It’s hard to believe that 2021 will be here before we know it. After a tough year, many of us are ready to say goodbye to 2020 and start looking into the future. 2020 brought a lot of changes that caused multi-family marketers to pivot and adjust their localized marketing strategies. As we move into the future, we expect that many of the changes influenced by the pandemic will continue to be prevalent. Throughout this blog, we’ll dive into the predictions and top trends for multi-family marketers in 2021.
Social Media Remains Prevalent Among Residents
As many of us know, the importance of social media increased significantly throughout the pandemic. Between stay at home orders that were put in place during the early stages of the pandemic and social distancing measures still prevalent, multi-family marketers had to get creative to stay engaged with residents. Many multi-family marketers turned to social media to communicate with residents, and we expect this trend to continue into 2021.
Data from our Q3 2020 State of Multi-Location Marketing Report found that consumers are craving a local connection now more than ever. We don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon, and social media provides an excellent opportunity for your properties to deliver this local connection. Whether it’s through posting photos from around the property, highlighting a resident of the week, or hosting virtual events, local social media can serve as a great tool to build a community. If your property management company isn’t already utilizing local social media to its fullest potential, it’s a must for the new year.
If your property management company has struggled with building a social media plan for your properties, SOCi is here to help. SOCi’s social media management solution enables property management companies and local property managers to publish localized content, manage content libraries, respond to social engagements, and analyze performance — all within one powerful platform. Social media is one of the easiest ways to strengthen your localized marketing efforts, so make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunity.
Chatbots Are the New Form of Communication With Prospects
While you may already be aware of chatbots, we expect them to become more widespread in the property management world in 2021. Many property management companies already have chatbots on their website, but chatbots through Facebook Messenger and Google My Business Messages are also something to consider since these are the digital platforms where residents are already spending their digital time. Chatbots allow residents or prospective residents to communicate with your property locations in real-time, rather than having to call or email and wait for a response.
The quicker a prospective resident can get their questions answered, the better. If it takes a day or two for your property to respond, the prospect may have already moved on, and you could miss out on a new lease. Chatbots also cut down on the time your property managers have to spend answering simple questions that a chatbot can answer for you. From answering simple questions about your leasing office hours to providing information about what properties you have available or the cost of leasing, there’s a lot you can program your chatbots to do.
Chatbots can also help when it comes to getting new lead information. For instance, at the beginning of a chatbot conversation, you can ask the user to provide their name and contact information in case you get disconnected from the chat. On the other hand, you can also ask for the same information at the end of the conversation if they are satisfied with their experience. Your property can then use this contact information to retarget the prospect and hopefully convert them into a resident.
Programming and launching a chatbot solution for your property management company can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. SOCi SmartBot™ is the only chatbot explicitly built for multi-family marketers. SOCi SmartBot™ is always on and never misses a question or lead. The first of its kind, this chatbot delivers localized, proactive responses to commonly asked questions. It can drive call-to-actions, including calls, website clicks, appointment setting, purchases, and more! Chatbots are a must to stay ahead of the competition in 2021.
Social Listening is Key for Monitoring Chatter Online
Social listening is another trend we expect to see in 2021. Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, products, and more. Social listening will give your property management company a realistic look at what residents are saying about your properties, what they like and dislike, and how they feel about various competitors. Through social listening, you can tweak your localized marketing efforts to suit your target audience better. For instance, through social listening, you might find that many of your prospects are having a difficult time finding information about your amenities online. This insight would allow you to make changes to your website to make information about your amenities more readily available.
Similarly, you can use social listening to outperform your competitors. If you notice that one of your competitors is getting a lot of positive feedback for hosting a virtual event for residents, this is something to consider. While this doesn’t mean you should go and host the same type of virtual event, it does mean that you can get creative and find other ways to engage your residents online.
While monitoring the conversation around your properties and its competitors can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. SOCi has a soon to be released listening tool. Through this tool, you’ll be able to discover what your residents and prospects are saying about your properties and competitors plus activate local engagement across all property locations with localized listening capabilities, sentiment analysis, and user-generated content. Without social listening, think about all of the conversations you could be missing out on.
Online Reputation Becomes More Important Than Ever
One of the latest trends that we expect to remain critical as we enter the new year is online reputation. A strong online reputation has been essential in the property management industry for years, but the recent shift towards digital has made it even more prevalent. With many prospective residents looking at properties online, rather than visiting them in person, a winning online reputation is a must.
Your property management company should manage and maintain its online reputation through ratings and reviews, as well as local listings. When it comes to ratings and reviews, positive reviews can go a long way. Eighty percent of consumers consider reviews necessary for their property search. If your property lacks volume of reviews or has a significant number of negative reviews, you could be hurting your online reputation. One of the best ways to mitigate negative reviews is by responding to them. Eighty-seven percent of consumers express a willingness to change their negative review depending on how a business responds. If your local property manager responds to a negative review by addressing the issue and offering a resolution, the resident will be more likely to change the negative review, therefore boosting your online reputation.
On the other hand, if you lack reviews, you can encourage residents to leave reviews by sharing positive reviews on social and encouraging others to share their experience, including an area on your website for residents to leave reviews, and more! Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews as long as you’re not incentivizing them.
As mentioned, local listings are also a vital component of a robust online reputation. As a multi-family marketer, you must ensure that all of your properties have their local listings claimed and ensure that all information is up to date. If your office hours have been adjusted due to COVID-19, portray that information in your local listings. In 2021, there’s no excuse for out of date listings or local reviews that aren’t responded to. If you’re looking for a tool that can help manage your online reputation as well, SOCi is here for you. SOCi’s reputation management software can help you manage and respond to reviews across your properties, while SOCi Listings will help increase the accuracy of your listings data and improve local search rankings, resulting in stronger brand awareness and visibility.
As we move into the new year, it’s essential to put your best foot forward and ensure that your localized marketing strategy is at the top of its game. For more information on how SOCi can help your property management company create a winning localized marketing strategy, request a demo today!