Conversation and Engagement Require Your Business to get Involved

August 19, 2012

It has been some time between articles here for me. Partially because I didn’t have anything new to say and partially because I have a lot to say, but have held back. Mike Brewer summed things in a recent post titled Using Social Media to Market Apartments

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.

To Mikes point above, a lot has  happened in the social space in the last three years for sure. Multifamily venders have added the social media tool of the day to their bag of tricks at every turn. Buying and selling of companies offering the next new social thing have become common place, even though the product offering may or may not work. But that begs the question of what does work, and what is the definition of what works? It depends on who you talk to.

Lease More Apartments

The only viable definition of what works in apartment marketing is Renting More Apartments. Anyone telling you anything different are not writing the checks. Social marketing has blurred the lines of what matters and what works. Companies are striving for more fans, more followers, more friends, and for sure the numbers do matter, but only if you are Renting More Apartments.

It Is NoT About What You Did or Do

The Social Pun Dents have become accustom to measuring what they did, either by the number facebook posts, number of tweets or number of facebook posts. And while this isn’t wrong, we do this as well, it is not the yardstick to measure success, and may or may not have affected a result. Your true measure must produce business, which in our industry is more leases.

Middle managers can easily get caught up in this. Their boss and their bosses boss are looking for “ROI” and anything trackable they can get their hands on. Those “bosses” love, love, love reports. The thicker the better. A mediocre social product with great reporting is better received than a great social product with minimal reporting capabilities.

The sad fact is the apartment executive doesn’t really need to rely on the third party reporting, (that obviously tells you how great their product is performing) The apartment executive already knows if leasing went up or down and if marketing costs went up or down. Oversimplified? Not really, the corporate world is littered with to many reports that have no navigational value to the company efforts, and are great “busy work” for those who worship them.

Conversation and Engagement Equal Lower Marketing Costs

Conversation and Engagement are part of the social fabric. Well executed and they begin to deliver a sustainable two fold result, more leases and lower marketing cost. One of the secrets that businesses doing social well are keeping close to the vest are their marketing costs are lower, sometimes significantly lower. Lower expenses equal higher NOI. Oversimplified, not really. It is just math.

Perhaps the bigger issue here is that many apartment operators, even though they may have “marketing departments” aren’t really used to doing their own “marketing” The magazine guides and then the ILS’s made it pretty easy. Just place an order, approve some generic graphics and start counting the leasing leads. But then things changed. Prospects buying habits changed, and they have changed forever.

Conversations and engagement are the new Apartment Marketing, and require your business, more specifically your staff to get involved. Are you ready for that?

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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