Extend Your Social Reach

December 17, 2011
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Apartment Marketing is More Than the ILS

Have Apartment Marketers finally started to pay attention to the social media numbers? The recent article in MHN titled The Rough Road to ROI alludes that some Property Management Companies may start measuring their success in the social space by the numbers, finally.

If your Digital Footprint isn’t in the thousands, or tens of thousands your “community” is not large enough to make an impact

Darcey Forbes, director of marketing and communications at Essex Property Trust, spoke at this year’s AIM conference about “Resolving the Data Controversies.” But even she admits that measuring results from social media efforts can be challenging.

“Facebook measurement has been this difficult challenge because of the fact that you don’t have any real measurable data that you can tie back into, if you want to talk about leads and leases,” she says. “There’s no real metric that we’ve defined, except for the fact that we feel that it is a platform we want to participate in and have people join in on the conversation,” she adds.

“There’s got to be some way to follow all of that through; it’s just up to us to define what measurement of success we would want out of it,” she points out. “I’m not going to expect the same results as I do from my major ILSs, but I have to be fairly certain that the efforts that we put forth are going to support the other advertising that we have in place.”

Of course, with Facebook’s improved visibility into insights concerning how many people viewed and/or liked a page, tracking may become easier. But for now, Forbes believes it remains useful as a tool for “creating a fan base and getting people to participate on [our] page.”

 Size Always Matters

We have chanted here at the Urbane Lab that Size Matters for some time. The larger your Digital Footprint of your Brand, the more effective your marketing and retention . Apartment Communities or Property Management Companies or Businesses with a few hundred Facebook Fans and or Twitter Followers have no impact. It is baffling to this writer as to why property management companies that have incredible leverage due to their size and reach are not bearing down on this and really growing the numbers of their Facebook and Twitter following.

Digital Domination will Enhance Social Reach

Every retail brand in the land worth their salt are building a marketing arsenal of Digital Assets, with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, You Tube, WordPress and Tumblr Blogs., to name a few. Why is it  OK with Apartment Marketing professionals to sit on the can and act like a few hundred Friends, Followers and Fans are adequate Social Reach for Facebook and Twitter? It isn’t OK, and your efforts have little to no bearing.

 What Happens When the ILS’s Can’t Bail You Out

This should be an “all hands on deck” wake up approach and part of every property managers training and fostering of their on site teams to extend your social reach. Move past the boring and mediocre marketing of the past. Perhaps things aren’t this doom and gloom for the social naysayers you might be thinking. But what if your physical assets value began to deteriorate and decline, via lack of occupancy because of your social ineptness, and the ILS’s could no longer bail you out. Isn’t that what apartment marketers do when occupancy declines, send the SOS panic signal to the ILS of the day in hope of increased leads and occupancy? What is your plan when that no longer works. While it still works today, there is little argument that it isn’t working as good as it used to.

 What is the Right Multiplier

So if we want apartment marketers to measure social numbers, what are the appropriate benchmarks?

  • Are Facebook Fans to Number of Units a ten times multiplier, so for every (300) units  you should have (3000) Fans
  • Of those (3,000) Facebook Fans, should we target 5% to be Talking About us each week, which would be (150) people talking about your brand
  • Should the Twitter Followers to Number of Units be a twenty times multiplier, therefore  for every (300) units you should have (6,000) Twitter Followers
  • Of those (6,000) Twitter Followers, should we target a 5% @mention/retweet action

While these numbers may or may not be exactly right, but they are a starting point. the problem, and reason for the rant is that only a handful of apartment operators have more than 1,000 Facebook Fans or Twitter Followers, most do not have a combined 1,000, therefore making the benchmarks seem unrealistic. But they aren’t unrealistic, most apartment marketers just aren’t doing any social marketing, even some that think they are.

But here is the good news, even if social marketing does dominate in 2012, you will still have your Drive By Traffic, lol

Eric Brown

Eric’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established Urbane Media, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested. Eric has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Week Magazine. You can connect with Urbane_Media on Twitter. Eric also writes regular articles for the following publications;  Multi Housing News Social Media Examiner Search Engine Guide

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