if you are successful senior broker and already knocking it out of the park, you may never need social media or a highly visible online presence. However, unless have already mastered the skill set of a top rainmaker, the reason you should be building your digital brand today is not for what its going to do for you tomorrow or even in the next 6 months or a year, but what it is going to do for you next year and the many years to follow.

Commercial real estate professionals were very skeptical of social media three years ago and while there is less skepticism today, most are still reluctant to jump in with a real effort. Tweeting for a couple of weeks with an egg as your profile picture isn’t a real effort. No matter what your view of social media as a tool for commercial real estate brokerage is, do you really think the internet isn’t going to increasingly impact how business is done? My blog now consistently gets between 13,000-15,000 visitors per month. More than half of the visitors come from Google search and about 20% from my social media channels. The remainder are from subscribers or referred by a link on another website.

I am not sure my target market is online

The key concept to keep in mind is that the digital savvy 20 and 30 somethings of today are the senior business decision makers and coveted entrepreneurs of the near future. They research who they are contemplating doing business with on the internet and connect on social networks with like minded people. Even the 40 and 50 something senior executives whose business you are currently chasing are more active online today. How many people do you know that don’t have a facebook account?

Should you be a young broker deciding whether or not a strong online presence is worth the effort, quit listening to what your senior brokers say about social media and keep these three ideas in mind: (1) don’t think about what social media is going to do for you today, but the benefits it will bring to you in the future and (2) stop trying to correlate social media to direct sales. Think about how it can help you get face-to-face with the people you want to do business with and (3) social media is not a tool to replace the more traditional business development tactics but rather a tool to compliment that effort.

Social media is an add-on. A strong online presence in itself won’t define your success as commercial real estate broker but is rather an efficient tool to create visibility and enhance your credibility. Developing a strong online presence just might create more opportunities for you to physically hand someone your business card. So next time you call to discuss social media, let’s talk about how instead of why?

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  • Allen Buchanan


    Agree with your points, here…especially the visibility and credibility part. Met one of your colleagues, telephonically yesterday…Mary Clare Codd from Tampa.



  • William Lewis

    Very well written at to the point. I will work for any industry. I has helped me more and more over time in the commercial furniture business.

  • David Gellner

    Hi Coy,

    Would you ever consider putting your LinkedIn/Twitter on your business cards? This seems like a no-brainer to me, especially how valuable LinkedIn can be when connecting & remembering people you’ve met outside the industry.


  • Kevin G Smith

    If you need a reason to build a social media, then it starts with one action GOOGLE yourself and see what I will see….in today’s modern world – your prospects, customers and friends are googling you and so do you need to put other social media links on a business card? The answer is maybe…if it helps them find YOU. Most people Google searches are either by name, name and company (past or present) or email address…if your card has 2 covered, they will find you….kevin@kgscoaching.com works best for me

  • Thank you.

  • TheCapRate

    Well written, my friend. I totally agree with you on the digital savvy folks. The younger crowd might “get it” more than the older generation. They have pretty much grown up with this and don’t see it as voodoo witchcraft. ;0). Well, maybe not THAT extreme, but they understand the connectivity possibilities and the benefits.

  • “voodoo witchcraft” yes maybe extreme, but still made me laugh

  • “With It”

    I include my personal website on business cards and have links to my LinkedIn and Twitter pages. Even if your office doesn’t allow you to have a separate webpage (or you don’t want to have to maintain it), using the address as a redirect to your profile page through your company will be just as effective.

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