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Carrie Bobb & Co. Using Social Media to Change Commercial Real Estate Business

Carrie Bobb did something different in 2003 when she became a commercial real estate broker– a rarity in a male-dominated profession.

She did it again in 2019 when she struck out on her own to form a commercial real estate firm owned and run by women – even rarer than women working as brokers.

In 2020, Bobb has set out to change the way brokerages do business, focusing on social media as a marketing tool to recruit clients and help building owners that she represents find tenants, the same way retailers do to establish an ecommerce business.

“It started out as a little extra service but it became a big driver for us,” Bobb said.

Training Others

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Bobb and her leadership team at Carrie Bobb & Co. – Senior Vice President Emily Jones and Communications Director Claire Plecha – also are training other brokers who’ve been sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic in how to use social media to resurrect their business.

“There’s a lot of brokers whose pipelines have vanished. It’s been cool helping them work through it,” Bobb said.

For now, Bobb is working with brokers outside of San Diego County, but she said she’s looking for ways to help local brokers without cutting into her own business and reassuring them that she’s not out to steal their clients.

Everyone has a web site, and most are familiar with social media platforms, but they don’t use them proactively, Bobb said.

The Inspiration

Before she formed her own brokerage, Bobb was a vice president at the commercial real estate brokerage CBRE in San Diego.

She specialized in representing retail clients, one of which was One Paseo – Kilroy Realty’s mixed use project in Carmel Valley.

Bobb was intrigued by how the company used social media to curate tenants for the retail portion of One Paseo.

She figured the same process would work for other segments of the commercial real estate world.

Time Off

Bobb took a year off after leaving CBRE and before forming Carrie Bobb & Co.

“Throughout the year, I was taking courses and reading books and just trying to understand how you can generate revenue on social media,” Bobb said. “I realized that commercial real estate wasn’t practicing it the way retail was using it.”

Beth Bradford, owner of b2andcompany based in Park City, Utah, said Bobb “has just been on the forefront of innovating social media.”

Bradford’s company, a boutique leasing firm that specializes in leasing shopping centers and mixed-use centers, is a client of Bobb’s firm. Among those she represents is Fox Restaurant Concepts.

“I think Carrie is in front of it and making great strides in educating developers and landlords what the future is going to look like in our industry post pandemic,” Bradford said. “If you’re not thinking outside the box, you’re going to be left in the dust.”

Among other things, Bobb has figured out how to use social media to drive traffic to shopping centers with promotions and give-ways, for example, or appearances by “influencers” who people will drive to see, Bradford said.

She’s also used social media to show companies that were strictly ecommerce how they can increase business by opening pop-up or permanent brick-and-mortar stores.

“She’s getting thousands and thousands of likes, which is what people strive for, and she’s doing it daily,” Bradford said. “She really has found a niche in our industry. It’s an old industry that needs to be shaken up a little bit.”

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