“If you build it, they will come” is a quote from the movie Field of Dreams. It’s mysteriously whispered to Ray Kinsella, who’s played by Kevin Costner, while he’s wandering around in a cornfield. The “it” ends up referring to a baseball field, which Ray (Kevin) builds, and suddenly dead baseball players actually do “come”. Well, no offense to Field of Dreams (it’s got an 87% rate on Rotten Tomatoes, so definitely worth a watch), but people don’t magically just show up as soon as you build something. To get ahead, you need to think about using social media as a tool for resident engagement.
Property management companies know this all too well, which is why they build marketing strategies to attract and engage with potential residents. One marketing strategy that looks easy from the outside is social media. Yes, social media is an essential pillar of almost any digital strategy, basically a no-brainer. However, it’s not as easy to get right as you might think. This is why most buildings’ social media accounts look exactly the same; professional photos of empty apartments, finely curated amenities, and actors smiling at their happily ever after. C’mon people, we can do better. We MUST do better if we want to stand out. I’ve got a few tips that you can use to properly learn how to do social media in property management, put your building on the map, and get a promotion while you’re at it.
Balance your content
Every single post you do has to deliver on one of 3 goals:
- Entertain your audience
- Showcase your brand personality
- Promote your offerings
The thing that most brands get wrong, is that they focus only on the third goal, which gets tiring as an audience. Your content mix should be balanced between all these 3 goals. If it makes it easier, go with a rule of thirds when planning your content.
Define your brand’s style and tone of voice
People tend to give brands human traits. It’s the way we connect with them and why some brands just feel right to you and some don’t. Just like some people’s personalities and vibes might work for you, but not for someone else. Defining a brand personality is super important. It’s nearly impossible to build affinity to your brand if it feels vague, gray, vanilla. You want to have a style, a tone of voice, a clearly defined personality.
To achieve this, think of your brand as a person and decide who that person is. Is it a woman? Is it young? Mature? Fun? Sharp? Easy-going? Controlling?
Take into account a few important factors:
- What type of person would my residents connect with?
- What type of person would my residents feel comfortable with?
- What type of person would make my residents feel excited and engaged?
This personality has to permeate everything you post about, from the type of photograph to the copy, to the type of content. Take one of the world’s biggest brands, Nike. Its personality is so well-defined you have no problem giving it human traits: Nike is bold, athletic, inspiring, opinionated. All the great brands have a well-defined personality and it doesn’t happen by luck, it’s a conscious effort by their marketing teams. It works because it also makes it easier to decide what, when, and why to post their content.
The example below is from Flamingo’s customer The Asher, in Freemont California. They chose this photo and copy because they know it’ll speak to their audience, in this case a young demographic. The fact that they’re posting a picture of a young woman having a beer and tagging of nearby bars assures the audience that they’re also a young brand with a fun personality.
Content should be relatable
This is very much connected to the previous point. An empty apartment looks great, and there IS a time and place for this type of content, but it shouldn’t rule your entire social media channels. Relatable content is human-centric content. I don’t mean human-centric like have pics of humans, but human-centric in the sense that it’s content humans actually care about and feel connected to. It makes them FEEL something. Content has to make you either laugh, help you learn something, feel understood, make you want something. Instead of a picture of your empty, amazing pool, why not add high-quality pics of your latest pool party? Instead of focusing purely in amenities, why not add pics of your site team in their latest pizza party? Or Instagram stories highlights of your residents welcoming new move-ins?
The picture below is a great example by Flamingo’s customer Atlas Oakland of relatable content that will not only make you smile, but it teaches you something about the community (they’re pet friendly!)
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok all have very powerful algorithms that make sure to show accounts that post more consistently than others. It’s also a huge turn-off to visit a profile whose last post was made 3 months ago. You want to stay relevant and top of mind with your audience, and posting consistently is the way to do it.
Each platform is different, use them wisely
Every single social media platform was created with a slightly different usage goal in mind. Take full advantage of everything they have to offer by going after their strengths:
Facebook: Even after all these years, FB remains the most popular social app out there. Use Facebook to:
- Post announcements on amenities, leasing or policy updates
- Share and request reviews
- Share local news or events in your area
- Comment on other peoples content
- Reply to comments
- Post resident event pics
Instagram: Originally made for photographers, Instagram is the photo-centric social media app by excellence. Use Instagram to:
- Post high-quality pics of your building
- Share resident event pics and videos
- Videos that highlight the resident experience (with actual residents)
- Photos and pics of your site team
- Pics of your buildings pets
- Behind the scenes stories on your day to day operations
TikTok: The new kid on the block is here to stay. Don’t fight it, use it!
- Quick apartment or amenities tours.
- Funny educational videos (how to book amenities, how to use on-demand fitness)
- Share day to day shenanigans that happen on your property
- Hype up your resident events
- Highlight your team
- Make resident stories to get people connected
The TikTok below has over 1M views. It’s a simple video of a house tour mixed with a fun, upbeat song. Easy to do and can get you amazing results!
Many property managers struggle to get something going in social, and with good reason: it’s hard. You can’t hack your way through social media (even though lots of articles out there suggest you can). At Flamingo, we like to help out by making it easy to get resident event pics and get the conversation going through our app feed, but these initiatives are strongly connected to keep it going through social. The sums of all these efforts don’t just stock up on each other, they compound.