Apartment Finder Launches Social Networking Services, Tools for Property Managers

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorLas Vegas–After conducting a study about use of social networking among residents and property managers, NCI, parent company of Apartment Finder, today launched a suite of tools and services for the social web at the National Apartment Association Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. The company conducted a proprietary research…

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorLas Vegas–After conducting a study about use of social networking among residents and property managers, NCI, parent company of Apartment Finder, today launched a suite of tools and services for the social web at the National Apartment Association Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. The company conducted a proprietary research in the multifamily industry comparing the social media habits and attitudes of residents to property managers. Key findings show that while 80 percent of residents use social networks with more frequency and intensity than people at management companies, close to 76 percent of multifamily professionals use social media networks, (with more than 60 percent stating social networks help increase resident retention, increase referrals and improve communication with their residents).“The services and tools will start with anyone who wants to use it after today,” Dan McCarthy, NCI’s Chairman and CEO, tells MHN. “The set up time takes some time, but it should begin by late August or early September.” The suite includes:• CommunitySherpa: a fixed-cost monthly subscription service that provides property managers with a custom-branded blog, Facebook and Twitter presence for their community, with content-creation and network administration support, as well as detailed reporting and analytics. NCI, which is a publisher of real estate information, will use its existing employees—nearly 400—of them to create content based on a property’s needs for this blog. “It’s like a community newspaper, which will enhance the engagement of people living in the community. The property management company staff can contribute to this, even though they don’t have to because our staff will be making updates four times a week,” says McCarthy.• ApartmentFinder Facebook Applications and Facebook Connect: features that make it easy for renters to find and share information about a customer’s community and that give advertisers the ability to flow their community information from NCI’s Advertising Management System directly into Facebook Fan pages and personal pages.• SayIt! Forum: a new interactive feature on ApartmentFinder.com, collects user-generated data on neighborhood favorites: date spots, restaurants, salons, shopping and more; distributes recommendations through Twitter and local Facebook pages; increases search-engine rankings and connections with prospects and tenants.“We believe that the core of a powerful social media program is content. But, we also recognize the challenges that social media marketing presents for many multifamily professionals, as well as all other local marketers, – they clearly understand the importance of adopting a social media strategy for their business, but the idea of creating a blog, or social identities across multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, for their apartment communities, and keeping those channels fresh with content, is daunting,” says McCarthy. CommunitySherpa is the first service that will be rolling out.

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