Use Social Media for Research, Hiring

If you think of social media only as a networking tool, you're selling it short. Savvy commercial real estate professionals also rely on virtual networks for research.

May 1, 2010

Scott Pollock, of CB Richard Ellis’ Private Client Group in Cleveland, heads to Twitter every morning to see what other commercial practitioners are buzzing about. He tends to find that the experts he’s following have already dug up the day’s most interesting real estate headlines. "It’s like enlisting a workforce of researchers," he says.

"We’ve used LinkedIn to research the owners of properties we’re considering buying," says Beau Beery, CCIM, director of commercial brokerage and asset management with AMJ Inc. in Gainesville, Fla. The knowledge proves useful in negotiations, he says.

Geoff Kasselman, SIOR, founding principal of Op2mize in Chicago, recently used LinkedIn to ask questions of experts on LED lighting so he could better advise a client.

ActiveRain is another good online community for posing questions to other real estate experts. You can ask other members how to solve a client’s problem or for ideas on filling vacant commercial space, suggests Christina Holmes, with RE/MAX Real Estate Center in Chattanooga, Tenn.

"We recently asked commercial practitioners what customer relationship management software they were using and the positives and negatives," she says.

The six degrees of separation built into social networking also makes it a great recruitment and hiring tool, Beery says. He reviews an applicant’s profile before an interview and looks for common connections. He also checks out references and recommendations on applicants’ LinkedIn profiles.

Creating a company profile on LinkedIn or Facebook may also attract talent since "it lets possible hires research you," says Barbara Reuter, with PICOR Commercial Real Estate Services in Tucson, Ariz. "It’s an excellent way for both sides to do their due diligence."