Participating in speaking
engagements is another way
of showcasing your thought
leadership. Dynamic speakers, especially in a specialized
industry such as commercial
real estate, are highly sought
after once they have established themselves as educated and substantive and they may even
start earning speaking fees.
Before you start speaking however, determine the topics in
which your audience is engaging and join the discussion. Whether
they are ardent supporters of the latest proptech company or
members of a Facebook group dedicated to LEED requirements,
the first step is to find out the subject matter triggering all the
chatter and show up within those networks. To add even more
speaking points, choose a few issues or problematic scenarios
your customers have encountered and how you and/or your team
were able to overcome those obstacles.
It is also important to record your speaking engagements and
share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Live or You Tube. You can
also use these platforms to show your target audience how to solve
industry issues or answer frequently asked questions—for example, what does that fine print actually mean on that contract?
These vehicles are an effective way of building your image to fulfill your thought leadership goals within the CRE industry.
A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Social media can be fun, it can be thought-provoking and, of
course, it has been the launching pad for countless faux pas. Less
understood by many, social media also requires dedication.
“The key to thought leadership success, especially on social
media, is consistency,” says Ken Ashley, executive director at
Cushman & Wakefield. “Just like starting a diet or a workout plan,
establishing yourself as a thought leader is a long-term commitment. Picking your voice and sticking to it is critical,” he says.
For example, Ashley continued, if you’re going to be an
authority on SEC football, be an authority on everything related
to SEC football and don’t confuse people by talking about some-
thing far afield. Pick an area or trend and don’t mix your message
with topics that aren’t in your area of expertise, he advises.
One good way to get started is to develop relevant industry
content by adhering to a few guidelines.
For starters, consistency is important. All blog posts, articles and
interviews need to have a common core message. At the same time,
don’t be afraid to broach trending topics such as Opportunity
Zones or green buildings. It is also important to think outside of
the box and establish a unique voice. Project your personality and
your message will then stand out from the crowd.
When you have a chance to share your vision for a different way
of operating, it’s an incredibly powerful opportunity and one you
can’t take for granted, according to Nick Romito, CEO and co-founder of VTS, who also suggests keeping a close pulse on the
issues people in your industry are dealing with and try to think a few
steps ahead. “Don’t be provocative for the sake of it, but do be prepared to share your thoughts boldly, stand behind them, and when
detractors challenge your position, engage in dialogue,” he says.
Another rule for social media content: Vulnerability is a
strength. Credibility is built faster when you can admit your mistakes and recognize your flaws. It showcases your professional
maturity and desire to grow. Graciously responding to online
reviews or acknowledging any past shortcomings makes you relatable and trustworthy.
It is also important to remember that accessibility is an important hallmark of any thought leader. Connect and follow up with
your peers—strangers and friends alike. Don’t set up a chat function on your website that you barely check. Refrain from impatiently answering questions or just throwing out a rote answer.
Take the time to be thoughtful as people approach you as an
expert in the industry. Be available as much as you can
on social media and try to be timely in your responses.
Also do not self-promote too much. Having a platform doesn’t mean you should constantly talk about
yourself. Instead focus on educating your audience,
being helpful and sharing new ideas.
Finally, don’t focus on social media to the exclusion
of other media. Write content for industry newsletters,
white papers and blogs. Of course, you can also pen
opinions for your personal blog or guest blog for a
recognized industry broker or CRE company.
Remember, each time a reader clicks on one of your
links or reads your article, you have grown your audience—and taken one more step closer to becoming a
thought leader. ◆
“Networking is a big
part of what it takes
to become successful
in the industry today.”
DIRECTOR AT CUSHMAN
“Personally, it’s important for me to
share what I have learned and take a
leadership role at these networking events
to ensure others have an opportunity to
build these essential industry relationships.”
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR OF ATLANTIC