There’s no doubt that social media has changed the face of real estate. But unlike buying or selling a single family home, Apartment Managers are faced with the challenge of not only selling the features and benefits of their communities but creating an online persona to attract and connect with prospective renters via social media.
However, this complex form of transitional media is a double-edged sword. When done correctly, it can have a powerful effect on your success, but when neglected the repercussions can be detrimental to your occupancy rates. When renters research online they will gravitate to the community that connects with them the most.
The impact of social media cannot be understated. A recent graph from TechCrunch shows some staggering numbers as to how many people use social media platforms.
Facebook – In the United States, it is predicted that Facebook will remain the dominant social media platform well into 2020. While it’s a powerful vehicle for showcasing photos and videos of your community, available units, and amenities, it is much more than that. Facebook delivers an impressive marketing platform to expand your footprint, and leverage your current and future tenants social networks.
- Facebook Ads
- Facebook Events
- Facebook Promotions
- Facebook Contests
- Aggregate Reviews
If done correctly, Facebook can generate more leads than any other platform.
Twitter – Though people are not typically using Twitter to search for an apartment, you can gain some unique benefits by tweeting relevant news and information about your community and neighborhood. Using hashtags that link your site, as well as popular industry hashtags, make your posts searchable by everyone, not just your followers. A report by Myer-Briggs indicates that 44 percent of Twitter users make recommendations at least 1-2 times per week. Remember to keep your tweets close to 120 characters, so users have room to comment when they share!
Instagram – Since its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram has evolved from an “instant” photography network to a serious marketing platform. Instagram is all about images, making it the perfect place to showcase apartment units, resident events, and your community. Since it functions as a phone app, you can generate content from residents and employees just with the use of a hashtag. Instagram contests are a fun way to increase resident retention, but you can build your social following at the same time.
Pinterest – Even more than Instagram, Pinterest is driven by images with a focus on design and style. The platform boasts over 175 million users a month, with almost 81% being female at a median age of 40. Pinterest gives you the opportunity to create boards for specific content such as model suites, amenities, events, and communities. Since you are appealing to women with a higher income level, make sure your photos are eye-catching and your accompanying data is keyword rich.
Linkedin – As a networking platform, Linkedin isn’t necessarily the best strategy for attracting renters, but it is valuable for developing credibility. On a personal level, networking with groups within and outside of your social circles can lead to unexpected opportunities. Developing a business page that displays relevant company information, career opportunities and news can strengthen your brand within the industry. It’s also a great way of driving awareness of your short-term furnished apartments for business travelers.
YouTube – with 1.5 Billion users per month, YouTube remains the “godfather” of the video world. Though YouTube lacks the social interaction of other platforms, it is still an excellent way to showcase videos of your community and model suites and grow followers. A well-produced video can have a significant impact when syndicated to your other social networks, and give your community a competitive edge.
Reviews – According to a 2014 survey conducted by Kingsley Associated and Apartment Guide, 70% of apartment hunters read online reviews and ratings prior to leasing. Yelp, Facebook, and Google all aggregate reviews from your customers, so it is important to monitor them, promote the good ones and learn how to respond to the negative ones.
Social media is here to stay and continues to evolve, presenting more opportunities to reach out and connect with prospective renters, increase your digital/social footprint, and build your brand. Though it requires time and effort, the rewards are worth it.