Why Social Media Isn't a Great Marketing Channel for Apartments

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J Turner Research has released some new data they have collected on how apartments can do marketing to different generations. The full study is well worth your time.

Today we wanted to draw attention to one particular comment you can find on page 11 of the PDF. The page is looking at social media use across four different generations and talking about what age groups use what social networks. (For example, baby boomers are more active on LinkedIn while millennials are more active on Instagram.)

The big thing we want to note though is in the last paragraph. We'll just quote it directly:

"Does social media play a significant role in a prospect's apartment search? Not really! Only 13 percent of residents mentioned using Facebook or Twitter to research their current apartment." 

Why is social media marketing for apartments still not popular?

Social media marketing in the multifamily industry has been a near-constant topic of conversation for years now, though we have never been that keen on it.

Here's why: There are two primary ways people access information online—via social media and via search engines. That said, people tend to use these two options in different ways.

With social media, the information we share or search for tends to run closely alongside our personal interests, hobbies, and affinities. So we become fans of pages for authors we like or sports teams we support. Facebook and other social networks are a personalized online hub where we can go to learn more about things we are already interested in.

Search functions in a significantly different way. I wouldn't, for example, ask my Facebook friends what time a restaurant opens or how to get to a certain friend's address. We use search for that. When we need a specific piece of information, we tend to use search engines. If social is interest based, then search is intent based. (To learn more about this, read an older post we've published explaining the difference between interest-based and intent-based marketing.)

What are the main channels prospective residents use to find apartments?

You're better off using a mixture of search engines and Craigslist as well as other listing services. That said, the trend is strongly running toward search engines and away from listing services. So you'll want to focus your marketing efforts on search engines and particularly Google moving forward. To learn more about how to do that, download our full guide to search engine optimization for apartment communities which you can find by clicking on the link immediately below.


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