The last couple of years have been all about adapting, evolving, and finding new solutions when it comes to how we market apartment communities. While the world has gone digital for quite some time, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit for remote lifestyles to become more normalized. Today’s generation of renters are different from any generation of renters before them and we have access to insightful data on their buying habits and what they want from a rental unit. Let’s dive into ideas that will strengthen your apartment marketing efforts from SEO to creative social media content.
LOCAL SEO MATTERS
You need your apartment community to show up on the first page of Google. In order to do this, you need to lock down a local SEO strategy. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of finding what keywords and phrases your target audience is using when they search on Google or other search engines. Knowing these keywords allows you to add them to the copy on your multifamily property websites so your sites get ranked higher up on search results. We all know how important it is to be on the first page of results. These websites get more visibility and let’s be honest, how many times have you gone to the second or third page on Google?
Once you’ve got your apartment SEO down, you need to have a property website that’s engaging and set up to collect insightful data on the prospect. There are a lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments that talk about social media, which is important and we will touch on, but another important and creative marketing idea is blogging.
How to put in maintenance requests and what to expect from them
Renter friendly storage ideas and DIYs
Recap of resident events
Local business reviews
There really is so much you can write about it. This is great not just for prospects but for residents as well. Creating a neighborhood/city guide will position your property website as the hub of information for what’s what in your local neighborhood. When renters sign a lease with your community, they are also committing to the neighborhood too. They want to know what life is like there and if it fits their needs — whether it’s vibrant nightlife or a quiet community, this impacts renters decisions too.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Apartment related content has over a billion views collectively on YouTube and TikTok. Getting your property in these tags will help you meet today’s renters where they are online. A lot of fun marketing ideas for apartments include Facebook contests, but let’s be honest, Gen Z don’t care for Facebook. A lot of them don’t even have an account.
While it’s important to keep a Facebook presence, your social media strategy needs to be focused on Instagram and TikTok. Luckily with Instagram you can easily share your posts on Facebook too so you don’t have to waste energy keeping your Facebook active.
When it comes to TikTok, a lot of the ideas of things you can blog about can easily be transformed into video content. Stay up to date on what the trending tags and sounds are as this is how you will be found.
Even if some of the trending hashtags don’t relate to what you are posting or relate to apartments in general, the way the TikTok algorithm works is based on adding those tags as well as #foryoupage and #fyp in order for your video to show up on renters’ feeds. Some ideas of posts, which can be done on both Instagram and TikTok include:
Pet of the month
Meet a member of the onsite team
Resident Event vlogs/recap posts
Local business review
Apartment marketing needs to be more creative in order to get the attention of Gen Z renters. They will look at your competitors before making a decision so you need to make sure you stand out and really show how your community can be their future home.
Email fatigue. We have all experienced this once or twice in our lives. The state of being so burnt out on receiving emails that we simply ignore, delete or send unwanted emails to the spam folder. Since going digital back in early March, email fatigue is a problem that most consumers seem to be facing at an alarmingly high rate. From retail to newsletters we unknowingly subscribed to when we checked off a box on website to just general spam, inboxes everywhere are cluttered more than ever.
This requires businesses to have to be creative in how they reach their audiences. Sometimes an email, which might have been used in the past, simply won’t cut it these days. So how do you standout in a sea of people vying for the same person’s attention?
Know your audience
It is easy to get stuck in a rut when prospecting via email. Knowing your audience and how to respond to emails is an easy way to begin seeing traction with your outreach. In a recent lunch and learn, Liv Gabrielsen, Director of Marketing for Bainbridge said that the biggest downfall with email marketing is we have become so accustomed to automation. Liv says “We treat leads as a lead and fail to recognize where they are in their buying journey.” Liv goes on to explain that a lead with a 30 day close time versus a lead with a 120 day close time should be communicated with differently and not receive the same response.
The age of renters may not have changed but the generations have. The oldest of Gen Z have entered the age of renting and adulthood. This generation expects automation and instant gratification that comes from AI technology. They also are experts at using social media, specifically Instagram and TikTok, to look up their next purchases and financial commitments. Later in this article we’ll get into Instagram for apartment communities and some apartment social media post ideas.
Pick up the phone and call the prospect!
Another great way to stand out from the crowd is by simply not sending an email at all. Instead, pick up the phone and call your prospect. Especially now, everyone is so used to staring at their screens all day. Talking with someone over the phone and allowing them to put a voice to the name can be a great change of pace. However, having a Caller ID would be a good idea. We live in an era of flooded inboxes and also an era of relentless spam calls. Having a Caller ID set up will help get more prospects to answer the phone instead of decline the call. They’ll know it’s from you and not some spam robot.
Lean into other forms of media
Lastly, when email isn’t working, check out other forms of media to get in front of your contacts. Exploring new avenues such as social media marketing for apartments is an easy way to connect with prospects and current renters. When you are trying to engage your communities, some apartment social media ideas. you can do are using things like interactive social features including: instagram polls, swipe ups on social media, hashtags to engage audience, TikTok videos and contests! For prospective renters, make the tone of your emails and outreach more conversational. The less you are trying to “sell” to them and the more “human” your interactions seem, the higher the engagement there will be.
When it comes to Instagram and TikTok, short form videos have really taken off. You can do tours of floor plans, how to put in a maintenance request, move-in tips, and decorating tips that are renter friendly. Apartment videos on these platforms have billions of views. Putting your property in those categories is great for visibility and subtly promoting your property to the new generation of renters.
We also have a few blog posts that cover outreach marketing ideas for apartments that explore more ways social media, email marketing, and local businesses can all intersect for prospecting and resident giveaway ideas.
PERQ EVP of Marketing, Muhammad Yasin, played host to another insightful lunch and learn which explored the challenges multifamily properties faced while trying to market to shifting consumer behavior during the pandemic. Guests Liv Gabrielsen, Director of Marketing for Bainbridge, and Scott Papenfus, Director of Strategic Partnerships for LCP360, chatted about the creative ways they’ve adapted efforts and the true impact of the pandemic with an in-depth conversation on:
When asked about big shifts in general as a result of the pandemic, Liv began by acknowledging what most businesses experienced, consumers embracing the digital experience.
“For multifamily, what it did is forced our industry to embrace all things digital as we saw stay-at-home orders. The COVID pandemic made us shift what we’re doing to ensure we can meet consumer demands in a 100% digital environment.”
She added that the industry knew they would need to embrace consumers’ digital demands eventually. The pandemic just accelerated the process.
“We’ve known this for years; it’s been moving in this direction,” Liv says. “For me, it was still a little bit of a shock of sorts — how fast we had to lean into some of the things or behaviors we were already thinking about, then suddenly over the course of a couple of weeks went from ‘Yeah, we’re going that way’ to ‘Now this is it.’”
Scott shared that, from a technology company’s perspective, they saw a huge increase in the number of virtual tours.
“You can literally look at a graph and just see this huge spike in virtual tours when the pandemic hit,” he says. “One of the key things we’re seeing is more and more people on-site are using our guided virtual tour or mirrored virtual tour.”
He explains consumers are not touring alone, instead doing so virtually with a leasing agent on-site who shares their knowledge and expertise about the property while customizing the tour for the prospect.
“I’ve really seen an uptick in interest is people wanting to perform kind of a hybrid — it’s a virtual tour, but it’s actually led by somebody on-site,” says Scott.
“For multifamily, we want that face-to-face interaction because our communities are more than just four walls,” Liv says. “It’s the community, the environment and the lifestyle. So, how do we communicate that in a digital way when we are removing these on-site visits? That was the challenge — we knew we had to provide a full picture of what it’s like to live in a Bainbridge community.”
Watch the full video to learn more about what Liv and Scott implemented to better serve and market to their customers during the pandemic.
Almost everyone has a social media account, but is it used correctly? With 3.5 billion social media users and counting, the use of social platforms continues to grow. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube are staples in every marketing toolkit. It can be intimidating to start the journey to build your social media brand. However, if used correctly, you can reach potential customers and grow your audience and engagement.
Learn your Social Media Audience
First and foremost, you need to know who you are talking to on social media. Knowing your audience is key, because if you can’t give your audience what they want, they won’t give you what you want: their business.
You should rely on data to determine your target audience. Look at your customers who are already buying from you. What is their age, where are they located, how much money do they have to spend, what are their interests?
Once you understand the characteristics of your audience, you can craft your messaging to fit the mold of your customers. If you’re still having trouble defining your audience, check out this blog by Hootsuite.
Define your Social Media Brand’s Voice and Tone
Once you know your audience, it is important to define your voice and tone. What does that mean? Your voice should stay constant. Define how you communicate with people. Your tone however will change. Your tone could be happy, like you’re out to dinner with friends, or serious, like you’re in a meeting with your boss. Once you know your tone, it is ok to be funny, or have an informal tone, but don’t go out of your way to do so.
Know your reader’s state of mind. If you know why your reader visits your page, or reads your post, you will know what type of tone to use. If educating your audience is your goal, keep your tone more formal and less humorous. Knowing your customers’ emotional state can help you adjust your tone accordingly.
Set Social Media Goals and Have a Strategy to Build Your Brand
You have your target audience, you know your voice, now set goals and have a strategy for posting. Set goals by using the SMART method. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. If your goals meet all of these requirements, then you are good to go.
Then define your strategy. A strategy will help you save time and give you a direction when you start crafting posts. What works on one platform, might not work on another platform. This means you’ll have to prepare specific content for each platform. Instagram is great for sharing images and videos, while Facebook is great for sharing text, links, images and videos.
Lastly, use a calendar to help organize your material. Content schedulers like CoSchedule or Sprout Social will help save you time and organize your content. You can link these resources directly to your social platforms and schedule your posts for the future so you don’t have to do it manually.
Respond Quickly and be Active with your Social Media Audience
Celebrate the happy customers and respond to the negative ones. According to a survey done by Sprout Social, by being responsive you can prompt the consumer to make a decision to buy from you. Listen to your audience and learn from them to help build your social media brand.
Your doors to your leasing office may be closed for the public, but that doesn’t mean prospective renters aren’t looking for their new home. Connect with your renters digitally and empower your team with the best digital leasing practices and tips during COVID-19 by using our Digital Leasing Guide
Use our Digital Leasing Guide to learn how to effectively generate opportunities online while there are little to no in-person visits. The guide outlines how to leverage your website to generate and manage quality leads, tips on how to budget your marketing spend, and the best ways to stay connected to rental prospects during COVID-19.
Social media activity is skyrocketing as Americans search for ways to connect in the age of social distancing. You can use this to your advantage to reach potential customers. Social media marketing shouldn’t be intimidating. Follow these easy tips to connect with your customers during these difficult times.
First, Be Human!
Be empathetic, be authentic. That will go a long way. Everyone is scared and everyone has uncertainty. Acknowledging that will help you connect with your customers.
Post your latest store hours, closings, deals, etc. related to COVID-19 on all platforms. Let your shoppers know just because your storefront might be closed, shopping can still be done. Customers should be able to tell from social media how and when you can serve them.
Share the same content on all platforms. Don’t worry about reinventing the wheel and sharing different content on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (or whatever platforms you use.) Consistency will make it easy for the consumer to find your information, regardless of the platform they are on.
Try to anticipate the information customers may be looking for on social media. Of course, they want to know if you are still open. But, do you have special shopping hours for at-risk populations? Are you slowing deliveries during the outbreak? Are you offering incredible deals? Post about these aspects of your business often.
One final thought. Consider paying to boost your social media posts. Even a small budget will help more people see your posts. But, be strategic and only boost those posts that a customer would find most valuable such as a big sale.