A version of this article first appeared on Updater.
What are your goals for social posts? Most marketers look for engagement. In order for content to be engaging, it has to be relevant to each target audience. That’s why local content works — it engages local audiences by leveraging topics that are relevant to them such as news and events related to their neighborhood, city or state.
Savvy property managers can leverage their property’s neighborhood on social media to attract and retain renters, and localized social content is the tool with which to do this.
The three phases of localized social marketing are presence, care, and growth. Each one is dependent on the other. You can’t provide resident care without an established presence, and you can’t grow if you’re not prioritizing customer care.
Phase 1: Presence
Property management companies should have different goals for social media compared to other brands that sell goods and services. Most people who follow a property on social media are already residents of that property, which means goals should focus on building customer loyalty and helping to create a sense of community that gives residents a reason to renew their lease or refer their friends. Facebook is a good place to start creating your social presence.
Facebook has done an amazing job with their Business Pages for multifamily apartments. From the property’s Facebook Page, users can see floor plans, access the resident portal, read reviews, message a leasing agent directly, and see upcoming resident events. That’s more than most property websites offer, and it’s all in one place — on social, where your residents and potential tenants are already spending their time online.
So, how can you take advantage of this? The first step is to claim your Facebook Page and update all the information.
If you haven’t created a Facebook Page for your property, it’s likely that Facebook has done it for you already. Facebook creates these Pages if they don’t exist so that users can check in to the community and leave reviews. Problems arise, however, when these pages go unclaimed. Unclaimed pages can be filled with rogue content and inaccurate reviews that can damage your property’s online reputation. Don’t lose control of the narrative surrounding your property — go claim your Facebook Pages if you haven’t yet.
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Phase 2: Care
You can’t provide local customer care without paying attention to ratings and reviews. Every review is a piece of publicly available content that affects the perception of your property. Negative reviews impact public perception, but you can mitigate their effect by responding to every review that you receive. A research report created by SOCi and the Local Search Association shows that 89 percent of consumers express a willingness to change a negative review depending on how the business responds.
Response time matters too. The aforementioned research shows that 80 percent of reviewers expect to receive a timely response to their online reviews, comments and direct messages. Facebook has an entire system in place that rewards businesses for responding to direct messages in a timely manner; businesses that respond to 90 percent of messages within 15 minutes get a badge on their page that reads, “very responsive to messages.”
Google’s foray into social media, Google+, didn’t make much of an impact. However, Google has doubled down on the suite of features contained within Google My Business (GMB). That includes the Knowledge Panel, Google Q&A, Posts, and ratings and reviews. As with Facebook Pages, GMB pages must be claimed by the property manager so that they don’t collect rogue reviews and inaccurate information.
Property managers should answer any questions that pop up on Google Q&A and respond to reviews on GMB — two features that are prominently displayed when people search for your property. Information on Google is the first information people see when searching for your property, so it’s best to ensure it’s accurate and up to date.
Phase 3: Growth
Localized social content doesn’t have to be organic. Once you’ve established your presence and managed your customer care, it’s time to grow your localized social marketing.
Facebook Boost allows you to put money behind organic posts, turning them into ads that can reach a wider audience beyond just the people who like your Page. By paying to boost this type of post to a wider audience such as, “friends of people who like my page,” you can market specific floor plans at specific properties in your management portfolio. Social media management tools like SOCi allow you to boost multiple posts at once across different Pages — a feature you could use to promote five different floor plans at five different properties, all at once.
Boosting is often more affordable than advertising, but a strong localized social growth strategy should include a budget for ads to be displayed across Facebook and Instagram. Just make sure that you have specific objectives tied to the ad spend so you can track metrics, analyze reports and adjust accordingly.
For property management companies, the target audience is people who live in the communities around each of your properties. That’s why localized social content is the ideal tool with which to market multifamily communities. By starting with presence and continuing to care and growth, you can reach this audience at every stage of the leasing process — ensuring they have a positive, tailored experience with your local communities.