Last week, we were fortunate enough to attend the Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, California. It was a great conference filled with insightful discussion of the future of social media within the multifamily industry.
With all the meaningful conversation that took place, we’ve put together our 5 key takeaways from this year’s event.
1. Create content and community websites that drive conversion.
The number one reason why website user failure happens is because the user struggles to find what they are looking for. In order to drive conversion on apartment community websites, property management companies must anticipate what questions apartment shoppers are going to have and answer those questions proactively via beneficial website content and design. The answers they provide should also be supported by evidence in order to give apartment communities credibility.
Andy Crestodina, who spoke about a content-based approach to conversion optimization, recommends capturing resident testimonials and displaying badges from accredited sources on community websites to help showcase credibility. Apartment marketers should also evaluate their website’s visual hierarchy and color contrast utilization to ensure that their website is driving people to take action instead of leaving them confused or uncertain. It’s all about moving apartment shoppers from awareness, to consideration and then all the way to action. This is how apartment communities can generate more qualified leads online.
2. Capitalize on digital advertising specifications designed for the multifamily industry.
The digital advertising landscape continues to evolve at an incredibly fast rate. Luckily, for apartment marketers, large ad platforms like Facebook and Google have responded to the specific needs and considerations of the multifamily industry.
In August, Facebook released the specialized ad creation workflow specifically for those looking to buy ads for housing. This new workflow entails a significant review process to ensure that all advertisers are compliant with the law. During a Q&A with Facebook at the summit, Facebook team members confirmed that if your ads have been approved after creating them in the specialized category for housing, you are in fact complying by HUD laws and can have confidence in your advertising efforts.
Google has an in-market audience grouping specifically designated for people who are in the market to rent an apartment. This audience filter may be added to display ad campaigns in Google and allows you to show ads to people who have been determined by Google’s algorithms that look and behave like an apartment renter. This audience grouping does not include data on the user’s location or any protected classes of HUD, so apartment marketers can safely utilize this setting knowing that they are not discriminating against anyone.
While these improvements are beneficial and worthwhile, it will be important to continue to look for updates to these specifications, so you can stay ahead of any potential changes that may come.
3. Incorporate video into your social media strategy, but make sure it’s cost-effective and authentic.
It is widely understood that video is currently the most powerful medium to engage people in this digital age. While there are up-and-coming technologies like virtual reality coming to the multifamily industry, the main topic of discussion at Multifamily SMS 2020, was about creating authentic, relatable video content that can be deployed at scale. Making many custom videos with drones and other specialized equipment can often be incredibly expensive and out of reach for many property management companies. Marketers should consider ways to create core video content that be reused across different mediums in order to increase ROI. One helpful suggestion was to create a long-form video that can be spliced into smaller, bite-sized versions to be used for different use-cases.
Bozzuto Group presented their #BozzutoLocal campaign, sharing how they empowered their residents to create videos showcasing their properties, amenities, and surrounding locations. This was a creative alternative to hiring a media company while capturing the authentic perspective of their own residents. In 2020, property management companies can seek to engage their residents to participate in video creation as a budget-friendly way of telling their unique and authentic story.
Floorplan-specific visual content is also a great way to convert residents online. Check out these 5 Ways Apartment Videos Tours Will Improve Your Community.
4. Create moments for residents that inspire them to become evangelists for your company.
Reputation management will always be a topic of discussion in the multifamily industry. The key to cultivating a strong reputation is providing a remarkable experience for residents, treating them fairly, with respect and care. In 2020, it will be important to continue managing reputation, but apartment marketers should also introduce efforts to create evangelists for their communities.
Your happiest and most satisfied residents can become evangelists for your company if provided with ample opportunity and inspiration. Property management companies must take initiative to create moments that spark emotion in their residents and call them to engage with them. Here are a couple of suggestions made at the summit:
- Seize opportunities like Resident Appreciation Day to garner resident reviews organically through interactions you have at resident events.
- Invite them to use your community’s hashtag
- Try out the “selfless selfie” by inspiring your residents to tag your community hashtag in a selfie, and donate $1 to a charity of your choosing for every post your residents post.
- Build new construction properties? Consider developing “instagrammable” places throughout your new communities so residents can show off where they live.
5. Approach your marketing strategy like a product manager.
As an apartment marketer, it can sometimes be difficult to deploy complex strategies due to changing timelines and limited resources. On Thursday, during the summit, Dylan Sellberg from HubSpot, spoke about the parallels between marketing and software product management, and how the principles of product management can help apartment marketers solve marketing problems efficiently and effectively. He referenced the 5C framework for product management, discussing how climate, company, competitors, collaborators, and customers should all be lenses that apartment marketers take into consideration when creating marketing strategies for 2020.
When tackling marketing problems, one should focus on the minimum viable product (MVP). Focusing on the MVP helps marketers get the most out of their first phase of production, instead of all of the benefit being held until the last stage when they may have already invested too much time, money, and resources to change course. With this approach, one can accomplish smaller things that solve problems and add value, while having the agility to evaluate and adjust. Take thirty minutes at the beginning of every day to prioritize the things you are going to do and the things you’re not going to do. This will help you stay on track and accomplish ruthless prioritization.
Social media’s impact on the multifamily industry has continued to grow over the last several years. As we enter the new decade, it will be important for apartment marketers to incorporate social media strategies in an intentional and strategic way, so that they measure performance and adjust their approach based on their findings.