by Tara Armbruster –
Before a renter actually goes out and looks at apartment complexes, she browses online to find locations that she might like. Social media has created an opportunity to win over prospective renters before they even visit your complex’s website. But just mentioning your available units is not enough, especially if you’re managing a large property. You need to get creative.
1. Answer questions on Twitter about living in your area
Twitter users will often ask questions about their geographic areas on Twitter, trusting their connections will have the answer. You can set up standing searches for such questions, allowing you to jump in and answer questions. Doing so will help you build up your reach, so that when someone asks about apartments in your area, you’re already a local expert.
2. Post photos of staged apartments on Pinterest
Pinterest users will happily share photos of beautiful homes, including creatively arranged apartments. The more creative you can get with how you arrange the different floorplans in your complex, the further your photos can go. You can also share photos of amenities in your complex and your local neighborhood.
3. Build up your expertise on Quora
Quora has topics for everything, from individual cities (and sometimes neighborhoods) to apartment living. Questions about where to live come up, but you need to have previously established your value to the community to be taken seriously when you answer them.
4. Host Meetups in your complex
If you have an area in the property that you manage that can be used for parties or meetings, you can host your own Meetups — events organized online that take place offline. Creating Meetups targeted towards the demographics most interested in your complex can get them into the property and actually walking around.
5. Create a hyperlocal blog or news source
As the property manager of an apartment complex, you know what’s happening in the neighborhood. Share that information and you’ll be doing a service for tenants and prospects — which, in turn, will make them more interested in staying in the neighborhood. Even better, a blog will give you more content to share on social media and improve your search engine results (making the rest of your marketing that much easier).
6. Share as much as you can through Google+
Google+ may seem like any other social network, but sharing heavily through the site can help improve your search engine rankings. Photos tend to do well on the site, as does news that your followers may want to share with their own circles.
7. Develop separate Facebook pages for current tenants and for prospects
A tenants-only Facebook page will have a hint of exclusivity, especially if you’re creating information and events that your tenants might want to share on their own Facebook feeds. Think in terms of in jokes and local updates.
8. Offer tours through Google Hangouts
Especially for out-of-town prospects, getting a feel for what a new apartment complex via video can be useful. Taking a laptop or smartphone around the property and neighborhood, while talking with a prospect live, can help. You can even have multiple prospects on one Google Hangout.
9. Write and receive recommendations on LinkedIn
You can create a page for your company, as well as for yourself on LinkedIn. Collecting recommendations on LinkedIn can be an effective tool for winning over professionals, if they’re in your target demographic.
10. Get involved with local and niche social media sites
In some areas, different sites are more popular: in your city, a particular demographic will spend all of its time on a local forum, rather than on Facebook. There are social networks for every demographic, every language spoken in your area and even for specific large companies. Find networks that work for you.