Social Media Debate: Why It Does/Doesn't Matter in CRE

In the spirit of one of Sperry Van Ness International Corporation’s (SVNIC) main ideals, collaboration, its Chief Operations Officer, Diane Danielson, and Vice President of Organizational Development, Solomon Poretsky, team up for a healthy debate on social media. They were both asked, “In the world of commercial real estate why does, or doesn’t, social media matter?” Below you will find their arguments. (Queue the bell ring because these two know how to put up a fight.)

Social Media Doesn’t Matter – Solomon Poretsky

Solomon Poretsky - Vice President, Organizational DevelopmentLet’s start this with a two question quiz:

How many listing agreements have been signed via Twitter?

  1. 10
  2. 1,000
  3. 100,000
  4. None. You can’t sign a listing agreement with a tweet.

How many properties have changed hands through a LinkedIn status update?

  1. 10
  2. 1,000
  3. 100,000
  4. None. You generally can’t sell property without a deed transfer.

If you answered D to both, you’re right. You also know why social media doesn’t matter. But, keep reading, anyways.

Commercial real estate brokers need both marketing and sales activities to drive their businesses forward. The work that you do to MARKET yourself makes it easier to convert prospects into clients and put them into your SALES funnel.

Think about prospecting by telephone. If you don’t have anything good to talk about and the people in your database don’t know who you area, prospecting can be successful, but it’s usually hard to do. On the other hand, if people know you and have all sorts of things to discuss with you, prospecting is not only easy but also pleasant. That’s what marketing can do for you, and social media is a marketing tool.

However, the problem with marketing is that, by itself, it won’t create sales. Even if you have an excellent social media campaign and it gets people to start calling you, you will still have to convert them into clients. So, you still need sales activity to drive your commercial real estate business.

To understand why social media doesn’t matter, picture two dart players. One is blindfolded, knows roughly where the dart board is, and has lots of darts to throw. The second is an expert dart player – a tournament winner, in fact – but has no darts and doesn’t feel like playing. Which do you think is more likely to hit a bull’s eye? The first one might not be very good, but at least she’s going to try, and the odds are that she’ll eventually hit one. The second one, on the other hand, is guaranteed to not hit a bull’s eye since he isn’t even trying.

The second dart player is a lot like a commercial real estate Advisor or broker with an excellent marketing campaign who sits back and waits for the phone to ring. Lots of Twitter followers or Facebook Likes might look good, but social media isn’t where business gets done. The first dart player, on the other hand, is like a broker that keeps showing up. Sure, she might not be that polished, and she might be working harder than she needs to, but at least she’s closing deals. Ultimately, if you aren’t doing what you know is required to drive sales, social media won’t help you.

By the way, the best option? Be great at sales and at marketing, including social media. If you’re talking to people aggressively, and they know who you are thanks to both traditional marketing and a strong social presence, you’re more likely to not only succeed, but succeed with less effort.

Social Media Matters – Diane Danielson

Diane DanielsonSocial media matters in commercial real estate in much the same way email and telephones matter. It’s a form of communication. Whether you use it or not, doesn’t stop others from doing so, which means you might be left out of some of the conversation. This may matter more or less, depending on where you are in your career.


Whether social media matters or not is a sliding scale. For those who are younger or newer to the business, it’s a great way to build credibility.  If you start writing market updates and sharing them through social media, you will define yourself as an expert in your market or specialty.

For anyone more senior, you might already have that reputation with your existing networks, but doing the same could expand your expertise to newer networks; especially those decision-makers who are closer to 30 years old than 50 years old.  Shunning social media can make one appear out of touch to a growing segment of potential clients.

Finally, LinkedIn is the ultimate B2B platform with 300 million participants on it already; it’s the ultimate who’s who and a shortcut to get to almost everyone.  In many cases, your LinkedIn profile may not be just the first impression a client might have, but the only impression. At the very least, all brokers and advisors need to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile.


In today’s world, I assume that anyone who contacts me would have at the least, knowledge of anything on my LinkedIn profile.  I also expect that any commercial real estate Advisor or broker would be tracking their clients and markets via Twitter, as well as LinkedIn. Twitter can be a good resource for market information and not just from CRE individuals. Really knowing a market means knowing the local businesses and politics and Twitter is a valuable tool for following local press, planning boards, businesses, etc.  If you are not on Twitter, you could be missing real time information that could be valuable to your clients.


While there will always be the stories about deals being made strictly due to social media, this is unlikely to be the norm.  However, could it be the factor that gives a commercial real estate Advisor an edge? Of course, and who wants to be that Advisor who didn’t give him or herself that edge over the competition?  This is one of the reasons,  Sperry Van Ness® Advisors put their featured properties on our Monday Morning Sales Call, which is then pushed out through social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+) as well as featured in slide format on SlideShare and in video format on YouTube.

At Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, our Advisors don’t give just themselves an edge, they provide that same edge to their clients. And, that’s our secret to repeat business.

So, does social media matter in commercial real estate? It depends on whether you are the type of exemplary Advisor who appreciates the value of having an edge on the competition.

To find out more about careers at a Sperry Van Ness® office, visit our career center. If you are interested in learning more about owning your own Sperry Van Ness® franchise, click here.

Top Twitter Tips for CRE Professionals

As a commercial real estate professional you don’t need reminding that your daily routine is packed. From listing appointments to sales presentations and due diligence…who has time for anything extra, especially social networking? Well, if you are reading this blog, hopefully that means you have realized the important role social media plays in your overall marketing plan.

Let’s face it, even if you don’t want to “socialize” on digital platforms, being visible on social media is a necessary part of promoting your personal brand, services and products to the external marketplace. In today’s fast-paced, digital world visibility is key and Twitter is a great, and free, platform to get all that is “you” out there for the world to see.

Whether you are new to the social media game, or are currently live tweeting this blog, these tips for getting the most from Twitter will help push your social game to the next level.

Put It Out There, Wisely

Something to always remember with social media – be careful what you put out there. In the age of Google, chances are the first thing a prospect will do is search for you on the internet. So always make sure to follow the “Grandma Rule”: Ensure that what is found on the internet you would be proud to show your grandma.

Second, your Twitter biography matters and should be used to stand out from the crowd and catch people’s attention. It may seem difficult describe yourself in 160 characters, but keep these tips in mind:

  • Use keywords that tie to your business, such as, “CRE, Sperry Van Ness, SVN, Broker”.
  • Use words and short phrases instead of sentences, such as, “John Doe, CRE Professional, Sperry Van Ness, Atlanta”.
  • Keep it current by updating your bio with any special events or marketing tactics, such as, “CRE Advisor, Attending ICSC Western Division, Let’s Network”.

Remember, nothing is set in stone so try different keywords, phrases, etc. and see what gets the most engagement. Trial and error is your friend.

Hashtags: If You Don’t Use, You Lose

hashtagsFirst things first, here is the definition of a hashtag: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet that become searchable. Twitter users created it organically as a way to categorize messages. 

So, why are these are important? Beyond the fact that tweets with hashtags receive two times more engagement then those without, using them helps others find you. A hashtag describes to your audience what you are sharing, such as, “Major #CRE news in the #Boston market: #Retail investments plummeted 29%.” In this example, anyone who searches for CRE news in Boston will see your tweet.

You can also be the one searching.  Within the Twitter platform, and in most search engines, you can search for specific hashtags to get informed about what is going on in your local market. Do some hunting with relevant keywords and see what you find.

Some useful tips on hashtags:

  • More than three is a crowd. You should never use more than three hashtags in a single tweet.
  • Never start a tweet with a #.
  • For a more in-depth look at hashtags, here is a great article.

It’s Okay To Be A Follower

Using Twitter in your CRE business is solely done to increase your visibility.  The more followers you have on Twitter, the more visible you become. In order to increase followers you should be the one following. Do some searching and find those individuals in the commercial real estate market who are sharing great content and who have built a strong following in the Twitter-verse. They will serve as great examples of what works, and what doesn’t, on Twitter.

You actually don’t need to look very far. There are many Twitter superstars in the Sperry Van Ness organization who serve as great examples:

Robert PliskaDiane DanielsonCatherine HouseJerry AndersonNatvar NanaKaren HurdMiguel de ArcosAlex Ruggieri and Reid Bennett.

Sharing Is Caring

Moving a step beyond following someone, make sure to share his or her content. Retweeting, or sharing someone else tweet denoted by “RT”, is a great way to both engage and save time by repurposing relevant content someone else has lovingly already packaged for you!

Another tip is to call out other Twitter users in your tweets by using their handle, denoted by the “@” symbol, such as, “Great news out of #Boston: @DianeDanielson promoted to COO of SVNIC! #CRE”.  This is a great way to start a conversation, and increase engagement.

Some useful tips on sharing:

  • Make sure to vary your tweets with both original content and retweets.
  • Never start a tweet with the @ symbol. If you need to, make sure to put a period before it like, “.@DianeDanielson…”.
  • Respond to those who shared your content or referred to your handle. No one likes to have a one-sided conversation.

Always remember the biggest rule in social media: It’s not about you, it’s about them. Engagement is built by providing content that is relevant to your clients, colleagues and the #CRE marketplace.

Happy tweeting!

Sperry Van Ness is Hot on LinkedIn

One of the core values of the Sperry Van Ness® brand is that our clients get the most value when we create the most demand. It’s basic market fundamentals and collaboration at its best. This is why we open up our weekly National #CRE Sales Call to the entire brokerage and investment community and we encourage our Advisors and guests to share this information by email and social media.

Apparently, our Advisors did such a great job this week, that we received the following note from SlideShare (where we post new listings each week)!

Sperry Van Ness featured on Slideshare and LinkedIn

While our “Hot on LinkedIn” fame was short-lived, we’re hoping to make it up on the SlideShare leaderboard again!

Want to learn more about the Sperry Van Ness Difference when it comes to commercial real estate? Sign up for a call and join us on any Monday.


*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.


Bo Barron's Tips to Build Better Business Relationships

Bo Barron, Vice President of Organizational Development at Sperry Van Ness International Corp.
Bo Barron, Vice President of Organizational Development at Sperry Van Ness International Corp.

Commercial Real Estate is all about relationships. Getting face to face with prospects and clients is the most effective way to build relationships and to find and win business.

With the onset of new technologies, there’s a growing trend to use these advancements to replace this face to face interaction. I think this is a mistake. Social media like Twitter, LinkedIn and others cannot replace the effectiveness of face to face meetings. Social media can, however, enhance your ability to build relationships to be able to get those in person meetings.

I write about these issues on my professional coaching blog, theBarronBlog, on a regular basis and it’s a snippet of how I’m working with our team of Sperry Van Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors across the country. Below are links to three recent posts that can help any real estate professional Level Up your practice.

The 17 Rules of Email Etiquette – Many of us work with or for large companies. We have access to large email lists.  Understanding email etiquette is so important to protecting the culture of an organization as well as guarding productivity.

My biggest beef with email is its ability to interrupt me.  The nature of my business requires me to be doing multiple things. I am not a natural multi-tasker. I much prefer to hone in on a task and focus all my energy on it. I rarely get to do this and am also easily distracted. The ding and notification that announces every email can cost me 5 – 60 minutes if I let it. I routinely get 200+ emails a day. That equates to 200+ opportunities to be distracted from what is important to what is less important but potentially urgent.

Review:  Platform – Get noticed in a Noisy World – This is the book that started it for me. This past May, Michael Hyatt published his New York Times bestseller Platform:  Get Noticed in a Noisy World. My professional coaching blog was built on what I learned in this book. (Note that Michael Hyatt will be one of our featured speakers at our National Conference in Miami this February!).

As I write this post, I have 2,677 followers on Twitter; 1,502 business connections on LinkedIn; and 2,698 ‘friends’ on Facebook.  I don’t share this to boast. I simply want you to know what is possible. I am certainly not a celebrity. What I have done is execute a plan, and it has worked.

My Tools to Manage Twitter in 15 Minutes a Day – One of the most frequent questions that I get as I speak to groups is how I manage twitter. No one believes that it only takes 15 minutes or less a day.

There is so much developing in the world of technology that there is no way that I can keep up with it all.  What are some of the tools and technology that you use to connect most effectively with your clients and prospects?

Bo Barron, a former Sperry Van Ness franchisee, is our new Vice President of Organizational Development.


*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.