We’re all on Facebook. And if you’re not, 483 million daily active users are. And if we’re not personally hooked up to a page, chances are, the company we work for is. Then there’s Twitter, this little micro-blogging beast that boasts upwards of 140,000,000 active users. And don’t forget about YouTube, the second-largest search engine, which is owned by Google itself and receives 60 hours of video per minute.
Some experts argue that engaging potential customers through social media channels via any means of social media marketing will improve a company’s credibility to the public. Generally speaking, we tend to agree. When a business, like Microsoft or Apple, with a following of faithful return customers launches a new product or company-wide initiative, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will work wonders in spreading the word. Sales staff and customer service reps will jump online and join the conversation—all in the name of selling the current product before the next best thing hits the market.
Our team here RentSeeker are major proponents of social media marketing. However, when it comes to marketing apartments for rent, we put out a question to our team: How much time should landlords dedicate to engaging with potential renters on a personal level? This includes opening up Facebook walls and other discussion channels to the public.
Companies like Microsoft and Apple are untouchable. In other words, a couple hundred – or thousand – angry wall posts aren’t breaking their brands. For landlords, though, opening up the channels of communication produces a great opportunity for criticism.
With such a narrow timeframe to capture the attention of an apartment hunter and convert him/her to a signed lease, you want to show them how great your buildings are, give them contact information, get them in for a showing and sign them. Period.
You don’t want prospective renters cruising around your Facebook page checking out all the negative posts from disgruntled residents—because that’s what they’ll pay attention to. Not your community-service initiatives or awards for service excellence. It’s the posts of those five to ten disgruntled residents that will inhibit your ability to lease up a property.
With marketing tools like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, you CAN control the information. For landlords with a few hundred or thousand renters, it seems to go against common sense to open the floodgates to criticism. Sure, it’s an opportunity to display your customer service skills, but a carefully constructed, public response to criticism on a Facebook wall isn’t saving your reputation. In fact, it’s drawing even more attention to the renter’s original problem and inviting to post again. Repeat after us: “My Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages are not forums for negative discussions about my company!”
Instead of allocating resources to responding to this type of criticism, channel the manpower to marketing these pages by custom designing the backgrounds (a service RentSeeker.ca provides FREE to clients) and optimizing your social media presence to lease available apartments. Post photos and videos of all of your buildings and channel the traffic to your website; brand each page so that they’re consistent across the board; talk about staff members who are making a difference in the community; ask your staff to get involved and like photos; add media outlets to your network to encourage editors to cover your company and note, ALL channels allow users to disallow comments on these pages, allowing landlords to use them strictly for marketing and branding.
There will always be angry renters who will try to tarnish your company’s reputation in whatever way they can. So let them write blog posts that will likely go unseen—but don’t open up your precious Facebook wall to them, in MOST cases, it’s just simply not worth it.
For more information about RentSeeker.ca’s social media marketing services or any other online marketing services, including: listings & syndication, property video production and marketing, 3-D floor plans, QR codes, and website design and search engine optimization, contact our team at: [email protected]
-The RentSeeker.ca Team