Is Commercial Real Estate beginning to discover the Social Web?

by CoyDavidson on September 8, 2009

twitter laptopSocial media has gotten a lot of attention recently and is rapidly growing in popularity among the business community. However, unlike residential Realtors the commercial real estate community has been a slow adopter as the industry is focused on escaping the deep slump as a result of the economic recession. While most of us broker and developer types tend to be cautiously optimistic the worst is over particularly in Houston where we have not felt the brunt of the storm, one thing is for sure in that new ways of doing business, staying connected and providing our clients with information are sure to come. Remember when we all scrambled to put together our first website? I have formed this blog and have become active on Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. There is still a perception that much of social media is for our teenage kids and singles looking for dating opportunities. However, I see it as an effective tool to keep  your network of clients, tenants and investors as well as the real estate community at large more informed, give their properties more exposure and receive their feedback as to what is relevant to their business.

There seems to be consensus among business technology experts and authorities on the subject that “social media” for business enterprise, branding initiatives and as a customer service platform will be mainstream in the immediate future, just as the web became an everyday part of our business life. I think it’s safe to say the majority of the commercial real estate community with exception of the real estate media are not incorporating these on-line tools as the industry is fairly categorized as late adopters. I have taken the approach to embrace this platform with the objective of keeping my clients and the potential client more informed with relevant information, whether it is market intelligence, available properties, real estate strategy or economic trends. While there certainly is a learning curve as to what my clients will find useful, my objective is to increase communication and become a more integral part of your business strategy.

  • Great article. I’ve found that LinkedIn “Groups” tend to provide quality information regarding availabilities, regulations, trends, tech updates, ect… I’ve been the recipient of feedback and leads regarding posts for facility searches via LinkedIn as well. Whether or not social media will ever become a true lead generation source is yet to be seen but I do think the connectivity and synergy created by these sites is worth the amount of time it takes to interact.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  • Yes Coy I keep hearing the timing is right as tougher times and technology are obliterating conventional business models. Commercial real estate professionals don’t know what’s around the corner and want to gain access to must have intelligence and best in class networking without wasting their time.

    I noticed an interesting story about that in Colliers Spring Magazine and you guys are a network so it’s in your genes. Thanks for getting this timely conversation going and to referring to “Fad or Future? Online Networking for Commercial Real Estate.” I am including excerpts for your readers convenience:

    – “Companies that use these applications say they’ve seen clear benefits, according to a McKinsey three-year survey of 1,700 executives. The September 2009 McKinsey Quarterly states: “69% of those surveyed said their use of social networks had increased innovation, improved their marketing plans and given them access to new information. The survey found that companies that made the most use of social technologies tended to see the largest benefits… it is clear that this expertise is becoming a required skill for all enterprises.”

    – Smart online professional networking can today in various forms serve as a way to differentiate oneself, a way to stand out from the crowd, a way to say, “we are so much more than a logo or a six figure booth at a tradeshow, we are a meaningful conversation that keeps going and strengthens relationships.” Mark Kingston, CEO of ARGUS Software remarks: “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.”

    – Steve Felix, Head of Real Estate Client Relations for Aviva Investors which has $30Bn in real estate assets under management comments: “CREOpoint is something that is very close to us; it’s our industry and it’s up to us to support it. We are living in unprecedented times and it requires unprecedented action in support for those things and people we believe in. The industry professionals who are members of CREOPoint are, by nature, networkers. This is the new water cooler where industry networkers congregate.”

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