The following post was originally authored by former Apartments.com Director of Sales, Lisa McQueeney. We wish her the best of luck with her most recent endeavor!
I was so excited to be chosen as a speaker for the 2010 NAA Educational Sessions in New Orleans. Although I have been speaking to management companies around the country for years, I knew this was would become an unforgettable experience. I was right!
At the time, vacancy rates had reached a national high. It was critical to begin casting nets wide to attract a larger audience of renters while keeping residents happy. Partnering with my long-time colleague Melanie Stiles (the VP of marketing for Milestone Management), we talked about how online trends and technology are reinventing the way renters access information today. Given the explosion of mobile, video and consumer-generated content, we agreed it is more important than ever to incorporate these “new media channels” into marketing plans not only to remain competitive but to be relevant with the way renters are searching for information and connecting with one another.
It was this thought process that inspired the topic of our presentation: “Capture Renters & Retain Residents Through Popular New Media Channels: The Power of Social Networking, Online Video & Mobile Technology in Today’s Rental Climate.” While some of this information may be daunting, these new marketing trends are not going away. It’s best to understand how to embrace them as a means to drive exposure to your community and build meaningful relationships with renters and residents.
Because mobile, online video and social media offer so many fresh marketing opportunities, Melanie and I we were able to draw on one another’s different backgrounds, working with these channels, to hit the high points while being able to share some easy-to-implement strategies and tactics for each.
Some examples from the presentation included two management companies that challenged their employees to create property videos for online video contests to get them more comfortable with social media. (Be sure to search for Riverstone’s “ I Like Big Rooms” on Youtube!) As a result, leases were signed because the renters who viewed these videos thought it looked like a fun place to live. Because we believe residents who play together stay together, we recommended creating a Facebook page for the apartment community. Not only is this a way to help create a stronger sense of community by connecting residents with one another, it also strengthens the relationship between the leasing office and residents.
Mobile phones are predicted to become the most popular device for accessing the web by 2013. To ensure apartment communities are positioned to capture on-the-go renters on their mobile phones, we provided cost-effective solutions for driving exposure through the mobile channel.
While it’s instinctive to want to jump into the newest marketing channel, we caution leasing professionals to do their homework first. Business needs vary. What might work for one company may not be the best fit for another. Multifamily marketers should dip their toe in initially to determine how these new media channels can work best against the marketing goals unique to their business.
All in all, presenting at NAA was a fantastic experience! We received excellent feedback from those who attended our session and some more examples for how the communities are using new media channels.
Are you incorporating mobile, online video and social media into your marketing efforts? If so, we want to hear about it. What’s working? What’s not?
View the full presentation “Capture Renters & Retain Residents Through Popular New Media Channels: The Power of Social Networking, Online Video & Mobile Technology in Today’s Rental Climate,” below, or purchase audio for the presentation.