Greg Fitzgerald, the Digital Media Specialist for North American Properties supplied us with our first edition of Social Media Spotlight, highlighting the success that North American Properties has had through the use of social media.
North American Properties (NAP) acquired Midtown Atlanta’s 130-acre, mixed-use Atlantic Station property in January of 2011, and social media has served as the lynchpin in our efforts to rebrand, remerchandise, and rehabilitate the ailing lifestyle center. When we took ownership, Atlantic Station suffered from an overwhelmingly negative perception in the minds of Atlanta residents, and few saw it as anything more than another mall. However, we made it a top priority to share progress, request feedback, and engage with our guests and potential guests on a daily basis using social media channels.
Our rebranding campaign has attracted local and national attention (see the May issue of National Real Estate Investor), and we have been incredibly open to the public with our plans to redesign Atlantic Station and bring it to its next stage of evolution. We’ve collected thousands of comments from Facebook, Twitter, and blogs and are incorporating guests’ suggestions into our decisions in real time. Our guests’ input via social media has supported leasing talks, decided which kinds of events we would hold on property, and how we would put public spaces to use.
In the past eight months of NAP’s ownership, Atlantic Station has seen explosive growth within its fan base and a drastic shift in the tone and content of online conversations about the property. We’ve grown Facebook and Twitter audiences by 64% and 160%, respectively. We’ve introduced a YouTube channel, a Flickr photo stream, a branded Foursquare page, and a community blog that we are using on a daily basis. We have embedded ourselves within relevant online Atlanta communities and, using social media channels, have invited residents to buy in to our new vision of Atlantic Station and help us reach our collective goals.
We see a positive change on the property every day. We receive dozens of messages each week complimenting the efforts of our team, our on-property staff, our new events, our improvement projects, and our engagement with the community. These kinds of sentiments were unheard of for Atlantic Station prior to January 2011.
Social media has allowed us to make public our plans to turn Atlantic Station a true destination for in-town Atlanta residents and engage with the stakeholder community. It is a vital tool for our team, and will have a significant role in each of our future projects. We are already using social media to allow the Alpharetta, GA community have a voice in the design and merchandising of our recently-announced Prospect Park project. We look forward to what the future of social media has in store, and we have no doubt that the commercial real estate industry will find immeasurable benefits in this digital movement.
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