Driving Apartment Leases Through Social Media – A collaborative approach.
Few categories have adjusted as quickly to online marketing as multi-family housing. In the past year, property management firms have cut out most if not all traditional advertising. Most everyone in this space has begun to compete in pay-per-click. The Web definitely has their undivided attention. What is more interesting is that these CMOs are starting to appreciate social media and natural search. What smart multi-family marketers are realizing, is that over time, these sources can surpass PPC or paid listings.
Making it Work
In this space, few budgets are big enough to allow for an agency to run with social media and SEO at the levels required. At the same time, if the property’s internal team is any good, they are already doing a decent job of traditional WOM – relationships with local restaurants and retailers, Happy Hours and events for tenants, prospects and relevant area groups. They might even have a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter feed…
What begins to emerge is the idea of a collaborative approach. The agency imparts its social media expertise and ensures that everything is strategically and creatively driven. The internal team is coached to effectively do the heavy lifting of daily interaction and engagement:
* Makes sure all content is building relevant SEO
* Drives “audience recruitment” – from carefully targeted Facebook ads with compelling copy
* Drives true creative WOM campaigns — referral program, ambassador program, a lease-up promotion , etc.
The Property Team:
* Engage fans and followers on community news and events.
* Coached to better use social networks like Facebook
* Use “tenant appreciation” entice prospects who are peeking into these networks
The Bottom Line
The agency establishes and tracks the right metrics so these efforts can be evaluated. Much of such a campaign can be tied to lead generation. The internal effort definitely leverages a property’s team’s time so that they are nurturing tenant relationships while they also contribute to prospecting.
For CMO’s, balancing the full range of online lead sources is a lot like the difference between renting and buying your home. You rent pay-per-click and online listings every month, while social media/natural search is an investment that generates leads well into the future.