The ICSC Blog

The ROI of Social Media: Atlantic Station Case Study

Social Media can be a powerful tool for those who truly understand how to leverage it.

Standard ROI metrics aside, Social Media allows a business to: monitor what’s being said about its brand, share news, connect with customers (guests), network, perform market research, collect user generated content, reputation management, drive web traffic, etc.

North American Properties (NAP) is reaping the rewards of a highly engaged social media community as well as meeting some pretty hefty marketing goals (without the use of traditional media). When NAP purchased Atlantic Station on New Year’s Eve 2010, the five-year-old mixed-use development was suffering. The property had developed a reputation as a hangout, sales were declining and local real estate bloggers placed Atlantic Station on their official “Death Watch” list.

NAP quickly determined social media was the “ace of spades,” affording the most effective way to reach the “new-class consumer” living in the Midtown, Atlanta neighborhoods, in an effort to remerchandise, stabilize and repopulate the distressed asset.

NAP developed an industry-leading social media effort to drive these key objectives:

  • Initiate engagement with the community and build relationships with the media
  • Humanize the Atlantic Station brand
  • Shift public perception
  • Drive sales/retain tenants
  • Support leasing

To manage these key objectives, the NAP team initiated community outreach, hired a full-time social media manager and began implementing a fearless, and transparent, social media program.

NAP started engaging conversations that messaged to the community: “Atlantic Station cares about, listens to and responds to the people of Midtown.”

The results speak for themselves.
With a strong digital plan and extensive online toolbox, Team Atlantic Station collected thousands of user responses on the future of Atlantic Station and built an army of brand ambassadors. The team has forged meaningful relationships with guests and organizations and continues to deepen those partnerships.

  • Since January 2011, Facebook likes (40,000+) are up 343%, an average of 1,600 per month.
  • Twitter followers (14,600+) are up 260%, one of the country’s fastest growing shopping center twitter feeds and consistently ranks in the top two for retweets, updates, influence, generosity and engagement.
  • Atlantic Station consistently boasts the highest Klout score (currently at 84) for any shopping center in the country.
  • The BlogSpot, updated on average 5x each week, drives traffic to both the website and social channels receiving over 11,000 unique views in March 2013 alone.

Social media metrics show success at a micro level, but social media also played a significant role in the amazing turnaround of Atlantic Station.

Community engagement helped the team plan over 200 well-attended events leading to a shift in prospective tenants’ perception.

  • Five local boutique owners, who two years ago wouldn’t consider locating in Atlantic Station, have opened this year.
  • In the past year, 12 new leases have been executed when only one was executed in the previous three years.

Retailers are posting significant sales increases and outperforming stores in their respective regions indicating a shift in public perception.

  • 70% of Atlantic Station retailers are posting double-digit increases through April.
  • 15% are up over 40%.
  • Sit-down service is +12% at restaurants.
  • Fast service is +15%
  • Athleta, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Dillard’s, Bath & Body Works, Regal Cinemas, H&M, West Elm and Kilwin’s are are typically top performers for their respective chains.
  • Comp sales across the property are up 14 percent year-to-date.

Atlantic Station is seen as an industry leader in the social media space. Its team has served on two panels as experts in driving sales and proving leasing support through social media. Atlantic Station has also been featured in several articles in both mainstream and trade media being touted as social media trailblazers in the industry.  Even NAP’s principal, Mark Toro, is active on Twitter (@MarkToro) with one of the strongest followings in commercial real estate.

Connect with Atlantic Station:

We’re also on Vine, Yelp and Foursquare!

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