“On the Ground” with Eric Brown: What Will You Do with Your Followers and Fans?

Once you build your following, it becomes an asset that needs ongoing tending; otherwise it dissipates.

Many property management companies have dipped their toes into the social-media waters—some with greater success than others. While many are just another abandoned Facebook page, there inevitably will be some successes.

That raises the question of what to do with these new fans and followers. The organizations that will have the most success have recognized that in order to build a fan and follower base, and to grow your digital footprint, it will include many folks that are not residents. Frankly, most likely will not be residents. Where in the line-item operations budget will talking to fans and followers fall? It likely isn’t resident retention, because they aren’t residents. It is likely not looked upon as leasing leads, because that is a bit challenging to prove out the whole word-of-mouth marketing piece. Will this be a flash in the pan that gets “pushed down to the site” to deal with because they already have way to many others things to do, like collect rent and lease apartments?

Apartment marketers fooling around with Facebook, Twitter and blogs, all in the quest of creating their own branded media, need to think about the overall value of their following that they are creating, because, once created, you need to do something with it, such as figuring out how to drive leasing leads.

We believe that there is significant value in your following, and it should be viewed like any other asset in your organization. These “digital assets” need nurturing and taken care of. You need to provide a continuous value, otherwise the fans and followers leave as quickly as they came.

Managed effectively you can garnish not only significant brand exposure, but also leasing leads from your digital assets. Our Facebook page alone drew hundreds of new “likes” and posts over the last 30 days. Think of your digital assets similar to “drive by traffic”, which is sometimes the most overlooked traffic source we all have.

We are just under 3,000 Fans, and while we are working on expanding that number, we are keeping our eye on the interactions numbers. We did a lot of different things in May to help drive engagement. For instance, we set up an iFrame that feeds our apartment availability, which is our highest traffic page on our website, directly into our Facebook page. The prospect can see our availability, the unit pictures from Flickr and any YouTube Videos of the unit we have listed.

Once you build your following, it becomes an ongoing adventure that needs tending; otherwise it dissipates.

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