Apartment Social Media
Steve Wunch — with more than 20 years as a dedicated Multifamily professional facilitator in the arenas of Leadership; Sales and Customer Service and Technical Training, Performance Consulting and Talent Development. Steve is a National Speaker available for Keynote presentations, and other motivational speaking engagements, as well as speaker, actor, voice over artist available for freelance projects.
At RADCO Residential, “Building Better Living” isn’t just a tagline; it’s our core passion. We take great pride in each and every community we manage, and we treat our residents like family. From the moment you visit one of our apartment communities until long after you move on to your next home, you’ll feel the difference that sets RADCO apart.
Back in 2009 I penned a post about using social media to market apartments. Back then the groundswell was happening and everyone had an opinion about it. And, over the past three years, I think we have all learned a lot. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some have taken the lessons and left the conversation. Others have bet the farm. While others dipped their toe in, listened, learned, participated, grew and are now providing real value. And, while we were all quietly churning away in our social media bull pens another more than mentionable groundswell was taking place. Fewer multifamily starts and a generation ripe with numbers that we have not seen since the baby boomers hit the scene.
Fast-forward to the second half of 2012, the coastal markets are booming again while the somewhat insulated Midwest lays in wait. In St. Louis specifically, most sub-markets that have hit bottom and are now bouncing along. Some city central, mid-city and west county properties are sporting occupancy gains and rent growth they have not seen in three years plus.
Get these two things (marketing apartments using social media and the near perfect storm of fundamental metrics) in a room together and you have the makings of a home run. At least in my opinion.
Not Using Social Media to Market Apartments?
Now might be a good time to rethink that position. Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at this recent post over at Business Grow (a great blog by the way – subscribe and read every word). I pulled out a quote that I think speaks to my real point.
If you think about, using social media at the university level is the perfect test case for what all our organizations may be seeing just a few years from now:
- Its primary audience uses the social web as its primary tool for communication.
- It is an essential strategy for connecting with, and nurturing, its “customers.”
- The relatively low-cost effectiveness of social media fits with programs under constant budget pressures.
Assiduity and The Why Behind the What
How many of you knew what that word meant? Me either. But, I fell in love when I looked it up. Assiduity – constant or close attention to what one is doing. As I read the word then the definition and then the word again it made me think – get off your ass-n-do-it.
To the point: your near now, now and future residents are growing up digital. Miss the point and miss some real opportunity.
Your big believer in using social media to market apartments,
I was recently given the privelege to co-moderate a brainstorming session on the topic of marketing. The session was held for members of the apartment management industry at various stages in their careers, from leasing agents who have been in the industry for 2 months to property managers with 10 years of experience. My topic was old school marketing. Old school referring to anything not social media. More specifically, tools such as resident retention, outreach marketing, Craigslist, etc. The idea was to get creative juices flowing, discuss what’s working, what’s not working and maybe learn a few things to take back to the rest of the team.
I was surprised by the lack of marketing knowledge…and for that matter, the lack of creativity. I heard the same 3 “best practices” from a majority of the groups: Generic signs and balloons for drive by traffic, generic Craiglist ads and monetary resident referral incentives. I heard questions like: “What do you say when you’re marketing to a business?” and “It’s ok to send thank you cards and gift baskets to businesses who refer someone to you?” Leasing agents and PMs who had no knowledge of free additional ILS marketing template tools like VFlyer and Postlets, who had never thought past posting a flyer with a resident referral rent credit in terms of using residents as a marketing tool, and those are just building blocks. It’s as if they were told that marketing is something only a rocket scientist can figure out.
First let me say I’m not exactly saying the 3 best practice items listed above are crap, I’m simply saying that they shouldn’t be IT. Also, I’m in love with social media and believe it’s an insanely valuable tool, however 1. It was not my topic to discuss and 2. I also think that personal touch and those face to face human interactions through outreach marketing and resident appreciation events are valuable, and combining the 2 forms is fabulous! (Read Urbane Media’s QR Codes blog). But I’m not sure I believe you can be effective with social media if you don’t even know the basics of effective old school marketing tools. And if no one is teaching or motivating their team on the basics of marketing, then I doubt that there is any social media marketing in place anyway.
So I guess what I’d like to learn from this eye opening experience is: Am I way off base in believing that some old school marketing techniques are still a valuable tool in the industry? Is someone teaching your staff about marketing? Do you believe that one can effectively use social media tools without ever having learned/practiced old school marketing strategies?
Title courtesy of Melissa DeCicco
Photo credit bloggingoutloud
Instead of one-way interruption, Web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it. – David
Seth Godin quipped that engagement is hitting people with the right message at the right time so as to have them take action [engage]. I think we have to take that word engage and thus precise moment further. To truly engage, at least in my head, you have to be enchanted, you have to be moved, you have to yearn for more so much so that you have no choice but to act on your desires. It the deepest throes of emotion. Words like love, anger and the many nuances of each come to mind. It’s not just a like, unlike, +1 or the such. It’s deeper.
Mr. Apartment Manager Man; “I am done.”
It’s not unlike the gentleman I met with last Friday evening. He, unfortunately, was moving out of our Central West End Community. Reason? In his words, “I am done.”
You see about three weeks ago, the entire roof of his five story building blew off and landed in the parking lot beside and the street in front. Thank the one that governs it all that no one was hurt as it could have been really bad.
In response to the situation; our team entered every apartment in the building and place plastic over beds, electronics and the such. Most were thankful. Not the gentleman I met on Friday. His beef? We did not leave him a note to let him know we had been in his apartment.
Somewhere in the wake of the roof being pulled off the building by straight lined winds; his attention got engaged. The premise aside; he was moved by an aggressive deep seated emotion. He engaged with some ill language and barbed personal remarks for the onsite team and the rest of our Mills management team. He got so engaged that he ended up leaving the property.
I think we are headed toward true engagement – we are not there yet. We use the word but in it’s loosest of senses. We are in the early innings of a very long ball game that is frankly destined for infinite extra innings. Think in terms of singularity. Think in terms of love, hate and other extremes. That’s engagement. For now we are just courting. Or, at best out on a blind date and liking our mate because our friends suggested we should. Now it’s up to us and the million other people out there participating with brands to fall in love or fall in hate.
What do you think?
Photo tip to: Online Ninja Blog