CBRE on Instagram: How a B2B Powerhouse Found a Niche in a B2C Paradise

CBRE on Instagram: How a B2B Powerhouse Found a Niche in a B2C Paradise Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

You don’t find a lot of B2B companies on Instagram. It’s not their go-to network.

CBRE is the world’s leading Commercial Real Estate service and investment Company, but Instagram is tailor-made for B2C companies with flashy products – probably not the ideal place for CBRE, right?

Wrong. Not willing to let convention stand in their way, the digital team at CBRE has a completely revamped Instagram strategy that has their engaged audience growing by the day.

Fresh Thinking

“Instagram has given us a fresh canvas,” says Larry Koestler, Digital Marketing Manager for CBRE. “Since it’s not a traditional network, it allows us to present our company and our ethos in a different way than we historically have.”

Doing things in “different ways” is a novel concept for the commercial real estate industry.

“Very few of our competitors have explored Instagram, so we had a great opportunity to try new things and break away from the traditional tactics.”

CBRE’s presence on the network (@cbre) is anything but traditional. Foregoing promotional tactics, CBRE has opted to focus using the channel to celebrate the art, science and technology behind the world’s most iconic structures, along with the people and organizations that inspire and are inspired by the Company.

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“Instagram presents an opportunity for CBRE to demonstrate the elasticity of our brand,” notes Paul Suchman, Chief Marketing Officer at CBRE. “Real estate plays such a huge part in all of our lives, both professionally and personally. Instagram enables us to transcend the traditional B2B conversation and become meaningful in the consumer space.”

Finding Success

Users have been seeking out CBRE, whose audience is still modest, but has more than doubled since they revamped in March. And once they’re connected? They seem to love the content CBRE posts. Since revamping their strategy on the network, CBRE has seen three likes and comments for every one of their fans, an impressive amount of engagement for a brand new to Instagram.

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The most unique part of CBRE’s strategy isn’t the content itself; it’s how they caption content. The educational and historical context presented around each of the posts shared adds more to the experience than users on Instagram are used to seeing.

“We live and breathe real estate and wanted to bring that level of passion and knowledge to our followers,” says Koestler.

The company has also experienced substantial levels of engagement any time they bring followers inside their global workplaces. The posts they have published of their new office spaces in Melbourne, Australia; Prague, Czech Republic; Downtown Los Angeles, California; and Tokyo, Japan, are each among the company’s top 10 most-engaged photos, averaging 96 engagements apiece.

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Focusing on the Team

The team at CBRE has been fostering that enthusiasm internally as well.

“We’re working with a lot of folks within the company to source photos. The goal is to have it be self-sustaining,” said Koestler. “We want photos to come from all corners of the organization. We want them from a broker in Capital Markets in Germany, an HR Generalist in Seattle…every person at CBRE should feel like this Instagram account is theirs, because it is.”

The tactic has helped galvanize CBRE employees, getting them excited about working at the company.

This focus on people has also provided the ability to share some of CBRE’s history in an organic way.

“We’ve dug up some old photos for #tbt posts. CBRE has a lot of history. We do that when it’s appropriate, but we’re not beholden to those trends. We like to mix it up.”

While CBRE won’t hesitate to draw from its 100-plus-year history for the occasional #TBT (Throwback Thursday) post, the company has also found success with their own initiatives, like #TallBuildingTuesday and #TheViewFromFriday, which focus on different architectural shots and vistas from around the world.

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“Instagram has been a great way for CBRE to connect with our employees, our stakeholders and to reach out into audience groups,” said Suchman. “The excitement and engagement has been tangible here at CBRE and apparent in our follower growth already. We’re excited to continue flexing our brand in Instagram and other social channels.”

Kevin Shively

Kevin Shively

I manage the blog team at Simply Measured. My job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.

  • Rex Biberston

    Very cool story! I love to hear about this unique use of a very cool social platform. Great article.

    • Kevin Shively

      Thanks Rex! Love the way they’re using it. Really cool use case.

  • http://www.silverbacksocial.com/ Chris Dessi

    I love this. We have many BtoB clients. It’s more about H to H marketing – Human to Human! Kudos to CBRE!

    • Kevin Shively

      Love H2H. Great point. It’s easy in the B2B space to forget that there are people behind the brands you’re trying to reach. Thanks Chris!

  • Tavis Yeung

    Great article – and great job Larry and rest of CBRE digital team :)

  • http://pinetreecommercial.com Graham Grochocinski

    Talk about an innovative use of Instagram. I wonder if and how other industries will follow suit?

  • Kit Miyamoto

    We have been using Pinterest in the same basic way for several of our projects in Haiti and the earthquake damage assessments we perform.