Who Should Be in Charge of Social Media for Apartments?
By now, we’ve established that social media is another platform for communication.
Renters want information anytime, anywhere, and they want it at their fingertips. Their need for information is instantaneous, and social media for apartments is the only marketing source to deliver that.
Residents are increasingly connecting with properties online throughout all phases of the renting process, from research to retention. As a result, property managers need to be able to do their jobs online, requiring them to have a certain amount of autonomy. Social media for apartments presents several opportunities for leasing, multifamily marketing, and building relationships. However, it also presents many risks.
A Balancing Act Between Corporate and Property-Level Marketing
Online word of mouth and one bad resident experience can taint an apartment brand. Property managers (not just corporate) must be present, helpful, and interactive on social media to read, respond, and act on any negative resident feedback.
It’s natural for corporate management to want complete control over their properties’ online activity, as doing so would limit risk and maintain consistent apartment brand messaging across all properties. However, this isn’t realistic.
The key to success in multifamily digital marketing lies within the property managers — they’re the ones who know their residents better than anyone else. They live and work in the communities they serve, and they’re the ones interacting with residents daily.
So, how do we balance apartment brand consistency (corporate level) and local content/personalized service (property level)? The answer is quite simple. It just calls for a little training and education.
Corporate Responsibility: Training
Resident interactions on social media must be handled at the property level. Corporate management needs to take the necessary steps to train property managers. They need to provide resources (e.g., content guidelines, tone), that property managers can customize according to their residents. Employees should feel empowered to communicate on social media — that is corporate’s responsibility.
We recommend providing your properties with standard corporate messaging via a “Voice and Tone Guide” for social media and all content marketing, allowing each property to personalize its content.
Focus on keeping messaging simple and consistent. By providing guidelines for use, you can strengthen corporate apartment branding across all properties while allowing local social media to take the shape of its own at the property level.
The most important thing to remember is that corporate training should be ongoing. Organizations like the National Apartment Association (NAA) make that easy for corporate management to implement.
The NAA Education Institute offers the National Apartment Leasing Professional Program. The course includes six modules, which corporate management can license and provide for employees, either online or in the classroom. The curriculum includes everything from monitoring your online reputation to optimizing content for search engines.
Property Responsibility: Open Communication
Successful training requires an earnest effort from each property and its employees. Without their commitment, an effective digital marketing strategy is impossible to implement.
The property manager must consult their regional or national corporate representative anytime they have questions, feedback, or insight regarding social media use.
Corporate management should serve as a resource for properties and vice versa. Property managers should provide feedback on local apartment marketing efforts (What works, what doesn’t?). They should also be able to ask corporate representatives for help in unfamiliar situations and provide them with insights from their resident community.
Open communication is the key to balancing strong apartment brand messaging on social media with local personality and service.
Tying It All Together
To sum it up, here are some common threads in establishing multifamily brand development and character: A customer-centric approach is essential to the success of any multifamily digital marketing effort, whether that’s differentiating your property, meeting millennial expectations, designing your multifamily website, and so on. The most successful properties are capitalizing on the relationship-building attributes of social media for apartments and intercepting prospective renters in the places they’re already searching.
Technology is fast-changing the apartment marketing environment, and it’s up to you to respond or risk falling behind.