The rise of social media has done more than just change the way we interact with friends and colleagues. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have equalized the playing field of communication, allowing individual users the ability to connect with previously unreachable figures including celebrities, organizations, and businesses on a one-on-one level.
This new freedom to converse with individuals, companies, and brands has changed the standards of customer service for the modern consumer, making it essential for today’s businesses to adapt and meet the new norm of personal service. For multifamily housing communities, this requires a new approach to social media as a tool to engage with renters and prospects on an individual level.
At Its Core, Social Media is Social Messaging
The demand for an immediate online dialogue between properties and residents stems from the one common thread that can be found in every variety of social media platform available: social messaging. No matter what social media network you use, whether it’s an image-driven platform like Instagram, a bite-sized text tool like Twitter, or an all-in-one platform like Facebook, every social app offers a messaging service that allows users to speak directly with each other. Using this tool, renters can send instant messages to a community’s social media profile, giving your renters an instantaneous line of communication—one that they have come to expect property managers to use as much as they do.
In the last three years, the number of mobile users sending messages through social media apps has surpassed the number of text messages sent using cellular data networks, meaning that more people are using their Facebook to communicate than their mobile phone number. In fact, the Facebook Messenger app alone has more than 1.3 billion monthly active users, accounting for over half of the 2.2 billion users Facebook sites as its monthly average.
Facebook also conducted a recent study that looked at the messaging behavior of 12,500 of its users to specifically understand their tendencies and preferences for directly messaging businesses. The findings concluded that a majority of users are more inclined to use messaging to ask questions, provide feedback, and connect with businesses on a personal level. Statistics solidly support this with over 50 percent of users preferring to shop with a business they can message directly, and 56 percent that are more inclined to message a business for customer service-related questions rather than make a phone call.
With the majority of social media users embracing the ease and convenience of social messaging, your community’s ability to respond and engage with residents on these various social channels is vital. But direct social messaging is not the only tool that your audience will use to engage with your social media presence—customer comments, ratings, and reviews all impact the online reputation of your business. The way your property responds to renter complaints on social media will be a public, transparent, and decisive factor that potential renters pay attention to. Any off-putting reaction to negative feedback, or no response at all, can stain your community’s appeal in today’s social media-driven market.
No Response is Your Worst Option
A 2017 online survey conducted by Sprout Social found that businesses who ignored users who posted their complaints on social media suffered significant repercussions in their marketing efforts. Not only do 30 percent of neglected social media users choose to switch to a competitor, but 26 percent also reported being less likely to choose the company’s product or service. With the ability to re-share and amplify social media posts, one complaint can become amplified to a detrimental level—especially since 46 percent of consumers utilize social media platforms to complain about a customer service experience. Any neglected feedback on social media has the potential to substantially harm your brand and ignoring a comment can sometimes exacerbate the problem to a viral level.
Transparency is Your Most Powerful Tool
Consequences like these are what makes social media so attractive for consumers—the power that users have to voice their concerns and demand a response is a newfound resource that helps hold businesses accountable. And while there are negative ramifications for ignoring feedback on social media, the benefits of engaging with users on a one-on-one level are just as attractive for communities as they are for renters.
70 percent of social media users are more likely to use a product or service if they experience positive interactions with a business. Furthermore, 75 percent are likely to share the good customer service-related experience on their own social media profile, and 73 percent will even divulge upon the positive interaction with their friends. All of these positive social interactions produce exponential benefits—your community’s customer satisfaction, online reputation, and marketing reach with grow as users share their pleasant interactions with your property.
These statistically proven benefits are becoming more vital for social media marketing, especially with Facebook’s new algorithm making it increasingly difficult for businesses to reach social media users organically. Without a paid social media marketing strategy, there are limited avenues for reaching your target audience on social media, but one of the most valuable tools in any marketing effort, paid or unpaid, is user-generated content. According to recent studies, user-generated content that features a brand drives seven times higher engagement than brand-generated Facebook posts.
The more you use your community’s social media presence as a customer service tool, the more visible your positive interactions will be to potential renters. All of the comments, ratings, and reviews on your property’s social media page play a substantial role in shaping the overall message of your brand’s online identity, so it is crucial that your community participates in the conversation. When you use social media to connect directly with your audience, you become more appealing and accessible for the modern, connected, and social renter.