Twitter: The Commercial Real Estate Barometer


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Twitter: The Commercial Real Estate Barometer

  1. 1.   Twitter: The Commercial Real Estate Barometer Getting a Read on Markets from the Online Public Square By: Thomas Vincent, CCIM | Managing Director Sperry Van Ness | Rolling Meadows, IL Those who have been in the commercial real estate industry for any amount of time know it lags the business cycle. Nobody gauges the economy by what commercial real estate is doing. Commercial real estate brokers, investors, and principals watch the economy, knowing that whatever happens there will be coming down the pike a year or two later for commercial real estate. It’s a frustrating way of life, but commercial real estate professionals have learned to deal with it. Savvy commercial real estate investors always seek advice and counsel when it comes to making investment decisions. That said, all “experts” are not created equal – Those investors who have access to better, more timely information provided by more sophisticated advisors simply have an edge. So here are a few questions to ponder: How broad is your sphere of influence? Who are the “experts” you’re seeking advice from? What if I told you that you could have real-time, 24-7-365 access to the world’s best practitioners in every aspect of commercial real estate, and that this unfettered access was free – would you be interested? Want to get a better idea of economic trends? How about finding out which assets are receiving the most attention from buyers? Want to know which projects are getting financed, or better yet, who’s financing them? What about which geographic markets seem to be out-performing national trends? Want to know what’s happening on Capitol Hill or which tenants are looking for space? All this information is readily available from trusted sources – the real players making things happen and not the wannabes just spewing more tired rhetoric. Wouldn’t it be invaluable to have an inside track on information from the industry’s best thought leaders, pundits, analysts, advisors and practitioners? Imagine being able to listen in on what industry leaders are saying and doing as it’s actually happening? If your idea of business intelligence is listening to some unheard of “expert” and doing what he or she says, news flash - There is a better way. Most of you reading this have heard of a website taking the world by storm. You heard about it during the Iranian elections. You heard about it during our elections. You may have heard something during the widespread devastation in Haiti. The website I’m talking about it Twitter. Why spend time talking about Twitter in a commercial real estate white paper? Because Twitter is changing the way the world communicates, and more importantly, the way the world does business. Twitter is not a website for teenagers to tell the world what they are having for lunch. It’s not merely another way to say hi to old friends. It’s a way to reach and understand the world, as things occur in real time. When you see a story break on CNN or FOX, it’s already old news on Twitter. In a recent USA Today article titled, “Twitter Power: Learning from Ourselves, In Twitter:  The  Commercial  Real  Estate  Barometer  |  Copyright  ©  2010  |  Thomas  Vincent  |  Page  1  of  4  
  2. 2.   Real Time,” Twitter is described as, “a real-time barometer of people's reactions to events and products, and as such it is causing all manner of folks to pay close attention.” 1 Twitter is business intelligence. Twitter is business news as it happens. It is real-time industry knowledge and therefore, it is inexcusable for any serious investor to not be plugged in. Twitter is a social media platform full of advisors, brokers, investors, tenant-reps, attorneys, architects, and many other commercial real estate professionals. Listening to individuals who specialize in one sector of commercial real estate gives the investor the intelligence he or she needs to make wise decisions. It allows an individual to get more than just a “feel” for what is happening around the country. It allows a person to know what is happening. Not only can Twitter give the commercial real estate professional a read on what the industry is doing, it provides real-time information on what other industries are doing. The industries that affect commercial real estate…everything from capital markets, economics, breaking news, retail, government legislation, natural disasters, and the list goes on. Twitter is teaming with individuals from every walk of life, describing their little corner of the world. And this is what makes Twitter invaluable. You may be convinced that Twitter is an invaluable tool. But you ask, “How can I leverage its power…How do I use it to guide my business practices?” The answer is not a short one but the main thing is to just get started. Start off by studying the website and how it works. Become comfortable with how it operates and how to use it. Following are some basic and helpful guidelines on getting started and using Twitter: 1. Creating your account: Always use your most used email account when creating your Twitter profile. This will ensure you are updated whenever anyone reaches out to you. Also, put thought into your username (or as it is in Twitter lingo, your “handle”). I would suggest using your full name, if for no other reason than preventing another person with the same name from beating you to the punch. If you decide to use something other than your personal name, make sure your username is something that will catch people’s eye. So if you are a REIT professional, an example of a username could be, “REITPro.” This will show on Twitter as @REITPro. 2. Selecting who to “Follow”: Twitter is all about whom you follow and who follows you. You will see what is said by those you follow and those who follow you will see what you are saying. Why it’s so important to follow the right people is that others on Twitter can see who follows who. This gives you great exposure. Also, most people are inclined to follow those who follow them. This can cause instant business relationships as well as a tap on great industry knowledge. By following professionals in your area of industry or those in industries you want to know about, you expose yourself to this industry. One great way to find people to follow is by using the website, People are categorized and listed in order of “influence.” This means that those listed are most likely people who have established themselves as legitimate and people are listening to what they are saying.                                                                                                                         1  Cave,  M  (2010,  May  25).  Twitter  Power:  Learning  from  ourselves,  in  real  time.  USA  TODAY.  Retrieved  from   Twitter:  The  Commercial  Real  Estate  Barometer  |  Copyright  ©  2010  |  Thomas  Vincent  |  Page  2  of  4  
  3. 3.   3. What to say: This is where most people call it quits with Twitter. They get a profile established, follow some people, and then freeze. This is a fatal mistake. What you say on Twitter is what is going to grab people’s attention. If you are engaging people, they will be more likely to communicate with you. This can help with obtaining very specific knowledge of an industry. As an example, a multifamily investor is not about to disseminate what he or she knows about their market for the world to see. If you are interested in what this person knows, and you contact this person, they may or may not see you as someone they are interested in communicating with. If you reach out to this person and ask how their market is doing and he or she sees you have nothing to offer, they won’t give you a moment’s notice. However, if you use Twitter to give helpful tips, provide news, and establish yourself as an expert, others will be inclined to offer their knowledge. And yes, even saying what you had for lunch can be helpful. It lets people know you are human and more relatable. 4. Monitor, monitor, monitor: Twitter is useless if you don’t ever visit and search the site. Make use of the search features to see what people are saying. Say for example, you are looking for an investment opportunity in the form of a freestanding net-lease property. Search for it. You may find exactly what you are looking for and if you do, you have a point of contact or even an established relationship, as opposed to just a phone number on a listing. Using the search tool on Twitter is, by far, the best way to search for what you want to know and find. Even Google is tapping into the power of searching Twitter. Again, just to ingrain it, Twitter is real-time. Your searches are going to give you what people said one second ago! Any savvy investor should feel their heart begin to race after reading the last sentence. They know timing is everything and knowing what’s going on right now is something people have wished they could do for centuries. If you are not monitoring Twitter constantly (i.e., every half-hour to an hour) you may miss an opportunity or piece of knowledge that could put you farther ahead than whatever else you were doing you say is more important. These ideas are revolutionary. Many compare the current “Social Media Revolution” to the Industrial Revolution because of what it has done for business. Even more specific, Twitter is revolutionizing the commercial real estate industry. It is closing the notorious gap between commercial real estate and the business cycle. Investors, brokers, and others are beginning to be able to plan ahead by keeping an eye on Twitter. Make use of this tool. It’s free, it’s fast, and it will continue to give people success, whether you think it’s a waste of time or not. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have on how Twitter can help move your business ventures forward. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @tvincentccim Twitter:  The  Commercial  Real  Estate  Barometer  |  Copyright  ©  2010  |  Thomas  Vincent  |  Page  3  of  4  
  4. 4.   Author Biography: Tom Vincent, CCIM serves as a Managing Director for Sperry Van Ness, specializing in the sale of shopping centers and net leased properties nationwide. He also sells industrial, office and multifamily properties in Chicago and the Midwest. With over 35 years of experience, Vincent has secured over 300 transactions with a sales volume valued at over $360 million in the last nine years including numerous 1031 exchange transactions. Prior to joining Sperry Van Ness, Vincent operated Sentinel Realty Advisors, Inc. for more than five years. He owned and operated Fidelity Mortgage & Investment Corp. for over 20 years specializing in brokerage of commercial loans for all property types. He served as president and COO of Union Realty Mortgage Company and Senior Vice President HIC of Florida, a subsidiary of Chase Manhattan Bank where he was instrumental in liquidating a $250MM portfolio of distressed assets. Vincent earned the CCIM designation in 1997 and is the past president (2004) of the Illinois Chapter of CCIM and a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Since 1991 Vincent has served as chairman of the Plan Commission for the City of Rolling Meadows, Illinois. He earned his bachelor's degree in banking and finance from the University of North Texas. Pam Vincent, CPA assists in the operation. Author Contact Information: Phone: 847.963.1031 Email: Web:   Copyright © 2010 | Thomas Vincent This Office Independently Owned and Operated All information presented by Sperry Van Ness has been obtained from sources deemed reliable. Sperry   Van Ness makes no representation with regard to the accuracy of the information contained herein. Twitter:  The  Commercial  Real  Estate  Barometer  |  Copyright  ©  2010  |  Thomas  Vincent  |  Page  4  of  4