Ok, after a week at Brainstorming and two days home researching social media I’ve become quite intrigued by some of the conversations going on out in the wonderful world of marketing. To Be Social or Not? seems to be the question everyone keeps trying to answer.
Social Media is one portion of your marketing plan. If you are relying 100% on social media to rent apartments for you, I am interested to see what your occupancies will look like in the future. I may be wrong, I may be old school, but if this were true, your resident referrals would be keeping you full today and you wouldn’t need print, online (ILS listings), billboards, TV, radio or any other media source out there to help you rent your apartments.
Social Media is the old word-of-mouth (aka referral) – it is just supercharged because we have a party line going on with social networks. I remember long ago when my grandmother had a party line on her home phone and you shared your phone line with everyone else in your community. When you picked up the phone you could hear your neighbor’s conversations instead of a dial tone. Of course you were supposed to hang up and wait for them to get off the phone, but we always enjoyed listening into the conversations when we were little. Oh, the things we learned from listening in on the conversations.
Oops, almost got carried away with that one.
Marketing requires a blend of media offerings. Just as all students learn differently we all take in information differently too! Personally, I usually notice a product because I saw an ad on TV, heard about it on the radio or saw it in a magazine. I then research what others are saying about it online, as well as ask my friends about it either in person or on a social network.
I firmly believe in the power of social influence through social media. I believe we as Multi-family marketers have a great opportunity to have others influence their friends and family for our benefit through social media. But, it is not the end all, be all in marketing your apartment communities. Several years ago everyone was screaming internet; it’s the wave of the future; it’s cheaper than print. Print is dead. Well, I hate to say it but I have been begging my 12- and 14-year-old children to get online and create wish lists on several different websites for me to use when Christmas shopping for them. Do you think they have visited any of those websites yet? The answer is NO, but today we received several flyers and Christmas catalogs in the mail. They immediately started tearing out pages and circling items they wanted.
I agree Multi-family marketers do need to get involved in social media. They need to engage their current residents through the conversations they are having with them. In doing so it can and will increase resident satisfaction, retention, referrals and oh yes, SEO (search engine optimization). However, there is something to be said about that Wish Book that arrives in the mail box or is picked up in the store every year during the holidays. It introduces us to options we didn’t even know were available because we haven’t had the opportunity to see them yet and all the toys were located in one place for us to easily find the one that was just what we wanted.
May you all find what you are wishing for in your marketing mix whether it is in Print, Online or within your Community (Social Media).