ICSC RECon: For Vacancies, Facebook to the Rescue?

For retail vacancies, the social media engine is tops says leasing expert at ICSC

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It’s no secret that retail vacancies have been on the rise. According to real estate research firm REIS, the national vacancy rate was 10.2 percent, unchanged from the fourth quarter, but up marginally from 10 percent a year ago. According to retail leasing veteran Beth A. Azor, president of Azor Advisory Services, one of the top ways for brokers to lease up their vacancies faster is Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Retail Vacancies in New York City Have Doubled Since 2007: Comptroller

“I’ve been leasing spaces for 33 years and I have never seen the results in anything I’ve done that match the results of using Facebook,” said Azor during a panel on creative ways to fill up retail vacancies faster, at ICSC RECon.

Azor said her efforts on the social media platform netted a response rate of 33 percent.

“Out of the 10 or 12 that Facebook allows a day, I will get three responses. All three may be no at times, but at least twice a week I get a response asking to see a flyer or learn more,” she said.

“Why does Facebook work? It allows you to bypass the gatekeeper,” Azor added, explaining that most Facebook pages are handled directly by business owners and not associates.

Facebook also does some of the follow up for brokers by pinging businesses that haven’t responded to messages within a certain period of time.

The key to successful outreach though it to keep your direct messages brief—one to two sentences max.

“It’s like magic,” she said.