Real Property Alpha has up a fascinating interview with Sperry Van Ness President & CEO Kevin Maggiacomo about commercial real estate and social networking. Maggiacomo has a blog and a Twitter feed. More interestingly, according to this post, he has "a mandate to have 100% adoption of social media within the Sperry Van Ness brand."
Sperry Van Ness has close to 1,000 advisers in its network. Maggiacomo also says there were 125,000 commercial real estate brokers circa 2006. I had no idea there were that many brokers out there. That's a lot of people to try and connect.
Personally, I've been spending a lot of time the last few months predominantly on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn trying to use the platforms as a way to share our content. There are also a couple of ongoing attempts to build commercial real estate-specific social networks--CREO Point, Sibdu, The Real Corner, Real Era and Space Place. I've looked them all at least a couple of times. The offerings are different and the sizes of the communities range. It will be interesting to see how much these catch on and how they adapt.
Regardless, Maggiacomo has some interesting thoughts. It's worth reading the whole interview but here's a small excerpt.
As a CEO, do you worry about the “free for all” that is Twitter? Any broker within the brand can disseminate any message they want to and there are limits to how you can control the brand message without established best practices.
I am concerned but feel that the cost of not proactively and aggressively embracing SM outweighs the cost of any potential negative which might arise from the "free for all" set-up that exists.
Further, it has been said that the only thing that you can control in certain situations is that way that you react to them. Control the controllable, so to speak. SM is here to stay and its growth is extraordinary. I am more concerned about training our Advisors on the effective use of SM to stimulate business, pointing out the risks and pitfalls, than I am with establishing SM rules and policies.
As for brand damage that outsiders might inflict, everything that makes SM potentially negative can be leveraged to make the experience equally as positive. If you deliver great products, services, genuinely care about your clients and customers and embrace social media, then good things will happen.
(It should be noted that John Reeder, who writes the blog, also works under the Sperry Van Ness umbrella according to his about page.)