Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Q&A: Social media on the Hot Seat

I recently received an email from my friend Tamela Coval, asking for my thoughts on four questions regarding social media:

Just because a multifamily company is using the latest social media application, how do we know that it translates into a respectable ROI? Just using social media doesn’t guarantee a respectable ROI. Before you launch any program, you need to develop a plan: what are your goals? From there, you can begin to develop and identify what “success” means.

Is there any evidence that shows prospects using Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. for apartment search actually converts to a lease? Yes. While we didn’t necessarily intend for our social sites to serve as lead gen channels, we have had prospects contact us through social media that have later leased.

Content generation is invaluable for brand reach and to create brand advocates. Do properties have the time and knowledge to create fresh and topical content or should they outsource it?  We have more than 50 properties using Facebook, and there are a small handful (six, to be exact) that use a content tool. However, these properties do also post their own content, and the bulk of our properties do not outsource any of their social efforts at all. When done right, social provides a great opportunity to connect with residents, prospects, and people in the greater community – but in order for it to work, it needs to look and sound authentic. Speaking from my own experience, it’s difficult to achieve that if you’re outsourcing efforts.

If content generation is outsourced, can the person(s) creating the content be trusted to create and post the correct content that reinforces the brand? Yes, I think so, but only if the on-site team is involved. Again, it goes back to that point of authenticity: someone sitting in Seattle probably doesn’t know much about Baltimore.


How would you respond to these questions? I'd love to hear your take.