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.
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.