The social network
In this article from our new Commercial Matters e-zine, Katie Gibson considers how social media has changed the way that commercial property is marketed.
Social media is a term we hear every day and a tool that has transformed the way we communicate. The various platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest – have been the making of new companies and helped existing businesses expand. It’s inevitable that social media marketing has had an impact, but how has it affected commercial property?
The ﬁrst social media platform we usually think of is Facebook – and with 1.39 billion active users around the world at the last count, that’s hardly surprising. Regarded as a more ‘personal’ form of communication, it’s one where our residential colleagues have had great success, but in my opinion it’s not a place where people really want to do business.
Twitter works well as a “micro website” for a company, campaign or cause. I started an account for Thistle St Lane – a beautiful mews ofﬁce block we are marketing in Edinburgh - www.twitter.com/ThistleStLaneSW - which allowed us to interact with potential occupiers and share updates on everything from building renovations, viewings, local attractions and even sightings of David Beckham in the area!
The professional networking site LinkedIn offers a great way of bringing existing contacts online and establishing new ones. When it comes to marketing properties, we can pitch to a largely professional audience who read the information on offer but who perhaps won’t interact until the time is right for them.
The classiﬁed listing website, Gumtree, which is not really social media, has had fantastic, free results for advertising and marketing small properties. On average we have received between ﬁve and 20 phone calls per unit. Interest tends to come from start-ups, which does bring its own challenges as they may not have the ﬁnancial history landlords prefer in a tenant.
But it’s these new tenants, “the iPhone generation”, who are transforming the way the world – and commercial property – works. Google Maps makes it easy for people to “view” properties from their ofﬁce. This is a time saver for potential occupiers, but it brings new challenges for agents, who must ﬁnd different ways to entice people to leave their desks and cross the threshold of commercial properties.
People are also doing more on the move. Visits to the CKD Galbraith website are now split 50-50 between mobile devices (including tablets) and desktop computers while trafﬁc from social ’referrals’ continues to increase year on year. Social media may not yet have fundamentally affected commercial property, but as the “millennials” who have grown up with social media become occupiers, landlords, surveyors and commercial agents we will see further changes. CKD Galbraith is keen to adapt quickly and that’s why we focus on the “big three” social networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to raise our company proﬁle. The @CKDGCommercial feed on Twitter allows us to share our knowledge and understanding of commercial surveying and add context for clients as well as highlighting upcoming opportunities before they appear elsewhere.