(Editor’s Note: Seth Cargiuolo, our chief knowledge officer, says developers can use social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to reach out and attract community support for their projects. Here is part one of a three-part series on social media and laud use politics.)
By Seth Cargiuolo, Chief Knowledge Officer, The Saint Consulting Group
Social Media: two words that, more than just about any other two we can think of cause consternation, confusion and even outright panic in the minds of many real estate developers we’ve talked to.
Sure, we all know what it means – it’s all that Tweetering and FaceTubing and YouBooking everyone’s talking about, right? And every time we open our laptops, it seems like we’re inundated with thought leadership articles by clutches of bearded, 30-something Internet Gurus telling us that we need to get some Social Media Strategy going to drive user engagement or use social currency or leverage influencers, or some similar drivel. It’s enough to make you throw your hands up in despair. What does it mean? How are we supposed to use this stuff? Do we really need to be involved in this nonsense?
Well, enough with the nonsense, we say. Social media can help attain the goal of any campaign in real estate developments, which is to earn concrete demonstrations of support. Here are three (simple!) Social Media tactics developers should be using to earn trust and win support for their projects:
Blog – Frequently & Regularly
These days, it’s expected that you’ll put up an informative, clean, easy-to-navigate website for your project. A static website does not encourage repeat visits, however, and a lack of repeat visits equals a missed opportunity to demonstrate your value and earn support. A blog section on your project website is a must, and fortunately, it’s not fiendishly difficult to do properly.
Your PR representative or Project Manager should be posting regular, frequent updates on your blog – not just features and benefits puffery, either; they should be discussing plainly and honestly what value your firm & your project will add to the community and what steps you will be taking to protect the community from any possible negative side effects of your project. The most important part is to be honest and direct; answer questions from the community forthrightly and with a degree of sensitivity.
Remember, your opponents and the undecideds out there are coming from an emotional point of view – they have very real fears about the changes your project will cause in their neighborhoods – so you can’t just facts-and-figures them to death. Take the time to understand and respond to their concerns, offer to meet with them one-on-one, and engage them. Use your blog to show the community that you understand, care, and will respond to them.
Seth Cargiuolo is Chief Knowledge Officer of The Saint Consulting Group and has, upon occasion, been described as a bearded 30-something Internet Guru. Seth loves to talk about this stuff – if you want to continue the conversation, contact him at seth [at] tscg.biz.