Yes, Your Social Media Presence Really Matters to Residents!
In January, we quizzed the multifamily industry asking them what they thought drove residents to renew their leases. We showed them a list of 27 factors (developed by SatisFacts Research) that might impact a residents decision to renew, and social media came in at number 26! It turns out that we are very, very wrong. (View the research report here for free)
The reality is that residents truly do care about their community’s social media presence, and it can help in their decision to renew their lease! SatisFacts Research investigated what factors drove the renewal process of actual residents, and found social media was the 3rd highest factor correlated to renewals.
So why do multifamily professionals rate social media so low when the residents themselves rate it much, much higher? My guess is that when a community struggles to get engagement from residents, they believe that must mean that social media just isn’t important. So let me share some potential culprits to why so many communities are struggling with attaining that engagement, and please feel free to add additional suspects in the comments below!
Many Communities Have Given Up
I can’t count the number of dead community social media accounts I have seen, and when all is said and done, it is a testament to the fact that social media is tough! Cultivating an audience, finding a message that resonates with that audience, and then succeeding when the algorithm is stacked against you can be a very big challenge. And for an apartment community whose number one business is not social media, continuing to push that effort may be too much.
Social Media is Still Seen as Primarily a Marketing Play
There is obviously a massive range in how different companies use social media; however, it is possible that many communities still see social media from a marketing perspective. We definitely saw this at the start of social media adoption, where communities were ecstatic to find a place to post their rent specials, at least until they realized that was a losing strategy.
Still Don’t Fundamentally Understand the Tools
Again, there is a massive disparity in how different companies use social media, but to this day, I still get requests to like a community fan page. I have absolutely no connection with that community and I’m absolutely not the person who they should want as a fan, but there is a basic misunderstanding as to what will positively impact their fan page. And because of the actions like this, these communities fail to see strong results with their social media endeavors, and therefore probably assume residents don’t really care.
Doing it Yourself Versus Outsourcing
There is a real struggle with social media in that it is an environment that requires a fair amount of knowledge and effort to be successful, but it also requires a more personal touch. In other words, it takes people away from their primary business operation, but outsourcing the functions can be tricky if you are trying to establish a rapport with your audience. So many communities are left in the middle, without the knowledge and time to figure out how to proceed themselves, but without a solid plan for help from the outside.
Pay to Play Required
It has taken people a fair bit of time to finally accept that at least on Facebook, you generally have to pay to play. You may have a nice big audience, but if they never see your posts, then that audience is fairly worthless. The problem is that many communities got into social media because it was free, so changing that mindset has taken longer.