How to Start Doing Organic Social Media For Your Property

Engaging customers and prospects through organic social media is one of the most popular marketing strategies for businesses right now. With 4.2 billion users on social platforms and the majority of users spending over 2 hours a day scrolling, social media is a great opportunity for your property to be made known. Yet, many businesses, both large and small, are missing the opportunity social media offers for their brand. Some might be overwhelmed by the idea and don’t know where to start. Others just don’t understand exactly what they’re missing.  

But in reality, most of your present and future residents are online scrolling every day and that is motivation to step into the world of social media for your brand. Plus, it’s free marketing! Organic social media costs nothing but a little bit of time and effort that eventually reaps high rewards, including new leases and increasing resident retention. 

If the idea is still overwhelming for you and you aren’t sure where to start, remember that starting is the most important piece to doing social media. Just like getting back to the gym after some time away, it takes practice and consistency to get the rewards you want. 

Choose a Starting Point 

We recommend starting small. There are several social media platforms and each of them is different in audience, content and commitment. Most of the younger generations are on platforms to fill up spare time, connect with friends and find entertainment. Gen X and Baby Boomers shift in their motivation to use social media as they mostly use it for connection and the news. However, Facebook and Instagram are the most widely used platforms by all generations. 

Since we’re starting small, you can pick one social media platform to start, but we recommend trying out a platform you’re most familiar with. Eventually, you can add more platforms the more you feel comfortable. Instagram and Facebook can be connected to post together at once to make sharing content easier. Videos you share can eventually go on YouTube. There’s plenty of opportunity to build upon a foundation later. 

Once you have created a page or account, add in the necessary details to fill out a profile. Add your logo as a profile photo and fill out your biography as well as a Call-To-Action that takes people to your website. After you’ve added the basic account information, now you can start inviting people to follow the page. Share a link on your website or email your residents to let them know. You can find helpful tips for spreading the word here

Before going into the details of posting on your social media, remember not to stress. Make it fun and simple for yourself to start. We will show you the tools so you can be better equipped and supported as you get rolling.  

Gathering Content 

One of the first problems you’ll run into is having content to share on your social media pages. One of the common ways content marketers can create consistent social posts is by having what’s called pillar content. 

Pillar content is best thought as large pieces of content that answer a complete question in full. The trick is around what the question is asking. The vaguer a question is, the more content you can write about. If your pillar content is too granular or specific, you won’t have as much to repurpose from that.  

Here are a couple of examples that exemplify pillar content versus social content: 

Pillar content: What are ways to keep your apartment peaceful? Here are 9 ways how. 

Social content: Is your closet a wreck? Use a closet organizer! 

Pillar content: What’s in your property’s neighborhood? 8 things to do during San Diego’s summertime. 

Social content: Free this weekend? Take a 3-minute walk to the Farmer’s Market in downtown San Diego! 

Content marketing is about working smarter, not harder. When you create one pillar content piece, you might be able to create up to 15 social posts from that piece alone. You are working smarter when it comes to social media when the pillar content is helping you create posts to share.  

A blog could have 6-8 sections. Those sections or chapters could have 2-3 quotes or statistics. You can see how social media can be easier when you have one good pillar content piece to work from. 

TIP: When thinking about what pillar content to create, think about your residents. What do they care about outside of just having a place to live? Here are some ideas: 

  • Write a blog helping residents with their apartment living: decorating, family activities in the neighborhood, hosting holidays with family, etc. 
  • Share third party articles with valuable information for residents and pose your property as a resource for all things apartment-living. 
  • Put on events for your residents and use social media as a way to promote and recap your event. 
  • Look what neighboring properties are posting on their social media channels for inspiration on pillar content. 
  • Talk to your front office staff who talk with residents daily for brainstorming more pillar content ideas. 

Social Media Tools 

Have you ever wanted to post on social platforms but were worried about how it looks or reads? This is where the right tools can support you better for organic social media. No one is expecting your property to have the prettiest Instagram or Facebook in the world. This is where practice comes in naturally. You will get better as you go. There are some tools that are free or inexpensive for you to boost the visual attractiveness of your social media a bit: 

Canva – Canva is a great and free online tool with customizable templates for any sort of print or digital content. From social media images and video templates to infographics and flyers. You can add logos, change the text and add images to thousands of templates and instantly have content to share to your social media pages. For a small price, you can have access to an entire library of templates for more options than the free plan. 

Creatopy / Bannersnack – If you want to get a little fancier, you can have more animated and design-focused templates to use for your pages through Creatopy. This might make more sense for platforms like Instagram and Facebook as it is usually used for ads but has compelling visuals and easy-to-use templates.

Hootsuite – Use Hootsuite to schedule your posts. This is helpful with saving time while still having consistent content uploaded. You can spend 30 minutes on a Monday morning creating the images for the week in Canva or Creatopy and schedule them out so you don’t have to post every day manually. Hootsuite has a free plan for up to 2 social accounts. 

Another way to engage your audience and look like a pro is by using hashtags. Hashtags are helpful for gaining attention and followers from people who might not have heard of you before. They can also help you target the audience you want to reach (I.e. luxury apartments would have hashtags geared toward luxury living). You can use tools like Flick to help you get started. 

Get Residents and Employees Involved 

Getting started can be as simple as getting your employees and residents involved. Your frontline workers are some of the best advocates for your property. Encourage them to ask residents for a quick follow on Instagram or Facebook. Create contests among your employees for content, like event ideas, images, or videos. Reward them with office lunches or a gift card.  

You can also create contests with your residents. Have a “Best Decorated Apartment” contest and create a hashtag for your property specifically so you can see what your residents share. Use Canva to create flyers sharing the contest details. Incentivize them with prizes for more excitement. You can partner with a local restaurant to sponsor the contest and reward the winner with a free meal for the family. 

Host events for your property and set up a photo booth or hire a local student photographer looking for portfolio work. Share photos online for residents to look for after it’s over. Residents love to engage when you present them with opportunities. Look for the ones that do well and garner support and repeat those regularly. 

Social media can seem overwhelming and a lot to commit to from the outside, especially organic social media. But in reality, simple and authentic is better. Organic social media is an investment that can reap heavy rewards for your property, including new leases and an excellent brand experience for current residents. Start somewhere. 

Interested in how you can increase traffic and leads through marketing? Check out our latest on-demand webinar.

4 Things to Consider for Affordable Housing in 2022

The New Year is already in full swing and it is going to be a big one for property management companies, specifically in Affordable housing. 2021 was another year of pivoting for the industry as the Great Resignation sparked staffing shortages, we grappled with COVID-related supply chain issues, and we experienced an increase in mental health related incidents at properties. As we enter 2022 these issues are still front and center – plus, it’s now Tax Credit reporting season!  

While there’s a lot we can’t control that will continue to require improvisation, we believe there are four changes that affordable housing property management companies can make to better position themselves for success in 2022 and beyond.  

1. Automate Tax Credit Annual Reporting 

It is annual reporting season for tax credit properties and for many, this comes with a lot of grumbling and moaning. The common denominator for those who are dreading annual reports comes down to how manual the process is for properties who do not have the right software. Tracking down the vast amount of paperwork and reporting all while knowing the smallest oversight could have detrimental effects puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your team. 

By moving to an Affordable housing software now in the new year, you won’t need to put this burden on your team again as the software will create annual reports for you. Keeping all paperwork and reporting within the software and under one roof helps eliminate the chances of human error and reduces manual work around filing and keeping track of important documents. Above all, it saves your team time and stress. You can rest easy throughout the year knowing the next annual reporting season will be more of a breeze. 

2. Improve Operating Efficiency and Reduce Risk With Technology  

When you look at the last couple of decades and the contributions technology has made to everyday life, it’s not difficult to realize how it can also enable properties to be more efficient and deliver greater value to owners and investors. But how exactly does technology contribute to affordable properties and why is it so necessary to have in 2022? 

Some of the immediate benefits revolve around operations. Switching to online leasing and online payments not only helps property managers complete back-office work more efficiently, but also allows residents (who are already proficient in using technology in their everyday lives) to deliver documents and payments with little to no hassle. 

To go alongside that, the Great Resignation has mostly stemmed from Millennials and Gen Z demanding a healthier and happier work environment. Seeing as those two generations grew up using technology and have faster adoption to tech than other generations, adding modern tech to your property’s operations will also help attract and retain staff. 

Technology has continuously given people back their time. Since time is money, using tech has the indirect benefit of lower operational costs and increased efficiency for your property. This only further contributes to your property’s success as your staff can be better focused on more important tasks at hand. 

For example, many Affordable properties are storing documents in filing cabinets, scanning and uploading documents by hand. Having software that creates, stores, and compiles documents frees up time and eliminates the possibility of human errors like losing or misplacing important files. Going paperless with the right technology is actually safer and more secure – and let’s face it, no one loves digging into filing cabinets anymore. 

Technology can’t do everything for your property, but it can help you get more done with the team you have and minimize the risk of human error.  

TRACS 203-A 

For those already using affordable housing property management software or if you’re a software vendor, TRACS 203-A has been an ongoing conversation, and we seem to finally be in the home stretch, with implementation expected to start in the second half of 2022. Currently, software vendors are waiting for further guidance from HUD. One good thing to note is the conversation is picking up speed which is why there is some expectation that implementation will happen soon (“Finally!”). 

Once we have an official date, it will be important for vendors to put a plan in place internally to deliver software updates and train teams on the changes. If this isn’t on your radar now, it should be. Our goal is to set up our users for success by having a plan in place to implement changes smoothly and seamlessly. 

3. Provide Better Mental Health Support 

Mental health has been a hot topic for the Affordable housing industry, as of late. Properties are seeing the effects of the pandemic on their residents and as a result, police calls, domestic violence, gang activity, and suicides have increased noticeably. 

Toward the end of 2021, many properties spoke up about putting training in place for frontline workers, specifically for active-shooters, suicide prevention, and general de-escalation training. It’s unfortunate that this is a problem at all for properties, however, it’s important to consider the best ways to enable your frontline staff to handle and recover from catastrophic occurrences around the property. 

The more your staff is supported, the more your residents can also be supported. Providing resources for your residents and employees can also indirectly contribute to the growth of your property. A happy staff and happy residents create safety and helps residents get past barriers they may be experiencing in life. Consider having local hotlines and getting corporate involved as a sounding board for your residents and staff. Be sure that contact information for available resources is accessible to those who may need it. 

Creating a supportive property will help residents do things like pay their rent in a timely manner and will foster an environment residents can truly call home. 

4. Improve Team Satisfaction and Retention  

As Affordable properties pivot from the Great Resignation, it’s time to consider what they can do to retain employees and prevent further resignations. What matters most is showing a clear investment in your staff and training them well so they can be set up for success and career growth. 

Consider your employees: what skill sets do they have? What are their goals? Use that information to map out individualized career plans to get them where they want to go. Have annual or quarterly check-ins set up between managers and their employees so progress can be evaluated and adjustments can be made accordingly. Employees will stay with you if they are learning and growing. 

Encourage management to give positive feedback and affirmation to employees when they complete tough trainings or projects. Affirmation goes a long way in boosting employee’s overall happiness in the workplace. If all feedback is negative despite their growth and progress, they will burnout and leave quickly. 

Another thing to consider is allowing a place for employees to give feedback. Statistics show that retention rates for employees decrease 16% when they feel like they can’t give feedback to their management. But remember that this also requires those who receive the feedback to be open-minded and to actually consider the feedback given by frontline staff.  

Evaluate your training programs for new employees and recurring training programs for veteran staff. 10% of employees will leave early due to poor onboarding and training experiences.  

To read more about emerging trends in Affordable housing, check out this white paper

PropTalk: Myth or Reality: Are Pets Bad for Business? Ft. Victoria Cowart of PetScreening

Elizabeth Francisco sits down with Victoria Cowart, Director of Education and Outreach at PetScreening™. Victoria helps us answer an often-misunderstood business outlook on pets and multifamily living. She gives insight on what “pet-positive” actually looks like, as well as misconceptions around the costs of pets and how operators can start including pets in their revenue strategies. On this episode, enjoy Victoria’s pet puns and gain insightful knowledge around furry family members and apartment living. 

To listen to more episodes of PropTalk, visit https://learn.myresman.com/proptalk/.

PropTalk: Cocktails & Compliance Series

ResMan’s Affordable Compliance experts, Rue Fox and Janel Ganim, cover Affordable Housing Market hot topics with a twist …or a splash, wheel, wedge, etc. – whatever goes with each episode’s featured cocktail!

Cocktails & Compliance Episode 4

Cocktails & Compliance Episode 3

Cocktails & Compliance Episode 2

Cocktails & Compliance Episode 1

To listen to more episodes of PropTalk, visit PropTalk on Spotify.