Social Media Strategy
22Feb

Social Media Strategy for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Ugg, another marketer talking about Social Media.

Eye roll.

You’re a hand shake kind of guy/gal right?

Many Commercial Real Estate Brokers are not
quite sure how to integrate a Social Media Strategy
into their sales cycles.

You hear how it can help by a million marketers and sales professionals, but the idea of implementation befuddles you.

Maybe you think the belly-to-belly method is the only way to operate in your industry, but give me a chance to let you consider the question:

Consider what huge potential a social media strategy can do for your business?

All case studies have pointed out the VALUE and the POWER of social media for the commercial real estate industry.

And today, we are going to layout a Social Media Marketing Strategy for you, the Commercial Real Estate Broker!

A quick explanation why.

It is no secret that Commercial Real Estate (CRE) brokers lag behind in adopting social media marketing strategies compared with your residential real estate colleagues. Home-buyers go online for their search.

According to one study, 94% of millennials and 84% baby boomers used various sites to search for their future home.

This doesn’t change when they start looking for commercial property!

Until they realize quite quickly how far behind commercial real estate lags on digital possibilities.

You may have CoStar.

But where are YOUR clients going in search for their next commercial property?

Loopnet? With the merging of Loopnet and CoStar, this has given property owners, investors and business owners more access to available properties across the nation BUT the information is incredibly limited – for now.

It will get better.

And the online research your clients will be doing online before ever calling a broker will increase. Other B2B companies are seeing numbers from 67%-92% in online research before a potential client ever calls a sales rep.

Facebook has over 1.6 BILLION active monthly users

What you need to know about Facebook for Business:

  • There are more than 800 million people using Facebook every day. This platform offers more than just a way to stay connected to friends and family; it is an essential tool in the B2B marketing toolbox.
  • Facebook allows your business to be available to people on a trusted, popular platform, where prospects can see “real” people (their friends, family or colleagues) interacting with you and your brand. This sets the stage for you to build stronger, more immediate relationships with them.
  • Only 1-2% of all your fans will see your Business Page’s posts. Haha, just kidding, this is 2018…This is now nearly zero. But potential prospects will research you here prior to selecting you or your property.
  • 3 Million links are shared every hour and reduce your chance of being seen. Links are bad for the algorithm and being seen but OUTSTANDING for your SEO.
  • Facebook’s algorithm serves up the most relevant 300~ stories in every user’s feed at any given point in time.
  • Businesses need to strike that critical balance of offering content that is relevant and adds value, with content that just plain entertains. Ask two questions before every Facebook interaction you plan:
    1. Does this help our brand’s likability?
    2. Is this interesting, engaging, useful content?
    3. If the answer is no to both…then should you be posting the content?

LinkedIn has 250 million active monthly users

….business owners looking for new hires. Business owners looking to pull in new business and partnerships.

Business owners are there.

Business owners are your clients.

Why aren’t you there?

Clients are now on social media more than ever. Even those busy business owners are utilizing the platforms for business and personal use.

So why CRE agents not take advantage of this powerful tool?

Some say time limitations is the primary reason for their lack of digital presence.

Truthfully, many commercial agents underestimate what social media can harness!

Social media and commercial real estate marketing can be such a pair!

According to Atle Erlingsson, vice president, corporate communications for Prologis, “Social media tools provide us with another avenue to have a conversation with our customers, brokers and other key partners. For example, we found considerable success with Twitter, especially over the past year, in which our number of followers increased 48 percent.” Erlingsson cautioned that “you must be committed to making frequent, relevant posts, and engage with your followers on a daily basis. Like any relationship, if you don’t nurture it, it fades away.”

We’ve laid out a killer CRE Social Media Plan for you.

Objectives:

  1. Branding & Awareness
  2. Engagement with customers; Engage with influencers & partners
  3. Lead generation or customer acquisition; Increase Sales
  4. Promote upcoming events

STEP #1: Mindset Change to ENTICE Customers. 

The old way was to bombard content to prospects and fans. This is highly ineffective to the busy business owner. Like a moth to the flame, you need to draw them to you through relevant content.

Once you have them interested, continue to draw them in to the company/brand through blogs, subscriptions, direct mail and following you on social media.

The brand’s content is always there pulling in prospects 24/7, drawing them toward you rather than you dumping marketing spam all over them like vomit.

Now the hard part…

…actually produce relevant interesting content that clients find useful.

HOW TO START?

STEP #2: Define your audience

Who are you trying to reach? Where are they? What do they read about? The more detailed a profile you can sketch of your ideal audience, the more effective your social strategy will be.

Spend some time and outline exactly who you want to interact with online. This is going to directly inform the places you go to find them.

Identify your target clients’ demographic, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Income Level
  • Educational Level
  • Type of Industry
  • # of Employees
  • Type of Business
  • Revenue
  • What do they read?
  • Where do they spend their day?
  • What conferences do they go to?
  • Who has their ear?

STEP #3: Create shareable content

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Posts need to be a MINIMUM 300 words, more like 500 words. And you need a few key pillar posts that are a minimum 1,500 words. Ours is over 7,000 words! “Marketing” is competitive.
  • Include a featured image
  • Include relevant meta description, titles, alt tags on images, H2 headings and other key SEO words
  • Optimize posts to include the target keywords your audience is searching for online
  • Make sure you have a call to action
  • Make sure you have a social sharing button!
  • Make sure you have buttons that link to your social media accounts. Better would be to include them in the content and why people should go there.
  • An easy way to make your content shareable is to make it visual! 50% of the population are visual learners. Only 10% are just facts type people. You need awesome images. People love to share stunning images. The best news is, they only take a few minutes to create — and you can even brand them with your own messaging! We use enterprise level programs here at Warfare Marketing, but we have used, and advocate our clients to use simpler programs like Snappa on your computer and Typic when you are on your phone.

STEP #4: Choose your Social Channel

Look at the potential networks. Social media channels litter online; it’s tempting to throw time and investment into all of them.

Any channel is only as effective as the time you put into it. If you don’t spend much time, they will fail. It is pointless posting to any channel just every week or two.

So it’s important to narrow your focus to a few channels where you can drive results and then spend all of your available time and money on them.

For commercial real estate professionals, the three most effective social platforms that are easy to activate: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. There is YouTube – incredible, but more complicated.

Facebook Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • Figure out how many times you want to post a day. At least once, no more than three.
  • Use paid ads to promote content, increase awareness and offer discounts…with a strategy. No go boosting ads all willy nilly.
  • Follow business partners and clients online.
  • It also happens to be the world’s largest collection of brand pages and private groups, both of which offer a powerful opportunity to engage with your target audience and drive activity on your CRE web properties.
  • The single biggest challenge on Facebook is getting heard.
  • Engage with Audiences Directly – If someone comments on a post, likes or shares content, or reposts it on another group or Page, be sure to engage with it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who have already engaged with your content as well. Facebook is a communications platform first and foremost – take advantage of that. Respond to clients online promptly! Consider messenger bots to assist.
  • Join Private Groups and Share Content – Private groups can be massive and house huge communities of potential prospects. Much like on LinkedIn, you can join these groups and share your most recent white paper, photographs, or blog post to drive traffic back to your properties. Avoid open promotion, and be sure to add to these conversations with regular posts and comments.
  • Work with Other Brands on Facebook – Brand Pages can not only like each other, they can share each other’s content and comment on each other’s posts. Use this to your advantage to amplify your own messaging. Tag relevant pages if you’re discussing them in a post.
  • Pay to Play – A very small percentage of posts get seen on Facebook and these are mostly by people actively going to your page to research you. A small $15 a day campaign can boost important posts and vastly multiply that reach. This is recommended periodically at a minimum to ensure your content is being seen.
  • A combination of paid boosts, active outreach, and frequent posting will help you to improve both reach numbers and engagement, and in turn generate a large audience for your content.
  • Go to the “Promote” tab and select “Invite friends” – invite every personal contact you have over the next week. If they can’t be bothered with a request to support your business – they shouldn’t be your friend. This will get initial likes up and bring awareness to what you do to your inner circle that already know, like, and trust you.
  • Consider some words or something on your cover photo to make it clear – maybe your tag line.
  • Add a clear call to action in the description section of both your profile and cover image. Use a link to your website, landing page, booking page or relevant blog post.
  • Brand, brand, brand! Take your colors and run with it. Keep your logo and colors and style in a bit of every photo or video.
  • Keep consistent “scent”. All cover photos for social media and in your case profile pictures too – should match across platforms. Either the specific picture or theme or color all the way back to your website.
  • Speaking of scent…create a character for Facebook, and like acting, role play out how they would talk when creating posts.
  • To get engagement, ask questions! Facebook is about engaging, not just selling. Create post and memes and stories that clientele would WANT to share. In the written area you can include “Building listed by…” and a link to schedule a visit or number to call (I prefer number to call because links are bad….see below). These are fast ways to create sharable content that gets people engaged. Include a small tag or logo in the image – SMALL. Share these posts to networking groups and your own personal page where appropriate.
  • Stop posting so many links! You are posting lots of links. I know because I look at all your accounts! Links pointing away from the Facebook platform get the worst algorithm love. They are at the bottom.
  • Share a mix of relevant links, images, videos, blog posts, text only, networking posts and engaging content
  • Pixel your website and host a retargeting campaign.
  • As a Commercial Real Estate Broker, you’ll need a strong personal Facebook strategy too to build relationships.

Twitter Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • Decide how many tweets to send daily. AT least once a day – no more than 5. If you are at an event and sharing highly relevant content – you can tweet more.
  • Use Twitter as an SEO resource.
  • Share blog posts both with direct links and pieces of content from the article.
  • Share property opportunities – especially extreme opportunities or cool features. Example, I once had a building with a total “Bond” room with secret entrances.
  • Retweet influencers
  • Follow a new potential lead everyday
  • Monitor keywords and mentions
  • Respond to tweets
  • 5 minutes. That is the average time a tweet remains visible in the timeline of your followers, and not exceeding 15 minutes. This means frequency is the game And, gain traction, soliciting likes, retweets, and responses.
  • Follow Target Audience Members and Industry Leaders – Make a list of thought leaders, business leaders, peers, and target markets you want to reach and look for them. Statistically, more than half of them will have accounts you can follow and engage with today.
  • Engage in Regular Conversations – Twitter is very easy to keep updated with a handful of 280 character posts every day. The hard part is engaging in conversation with other people proactively. This is where your greatest growth will come from though, so set aside a few minutes a day to engage with other users on interesting topics.
  • Run Paid Campaigns for High Value Information – If you have a particularly important post, or if you want to share recent news or new content from your company, Twitter ads can greatly amplify your message. Paid campaigns allow you to target users by several criteria including location, industry, title, who they follow, and what their browsing habits look like. This level of targeting on such an open and active platform is huge for reaching tenants for leasing efforts.
  • Top Twitter CRE Twitter Accounts

LinkedIn Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • Update your status a few times a week and up to once a day
  • Scan industry groups a few times a week
  • Learn to update your company profile. Your profile should not be a resume. Think of it more as a sales page. Your standard ‘bullet points’ should more complex and results oriented.
  • LinkedIn is a live Rolodex, brand builder, professional database, personalized marketing platform and social networking channel!
  • As alive Rolodex, Linked-In keeps users connected to contacts, no matter what company they work for at the moment. Personal profiles are “owned” by the individual, not the company. LinkedIn gives companies and individuals the ability to build a digital brand by demonstrating expertise, experience and talents through their writing and images.
  • Use LinkedIn to research prospects as a great “professional database” that enables professionals to research new contacts online. Researching someone on LinkedIn often unveils a wealth of information that may help individuals establish rapport faster.
  • The trickiest part of LinkedIn is that there are so many ways to post content here. This means a carefully planned strategy:
    1. Personal Updates – Your personal profile is often the first thing your prospects will see, whether through direct outreach or when researching your company. It should be fully optimized to describe your role in the company, what you personally offer, and links to your property websites, memberships in organizations, etc. Regular content shares each week are also highly recommended.
    2. Industry Groups – Industry groups on LinkedIn are almost all private, and are segmented most often by specific industries or job roles. They are fantastic spaces in which to share content with your peers, reach new prospects, and establish thought leadership.
    3. Company Updates – Your company page is a brochure by default – a line card of services and recent company news. But you can leverage it by building a large following of employees, clients, partners, and vendors who can then share your content.
    4. Pulse Articles – Pulse is the integrated publishing platform on LinkedIn. It allows you to write and share content with your followers, as well as a larger audience when it picks up enough momentum.
    5. LinkedIn Groups for CRE – There are hundreds of quality private groups on LinkedIn, including a number designed specifically for CRE professionals and the industryat large. Be sure to join these as part of your outreach and content distribution efforts:
      • International Council of Shopping Centers – ICSC –  Global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, investors, retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials.
      • Pete Asmus’ Real Estate Networking Group (Investor Strategies) – LinkedIn group focused on building a global Community on LinkedIn to provide networking opportunities for those dealing in commercial or residential real estate, including acquisitions, private lending, distressed notes, construction, design, green development, asset management, etc.
      • Pete Asmus’ Commercial Real Estate Investment, Development, & Property Management – A commercial real estate group, for those structuring or negotiating developments, investments, workouts, note purchases, etc.
      • National Real Estate Investor – For more than 50 years, NREI has been a leading authority on trends in the real estate markets, providing top-level executives with in-depth analysis of important industry developments.
      • Corporate Real Estate – Network for CRE professionals engaged in the construction, design, development, site selection, leasing, brokerage, acquisition, disposition, program/project management, tenant representation, facilities management, and asset management of office, retail, land, industrial, commercial corporate real estate assets.
      • Technology for Commercial Real Estate – Sharing experience and asking questions about technology challenges and triumphs in CRE business.
      • Commercial Real Estate Executives – Commercial Real Estate Executives is a group of professionals that work within the commercial real estate industry including: corporate real estate executives; asset and portfolio managers; commercial real estate brokers; and developers.
      • Social Media Commercial Real Estate – Who, What, How, Where and Why of Social Media for Commercial Real Estate Business.

Google+ Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • DO NOT go out of your way to post to Google+. When using a scheduler for your Facebook and LinkedIn post – send to Google+ too.
  • Google+ post are searchable in a Google search
  • Great for SEO when posting links.
  • Promote posts from influencers in your industry
  • Circle new people everyday
  • Offer hangout sessions
  • Make sure your posts are public!

Pinterest Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • Add keywords in your pins
  • Add boards clients would be interested in
  • Follow new boards each week
  • Make sure pins and linked back to your website

YouTube Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • Create a video that showcases your expertise
  • Ask questions from fans and create videos to address them
  • Add fun in your videos
  • Use a videographer for events
  • Make a video of each property you have listed. Even an easy, selfie style video (preferably with a gimble) can enhance and improve the likelihood of getting a potential lease or buyer to give your phone a ring. (Ask us how we know 🙂

SlideShare Tips for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  • You can use slideshare for Presentation
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Update your account consistently
  • Find great posts and convert them to slides
  • Don’t forget to credit source.

All these, we at Warfare Marketing can do for you!

Tips for Managing All These Platforms

  1. Get a scheduler like Hootsuite, PostPlanner or the one I have moved to, eClincher so that your posts are regular. You are posting sporadically. With a scheduler you can knock out a months worth in a day and then just post directly when something is happening. eClincher will allow you to track ROI and do bulk and evergreen stored postings. Another option, we offer one full year of social media posting on Facebook, one branded post a day, for one low price. All you have to concern yourself with is campaign specific posting, networking and current events!
  2. Don’t just talk about your company and your products. Pick 5 related categories your clients care about to share industry knowledge about.
    • Business owners care about marketing, operations, accounting, need coaches, printing – so much. Partner with these people!
    • Rosetta Stone is a perfect example of this. They don’t just talk about language software, but will post about travel and international experiences.
    • Realtors will work with Title companies, mortgage guys and so forth.
    • Non-competing and directly related.
    • An example for you would be each rural hospital, ACA (don’t get me started), medical, fake news….
  3. Ensure you post in local business groups and relevant interests groups. Ensure you pay attention to the sharing rules. Great way to build awareness organically.
  4. Claimed your custom URL!
  5. Complete the information in your about section. This is probably the second most seen section as people go to see who you are. But so many companies we see out there are operating with social media pages and even your website, with zero call to action or lead magnet AKA bribe. Big missed opportunity to get people’s information. Just “ask a question” or join our list is not enough. What do your customers want? Give it to them as a download, starter service, consultation or sweet opportunity. Include this offer in the description.
  6. Your photos. Oh my. Brand ME! Seriously, you have brand colors and a logo….use it smartly on images you post. A band on the bottom if you don’t want to mess with the original photo. I use Snappa, Typic and even PicCollage to accomplish this task fast and on the go. Snappa is my favorite because you can create saved templates.
  7. Get a review sections! Turn your 4 and 5 star reviews into posts and videos…boost those ? Yes, all of them. Post sporadically over time with value in between. ? Also – ADDRESS every review good and bad. Google for good templates….never go in emotionally charged.
  8. Video sells well on social media and CHEAP advertising. Talk about your service and buildings, show the process, point out key aspects of the property, tell a recent client testimonial (no names), point out what makes it special, tell the story!

Bonus Notes:

  1. Consider an inexpensive CRM system with automation like Active Campaign to interact with clients directly, regularly by email. You can add clients direct or add a signup with an offer on a Facebook tab. Here you can ask for those reviews, share stories, engage, ask for pictures and provide value back to clients who are most likely your best bet for return customers.
  2. If CRM is too robust for you right now, ManyChat offers a $10 a month tool that works right through messenger EASILY to automate conversations 24/7 that are personal. You seem to have good interaction and messaging – this seems like a great addition if setup correctly and monitored.
  3. If you need more marketing training and are not to the point you can hire a full marketer like me, consider Digital Marketer Lab. I think you get 7 days for just $1 to check it out and grab some great ideas. Seriously good – where I get all my training and base all my client work. Use my link and I will send you my personal, massive stash of Facebook post ideas to use for your account: http://a.digitalmarketer.com/SH1O%0A
  4. If you have a team you would like to train in-house to be marketing wizards, we recommend the full strategic certification training: http://a.digitalmarketer.com/SH1M%0A
  5. If you are interested in a fully done for you marketing strategy, our firm can layout a complete sales process for you that will fit within both your budget and industry: https://warfare.samcart.com/products/marketing-strategy/

Action Items:

  1. Who will manage the Facebook Account:
  2. What platform will you use to manage Facebook:
  3. Determine a social media voice specific to Facebook:
  4. (Think fun, strict conservative or pick a favorite TV personality to emulate that represents your brand. It is like acting)
  5. Do you have a link to your Facebook Business Page prominently located on your website?
  6. How many times a day will you post to Facebook:
    • Is this at least once a day?
    • Are people liking and commenting on your posts? (Organic reach will be nearly zilch, so this will be by boosted post or those that visit your page)
    • Are they sharing your posts?
    • Are you asking questions in your posts to try and encourage engagement?
    • Are you varying your posts between text, photos, videos and links?
    • Do you have unanswered posts on your Timeline?
    • Do you have spam on your timeline?
    • Are you sharing tips in your niche?
    • Are your posts benefiting your audiences?
    • Are you sending traffic to your website several times a week?
    • What percentage of posts are Selling:
    • What percentage of posts are Networking:
    • What percentage of posts are Influencing:
    • What percentage of posts are Listening:
  7. What Facebook groups will you join personally that can benefit your business: (These can be local mom groups, Chamber of Commerce or even industry groups. Where are your customers hanging out)
  8. Create and insert an engaging and professional Cover Image
    • Do you have a tagline or any demonstrated value on your cover photo?
    • Does your cover photo have a description with it (when you click on it) with a link to your website or landing page?
    • Is there a clear call to action?
  9. Create and insert an interesting and professional profile Image
  10. Create clear and interesting Facebook About Short Description (the one that appears on your Facebook Timeline)
    • Bonus: Promote a lead magnet
  11. The Long About Section, fill it with the benefits of your business, include keywords and a strong call to action
  12. Is your website easy to find on your Facebook page? Either in your short description or prominently featured in your About Page several times?
  13. Does your Page have a custom URL?
  14. Do you need to install any Facebook Applications
    • An app to collect email addresses
    • An app for promotions
    • An app for contests and giveaways
    • An app to automatically start messaging new “Likes”
    • An app that provides a custom cover to go alongside with your page branding
  15. What is the current Facebook Engagement Rate of your Page (People Talking About This divided by total Fans)?
    • Is it over 2%
  16. Your Personal Facebook Profile:
    • Are you using your personal profile to post about your business?
    • Are you sharing your Facebook Business Page posts to your personal Facebook Profile?
    • Sharing to groups when possible? (Check their rules)
    • Do you have a professional and friendly photo for a profile image?
    • Do you have your personal profile linked properly to your Facebook Page in your Work Section?
    • Does your profile have a custom URL?
  17. Set up sponsored posts and ad
    • Are you regularly running ads at least once a month?
  18. Set up Facebook tabs that sync to your marketing automation platform

Key Metrics

  1. Page follows
  2. Likes
  3. Engagement and comments
  4. Referring traffic
  5. Shares
  6. Lead generation
  7. New customers

Pro Tips for Social Media Marketing for Commercial Real Estate Brokers

  1. Schedule from Hootsuite to Instagram. From Instagram, share to Facebook for a 7x increase in organic Facebook Page views. If you do this – keep the hashtags to a minimum or near zilch.
  2. Post from a scheduler, like Hootsuite and Buffer, decreases views by 7x. Use ProTip above to help get around that downside.
  3. Videos that are uploaded directly to Facebook are getting a lot of organic, aka, FREE reach.
  4. If you decide to boost your video posts (because videos views are ridiculously cheap!) PLEASE DO NOT boost the post from you page. Instead use the Ads Manager so that you can take advantage of the advanced targeting features.
  5. Facebook videos currently play silently until they are actively clicked upon. Use Call To Action “TEXT” overlays to get people to click, listen and watch.
  6. Virtual Technology is Changing Real Estate. There is nothing worse than showing a potential buyer property after property that they aren’t interested in. With virtual walk throughs and renderings, buyers and lease clients can now hone in on their interests to a few properties. Video can be more complicated, but well worth it on properties you are looking to move fast and reach a wide audience.
  7. Get a pen with an iPad pro and sketch out the possibilities of a lease layout, piece of land or space during your walkthroughs. Save the image and send directly to your clients through social media so they can easily share with partners and their audience to build excitement.
  8. Live video is one of the fastest growing digital trends. Platforms like Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube have all invested heavily in the technology. And users love the access. Live video and live streaming have been called the future of social media.
  9. There are over 100,000 touch points in Facebook’s algorithm that determine if your post will be seen, but the big ones are:
    • How recently was the post published
    • The number of likes, comments, shares on the posts better known as engagement. Your engagement rate can be determined by dividing your total “Likes” and comments by your total number of fans (Likes + Comments/Total #of Fans). That’s why your posts need to be engaging and spark a reaction. A high engagement rate helps you build your EdgeRank and gets you seen more often.
    • How often has the viewer interacted with the page previously
    • Past viewer engagement with the same type of post
    • Posting for the sake of posting can actually hurt your chances of being seen. The second you post something that is not engaging or relevant, EdgeRank, Facebook’s proprietary algorithm to organize your newsfeed, will stop amplifying your posts and placing them in your fans newsfeeds.

Ask me about how to get 365 Facebook post scheduled in one year to your account for $200 a month saving you 20+ hours a month. What is your time worth?

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Paula Seumalo

Account Strategist at Warfare Marketing
Paula joined WARFARE MARKETING after successfully exiting her own social media marketing agency, which she grew from startup. As part of the sales and business development team at WARFARE MARKETING, Paula leverages her 11+ years as a project manager with reputable firms, entrepreneur and inbound marketing agency owner to advise businesses on digital marketing and sales solutions that will deliver measurable results in the form of customer acquisition and revenue growth. When she’s not working, you’ll find Paula spending time with her children, running, volunteering on community boards, or devoting her time to mentoring other entrepreneurs and business owners.