05/01/2014 | by
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Consultant Says Social Media Use Growing Among REITs

Evan Urbania, CEO of ChatterBlast Media, joined REIT.com for a video interview during REITWise 2014: NAREIT’s Law, Accounting and Finance Conference held in Boca Raton, Fla.

Urbania’s company advises clients on how to best utilize social media. He was asked for his assessment of REITs’ incorporation of social media platforms.

“REITs, in general, have a big opportunity,” Urbania said. “We’ve been looking at what has been happening in the commercial real estate space and the space within REITs, in particular, over the last year and a half. One hand, it’s split: You see the organizations that have malls and commercial properties and retail properties, and they seem to be embracing social a little bit more. On the flip side, you’ve got organizations that are using it for sales and marketing, trying to drive business development leads and leasing. And then you’ve got folks that are just not doing anything and trying to resist it.”

Urbania did note that the industry is getting up to speed on best practices and strategies with social media: “They’re starting to see the value of social, and it’s a growing trend, for sure.”

Urbania also discussed the impact that social media can have on a real estate company.

“I always like to think of social media as a menu of services,” he said. “You can’t do everything, but you can definitely choose a couple. Clearly, from an investor relations and public relations standpoint, you can use social for that. You can use it for tenant retention and tenant service. Certainly for employee retention and employee recruitment. The impact can be really big. It just comes down to designing a strategy that fits the organization, setting those objectives and goals out, and making sure that you’re not being too aggressive, that you know what to expect out of your social program and how to measure that impact and success.”

Urbania suggested that in the context of social media, return on investment (ROI) should be viewed in terms of “value,” as opposed to a dollar figure.

“I really think [ROI] has to be looked at as a value and success measurement, not just a number,” he said.