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Would you be shocked to learn that social media is the number one digital channel for influencing consumer purchases? According to our research report with LSA, “The Great Conversational Divide,” 47% of business owners said social media is the digital channel with the greatest influence on consumers. Social is fast, up-to-date and engaging — three factors that make it the perfect tool for helping property management companies engage leads and retain residents.  

Every business’ year-long marketing plan should include a social content strategy, but this is especially true for property management companies who have the unique challenge of trying to acquire new residents while convincing existing residents to renew.

Certain social media strategies can help you accomplish both. Here’s how your property management company can use social media to build resident loyalty and drive lead-generation efforts.

1. Give Residents and Prospects a Sense of Community

Engaged residents can impact your bottom line in a big way; increased resident retention equals fewer vacancies and guaranteed monthly revenue. You’ve probably heard about the importance of “creating a sense of community,” but that’s more than a catchy phrase. After all, residents are more likely to renew their lease if they’ve built a social circle at your property.

Resident events — and promoting these events on social media — can help you boost resident retention and earn more resident referrals. The same is true of other community-building practices like giveaways, contests and having open communication with residents on individual property Facebook pages.

With regards to new prospects, curated social content can provide a snapshot of the lifestyle they can expect at your community.

Here are some examples:

  • Event pages for upcoming resident events
  • Reviews of nearby restaurants and cafes
  • Pics of residents using your amenities and attending events

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2. Manage Your Reputation and Engage Prospects

Think of Facebook as another tool you can use to engage prospective renters. Potential residents might send direct messages to your leasing office on Facebook because phone calls are time-consuming and email is too slow. Make sure your leasing agents are available where your residents are already spending time online. When those prospective renters want to schedule tours or ask about floor plan availability, your leasing agents should be there with a quick response. The same is true for residents trying to get an issue resolved. Always respond, and make sure you do it quickly. After all, 70 percent of consumers turn to social media as a customer service resource and 40 percent expect a response within 24 hours.

Facebook is also a hotbed for reviews, but recent updates to Facebook Business Pages have resulted in those reviews now being called recommendations. Users are asked, “Do You Recommend [business name]” and given the option to choose yes or no. Once users choose yes or no, they’ll get the chance to provide additional feedback and add photos. The additional comments will appear on the Facebook page just like reviews.

Your Facebook page will still have an average number rating — and all the old reviews — but yes/no recommendations and the accompanying text should be your focus moving forward. In addition to replying to recommendations, you should also respond to people who comment on your posts with complaints or concerns.

Property management companies should also pay close attention to Google’s Knowledge Panel. This new and improved social media space will populate with Facebook Recommendations and be home to both Google Q&A and Google Posts.

Google Q&A is a user-generated list of questions about your community, and users expect answers. Google Posts allows businesses to post updates that are live for seven days, making it perfect for property events and limited-time promotions. Be sure to claim your Google My Business page and start posting responses to Google Q&A questions to show that you’re engaged on a local level.

Regardless of the review platform, respond quickly, show empathy and provide contact info so people can resolve issues offline. For more tips and strategies for managing your local reputation, see our review response guide.

Here are some examples:

  • Thank residents for positive comments
  • Set up tours by responding to direct messages from prospective residents
  • Instantly reply to residents asking about specific floor plan availability
  • Update residents about maintenance requests when they send a direct message
  • Clarify incorrect information in comments and recommendations

3. Create Localized Content for Specific Properties

Property management companies have a unique opportunity when it comes to localized social media content. Every property in your management portfolio has unique messaging needs based on its location, it’s occupancy rate and its unique amenities. The more localized content you create, the more focused and effective your marketing campaigns will be.

According to a research report that we conducted with the Local Search Association (LSA), we found that 80 percent of consumers report that social content affects their purchase decisions. You can take advantage of this by using social media to keep your marketing in lockstep with your floor plan availability.  

Social media gives you the ability to quickly and easily change ads to reflect current specials and availability. Let’s say one of your properties is struggling to lease 4BR floor plans. As a property manager, you can create posts that advertise 4BR floor plans in order to fill the vacant apartments. With Facebook, you can quickly post that content and — using Boost — display it to a targeted audience such as, “friends of people who like my page.”

For more information on boosting posts to reach a wider audience, check out our list of Boosting Do’s and Don’ts.

Here are some examples:

  • Create a sense of urgency around a floor plan that’s almost sold out
  • Post localized content such as special offers that reference a popular event in your city
  • Drive interest in floor plans that aren’t selling well

4. Engage Nearby Businesses

You can highlight your property’s location in social media posts by tagging nearby businesses like restaurants, coffee shops and retail shops. This will give you the opportunity to show off your location and boost engagement at the same time. Before you implement this strategy, try to create working relationships with nearby business owners.

Start engaging those local business owners and see if they’d be willing to tag your business on their Facebook page in exchange for you doing the same on yours. Tagging another business will send that business a notification, giving them the opportunity to share your post, comment on it or otherwise engage with your content and your audience.  

Here are some examples:

  • Post about a neighborhood coffee shop and tag the business to increase the reach of your post
  • Promote a resident happy hour by tagging the bar in an Instagram post
  • Tag a nearby concert venue to show off attractions in your property’s neighborhood

5. Establish Loyalty to Your Property Management Group

It can be hard to figure out how best to promote the corporate management brand at the property level, but it’s important to find a healthy mix of corporate branded content and localized social content. Whatever your property management company does well, you should be promoting that on your Local pages. According to another of our research reports, 70 percent of engagement happens on Local Pages. You can take advantage of this local engagement by putting a local spin on some of the corporate content.

If your management company is all about customer service, focus on that. If the brand all about luxurious amenities, let that branding shine through on each property’s social media page. People choose their residences for a variety of reasons, and loyalty to a certain property management company can carry weight.  

Here are some examples:

  • Post about a relevant holiday using the corporate branding
  • Share pictures of corporate charity events and initiatives
  • When acquiring new properties, create a post to welcome the property to the property management portfolio

Social media is a powerful tool in the property management marketing arsenal, and should be your go-to method for managing your local reputation and engaging the local community. That’s why it’s so important to find tools that help you monitor review response time, manage local reputations at multiple properties and quickly post localized content. The SOCi platform was specifically designed to help property management companies send out localized content to multiple business pages and respond to resident feedback as soon as it’s posted.

Click here for more insights into why SOCi is perfect for property management companies.

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