Commercial real estate has had its methods for years. As they say, you don’t need to fix what isn’t broken.

This is a toolbox

However, one quick web search on cutting edge real estate tech and methodology reveals a growing disparity between the real estate industry inn residential and commercial sectors. Simply put, residential real estate agents are using high end tech and tools more often than commercial real estate brokers. Put even simpler, the CRE toolbox is looking a little light.

When it comes to social media, residential real estate poses an ideal fit. After all, their end user is an average Joe looking for a home and the best way to communicate their business (and its value) is through social media that the end user is already using. Visually based platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are strategically reinventing how people market and find homes.

This is a residential real estate agent with an iPad.

This is a residential real estate agent with an iPad.

When it comes to utilizing tech, residentials are adopting the tech rather quickly. Toting and using a tablet of some kind is widely accepted as common procedure. As far as apps go, Zillow pretty much owns the market as the go-to residential real estate tool. Apps like Nextdoor, a social neighborhood community app that connects people that live near each other in a town-hall sort of manner can really reveal a given neighborhood’s concerns, upcoming events and community dynamics.

And with the ever so growing idea of content reigning supreme in establishing credible lines of communication with your prospective markets, the blogosphere is littered with blogs by realtors and for realtors.

But this isn’t a residential real estate blog. Why do we care?

Emphasizing the Visual

I get it. Warehouses and office buildings aren’t as pleasant on the eyes as craftsman homes and elegant suburban houses. Ok but the small business owner searching for industrial space with an office feature already knows that!

Take video tours of your sites and post them to YouTube and encourage potential investors or tenants to check them out.  If you work with property that is a bit remote and you can’t plausibly show it whenever there is interest, put together a comprehensive video as a prospecting kit. Grow your YouTube channel by making engaging, creative content in addition to the property tours.

Create funny, informative pieces like this:

Take great pictures of your properties.

Ooooh, pretty…

Early morning and evening photographs have exceptional natural lighting. With a good camera and a discerning eye, you can collect excellent high-res photographs of your properties to make them pop off the screen of any brochure or listing. Then Instagram them; use trendy hashtags that may seem counter-intuitive at first but will give your Instagram feed some character.

Pinterest now allows you to Pin-by-Location, a tool residential agents have started to use; create a visual pin map of your territory and share that with your broker community.

Research, Research, Research

Commercial real estate is all about the research. The more relevant data you can provide for a potential investor or tenant, the better. Regional demographics, street traffic, stability of co-tenants, and area economics are invaluable.

So apps, such as Sitegeist for example, that allow you to instantly retrieve this sort of information on the go. Your market research people will have created reports for you before hand like they always have but calling back into the office and waiting for an email while a prospect is standing right in front of you wondering what the average age and annual income of the local residents is not a good place to be in 2014.

Do not fear the Social Media Kraken

It just isn’t an option anymore. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are all about the human connection, sharing your daily musings as long as they aren’t centering too much on what you ate for breakfast or littered with midafternoon selfies. So don’t shy away from sharing a blog or article that you enjoyed reading, engaging with other professionals in your network by responding to their tweets and commentary and be an active, vocal part of the game. The more recognizable you are, the better top-of-mind presence you will have.

Or start an awesome blog and share it with EVERYONE

Sure, I love to write nearly as much as I love to talk but unlike how indiscriminate I can be with the latter, one must be concise and focused with the former; after all, content is king. In fact, “content” is the new buzz term and every sensible marketing professional knows that everything is content-driven right now, making the proverbial pen the most important tool in your virtual toolbox. The subject of content creation runs deep and requires a deft and discerning eye.

…and an entirely separate blog entry which you will just have to stay tuned for!