As we all know, the Center for Disease Control is monitoring the outbreak of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. From social distancing to the closures of restaurants and businesses, things are changing at a rapid pace. As a multi-family marketer, it’s your responsibility to keep your residents informed during this time of crisis. Throughout this blog, we’ll take you through the top tips for marketing throughout COVID-19, and help your business navigate this unknown territory.
Don’t Be Tone-Deaf
Ensuring that your property management company doesn’t come across as tone-deaf during this pandemic is critical. Right now, there is no “business as usual.” Everyone is on edge, so your traditional or planned marketing strategies or events may come across as insensitive or misinformed. It’s better to save those plans for later, and focus on what is relevant to your residents and society as a whole right now. Are residents worried about social distancing, or how to stay busy while quarantined? Conversations around these topics will help residents feel more connected to your community.
A SOCi customer, 770 South Harbor, is updating its residents about precautionary measures that are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their community.
It’s also important to problem-solve during this time period. If you’re able to problem-solve for your residents today, you will earn their trust for the future. For instance, can your property offer any assistance to the elderly? Can you provide residents in need with supplies if they are unable to get them on their own? While this isn’t necessary, if your community does feel called to problem solve during this time of need, you will definitely be remembered for it.
Communicate with Residents
In addition to not being tone-deaf, your community should also be keeping your residents informed. For instance, you’re adjusting the hours at your leasing office or closing down the amenities. Providing your residents with consistent updates is critical – the last thing you want to do is create more confusion right now. It is also important to make sure that your local listings are updated regularly, so they reflect the correct hours that your leasing office is staying open.
Agave Falls, another SOCi customer, explains that while it has temporarily shut down walk-in traffic, it is still hosting virtual leasing tours for potential residents.
Sending email communications, posting on social media, and maintaining reputation management are also key to engaging with your residents at this time. Any sense of comfort you can provide can make a huge difference. Consider posting about the following:
- Let your residents know what steps your business has taken to protect them from exposure to the virus, refer to CDC tips and resources.
- Provide residents with ideas on how they can spend their time at home. Posts on social distancing, must-read books, puzzles, etc. will be much appreciated.
- Develop messaging that assures residents that your property has done all it can to ensure consistent delivery of products and services they need and expect.
- Pay attention to the engagements you’re receiving on your content, responding quickly is vital.
- Rethink the activities of your leasing office – are there any activities that can be conducted digitally? Think virtual video tours.
Create a Co-Op
At SOCi, we also acknowledge that your property management company is also reeling from this global pandemic. Whether you’ve already had to cancel an event, cut your working hours, or temporarily prevent employees from working, we know how tough this is for your company, too. It’s important to remember that others are going through the same things. Now is a better time than ever to reach out to other local businesses and create a co-op. Get connected and see what you can do together to help the community and support each other.
3000 Sage provides its residents with a list of restaurants that are offering pick-up and delivery options while many restaurants have closed.
Once you have created a co-op with other local businesses you can begin online conversations with residents. You can create online events with various businesses and their followers, or communicate the struggles that your community is currently facing. Again, if you are open and honest with your residents, they will trust your community more.
Lead with Empathy
As human beings, we all know the impact that COVID-19 is having on people around the world. While you still want to be able to connect with your residents, it’s important to keep empathy at the top of mind. Show that your community is empathetic and concerned about your residents, not because it’s a strategy, but because it’s a core value. If residents know that you genuinely care about their well-being, they will develop trust and loyalty to your community and property management brand.
Actively engage with your residents on social media or through email communication. Ask them how they are doing and how management or leasing can help. If your residents feel a sense of community, it will help them feel more connected with your community.
Putting an emphasis on empathy, SOCi’s customer, Pinnacle, is encouraging its residents to be compassionate during this difficult time, and reach out to loved ones.
Now that you have some suggestions that you can use to continue your effective communications with your residents, it’s time to get started. If you have any questions about how you should be implementing your new localized marketing strategy during this time period, SOCi is here to help! As a leader in this space, we feel a responsibility to help any multi-family business do everything it can do to keep up the local economy. Reach out with any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to assist you. You don’t need to be a customer, and you don’t need to pay us anything. We’re all in this together!