ICSC: Getting 1 Million Followers on Social Media? Not So Important

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The $64,000 question at “Your Social Media Strategy in the Era of Content” might have been: How do you get to 1 million followers?

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But, as Kristen Moore, senior vice president of marketing at Brixmor Property Group, a REIT based out of Orlando, Fla., put it, it’s not as salient a question for a panel devoted to social media as one might think.

“A million followers is not what I’m measuring,” said Moore. “If you have a million followers you’ve bought them—or they’re not in your industry.”

Rather, she’s focused on targeted social media use. Moore said that one recent Instagram post about an opening at one of Brixmor’s properties yielded four leases. That was probably a lot more valuable than a large (but unengaged) following.

Indeed, the subtleties of how brokers navigate and make best use of social media platforms are different for real estate professionals.

“There’s 2.3 billion people using social media,” said Sarah Malcolm, the chief operating officer of The Content Funnel, who served as the moderator of the discussion. “In 2020, it’s supposed to go up to 3 billion.”

That means a lot of people looking at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn all day.

“The mistake a lot of people make is they think they need to be active on all the social platforms,” said Mark Kalkwarf, founder and CEO of Atypical. “You don’t have to be on all platforms—just one channel [but use it] well.”

Still, a lot of the rules of social media do apply for using it in commercial real estate. A good part of the usefulness of social media is making oneself a presence in followers’ feeds.

“Producing content and making sure you’re consistent,” advised Dalia Strum, founder of RethinkConnect. “Create a content calendar, and what’s the message of the day that you want to send. Post at least once or twice a day. And look at the influencers—they are some of the best content creators I’ve seen. Watch them, study them.”

And the panelists all seemed to agree that personality was key.

“What is [your] story?” asked Kalkwarf. “If that story is why your business does what it does, your personality will come out organically.”

Moreover, a good part of a social media presence is simply serving as a beachhead for potential clients to contact brokers.

“For the brokers: Don’t laugh, I’m old school, but answering your phone, calling people back, not sending an email out on a Friday that you’ve got a property out but you’re going to be out of town,” are the important things to take away from social media, said Linda Day Harrison the founder TheBrokerList. “Engage people. You can’t ignore them. You want the word on the street to be, they get back to me, they respond.”