The social media gurus tell us that social media marketing is about listening to the customer, engagement and a variety of other soft metrics. The growth of social media has impacted the way organizations communicate. With the emergence of Web 2.0, the Internet provides a set of tools that allow people to build social and business connections, share information and collaborate on projects online.
Social media marketing programs center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it is coming from a trusted source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. Social media has become a platform that is easily accessible to anyone with Internet access, opening doors for organizations to increase their brand awareness and facilitate conversations with the customer.
So it is easy to see why social media consultants’ pitch is about listening and engagement, and they aren’t wrong really. The issue with that advice is that most social media consultants aren’t business owners. As a business owner, and specifically an apartment operator, we are all pretty driven by the numbers. Great apartment operations folks always know the numbers. Your social media marketing should be no different.
If your social media marketing strategy for your apartment community isn’t driven by the numbers, it will likely fail. Just as leasing apartments have many components, from a well-planned tour route, crisp models and an array of other items, it is still and has always been numbers-driven.
Part of the ongoing debate is that social media is about resident retention, not lead generation. I believe that is the wrong approach, a set-up for failure. The only programs that hang around long-term are the ones that drive rentals. We view all of our marketing effort as lead generation.
So what should the numbers be for your social media marketing effort for your apartment community? As with all things it varies, but just remember; if you have only 55 or even 155 followers on your apartment Twitter account, you are reaching only a very small number of people. Add in that half or more of the followers are industry peers and you have a valueless following.
The Urbane Life, the Twitter account for our apartment portfolio at Urbane Apartments, has 6,300 followers, most of which have been carefully crafted to be hyper local and relevant with a significant local reach. Each of your apartment communities should have followings in the thousands, not hundreds. Anything less is a lot of work with little payoff.
How do you get thousands of Twitter followers? Stay tuned for next week’s post and we will share a few useful tips.
Eric Brown’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for Village Green Companies, a Midwest apartment developer. Brown also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.