More people than ever before are turning to social media and the internet when searching for an apartment. They are craving information and tips to make the process smoother and less stressful. Property managers and rental listings are starting to see the opportunity that comes from being part of this conversation from the beginning. There are few property management companies and rental listing companies out their taking full advantage of this opportunity. Two that stand out as doing this right are RentSeeker.ca and the CLV Group.
RentSeeker.ca has developed into being a known industry leader through their social media interactions. They are Canada’s #1 – Online Apartment Finder & Real Estate Marketing Company. They are an interesting example because they see the value of engaging prospective residents and being part of their solution during the stressful process of moving. They have also created a niche in helping property management companies develop their online presence as well. In terms of helping a prospect, they have a strong presence on most social media channels and they have a very user friendly website. If a prospect is looking for an apartment they do not need to look far before finding an answer with RentSeeker.ca. RentSeeker.ca also shares valuable tips, articles and news on all things related to renting on their social media channels. They provide these updates daily which increases their visibility. Their content is interesting and varies from decorating tips to infographics about the cost of renting across the country. This has led to their social media followings being in the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. Rentseeker.ca has been referenced in articles and news stories as an industry leader by various news sources including, Huffington Post, CTV, CBC and the Ottawa Citizen to name a few. All of these factors have built a brand that makes RentSeeker.ca a company that prospective renters and property managers trust. RentSeeker.ca has become a one stop shop for property managers that want to increase their visibility online. They will list your available suites, build you a website rich with keywords (great for search engine optimization), create 3D floorplans, shoot property videos and even manage your social media accounts. For a property management company they provide all the answers that allow you to be successful in this new digital world.
The CLV Group has a slogan that says it all, “NOW YOU’RE HOME.” It is one of the first things you read on their website after seeing beautiful photos of their properties. As they say it best, “They are just three small words, but together they mean so much. It’s the feeling you get from the moment you start your apartment search to the moment you step foot onto one of our quality properties.” CLV is aware of the stress that usually surrounds looking for a new place and they want to make a prospect feel at ease immediately when they land on their website. They want the prospect to feel like the search is over. This is consistent with the marketing message that CLV uses throughout their website and social media channels. They aim to create this same feeling of the search being over and the prospect being home. CLV provides reassurance to the prospect through a consistent message that creates a community feel and a feeling that they care about each of their residents. They stress the importance of things like 24 hours a day, every day, service and provide examples through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram of what it is like to live there. They use their website to also show the upgraded suites they offer for reasonable prices in any area you may want to live. CLV has also advertised contests for their residents on their social media channels. These contests include a picture contest for Father’s Day and a Colouring Contest for the kids living in their buildings. They will also advertise how pet friendly they are and back that up with social media posts introducing some of their favourite resident pets. CLV is very active in their community and often share their participation on their social media channels. Recent examples of their community involvement include yoga on Parliament Hill, the Dragon Boat Festival and Hope Beach Volleyball. The goal for CLV is to create a brand that sells itself as the perfect place for anyone to call home and to show themselves as a company that truly cares. Based on what I have monitored they are doing a great job!
As more property management groups increase their online presence, it will become the expectation not the exception. A company that could use a new social media campaign would be Minto. Minto is a large property management company with rentals in Ottawa, Toronto, London and Brampton just to name a few. However, they have a very soft online presence in comparison to some of their competitors. It is important for them to be proactive so they can get ahead of the competition. Minto needs to develop an audience before they are competing for the same audience with their competitors. The good news is that Minto does have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. However, they are not consistent in their postings and their accounts have not seen any recent posts since May (Pinterest) or June (Facebook/Twitter). Minto would benefit from going back to the basics and building their online audience. By creating an online presence people trust, they will be able to increase their brand awareness and loyalty. By doing this overtime, they will benefit from more people wanting to live there and those that live there wanting to stay. (An important side note, this only is true if the image you portray online is in line with who you are as a company.) My recommendations for Minto would include:
- Develop a listening strategy and do some research.
- Identify key players in the industry.
- Identify competition offering the same services.
- Identify what your user needs, what does your user want help in?
- Build brand awareness.
- Look at current social media involvement. What has worked well? What could be improved?
- Create a blog on the Minto website and share articles through Facebook and Twitter.
- Update content on Pinterest.
- Consider Instagram and the value it could provide in sharing “Day in the Life of a Minto Resident” type of content.
- Create a content strategy.
- Develop solid content for the blog; add a blog weekly at minimum.
- Post to Twitter and Facebook more frequently.
- Post to Pinterest and Instagram immediately to develop content.
- Continue to develop video presence through YouTube.
- Set measurable goals.
- How will Minto measure success? Set goals to know your efforts are paying off. Examples could be increase followings on social media channels or to drive traffic. Keep in mind social media will help develop things like brand awareness and brand loyalty which can be hard to measure but is also very valuable.
In property management, we ask people to make a huge commitment and investment. We ask them to trust us that we will provide a home they will love and feel safe in. Social media gives us the tools we need to gain that trust and to show our prospects what it will be like to live with us. We live in a world where customers are coming to expect their businesses to have an online presence. People want to be able to make purchasing decisions all hours of the day, anywhere their mobile coverage allows. It is important that businesses realize the expectations of their customers are changing. Social media is no longer optional if you want to compete in today’s market.