Big New York firms say it helps them with branding
Peter Grant | The Wall Street Journal

Commercial real-estate brokers are marketing images like this one, of Tribeca. PHOTO: LEONARD STEINBERG
Commercial real-estate brokers are marketing images like this one, of Tribeca. PHOTO: LEONARD STEINBERG

Instagram, which has become the preferred social-media tool for many New York residential real-estate brokers, is beginning to show up more in the commercial real-estate brokerage business as well.

Commercial firms and brokers remain much heavier users of Twitter and LinkedIn for such things as leads, contacts and recruiting. But the largest firms — including CBRE Group Inc., JLL and Cushman & Wakefield —increasingly are using photography-intensive Instagram for branding purposes.

CBRE, for example, relaunched its Instagram site last year, and today has more than 4,500 followers. Its recent offerings include photos of world capitals, employees, inspirational messages and historical shots of people like Edward S. Gordon, founder of the eponymous firm that eventually became absorbed into CBRE’s New York office.

JLL, which had been focusing on Twitter, LinkedIn and SlideShare, recently started experimenting with Instagram as a way of marketing listings, according to Paige Steers, a JLL spokeswoman.

“You can tell a good story with a visual,” she said. “If I’m selling a building or leasing space and I have a beautiful photo that says it’s the first time on the market and it’s eye-catching, it will be shared and it will be spotted.”

Meanwhile, some brokers who handle both commercial and residential property are applying some of the Instagram tricks they’ve learned to both types of real estate. For example, Eric Rohe, an active Instagram user at Citi Habitats, said he used it recently to market a small retail space in the East Village and quickly got a half dozen responses. Read more