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We don’t normally think of innovative social media tactics when it comes to commercial real estate, but the industry continues to explore the world of real time communications as tenants, prospects, investors and employees embrace new online trends. Realcomm is the industry’s largest technology and communications conference for CIO’s, CMO’s, executives, vendors and service providers. This year, on the event’s 15th anniversary, I had the honor of presenting to the group in Orlando, Florida. Noted futurist and technology expert Thornton May welcomed the crowd and proclaimed that social media and mobile technology would represent the biggest opportunities for businesses in the coming years.

My co-presenter was industry celebrity Sandy Jacolow, CIO of Silverstein Properties (owners of the World Trade Center in New York City, among other signature properties). We presented a workshop on the growing trend to integrate social media, crisis communications, customer service and social intelligence to the commercial real estate ecosystem. At ChatterBlast, we’ve seen casino online through our work with Brandywine Realty Trust that third-party brokers such asCBRE and Jones Lang LaSalle were the first to empower their leasing agents to communicate via social media. Through our research we also learned that tenants, employees, construction professionals and key decision makers in the industry are utilizing social media as part of their daily routine. In fact, 92% of all commercial real estate companies that we looked at were using some type of social media platform regularly.

An emerging challenge to the industry is the changing role of the CIO within these firms. In the past, IT’s role may have been only to support desktop computers and digitally archive drawings or legal documents. Now, the CIO is taking on these tasks and much more, including business intelligence, smart building initiatives, digital asset management and an ever-increasing array of marketing communications tasks. As a result, many CIOs are either officially or unofficially acting as corporate CMOs too.

When it comes to social media and commercial real estate, the top seven topics we recommend addressing are:

  1. Using social monitoring and listening tools for brand management, competitive intelligence and investor relations.

  2. Standardizing and training all leasing agents, executives and property managers on the uses and benefits of LinkedIn.

  3. Knowing how and when to use social media for crisis communications in the event of an emergency or natural disaster, specifically for tenant and community relations.

  4. Compliance opportunities and regulatory issues, especially on the heels of recent SEC rulings on social media.

  5. Claiming and protecting your digital assets for the future, even if you are not ready to use them today.

  6. Content, creativity and customer service.

  7. Leveraging technology to operationalize, empower employees and measure ROI of social efforts.

On the first conference day, organizers asked Sandy and I to join the conference live television broadcast. Check it out and learn a few tricks for corporate real estate and social media, as well as summer sunglass fashion tips from Sandy and myself.

About the Author

Evan Urbania

Evan Urbania is the CEO and Co-Founder of ChatterBlast Media. He can often be found cycling, reading obscure tech blogs, teasing the office dog or getting bored with new social media apps.

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