In the New York commercial real estate marketplace, few individuals have a higher profile that Bob Knakal, Chairman of Massey Knakal (MK). The firm is headquartered in NYC with a total of three offices in the region and more than 150 employees. MK exclusively represents owners in the sale, retail lease and/or financing of its properties. I recently interviewed Bob about his social media strategy.
Michael: What specific social media tools do you personally use for business (i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, blog etc.)? Any more effective in your opinion than others? Bob: I use Twitter (@bobknakal), Linkedin and Facebook but only use them for business. I do not use any of these outlets for anything personal in nature. I also have my weekly column in the Commercial Observer (Concrete Thoughts) and my bi-weekly column in Real Estate Weekly (Dollars and Sense) posted online, and direct folks to articles about social media. I also wrote a blog for about a year and a half, from February 2009 to September 2010, which was at a time when the markets were in turmoil. The blog was called Streetwise and was very interactive. Comments would range from a few, to dozens, and I responded to each comment.
Michael: What’s the message you are trying to communicate with these tools? Bob: All salespeople try to convey credibility and demonstrate to the community that they are active and insightful. I am no different. Having a long and successful track record is nice to have, but your most recent transactions and exposure in the marketplace are more impactful on your future business than anything else. Social media helps get the message out there.
Michael: How has social media helped you in your business? Bob: I send out hundreds of thousands of mailing pieces (both direct mail and email) and make thousands of phone calls each year. Utilizing social media is yet another way to get in front of clients and potential referral sources.
Michael: Can you attribute any business success to using social media? Bob: Yes, I have developed some strong relationships, which began via one of these social media outlets. I will also, on rare occasions and only for the right type of property, use social media to market properties I am selling.
Michael: Besides pushing out information to your clients and peers, do you also personally use it to stay informed? If so, which sites/blogs, etc. do you reference? Bob: I am a voracious reader and while I still prefer reading stuff printed on paper, I do go online and read various postings about the commercial real estate industry, economics and politics.
Michael: Any thoughts on where social media is heading in the future? Bob: New technologies are developing and adapting so rapidly there is no telling where it will be in the future. I see that the "under 30" crowd in my offices never read anything printed on paper so I think more and more the average person will be relying on gadgets and social media outlets to communicate with each other.
In addition, Bob's team also hosts a blog, TheWestsideHub, where they post news occurring in the territory.
Clearly Bob is someone that not only enjoys social media, but has seen real, tangible benefits from it for his business. If you know of someone or a company that you would consider a leader in this arena, let me know.
Related posts: Profile of a real estate social media leader: Jeremy Neuer (#1 in the series) Profile of real estate social media leader: CORE Group Marketing (#2 in the series)