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Why Apartment Communities Should Embrace Social Media

     Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. have gotten too popular to be considered just a fad. The key to social networking will be for companies to utilize it to increase customer engagement and sales. At Felson Companies we’ve tinkered around on various social media platforms for the last two years trying to figure out how to adapt the technology to apartment property management. Through trial and error, we’ve found that social media can be used to increase information, communication, and feedback at our apartment communities.

     First and foremost, social media is a great way to inform residents. Residents may not see the big pink flyer posted in the laundry room telling them that the water will be shut off on Tuesday for 3 hours but they might see the posting about it on Facebook. Residents appreciate being able to read about what is happening at their community at their convenience. This is especially important for school aged residents as they might be less inclined to read notices posted around the community. According to property management software company Appfolio, 65.9% of residents use apartment social networking pages to learn about news, updates, and events related to their community.

     Second, social media provides an opportunity to increase communication channels. Throughout the past decade, it has been widely documented that face to face communication between residents and property staff has decreased. A study by IREM in 2011 found that 89% of residents prefer to communicate via e-mail rather than by phone or in-person. Additionally, Appfolio reported that 20.5% of residents use social networking pages to communicate with apartment community staff. Since social networking posts are public we obviously advise using caution. For instance, don’t write things like, “Fred, what’s the deal? Your rent was late again this month!” We recommend staying positive by writing thank yous, compliments, and congratulatory messages. These small gestures will help to build a closer knit community at your property which will hopefully lead to higher resident retention.    

     Lastly, one of the most important benefits to social networking is its ability to solicit feedback from customers. Appfolio reported that 23.4% of residents use their community’s social networking pages to provide feedback. Whether good or bad, feedback can become a very valuable tool if you act upon it. For instance, a prospective resident told one of our managers that they called us after reading a positive comment from a current resident on our Facebook page.  We promptly then placed that posting more prominiently on our page and thanked the resident for the posting.  Negative feedback on the other hand can help you fix things you may have overlooked or haven’t taken seriously enough.

     In conclusion, utilizing social media for your apartment community can help inform residents, improve communication, and generate valuable feedback. We hope that this posting has encouraged you to consider social media more seriously. Feel free to share your social media experiences in the comment section below and take our social media poll…