Ward to the Wise

Real Estate Public Relations: How To Create Genuine Dialogue Through Social Media


Despite the pervasiveness of social media in our lives, many real estate organizations struggle to utilize these tools to develop and deepen relationships, invite endorsement and create two-way communication with their audiences and stakeholders.

Many organizations use social media as a one-way communication vehicle, talking at instead of with people. They miss out on the valuable feedback and validation social media participants can provide, such as what amenities they want in a residential community or which retailers they would like to see in their local shopping mall. Savvy real estate organizations, on the other hand, plan and execute social media content strategies that engage their target audiences in a dialogue from the start of the project through completion and beyond.

Laying the foundation

Approach your social media program as you would a traditional media relations or networking strategy:

1. First, identify your goals and objectives.

Do you want to raise awareness of your project? Sell homes? Attract corporate land buyers, retailers, shoppers, diners and guests? Educate people moving to your area as a result of a corporate relocation?

2. Next, determine your audiences.

Are they potential homebuyers, retailers, corporate real estate departments, vendors, elected officials?

3. Determine your key differentiators and key messages to each of these audiences.

Is your project sustainable? An affordable option? Does it feature unique amenities, create jobs or access to major employment centers?

4. Tailor your content to address each audience.

Develop an editorial calendar to keep you on track. Make sure you include a variety of posts that resonate with various audiences. Repeat key messages regularly to build message frequency. (Mammals learn and retain information that is repeated. When it comes to communication, once-and-done equals none.) A luxury hotel might shine a weekly spotlight on different amenities and create a dialogue by inviting followers to share their favorite recipes when announcing a new menu item or to vote on a favorite spa treatment. A mixed-use development might engage with its retail, office and apartment tenants by asking retailers, residents and workers to share their favorite place to dine and shop; vote on a favorite amenity; or make suggestions for upcoming events.

5. Use metrics to determine which posts are most popular and engaging. Adjust your strategy accordingly

Research shows posts that contain photos or videos attract more views, likes and click-through rates, so make sure to use visual content as much as possible.

6. Always respond to questions and comments in a timely manner.

Use the opportunity to engage in conversations to gain valuable feedback. Create posts that increase engagement, such as conducting polls or holding a naming contest for the next neighborhood, upscale suite, new menu item or green space.

7. Most important, it doesn’t matter how often you post or how engaging your content is if nobody is paying attention!

Proactively build your audiences by identifying, following and sharing the content of industry and other influencers such as top real estate agents, brokers, real estate reporters, foodies, fashion bloggers and others relevant to your development. Invite your target audiences, vendors and development partners to follow you on all your platforms and share their content as appropriate to cross-promote and build your reach.

Topping out

Once your social media platforms are a well-oiled machine, continue to monitor your metrics to fine-tune your content. Build and refine your audiences at each project stage. For example, as the project reaches maturity you might post fewer construction updates and more posts on occupancy levels, amenities, resident news and events. Encourage your audiences to post their news to your wall and proactively monitor their pages for posts you can share.

Generously share others’ content and consider designating social media advocates from among your audiences, such as residents or frequent shoppers, who will add credibility to your messaging.

Be nimble and flexible. Use your editorial calendar for recurring features but make sure to follow the trends and news and include timely, relevant posts in your news feeds.

A well-executed social media strategy gives you independence from relying solely on news media that have limited space and allows you to share your news directly with your target audiences. By creating a dialogue with those who care about your project you gain valuable input and endorsement that can assist you in achieving your business goals.

Want to create social media presence and support for your real estate project? Give us a call. Ward welcomes the opportunity to use our social media and real estate public relations experience to build a strategy that works for you.

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