Property Managers, Should You Get Off Facebook?

With news of the data breach among Facebook users, is the social media platform still the best way to reach your residents? Or should you look for alternatives?

By Jessica Fiur

Poor Facebook. It’s been getting a bad rap nowadays, what with the news that 87 million users had their private information stolen by the political research firm Cambridge Analytica. And apparently all those personality quizzes on the platform have also been giving companies valuable user information—unknown to those users, of course—which I’m sure will be used for totally benign and definitely not evil purposes, like letting all the people who found out that they’re the Samantha of their friend group know when there’s a happy hour in their neighborhood that’s featuring deals on cosmopolitans or something.

But, before all that nastiness hit the fan, it seems that Facebook was losing its shine anyway. According to research from Smart Insights, Instagram is currently rapidly gaining followers.

Plus, Instagram just seems cooler.

It’s not just me who thinks so. An article on Tech Crunch claims that Instagram and Snapchat are seeing growth with the younger demographic. I don’t know why—all the baby pictures, super slanty political memes and creepy targeted ads based on internet searches that fill my Facebook feed certainly seem cool to me. And I know cool; I just made a topical Sex and the City reference a few paragraphs ago. So, yeah.

That’s not to say Facebook is not still popular. It definitely is. And Facebook is still probably a great place for property managers to post information about the community, such as upcoming events or maintenance issues.

But if people continue to be less than thrilled with Facebook, property managers might want to consider alternative or additional ways to disseminate information to residents. Especially if most of the renters skew young. (For example, if you have mostly college students, you might not want to completely rely on your community Facebook page anymore.)

What are the alternatives? Texting residents might be a good way to get information out (though, make sure they opt in to that, because it could get you in trouble otherwise). You could also use Twitter, or even send emails. Or, you could always print out signs and post them around the community where residents can see them. Is that old fashioned? I prefer to think of it as “retro.” And it’s cool to be retro, right? Sigh.

Don’t totally give up on Facebook. But it couldn’t hurt to read the room. If you find you’re not getting many comments or likes anymore, you might want to experiment a bit.

What do you think? Do you think people are starting to distrust Facebook? Or is it still the most effective way to reach residents? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur.

PS: I’m definitely going to post this blog on my Facebook page. So, to quote Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons, “By the way, I’m aware of the irony of [using Facebook] in order to decry it, so don’t bother pointing that out.”