Searching for a new office space can be a tedious effort, especially if you use the traditional channels for real estate search. Thankfully, the social web can be your best friend when it comes to finding that new office.
From enlisting micro search via Twitter, to using social office space search engines, and finding coworking connections, you've certainly got options. So, whether you've outgrown your current space, want to relocate to a better zip code, or just need to find a work space outside of your home office, you can try these three more socially savvy ways to help your cause.
1. Micro Searching
For a new office search in 140 characters or less, you can turn to iList Micro. The Twitter-sized classifieds site integrates nicely with Twitter so you can simply post your search as a tweet with the #iwant hashtag and iList will add it to their microlisting site.
If you opt to follow @ilistmicro on Twitter, they'll do the scouring for you and work to find a match for your specific inquiry, based on the #ihave tweets of other users. Once they find a match, they'll DM you with the info of the Twitter user.
Essentially, iList Micro makes the search process pretty painless, since you never have to leave Twitter. And even if your search comes up empty, you're much more likely to experience the Twitter network follower effect - where a follower knows a friend with space available - simply because you used Twitter as your platform.
2. Search with a Social Twist
As the web becomes more social, more traditional notions, like finding office space, can be accomplished quicker and faster online. Zoom Prospector, for example, is a social site that combines user-generated content and commercial information for this exact purpose. You can use the site to find available properties, determine the right location, understand the market characteristics of a particular locale, view the competitive landscape, and learn about geographic advantages.
There's also Rofo for commercial real estate search. The site catalogues thousands of commercial spaces so you can search the city of your choice based on the size of your business, space needs, and budget. You can save listings and set notification options, share specific listings with friends, publish reviews, conduct Q&A sessions with users, and send an inquiry to property managers right from the site.
3. Coworking Connections
If your business is really small, or most of your team works remotely, then you're likely to be a candidate for coworking. Coworking is a movement where people come together to share office space, office resources like printers and paper, and social connections with a casual, coffee shop vibe. Coworking can also refer to a group of people who coordinate times to work together from a cafe or open space.
The benefits of coworking are simple: you get an affordable (sometimes free) space that typically has access to the business resources you'd find in an office environment, and you can meet and socialize with other coworkers. Given the rise of remote workers working from home, coworking spaces, and startups and businesses sharing their extra space, are becoming more readily available.
To find coworking spaces in your neighborhood, you can turn to social media to do most of the legwork. The Coworking wiki on PBworks, for example, is a resource hub for everything coworking related. The wiki (which is just a fancy word for an online community site you can help edit) has city specific pages, like Coworking San Francisco, that should help you find nearby spaces.
If you're still not finding what you need, you can use Twitter and other social sites and ask your network of friends for direction, just make sure to use the #coworking hashtag.
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