Profile of a real estate social media leader: Mack-Cali Realty Corporation (#4 in the series)

Mack-Cali Realty Corporation is recognized as not just one of the largest REITs and real estate owners in the country, but under the direction of president and chief executive officer, Mitchell Hersh, it has also become one of the most innovative and visible when it comes to their marketing efforts. It’s hard to miss Mack-Cali in the industry.

Whether you are reading a trade publication on line, attending a trade show or on LinkedIn, Mack-Cali seems to be everywhere. Clearly, they understand it’s not just about spending the money on marketing, but the what, how, and why behind their messaging.

I interviewed Ilene Jablonski, Mack-Cali's vice president of marketing about their social media strategy to get some insights as to the company's strategy and messaging tactics:

See how other real estate leaders use social media in interview with Jeremy Neuer of CBRE, Kristina Helb of CORE Group Marketing and Bob Knakal of Massey Knakal.

Michael: Which social media tools does Mack-Cali use to build its brand and which ones do you think are most effective in the commercial real estate marketplace? Ilene: With the collaboration of our agency Gigante Vaz Partners, we're currently active on all major social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and YouTube. We use a number of tools to extend our leadership position online, increase brand awareness, encourage real time engagement with constituents, and develop strong relationships with influencers in the commercial real estate community.

Michael: What's the overall message you try and communicate with your social media tools? Ilene: As with all the elements in our integrated marketing plan, Mack-Cali’s core message of strength and stability fuels our thought leadership in social media and all other marketing channels. We provide relevant commercial real estate news to our followers as well as news and information that our tenants, influencers, and other stakeholders will find engaging and timely. Social media is a great tool to consistently reinforce the strength of our portfolio, our people and our commitment to our tenants.

Michael: Do you have different messages for different audiences (i.e. brokers, investors, analysts, tenants, etc.)? Ilene: We advocate high standards for exceptional service, our commitment to our tenants' businesses and their evolving needs. By monitoring the composition of our audience, we are able to tailor our posts to maximize their value and relevancy. Our messages tend to focus on government news that affects our business, green building (ENERGY STAR and LEED), industry reports about the current growth sectors such as healthcare, technology and other regional news. We pay particular attention to news about our tenants and the nonprofit community.

We also try to tailor each message a bit differently depending on which social platform we’re posting on. For example, Facebook has released studies showing photos and videos have higher engagement rates than articles, so we’re creating infographics and video material to cater towards these user-based social habits.

Michael: How do you measure the impact of your efforts? Ilene: Measurement tools in social media are very important for gauging success and ours have shown a 258% growth in audience over the past three quarters. We use all the available analytic tools to consistently monitor the content that attracts the most engagement, and assess which methods are working most effectively.

Michael: How does social media rank in terms of importance with the other marketing tactics you use? Have you cut back on other tactics for instance? Ilene: As adoption of social increases, particularly in the commercial real estate arena, it has become a more important part of our integrated marketing plan when coupled with rich media, SEO and print collateral. Social is a new way of communicating, and although it continues to gain momentum at great speed, our traditional advertising still remains unchanged. These days, you must have an integrated approach to reach as wide and targeted an audience as possible.

Michael: Do you think the commercial real estate industry is generally getting more active in social media? Specifically, do you find that brokers are getting more engaged? Ilene: As a whole, the industry is getting more involved in social media. There are more than 2,000 groups on LinkedIn related to commercial real estate; many of them are very active. The number of blogs and online news sources shared in our industry has grown substantially in the past three years. Brokers are finding ways to take advantage of social media's potential—whether they’re networking through LinkedIn, using real estate centric sites such as CoStarGo, or streaming the latest commercial real estate news from their Twitter feeds. The business potential for the brokerage community is promising and we believe that our consistent presence will keep us top of mind with commercial real estate influencers.

Michael: What new social media tactics are you deploying now or are planning for the future? Ilene: Locating commercial real estate influencers is at the forefront of our social target. Inspiring these influencers to engage and spread content as brand ambassadors is important in building our social presence.

We are always identifying new and more effective ways to use social media whether it relates to tenants, their employees base, brokers, bloggers, news media, etc. – these are all key constituents that we find are joining us on this social media journey. We are thrilled to be actively participating and learning each and every day.

Do you know an individual or a company that you think we should profile in a future post? What questions do you have about social media that you would like us to pose to the experts?

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) Profile of real estate social media leader: Bob Knakal (#3 in the series)