What’s New in Social: How Your Property Should Use Facebook
It’s crucial for property management professionals to find innovative ways to connect with prospects and generate business, and social media is a powerful tool to help. In this special edition of What’s New in Social, expert Kerie Kerstetter of Canonball explains how your property should use Facebook.
Apartments can no longer ignore social media—this we know. But how can you best leverage social media platforms to market to residents and prospects? Residents turn to social media for reviews and recommendations, leasing info, customer service, and this trend will only continue as younger, social-media-savvy generations comes of age for multifamily properties.
As we’ve discussed, approach social media like a cocktail party. Take the time to meet the other people at the party (residents, neighborhood businesses, millennial renters, etc.). Share what makes your community so great when the opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, serve as a resource for your residents—Facebook is great for doing just that.
Why engage on Facebook?
Misty Sanford, owner of North of Creative, explains to multifamily properties the importance of providing fresh, helpful content:
“Four years ago, you were finding prospects. Nowadays, prospects are finding you,” said Misty about the leasing process today. “People are searching online for places to live, and it has become the apartment marketer’s job to intercept them. You do this by providing fresh content, sharing helpful information, and having conversations.”
Oftentimes, multifamily professionals claim social media doesn’t bring qualified leads or conversions. However, Misty explains that this view of social media is far too narrow.
“Social media is not about the sale, it’s about engagement and the customer experience,” Misty says. “When you do these things well [engaging, sharing quality content], the byproducts are relationships, referrals, leases, and retention.”
Any good salesman will tell you that relationship-building drives sales. And Facebook is an optimal relationship-building platform.
What does helpful content look like?
Well, that depends on what kind of property you are, who your residents are, where you’re located, etc. Here are some guidelines:
Who are your residents?
What kind of lifestyle do they have? What are their hobbies, motivations, pain points? This is where resident personas come in handy. If your community is home to several working professionals, helpful content may come in the form of quick-and-easy content. If your community is home to several dog owners, you could share an interactive map of the dog parks in your city. Share a mix of content you create and content you aggregate.
What’s going on in your neighborhood?
Are there any upcoming area events you can pass along to your residents—festivals, charity events, happy hours? Find things that are in walking distance or close proximity to your property. Sharing helpful content is as simple as re-posting farmers market hours, sharing restaurant specials, or providing tips and tricks for navigating the local flea market. Try partnering with local businesses to arrange special discounts for your residents; this provides great content for sharing on Facebook.
What’s going on at your property?
We’ve advised against talking about yourself, however, this form of self-promotion is very different. Rather than tell everyone how great you are, show them. For example, post photos from last week’s movie event to showcase resident engagement at your property and give them an idea of what it’s like to live there. Isn’t that what you’d like new residents to stumble upon when they’re researching your property?
The benefits of Facebook engagement are two-fold: not only does it foster resident relationships (and ultimately retention), but it provides a window for prospective residents to peer into your community. With Facebook, we embrace this customer-centric approach that lays the foundation for all of our digital marketing efforts.