Friday, July 15, 2011

SOCIAL MEDIA 101 - Ten Tips


People often express their confusion and downright lack of patience in the school of social media. We have learned that a lot of the frustration with learning the ropes is the misconceptions, and to help out, we have formulated a sort of Social Media for Apartments cheat sheet. Hopefully this will save you some time, energy and will shave a little off the grading curve. (Don’t worry, there’s no pop quiz at the end!)

1. Social What ~ Social Media is the dancing of words, in an effort to build and maintain relationships with the masses, via technology, It should be fun, entertaining or informative (and we don’t mean posting reminders about late fees). The moment you start making it formal and stiff, is the time people “hide all posts” from YOU!

2. It’s a single tool, not the whole box ~ Social Media is a means to establish conversation, not an entire marketing plan. It is a way for you to interact and mingle with the masses. If you are expecting a GET LEASED QUICK SCHEME, you need to pick another tool. You will see results, but it will take a while.

3. Your Social clock is ticking ~ Yes, it is true that social media can take some time. The good news is the majority of time is merely setting up the accounts. Once you’ve gotten down the basics and developed a routine, it’s smooth sailing. The sooner you start the better, developing relationships takes time.

4. Set Reminders ~ I recommend scheduling the dates and times you will make posts at least 1 month in advance. This allows you plenty of time to coordinate with holidays or property events. To make it easy you can link your Facebook, twitter and blogs all together so you only make 1 post for all 3 or keep them separate for distinctiveness, but keep it up! It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of putting out fires, only to realize on Friday at 4:30 you haven’t posted anything for the entire week!

5. Flaunt your flaws ~ DON’T be afraid of negative comments as they make you seem more real. People don’t expect a business to be perfect and they want to see how you handle adversity. It’s imperative you respond to them and be professional. Many times it’s the same person/persons making constant nagging comments. Your followers will quickly pick up the nagger’s persona and take their comments with a grain of salt; if the comments are vulgar or lies then remove them pronto! Embrace an opportunity to demonstrate excellent resident care!

6. Too Many Hands In The Pot ~ Social Media should be narrowed down to one person on your team, if possible. People can relate to a person, not a corporation. Make things funny and entertaining. You want people to return to your page and REFER others to it.

7. Directing Traffic ~ All your Social Media sites should be directing people to your website. Your website is for sales not social sites. If you’re posting the rent special for a two bedroom, you’re going to lose interest fast. Instead, post ways to decorate apartments. There are TONS of amazing decorating tips and techniques you can share! If you have small closets, post tips from HG how to get the most from your space.

8. More is not always better ~ Make sure you are spacing your posts adequately. I don’t know how many times I’ve “hidden all posts” from a business that rocket fires 7 in a row about their specials or events, in 10 minutes, 1 day a week. A good rule of thumb is posting to twitter and Facebook once daily (at least 3 times a week) and blog post 2 – 3 times per week. There is NO mandatory number, do what works best for your business.

9. SEO ~ I assure you SEO does not mean Some Extra Obstacles, although it may certainly feel that way. SEO is Search Engine Optimization and is very important to ALL of your websites. You want to use lots of “tag words” in your communications. The more tag words you use, the more likely your sites will be one of the first a person locates in a search. Example; the more I say Leasing Lessons or Social Media the more likely this is to pop up in the first page of a search. (On that note please pardon me while I do a quick plug; Leasing Lessons, Social Media, Apartments, Multifamily, Resident Retention, Customer Service, Leasing Skills, Property Management, Marketing. Whew, that should be good enough for now!)

10. Last but certainly not least ~ Do NOT Discriminate! You can get in big trouble with discriminatory posts to your social sites. Make sure whoever is responsible for your social media is fully aware of the fair housing laws in your area.

We sincerely hope this has shed a little light on the joy of learning Social Media. If after everything you have learned, you decide to throw your hands up and hire a Social Media rep to handle it all, we promise we will not consider it cheating!

Tina Clauder

Tina has been in the Apartment industry for nearly 20 years. Starting as a grounds keeper, also did make-ready maintenance and apartment cleaning before moving into property management.
Tina has displayed her love for people through her excellent leasing skills. Having success in leasing, marketing and training, has added Social Media as one of her talents.


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