By Jason C. Flynn
Weingarten Realty Investors (NYSE: WRI) is rolling out a new service aimed at utilizing the growth of social media networks to offer new tools to anyone looking for new investment opportunities.
Weingarten's Virtual Partner Network (VPN) is designed to push information to leasing agents, brokers, retailers, investors and consumers via sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Drew Alexander, president and CEO of Weingarten, noted the opportunity to expand the company's outreach via social media.
"Social media is here to stay and Weingarten is ready to use this technology as a source for reaching new members and getting the information to interested members faster than in the past," Alexander said.
Alexander said that VPN will be rolled out in phases. The first phase will include promoting the service in May at events such as the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) convention in Las Vegas and Weingarten's annual analyst and investor tour May.
"It is important to evolve as a company," Alexander said. "Regular marketing channels have evolved and those who are not part of the social media forum are missing out on a generation that uses these channels to conduct business on a daily basis."
Interested parties can sign up via Weingarten's site, which will direct them on how to connect the service to their various accounts. Though there is no direct application to receive the VPN on devices such a Blackberry or an iPhone, Alexander claims that the company will consider creating one in phase two of the Network's expansion. He also mentioned the possibility of YouTube videos to spotlight available properties as part of the next phase.