I agree! I'm tempted to go do some test videos just to how well they would turn out.
I love the idea! There are so many ways hyperlapse can be used at the communities. And, it feels r...

Training Trivia

Open ended questions are helpful tools leading up to a close. Which of the following is an open ended question?

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Social Media

- Blog posts tagged in Social Media

Posted by on in Property Management
As a shock to very few, corporate involvement in social media continued to grow during the recession, as we have also seen in the apartment industry. A push to have our communities present on Facebook and Twitter, among others, has been a hot topic in 2009, and will surely continue in 2010. However, is this growth realistic long-term?  Walk-in traffic declines caused by both the poor economic environment and the seasonal aspect of move-ins has caused many communities to shrink their staff to account for the lower occupancy in their communities. But those that have not made changes to their payroll likely have more idle time from their on-site teams. Considering that social media is largely a labor-intensive endeavor, we've seen a huge jump in social media participation from these companies. That in itself is great news; if you are not busy, using this time to expand your social media presence seems like a solid strategy. However, what happens when the economy rebounds? Unfortunately, those free labor hours were not budgeted for, but rather left over from other activities. And when those other activities (i.e., leasing) pick back up, those available hours are going to disappear, leaving quite a few abandoned and lonely social media programs in its wake.  The question then becomes what happens when you abandon a social media strategy? When you decrease advertising spending, very few are likely to notice outside of your advertising sales reps. However, with social media, you have worked to create a community. So what...

Posted by on in Property Management
Louis Vuitton fan pageBig Money recently released The Big Money Facebook 50, a ranking of the brands that are currently making the best use of Facebook. Various metrics—including fan numbers, page growth, frequency of updates, creativity as determined by a panel of judges, and fan engagement—were factored into each page's score and ultimate rank on the list. Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Disney, Victoria's Secret and iTunes round out the top five. James Ledbetter notes that contests and other promotional activities drove the success of most of the list members. While I'm really excited to see a list like this put together I'm a bit disappointed that the listings don't actually link to the respective fan pages. So, I decided to look up ap few of these fan pages and see what I think works about them. What's great about social media is what works for one brand can usually easily be transferable to another. Buffalo Wild Wings (#48): asks questions - that are fan based and have nothing to do with wings, such as "Who's the better quarterback in tonight's game?" and a few that are BWW specific "Got a favorite sauce? Let's hear it!" Taco Bell (#47): posts promotions with photos - people like photos when they are being sold to. Audi (#44): asks for feedback "Automaker Audi seeks out fan feedback. It hosted a campaign encouraging fans to discuss what its next car should look like, and the company recently posted a survey asking fans what they wanted from the page." Target (#43): got...

Posted by on in Property Management
One of the pre-conference workshops at the NMHC Tech Conference I recently attended featured a panel of leaders from the leading Internet Listing Service players.One of the questions was about the impact of social media on their businesses. I think we ran out of time before we got to the juicy stuff, so here is what I would have said if I were on the panel: you're ambivalent about us, but you're really going to hate it when social media puts some of us out of business. And I'm not talking about Facebook and Twitter.1. Video sites - Search for your property on YouTube.com and chances are you'll find more than one video that has been placed by you or an ILS on your behalf. You'll see tracking numbers in many of the ads. YouTube videos are starting to appear in the search engine rankings. Some users will click through to your website, but others will just pick up the phone and call you. There's not enough information in these videos for prospects to properly qualify themselves. You're going to hate the drop in lead quality you'll experience as traffic from YouTube grows.2. Review sites - You already hate apartmentratings.com, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Today, you also need to contend with apartmentreviews.net, shouldirentit.com, ratemyapartments.com, 247apartments.com - and that's just what I found on the first page of Google results for my search for apartment ratings and review sites. Google favors sites where content changes frequently. What...

Posted by on in Property Management
OK, so now that we've established that facebook does have a positive ROI, that we SHOULD be "doing it," the question naturally becomes, how/what should we be "doing" on facebook?This is PART III of a 3-part series. You can read the intro here:Intro: 3 facebook questions everyone asks when starting out... OR Part I: The ROI of Facebook - the Value of Creating CommunityOR Part II: Facebook-itis: Addressing the Fear of Facebook head-on!This is a loaded question, as many times, in our industy, we are focused on leasing apartments. We naturally want to tout our advatanges and post our specials - the way our traditional marketing avenues with print advertising and ILS's have allowed us to do. Please keep in mind that for our industry (as we have now discussed on the ROI of facebook - the Value of Creating Community), facebook CAN be a marketing tool, however, it is first and foremost a connecting and communications tool to creating and fostering community. Facebook is NOT traditional, so to be able to use it as a marketing tool, we will need to think about it non-traditionally. Throw away those ideas of just blasting what your community is about, "advertising" specials, or listing prices. To better help you determine what you should be "doing" on facebook, let's address a couple of basic questions:Who do you think your community's "friend" or "fan" is?Why do you think they are would accept a "friend" or "fan" request from you?What do you think your "friends" or "fans" are there...

Posted by on in Property Management
We all have a love/hate relationship with our apartment ILS's. We love them for everything they do, and we hate them for everything they do. Yes, I'm talking about Rent.com, ForRent.com, Apartments.com, Move.com, ApartmentFinder.com - those are my big ones, but I'm sure I'm not mentioning dozens of other ones. I'm talking about ALL of them! Don't get me wrong, I love all my providers! They bring me traffic. Traffic is king these days. The provider's sales agents are great - friendly, helpful, a HUGE resource to apartment communities. But, the actual services all lack something EXTREMELY important - make it easy for the prospect! KISS! (Keep-It-Simple-Silly!*) (*I hate calling anyone stupid, so have replaced stupid with silly)A recent blog post I did and two recent discussions on Multi-Family Insiders got me to thinking:Give the prospect what they want. In the end, they are our customer.To read the recent RENT SODA blogpost and discussions on MFI that got me to thinking, click below:There's a MARKET for THAT! (my RENT SODA marketing blogpost)Advertising on Yours (and Others') Good Names : an MFI discussion started by Mike WhalingThe ILS Conundrum - an MFI blogpost by Mark JuleenWhy can't the ILS model be more simple, and cater to the prospect? Make it easier?If they get THEY want, you get more traffic, and you drive more traffix to US, and we get WE want...everyone's happy!I've been a renter before, and as a renter, or anyone looking for a service for that matter, I love it when:...someone else has aggregated all the...

Posted by on in Property Management
Maximize your marketing efforts and reach more prospective residents with a community video. Highlighted below are the top eight ways to generate even more exposure through various social networking avenues using your community video. 1.      Email Signature: Including a hyperlink to your video in your signature allows prospective residents easy access to virtual contact with your property. 2.      Facebook® Status Updates: Posting the YouTubeTM link in your status update provides a measurable distribution channel allowing syndication of your video through fans' newsfeeds. It affords residents the opportunity to showcase their apartment community to family and friends who are potentially searching for apartments, leading to increased views and positive sentiment. 3.      MySpaceTM Status Updates: Posting the YouTube link or MySpace video link to community video in status updates creates consistency across platforms and encourages employees and residents to post. It affords residents the opportunity to showcase their apartment community to family and friends who are potentially searching for apartments, leading to increased views and positive sentiment. 4.      LinkedIn® Status Updates: Posting a YouTube link to statuses allows for exposure among influencers and other contacts and encourages employees and residents to post, increasing relevant viewership. 5.      TwitterTM Status Updates: Tweet your video through work and encourage residents to tweet. This affords followers the ability to resend to their followers, allowing promotion of the community and increasing the probability of your video going viral. 6.      Embed Video on Blog: Embedded code to your blog coupled with written and video content provides prospective residents...

Posted by on in Property Management
This is PART I of a 3-part series. You can read the intro here:3 facebook questions everyone asks when starting out... OK, so the million dollar question is:What is the ROI (Return on Investment) of facebook for my site? Usually followed up by - how many leases can I get from facebook? Serious questions, and just like an owner/investor/upper management to get to the point - eh?Well, short answer is your ROI is either 0% (yes you read it right, ZERO) or 100% depending on how you look at it. Intrigued? Read on...Facebook is all about creating community.  It's all about people connecting with other people because they have at least one thing in common. There is a group for just about anything and everything, from politics, to sports, to music. Some as broad as "I Love Music" fan page which has over 2.4million fans, to the more specific, like "Sting" fan page that has over 300,000 fans, to your local band, who may have 100 fans.Your apartment/site IS a community - whether you are 30 units or 300 units or 968 units, your apartment IS a community. Your #1 person on site - their title is "COMMUNITY MANAGER." hmmmm....Before facebook, and it wasn't so long ago, most sites had a bulletin board of some sort. The community manager &  staff would decorate this board, organize it, and make sure it fit within the guidelines of your community in appearance and postings. You allowed residents to post random things on there, like...

Posted by on in Property Management
People ask me all the time about facebook. Some people are just confused, some are scared, some are excited, some are clueless, still others hesitant, and then there are those who FAKE it! (You know who I'm talking about!) Why all the confusion? Why all the ruckus? I just don't get it, and if you have been reading my posts and know my tagline, well, I GET IT. But all this confusion is...confusing!So, let's talk it out, or should I say, blog it out. I've narrowed down the top three questions I get asked most often:1.) What is my ROI when using facebook as a marketing tool? - This is usually asked by various levels of upper management - your CEO's/COO's/VP's/Director's. Occasionally a very business-minded manager also ponders this out loud.2.) Should my site(s) "do" facebook? - This is usually asked by someone who realizes that they NEED to be on Facebook - because everyone ELSE is thinking about it or already "DOING IT."3.) What should we (as sites) be "doing" on facebook? - This is usually asked by someone who has just opened up a facebook account and realizes they don't know what to say or "do." Their friend list consists of 22 people - 10 of whom are vendors, 8 are competitors, 1 is their mother, and the last 3, they *hope* are residents or prospects of their apartment community. OUCH.Don't get me wrong, there are a TON of other questions, but these are the ones I get asked most often. AND, very relevant questions for beginning users, intermediate users, and...

Posted by on in Property Management
How are you writing your apartment community craigslist ad titles? Are you using rent concessions to drive traffic to your property? What if you don’t have any promotions? What content are you posting to your Facebook and Twitter pages? Are you just posting your rental rates and promotions? Did you know that more than half of American adults are attempting to save money?A new Harris Poll shows interesting statistics regarding ways adults are trying to save money: 36% have switched to tap water and refillable bottles instead of bottled water.21% have cancelled or cut back on their cable TV service.20% have stopped buying coffee in the morning.14% have been carpooling or using mass transit.Let’s face it, not every community can compete with ever-increasing rent promotions and concessions. Sometimes, the rent cannot get ANY lower. How do you differentiate your ads and your content from competitors when the properties are so similar? Try this: if your community offers something of value, highlight that feature in your ads, in your Facebook Page content, and occasionally in your Twitter feed. Please understand: I don’t mean use a long list of amenities. Frankly, that’s boring and exactly what everyone else is doing. Use the statistics above to create ad titles/headlines that are unique for your community.Below are a few examples of ways you can turn your apartment community features into a call-to-action. Your community offers -Free water and trash services.“Save $50 a month with our FREE water and garbage service!”Free cable.“Thinking of canceling cable to save money? If you...

Posted by on in Property Management
This may come as a shock, but I've been thinking. After the Rent.com debacle, I started thinking about the ILS models in general. I've shared some of my thoughts about ILS's in a MFI discussion (click here) before, but here are some more ideas and I want yours please. Tell us what you want to see. How do you want to see the ILS's change? [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMXtv5SG-7U 444x350]As seen @ Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd ...