LOS ANGELES, CA - A recent National Multi Housing Council / Kingsley survey stated that “70% of apartment residents don’t expect there to be a community-specific Facebook page available, and nearly half, 46%, say they’d never check the page if there were one.” Are social media campaigns not the silver bullet that the apartment industry thought it would be?
FACEBOOK THE SEO TOOL
If done right, your community’s Facebook Page is an incredible SEO tool. “The page will almost always show up in the top 10 search results and, as I always say to clients, whatever people find in the top 10 is what they’re going to believe about your community,” stated social media guru Joshua Swanson, CEO of GoToMyApartment.
Swanson points to a recent article by Stephanie Frasco of Social Media Today that states “Google has found smarter ways to measure the popularity of your website: it's called social media.” Facebook is the second most trafficked website in the world and a link back to your website gives your site more domain authority. With that in mind, the more your website link is shared on Facebook the more domain authority Google awards.”
“Managers, marketing departments, the leasing team, and everyone on-site should be promoting and building up the Facebook Page with likes from current residents. There are so many opportunities for positive results that directly affect your bottom line once your residents are active on the building’s Facebook Page,” Swanson stated.
Swanson asks multifamily marketers to think about their target demographic, stating, “are your resident’s friends within your target demographic? If so, that means each time the current resident interacts with your brand on Facebook, a potential future resident may see that and be introduced to your community. Now, magnify that by each time you post on Facebook and you’ll see the potential. There are now over 750 million active users on Facebook daily! Does your website have that kind of potential? Nope. Your website is targeted towards a key set of search terms within a sub-market categorized as such by Google, while a good Facebook post can go anywhere. Think of the social network like one, giant resident-referral engine.”
Swanson says that the real opportunity lies in encouraging your current residents to engage with your community Facebook Page. He says, “one of your marketing goals as a multifamily professional should be to flip that 70% on it’s head, show that 70% of your current residents like the community Facebook Page, and interact with it at least once-a-month. We constantly consult clients on how to get more engagement and we sit around all day working on just the right post to get the most engagement because that engagement can turn into real dollars.
FACEBOOK IS A STORY
Swanson also makes the point that multifamily marketers may be using Facebook in a way that it wasn’t intended. Compared to a website, Facebook is an opportunity to tell a good story. Not to sell. “Who doesn’t love a good story? The Facebook Page is a way to show day-to-day life instead of just the basic information and pretty pictures anyone can find on your website. We all want to see what type of person lives at the community, what is there to do for fun around it, what party did the community just throw, would I have had fun at said party, what is the latest special, what can I walk to, what does the parking lot look like in this snow storm - get it? Facebook is your day-to-day report on the community and a great way to tell your brand’s story. Yes, your community is a brand.”
FACEBOOK FOR FEEDBACK
Have you ever thought of Facebook as a possible replacement for Yelp!? Swanson says, “we constantly get inquiries via Facebook from future residents or feedback on things current residents want improved. Why? Well, we post almost daily so future residents see all the activity on the page and assume there is someone monitoring the page. So, they inquire on Facebook instead of emailing or calling. Now, which would you rather have: a comment/ message on Facebook from an angry resident that can be addressed and deleted; or a bad review on Yelp that will never go away?”
IT’S NEVER JUST FACEBOOK
Swanson also brings up the point that it’s never JUST Facebook. Our multifamily communities need to identify what part of our overall marketing strategy Facebook plays. “Facebook should never be the ONLY part of your digital marketing strategy. Even though the user base is staggering, not every potential resident is as addicted as I am. It’s a piece of the whole and what is the whole? Well, I’ll go back to your top ten search results. Our strategy for our clients is to control your top ten search results and Facebook is only ONE of those results.”
FACEBOOK FOR LEASE-UPS
Lastly, Swanson adds that Facebook is a great tool for all those communities out there in lease-up. “Another great use of a Facebook Page within the multifamily industry is specifically for lease-ups. We work on a lot of lease-ups and usually, no matter how fast we go, a website takes time to develop. A Facebook Page, on the other hand, takes only minutes and it’s the perfect tool to launch as soon as your community has a name. People are always interested in what’s going on in their neighborhood, and when they drive by a construction site they’ll go home and Google the address or the name and find your Facebook Page. We get a ton of rental inquiries for new properties via Facebook.”
Even though the numbers from the Kingsley survey say that Facebook isn’t a relevant tool for apartment marketing, Joshua Swanson seems to think differently. Our focus in multifamily marketing has always been leases, and yet in Swanson’s opinion, Facebook is an opportunity to tell a good story that transcends a marketing pitch and may just be a great way to rent more apartments.