Being a commercial property lawyer by original professional, I have always had a soft spot for all things real estate! The Covid-19 pandemic has jolted the property market into an unforeseen downturn:

1.      Commercial properties have dropped in rental income, property valuations for sale as well as debt financing.

2.      Securitised commercial property had a double jolt of financial markets and a dip in land pricing.

3.      The housing market has witnessed thousands of evictions and millions of apprehensive property owners.

Why Now?

Certainly, the number of sellers far exceeds the buyers and the margins are diminished but many experts are predicting a jump in market activity in the coming year because:

1.      HNIs, UHNIs, companies and those with a good risk appetite become active in acquiring distressed assets. This trend has grown since the Financial Crisis of 2007 and, if history repeats itself, land may emerge as a viable distressed asset.

2.      The UK commercial property market proved it’s resilience over the last decade and attracted global investors when property markets collapsed in the US, Middle East and Key European Markets. Certainly, the UK too faced many shockwaves, but it performed relatively better than the rest.

3.      If you look in the right places, certain numbers still indicate property as a viable investment.

4.      Many property experts opine that in spite of depleted finances and incomes, public sentiment to owning properties has grown. While some wish to recover what they lost, many wish to make best of this unprecedented market crash which has made properties look affordable.

Why LinkedIn?

LinkedIn produces 277% more leads than Facebook and Twitter and it has emerged as the most trusted social media for the 3rd consecutive year in 2019. When evaluated across the six criteria of digital trust by Business Insider, it ranked highly in all i.e. security, legitimacy, community, user experience, shareability and relevance. On the other hand, Facebook and twitter were overtaken by Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat over the same three year period. Hence, credibility and lead generation potential of LinkedIn make it a must for your social media strategy.

Statistics apart, you are bound to find and engage with more informed prospects as well as dependable referrals. The LinkedIn Audience has the advantage of reviewing your professional profile, the showcased property on your company page and seeks feedback from mutual connections. The lockdown has given prospects the time to understand your proposition and realise your value.

Where to Start?

It is always best to start with the basics of social selling while you can read about it in detail in my other article, here is a checklist for you to begin marketing on LinkedIn ASAP:

Create an Optimised & All-Star LinkedIn Profile:

1.      Complete your profile in its entirety – leave no sections blank.

2.      Write an impressive headline that captures your Profession, Expertise and USP. For e.g. “Taking the Stress for Professionals Out of Managing High-Value London Properties”.

3.      Upload high-resolution images for your personal profile photo, banner image, and company page and showcase pages. The right images create the right first impression on your prospects. and NAME THE FILE WITH A KEYWORD PEOPLE SEARCH FOR!

4.      Seek recommendations from satisfied clients who are also present on LinkedIn.

See LinkedIn as a Databank:

1.      FamiliariSe with LinkedIn analytics of your profile, your content as well as the important information on profiles and publications of other users.

2.      Understand the incidence and importance of LinkedIn activities in prospecting and improving your profile and page ranking i.e. your Social Selling Index.

3.      You can even identify prospects from professionals who visit your profile, appreciate your content or engage with you in the comments section.

4.      The only word of caution is to avoid 3rd party data crawlers and information brokers. After all, you must adhere to privacy laws, especially UK-GDPR. Fortunately, LinkedIn can help you network without depending on such tactics.

Once you have the basics in place, there are some tips specific to real estate that might come in handy in the following manner:

Publish Valuable Content:

LinkedIn is trusted because it isn’t infested with click-bait and marketing is driven by content or campaigns built around quality content. Hence, you can gain the trust of the audience by publishing content that is relevant and valuable to them. Regular contributions will help you cultivate this trust into a relationship by:

1.      Sharing your Customer stories: Properties are never exclusive to one real estate professional, but clients are. Since properties do not change hands frequently, like other financial assets, the story about your client experience becomes a crucial part of your online content. Moreover, it gives seamless access to the audience to view the story, the showcase page and professional profile in the same app.

2.      Educating the Audience: Your audience includes your prospects and colleagues. You could educate them about the industry as well as the good and bad practices of the real estate market. You could compile facts and figures from various reports, add your insights and save your audience the trouble of long drawn online searches. Perhaps, you could find them the right numbers i.e.:

a.      The Quarterly commercial property survey of 2020 by RICs cites that 28% players still have a positive outlook for the market within this year and stated improvements in expectations of capital value for industry and office sectors over a 3 year period.

b.      According to Colliers May 2020 report, despite an 80% drop in YoY investment volume against the average investment of preceding 5 years, overseas inquiries for commercial properties in the UK grew. Additionally, despite restrictions to travel and property access, mixed-use properties witnessed transactions worth $268mn in April alone.

c.      Cushman Wakefield pegs the GDP recovery of UK within Q2 2021, while the rest of Europe may have to endure it till Q4 2021. This could attract a lot of investments.

d.      Major property management companies like Knight Frank, JLL and CBRE have observed the growing importance of Land in the portfolios of HNIs and UHNIs and Google search suggestions may reflect the same.

e.      With frequent slumps in steel, oil & gas and the lockdown induced downturns in logistics and retail, land looks more promising as an investment choice.

3.      Giving the Complete Picture: Very few commercial properties will yield profit within a 3 year period. Many properties didn’t undergo their scheduled refurbishment and annual maintenance due to the lockdown. Many commercial properties may face imminent legal conflicts. If you provide genuine information, you will emerge as the dependable facilitator amidst all the misinformation and fake news. Most real estate experts predict a bounce-back within 1-3 year period but fail to clarify that very few investors realise such a yield.

4.      Utilising Pictures and Video with a well-crafted post: You can upload pictures and videos on LinkedIn too, not just Facebook and Instagram. In fact, pictures can improve your viewership by 3 times and videos can increase your engagement considerably. While a production video can really impress the audience, a native video by current residents can help build trust with the audience, especially when the lockdown prohibits them from physically visiting a property.

Discover and Join the Right Groups:

1.      Try and shortlist the most appropriate LinkedIn groups based on membership and activity. You would be surprised to know how many CSO, decision-makers and HNI groups exist on LinkedIn. Additionally, even an inactive group has some valuable prospects as members and LinkedIn allows you to send InMails to other group members, even if they are beyond your network. The key is to begin engagement on their posts and building a rapport, before sending an Inmail. This way, you avoid being labelled a spammer.

2.      Once you have shortlisted the groups of your choice, you can also list the same on your company page and promote the group. New membership of the group always widens your scope to network with prospects.

3.      If you want a quick reference list of LinkedIn and Facebook groups, you can request the same on a private message.

Network:

1.      Connect with your targets as well as local businesses, journalists and credible LinkedIn influencers. This will keep you well informed of real time happenings of a location, industry and social media space.

2.      Be receptive and approachable to people who are not immediate buyers and do not qualify as your prospects. When it comes to property transactions, people trust themselves to research about properties. In this sense, every inquirer becomes a prospect or an influencer. Regular engagement on LinkedIn can generate much better leads amidst professionals, HNIs and UHNIs as opposed to other social media.

3.      Use LinkedIn to give the occasional endorsement to your colleague or a direct selling property owner. This shows you as a connected, resourceful and helpful professional who can guide buyers to the right property or real estate professional.

4.      Integrate LinkedIn with other social media and draw prospects to the media of their choice, while building on the digital trust established via LinkedIn.

Upgrade:

While free membership of LinkedIn is very useful, paid membership is even better. From the simple premium membership to its best offering, the Sales Navigator, LinkedIn improves your visibility, content outreach and network suggestions tremendously. Not to mention the various paid tools at your disposal, i.e. sponsored content, paid analytics, target ads for “matched audiences” etc. Once you begin to capitalise on the potential of LinkedIn, upgrading to a premium account is inevitable.

For bespoke social media marketing advice to take full advantage of the opportunities available to you via #LinkedIn, schedule an initial phone consultation here

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