If you haven’t heard already, a lot of buzz has been generated around our What Renters Want survey results revealing how renters are using social media during their apartment search. Check out some of the conversations happening online and let us know your thoughts on the survey results.
Is your community using social media to attract prospects and retain residents? If so, tell us what’s working and what you’ve learned.
To see the complete article on our What Renters Want social media survey results and access the full survey, read the article below, originally featured in the November issue of our monthly Multifamily Minutes newsletter.
Apartment Shoppers Are Shying Away from Social Media During Their Apartment Search
Americans spend nearly a quarter of their time online on social networking websites and blogs – or 906 hours each month – according to research released from The Nielsen Company1. This is a 43% increase up from just a year ago. While the audience of social media users continues to gain momentum, renters nationwide are slow to incorporate social media into their apartment search as evidenced in the latest What Renters Want survey of nearly 850 Apartments.com website visitors. Survey insights revealed 71% of renters are active social media users, but only a quarter apply it to their apartment search. Additionally, less than 10% of social media users are connecting with their apartment community through a social media website.
Given the growing popularity of social media in the day-to-day lives for many, it may be surprising to learn more renters are not using it to find a place to live. However, this does not mean renter online search behavior will not trend toward a more social apartment shopping experience. According to the survey, nearly 70% of renters who have not used social media to search for an apartment previously indicated they would either consider using it or are on the fence.
Like most savvy shoppers, renters consult multiple online sources before choosing where to live. Of the 71% of apartment hunters already active with social media, obtaining supplemental information including recommendations, visuals and special offers topped the reasons they tap these websites during their apartment search. These survey respondents ranked the top five benefits of using social media during their apartment search as:
- Finding additional apartment community information and recommendations (58.1%)
- Seeking photos and videos of apartments (54.7%)
- Searching apartment listings (52.7%)
- Hunting for special incentives and offers (46.8%)
- Share apartment information with friends and seeking feedback (20.7%)
In addition to not using social media channels during their apartment search, more than 90% of survey respondents said they are not connected to their apartment community on any social media websites. Reasons for why this number seems high can be attributed to the lack of apartment communities participating in the social media space, or not getting the word out to residents, and the growing number of new renters hitting the market. Nearly half of all respondents said either their apartment community does not have a social media presence or they simply do not know. More than 40% said they do not currently live at an apartment community.
Chris Brown, vice president of product management at Apartments.com, weighs in on how he believes social media will play a role in the multifamily industry.
While nearly two-thirds of survey respondents indicated they are social media users, most are only active on Facebook. Nearly 35% check Facebook as often as every couple of hours and 32% daily. This is a sharp contrast compared to activity on other social media websites. On average, more than 65% of survey respondents have never logged on to Yelp! or Foursquare and more than half have never visited Twitter or MySpace.
Apartments.com advertisers interested in gaining exposure on Facebook are encouraged to contact their advertising consultant to ask about Facebook Designer, a recent enhancement to the MyMedia product. View demo now.
Apartments.com advertisers interested in becoming a MyMedia subscriber can contact their advertising consultant for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ApartmentHomeLiving.com, a part of the Apartments.com network of apartment rental websites, increases advertising exposure by making it easy for renters to find a new place to live on Facebook. Without ever leaving Facebook, apartment hunters can simply visit the ApartmentHomeLiving.com Facebook page and click the “Find a Place” tab to begin searching all Apartments.com listings. Facebook-loving renters can also share the details of their apartment search with their social network to garner feedback from the people they trust.
1 – Nielsen Online, June 2010