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Why a Community’s Social Media Presence Matters to Residents

Posted By: Denise Hanzlik Industry ,

Anecdotally speaking, a current trend seems to be multifamily communities putting less emphasis on their social media presence, but that move is a mistake. It would be wrong to think a property’s social media presence isn’t that important to its current residents.

In a recent online survey from Multifamily Insiders, property managers were given a list of 27 factors to rank regarding what they believe most influences a resident’s decision to renew their lease; social media ranked 26th.

In reality, it’s the complete opposite. A SatisFacts study found that social media is the third-most important factor that helps residents to decide whether or not to renew their lease, closely trailing the factors of “value of rent” and “sense of community.” 

Having an active social media presence ties in with both the value of rent and a sense of community: It can increase the property’s value in the resident’s mind and help grow the sense of community.

In a world of social distancing, social media is one of the few avenues left in which properties can cultivate a sense of community and togetherness for residents.

Why You’re Not Having Success on Social Media

As previously mentioned, it seems that a lot of communities are giving up trying to keep up their social media presence because it’s not yielding results.

Here’s why success isn’t occurring: You’re gearing your social media platforms toward prospective renters, not your current residents.

If you’re only aiming to attract and engage prospects, then it makes sense that your Facebook and Instagram accounts may suffer from a lack of engagement. Renters don’t typically choose a new property based on its social media presence, nor do they engage much beyond the occasional direct message -- but current residents do.

Obviously, social media is an incredible tool to draw in new leads, but that shouldn’t be the only way it is leveraged.

Easy Changes to Make

So, what does this mean for the content you post and how your property interacts online?

There are a few easy adjustments you can make to ensure your content speaks toward your current residents:

  • Use resident-focused language in posts, such as “our residents” and “our community.”
    • We find that posts with resident-focused language receive 21% more engagement.
  • Share more pictures of your residents on-property and repost any user-generated images from your residents.
    • We’ve found that posts taken by residents and of residents receive 39% more engagement than standard unit or amenity images.
  • Regularly share any property updates happening or community events going on.
     

The main message here is to share content as if your current residents are the only people following your social media accounts.

Practical Tips for Growth

There’s a reason so many communities are quick to give up on social media: Growing an account is hard work.

There are no shortcuts but there are places where you can focus your efforts and see them pay off.

1. Do whatever you can to get all of your residents to follow you.

This should be your number one priority, otherwise, all the effort you put into building a consistent social media presence will not be worth it.

Make sure your social media channels are linked everywhere, from your resident portal and your website to every email you send out. Also, have them posted in your main office or lobby and on bulletin boards.

As an easy tip, get any new residents to follow you on Facebook or Instagram when they come to sign their lease agreement or drop off their move-in fees. You can even offer them small resident rewards for following you. Some apartment loyalty rewards programs even offer residents special tasks (like following your social media) in exchange for points that add up to prizes like gift cards, discounts on rent or waived fees.

You can even run a small giveaway on your own for an Amazon gift card or another prize where all residents have to do to enter is follow you on social media to be entered.

2. Run a ‘Page Likes’ Facebook ad each month.

One of the types of ads Facebook offers is known as a “Page Likes” ad and it is solely geared toward increasing the number of likes on your Facebook page. However, it’s not just anyone; you can adjust the ad so that it is shown only to your target demographic.

Having an ad like this consistently running each month is a great way to slowly grow your audience on Facebook. We also recommend this type of ad because it doesn’t require a significant budget, just $50 a month can generate good growth.

Obviously, there are tons of strategies you can implement to grow your presence on social media and we whole-heartedly advise you to start to explore them once you’ve set the foundation with your current residents.

It’s all about them and once you show them that through your social media presence, your residents will be more likely to keep coming back — and even refer their friends.

ARTICLE CONTRIBUTION BY: Ashley Tyndall is Chief Relationship Officer at Criterion Brock