The #1 Way To Use Facebook to Market Apartments

How to market apartments on Facebook

Facebook is massive, and getting bigger by the day. There’s no denying its reach among American consumers, and myriads of companies are being funded and built solely on the premise that they’re going to help you become a better marketer while capitalizing on the web of connections built by sites like Facebook. These companies are flooding the market with tools; everything from social media dashboards (which help manage your various campaigns) to automation software (which will plan your updates algorithmically, so that they’re released within the optimal time frame to be seen by the largest potential audience of readers).

So what else can you do to enhance your ability to “pull” residents into your community? To start, you can make it look like an incredibly desirable place for prospective residents to live. And what’s the best way to showcase the people, relationships, and activities that make your community so great to the outside world? That’s right … Facebook.

Facebook As A “Pull” Marketing Strategy

Whether lurking on #AptChat or reading the comments section of some of our favorite #multifamily bloggers, I consistently hear people asking for advice on how they can get better at marketing their community on Facebook. “It’s impossible to measure ROI!” “My PM’s don’t know what they should post!” “We don’t see any leads come through Facebook so why should we waste our time?” I’ve got news for you: you’re doing it wrong. I agree, it’s incredibly hard, if not impossible to measure ROI on Facebook, and knowing what to post and when is something that you can only get better at with practice and time. (ROI isn’t the ultimate measurement of marketing performance, either.)

What I most take issue with is the underlying premise: that Facebook should be treated like any other traditional “push” marketing channel, and held to the same standards when it comes to ROI. It’s not, and it shouldn’t be. The biggest opportunity Facebook presents for your community is the same reason millions of people spend hundreds of hours crafting their perfect public profile: Facebook lets you put your best face forward. It draws people into your world. Facebook is your chance to take what’s best about living in your community and put it on display for the world – it’s dynamic, it’s alive, and it’s the closest someone can come to knowing what it’s like to live in your community without actually sharing your street address, if it’s done right. Which begs the question – what does apartment marketing on Facebook look like done right?

The #1 Way To Use Facebook To Market Apartments

In all likelihood, every other channel you market to relies on a traditional “push” strategy. If you turn off the faucet, the water (or leads) run dry. The reason why many people look at Facebook and see nothing but a heavy time commitment with no measurable ROI is because they expect it to act like any other traditional push tool. It won’t! Can we accept that Facebook may be best used as a means to pull new residents in, simply because they can’t deny the attraction to your vibrant community? In the same way that millions of individuals use Facebook to showcase their best self to the world and draw others into their orbit, so should your community.

Which marketing tactic do you think is going to be more impactful on a potential resident in 2013 — having to choose between one of the 20 text ads they see in a search engine results page, or landing on your community’s Facebook page and seeing the glowing faces of residents who look, talk, act like, and enjoy the same things that they do? Which would have more impact on you?

The Opportunity is Now

Your competition doesn’t get it. In two years, 98% of these same companies still won’t get it. That’s unfortunate for them, but it’s great news for you — it means there’s an unprecedented opportunity for you to stand out in a highly competitive and crowded marketplace. If someone told you how big SEO, PageRank, and search engine results were going to be back in 2004, wouldn’t you have thrown a large portion of your resources into managing your presence on Google? Imagine the benefits you’d be reaping now, 7 years later!

This kind of long term thinking requires discipline, short term investment without measurable ROI, and smart staffing choices, but if executed correctly your company can establish an almost insurmountable lead over your competitors in a few years time. When you reset your expectations of how Facebook works as a marketing channel, your perspective widens to include the new possibilities that a successful pull strategy can offer. Your level of success depends on how willing you are to commit.

We’ll dig a bit deeper into what a successful Facebook “pull” strategy looks like in a future post, but for now I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the topic. How does your company view the Facebook opportunity? Do you have an example of a particular community which shines as a best practice example for the industry? Do you think my interpretation of the market opportunity is totally off-base? Let us know in the comments!!

Twitter Follow Button Now Live!

I’ve gotta admit, we were a bit disappointed earlier this week when Twitter announced that they were enabling enhanced API access to website publishers, making the process of adding in-page follow buttons a breeze – but only because David had just finished up building that same functionality into our product – without Twitter’s help!

One of the most common pieces of feedback we’ve received from customers is that they would like us to enable the ability for visitors to their page to follow them directly from the Twitter app. Unfortunately, until recently there were some very technical reasons that made that nearly impossible – even well funded companies (with plenty of developers) in the toolbar space like Meebo and Wibiya hadn’t figured out a way to implement in-page follow. Fortunately for us, our technical co-founder David is a code wizard who can figure out just about anything when he puts his mind to it, and last week he finished a workaround that allowed us to include a “follow” button on every Twitter app we’ve enabled.

And then Twitter released this API update! Grrrrrrrr……

Oh well. We’ll get over it. What matters is most is that whether using our current system, or the Twitter update which we’ll soon implement, this is a big win for our customers. Earlier this week, you might have noticed a follow button living inside your Twitter app – with 2 quick clicks, visitors to your page can follow you without ever leaving the page they’re on. Now there’s even one less reason for them to ever “bounce” to interact with your social content. (If you don’t see the follow button on your screen, try giving the page a hard refresh (control+shift+refresh) and it should show up – if not, please let me know!)

What’s next? Well aside from cleaning up the UI a little bit, if you take a look at our UserVoice page, LinkedIn seems pretty high up on the list of requests. Maybe we can try to fit that in…..

Get your TurnSocial bar HERE.

VaultWare adds support for 3rd party apps; features TurnSocial.

VaultWare, a provider of apartment marketing and leasing solutions, recently announced support for 3rd party apps within their premium website offering, specifically mentioning TurnSocial as an example of how customers can make their website more interactive.¬†We’re honored to be mentioned as the featured app!

VaultWare’s support for services like TurnSocial illustrates the increasing desire of multifamily companies to incorporate social and location-based media into their websites, and further establishes TurnSocial as the go-to product for accomplishing this somewhat complicated task with ease. We’re proud to add VaultWare to our list of partners focused on building value in the multifamily housing industry, and look forward to a great year ahead as we continue to roll out innovative features targeted directly at property management professionals.

To learn more about Vaultware, visit their website by clicking here. If you’re a business owner or agency interested in working with us on a custom solution for your customers, please reach out to me directly to discuss the opportunity at <matt at turnsocial dot com>.

It’s friday already? Here’s your weekend reading list!

Busy week, right? I had about 2-3 other blog posts lined up that I wanted to get out the door, but time got away from me and here we are – Friday already.

In any case, I wanted to quickly share a few interesting posts that I came across in the last week which particularly struck me as adding value to the “conversation”. I recommend taking a few minutes over the weekend to browse through them, and if you have more than a few minutes, dig through the archives of some of the websites I’ve pointed out – there’s a treasure trove of advice and content to be had if you just know where to look. On that note, here’s this weekend’s reading list –

How To Be Like Zappos in 3 Easy Steps – It’s common knowledge that the company culture over at Zappos is one of the best in the business, so how can you take their lead and apply the same principles to your business?

How Online Marketing Drives Offline Success – KISSMetrics never fails to deliver insightful content, and this infographic connects the lines between the online and offline world in a way that should help any marketer bridge the gap. Hint: need something to share? People love infographics – so go for it!

A Blogging State of Mind – Get your head right! Think you know what drives your blogging decisions? Think again.

The Future of Community – What will the future of your online community actually look like? Chris Brogan shares some very insightful thoughts.

B2B: Social Marketing and a Cautionary Tale – Many marketers fail to accomplish their goals simply because they approach leads and influencers in the wrong way. This brief article is a great real world example of how easily things can go wrong.

Stay warm and enjoy your weekend everyone!

Your Weekend Reading List

We live in a time of perpetual information overload – it’s tough to keep up with all of the different articles and links that you come across in a given week, and easy to miss out on great content which passed you by. We want to help – so starting today, we’re going to be compiling a “weekend reading list” every Friday, chock full of relevant content from the previous week that you may have missed. Use your weekend to get caught up on what’s happening, and stay in the attack mode mindset so you can take Monday by storm!

Questions to Ask Before Starting in Social MediaDanny Brown

The internet is not a level playing field – many businesses are still deciding if they want to embrace social media. What should you be asking yourself before you get too deep into social territory? Even if you’ve been doing it for awhile, this article is a great refresher course on what you should be thinking about as you move forward.

The Myth of Blogging BuddiesJason Falls

Where does the traffic to your blog come from? Jason Falls shares some of his own stats, and it’s a bit eye-opening to see how the results shake out.

Nine Ways to Spice Up Any Blog PostProBlogger

Whether you’ve been blogging for years or are just getting started, you can always get better! ProBlogger shares 9 worthwhile tips for how to make your blog posts more interesting and engaging.

An Insider’s Guide to Social Media EtiquetteChris Brogan

Even the most seasoned social media marketer can make a mis-step now and then; Chris Brogan reminds us of how we should be conducting ourselves online. This may sound like a refresher course you can skip, but trust me, it’s worth the read.

10 Reasons Why Your Content Strategy FailsConversation Agent

Don’t get stuck in your own echo chamber! Think about what you can do differently – I guarantee you there’s a least 1 item in the list which you could get better at.

I don’t know about you, but it’s coooooold here in SF this weekend – perfect weather to stay inside and get caught up on our reading. Are there any other articles you came across this week you think are worth sharing, including your own? Feel free to add them in the comments – and have a great weekend!