This post was originally written by Kerry Sugrue, former Social Media Specialist at Apartments.com.
Creating a Facebook page for your apartment community is a great way to interact with your residents. It can give your management company a human element when discussing upcoming events or issues with the members of your community. Facebook recently announced that there are over 750 million active users on the popular social networking site, making it the most visited website in the United States. Odds are your residents are there, which means you should be too. Here are a couple fun ways to interact with them on your Facebook page:
- Poll your residents: One option for posting on your Facebook page is to ask a question of your fans and offer options for them to select as the answer. Use this tool to poll your residents about one of the flexible amenities you offer, such as coffee in the lobby. At the beginning of the month offer them the opportunity to vote for which brand of coffee you will stock that month. Then put a small sign next to the coffee instructing residents to ‘Like’ you on Facebook and vote for the “Flavor of the Month.”
- Maintenance requests: Give residents a new way to report maintenance issues by posting them on your Facebook wall. Don’t let the fear of negative posts deter you from this. Consider this scenario: Suzy, from 1A, posts on your Facebook wall “I have no hot water! Help!” Tommy, from 2B, sees her post and comments, “Me either!” (Now you know it’s a bigger issue than Suzy taking extra-long showers). Your building manager sees both posts and immediately fixes the problem. He then comments on the posts, “So sorry this happened Suzy and Tommy! Everything is fixed; please let me know if I can assist you with anything else – Bob, Building Manager.” Now, not only are Suzy and Tommy happy but Emily (a potential renter searching on Apartments.com) also sees this post and the quick response on Facebook. As a result, she submits her application because of the excellent customer service.
- Birthday shout outs: Make your residents feel special on their big day by posting a happy birthday message on your Facebook wall. If you have a small community, you could do this for every resident. If you have a large property, you could do a post at the beginning of each month for everyone who has a birthday that month. Get your whole team involved and video tape them singing happy birthday, then post that video along with your birthday message to Facebook.
- Video chat: Sometimes it can be hard to nail down four roommates at the same time in the same place. Facebook recently released video and group chat options, which can help with coordinating communication with multiple people at once. You can invite all the residents of one apartment unit to chat together, so you can work through issues or discuss lease agreements quickly. You can also use the video chat option to talk through important issues ‘face-to-face’. Not all residents will be comfortable doing this but some people prefer to talk through problems, rather than email back and forth.
- Post fun apartment living tips: There are a lot of blogs, websites and newsletters out there that you can use as a resource for apartment living information. Keep a list of fun facts, decorating tips, roommate feud fixes, street cleaning schedules, neighborhood coupons, bar trivia nights, book club picks and more! Post some of this great information on your Facebook page to keep your residents up to date on everything in your community!
Remember, the first of each month is not the only communication you can have with your residents! Use free tools, like Facebook, to build a lasting relationship with your apartment community and create a fun living environment. Are you already using Facebook to communicate with residents? Share some of your ideas in the comments!