Hi Michelle,

That's a clever strategy especially with international students or even students liv...
I am a Property Manager. I ran a student property - UCR - University of CA Riverside, for 5...

Training Trivia

Which of the following practices is permissible and in accordance with Federal Fair Housing law when managing student housing communities?

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Social Media

- Blog posts tagged in Social Media

Posted by on in Property Management
  One of my favorite resources for great information is DigitalBuzsBlog.com.  I am currently developing outlines with detailed  'how to's" for using New Media Marketing,  including the policy suggestions for my clients. Want to see what Coke is doing? Check out this blog on Coke's newly released Social Media Policies. You will find a link to download the 3 page document with the entire contents of  Coca-Cola's new social media policies. Coke does business in 206 countries and collaborated with their Ethical Compliance, Legal and Marketing teams.   It is nice to know that Coke just released their's, maybe we aren't so far behind. It's also nice to know they were able to keep it simple. Coke created a Social Media Certification Program as a first requirement to any team member participating as a Spokesperson. You can see the 10 Principles for Online Spokespeople listed in the blog.What department is responsible for developing  your company policies?Do you have a company "code of conduct" ? Will you involve legal to approve your final draft?Are you engaged without policies in place?Has your company created a position to manage your online brand and oversea social media policy and strategies?Do tell . . . [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6R161hDAH4&feature=player_embedded 444x250]...

Posted by on in Property Management
leaky bucket This statement was made on a call I was on and at first I agreed. Something did not ring right though... Here are my thoughts and I would love to hear yours. No doubt this economy is impacting all of us in some way and it is safe to say that many are now looking at change as a necessary evil. It is human nature to be content with status quo in most cases. So here is the question that came to mind; have we changed over the last 200 hundred years because we had to or because we felt we could make things better? I strongly believe that most changes have come from the possibility of a better way to do things and not from the pain that could be caused by not changing.   In fact most inventions may have been looked at unnecessary by many and are now "indispensable". Do you believe that Thomas Edison thought that electricity was a need or did he see opportunity for a better and more comfortable life? I know my great grandmother did not let electricity be connected to her home until 1974 because she was just fine that way it was... What does that have to do with you?... Everything! Today's challenges are tomorrow's opportunities. By embracing change as a new and better way to do things you will gain a source of excitement rather than a feeling of beating beaten up. The key word that I see tied to...

Posted by on in Property Management
A friend of mine, who is an ecommerce entrepreneur in a very competitive space and in the middle of a shopping cart migration, recently asked me for some SEO advice. After answering his specific questions, I suggested we do a few searches for high volume keywords to see what his competitors are doing. Some of the results were rather surprising. Here were the two biggest eye openers. 1. Numerous first page Google search results included pages that didn't even contain the search terms we used. 2. For many keyword searches, half of the results were video and other social media sites rather than his direct competitors. These results were not a fluke. I have been able to repeat this outcome with several searches for my own site. The first results for “4walls sterling apartments,” which would have previously delivered the listing page, now serve up my index page— which does not have the word sterling on it—as the first result. 100% of our social media clients are seeing their Twitter, Facebook, or both of these pages on the first page of search results for their community within 30 days (we now take before and after screen shots to demonstrate this finding). Getting great search results used to be straightforward. If you started with good content, didn't screw up the title and description meta tag or on-page text, set up appropriate internal linking and got a few sites to link to yours, you'd be golden. Everyone would think you were a...

Posted by on in Property Management
The time and effort individuals are spending on sites like Apartmentratings.com detailing their experience, (most of which involves trashing the community and management staff in explicit detail) is appalling, and threatens the integrity of the site. Yet, on almost every on every page I review, the only people talking are the disgruntled residents, (or family members of disgruntled residents), and occasionally a prospective resident whose observation of the horrific commentary has spurred them to speak on the lack of usable information provided, and proclaim the residents a bunch of whiny babies. The result is a whole lot of screaming and trash-talking and very little relevant information. The resident spends an hour creating an in-depth dissertation on why they hate the community they live at, then proclaims it to the world, and the management company says nothing. They are completely invisible and therefore not part of any conversation. Why not? Why are we ignoring these sites? They’re not going away, and they certainly aren’t doing the consumer any good given their current scope. In fact, they are turning the consumer off all together by making our industry appear pretty pathetic.What’s a savvy property manager to do?Reality Bites. Perception is 99% reality, and the disgruntled resident has an outlet to proclaim their reality. Instead of being defensive, try to look at it from the resident’s perspective. Why are they so mad? Why are they willing to spend extensive time and energy proclaiming how incompetent you are? It’s simple - some don’t feel heard,...

Posted by on in Property Management
I know this is such a cliché title and perhaps the die hard Trekkie fans may only understand it.  Here are the two key words to explain it, Borg and the Federation.  The Borg were determined to make change on their terms no matter what got in their way and the Federation resisted this and hence the common expression the Borg would make is : Resistance is Futile.    We approach each day where words like change, shift, new, revolution, generation seem common in daily conversation, blogs, news etc.  There is no doubt that change is here and that a major shift in how daily business operations are accomplished is necessary due to the impact of things like social media and new generations of incoming employees and residents.  In general most of us by nature resist change and the main reason behind that is the delivery method.  If the Borg approach is used and change is forced on us, we automatically resist.  If change is delivered in a palatable way, with gradual implementation and education that is conducive to our personal way of adapting, then the transition is much easier.  My experience at the IREM Georgia Social Media workshop will illustrate this.   At one of the roundtable workgroups I was with, one of the ladies asked me a point blank question.  She asked, ``Should I go and purchase the XYZ for Dummies book to help me learn this?`` My response to her was an automatic one purely based on my personal...

Posted by on in Property Management
  The rating review sites are being read by tons of people trying to find an apartment! Unfortunately, People reading there are swimming in a slug of negative complaints, nasty attitudes and bad manners. How refreshing and Unexpected would it be to read a motivational quote, hear about a food drive on a property or see a funny riddle - compliments of the Management Team? How would they feel if they saw a link to the pictures of your residents at the "Race for the Cure" or had a chance to read about your teams "Random Acts of Kindness" campaign? I am not suggesting you ignore the negative, respond to it with diplomatic flair and THEN - share some of your GENEROSITY & HUMOR!!! Are you ready to STOP letting the rating review sites be a PAIN? Follow the link below to a discussion on the TotallyToni.com Fan page. This is a combination of a two-day conversation from my FB wall - about a series of new ideas! It's time to see the review sites as a social media tool and adopt new policies that generate quality leads & leases. This is a marketing opportunity - not just a review site. Reviews are not the only information you can post! In this discussion we review the TOS from the top sites with great input from Mike Whaling about what to put where!  It is time to surprise people and make this powerful online space work FOR US!  Here is the...

Posted by on in Property Management
 Once upon a time, I was a theatre major.  This was during the era in my life that my parents referred to as, "Heather making decisions that will not earn her a lucrative career."  As I took more art and theatre classes, and their hair grew grayer and, in the case of my dad, more sparse, I actually learned a ton of skills that have become invaluable to me in my day to day life.  As a theatre major, one of the elective courses I took was "Improvisational Acting."This class was amazing, and I saw funnier stuff come out of my classmates than I saw the rest of the time we were at college.  For the first month of the class, the teacher, Kate, let people pretty much go where the moment took them.  Inevitably, it always lead to liberal use of the F-word,sex or drugs or sex AND drugs while saying the F-word.Was it funny?  Sometimes.  We were in our early 20's, after all.After the first month, Kate made the rule that we couldn't go there anymore.  Her justification was that it was, "too easy," for a laugh, and it wasn't really taking a lot of thought.  We could go anywhere else, but we couldn't go to sex and drugs, and we started to limit the casual mega swears.It got a heck of a lot funnier after that.See, when you make the joke or get the laugh with bad language, sex, and drugs, what you're getting is the reactionary laugh. ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Social media tends to have some buzzwords that don't often make a lot of sense to the general public.  For example, we talk about improving "engagement" with our residents, or "joining the conversation".  These are terms I use all the time, but I realize that they are not exactly the most concrete of terms.  So oftentimes, instructions with these terms are quite vague and leaves the apartment community teams scratching their head.  So here is the first attempt at showing apartment communities how to create a content plan for their social media strategy, which can be used in their community blog, on their Fan Page, on their Twitter profile, or anywhere else they have set up shop.  This will be separated out into five different blogs: Plan Your Types of ContentIdentify Partners in Content CreationPlan the Timing of Your ContentWhere to Post Content and Content Types  (i.e., Links, Tweets, Videos, etc)Social Media Tools Most Helpful to Apartment Communities This blog post is going to focus first of the type of content that your apartment community should/could be considering.  Although I will do my best to give concrete examples, the best "take-aways" should be in the process itself.  Your Apartment Community's Service - Most of the time, from what I've seen, apartment communities jump on Facebook, Twitter, etc and have no real plan as to what they are actually going to say.  So they first look inward at their own community.  This is exactly right, but the vast majority of the...

Posted by on in Property Management
First off I would like to give a hat tip to Brent Williams, the chief at MultifamilyInsiders.com, for spurring this conversation and inspiring this post. We had an interesting conversation going on from one of my previous posts, and it came around to "managing one's expectations with social media." I've said all along that social media is a part to building your online brand. With building any brand we all know it takes time, and building an online brand can seem like you're doing it all over again. The good news is that if you already have a brand then it's not a complete rebuild, but it's taking a different view point for how your brand is going to present itself online. This doesn't happen overnight, and the "build it and they will come" concept just doesn't work. No longer can you just build a website and hope people find you. You need to continually build your presence online, you need a strategy, and you needed to start yesterday. For those of you that have started, GREAT! For those of you thinking about starting, it's time to get a move on.In my comments to Brent from that post I shared what I've helped J.C. Hart do over the last 2 years to build a better online brand. That's right 2 years. Here's what I shared:This is a challenge and a hurdle so many struggle with. The main issue really isn't where the resources are coming from, but how people are stuck...

Posted by on in Property Management
microscopeState the Problem- Why am I using social media?  How will I use it?  What benefits will it bring my company and community?  The purpose of social media is to reach a broader audience and connect with key people that are using these platforms   Form a Hypothesis- I predict that if I research this properly and use surveys to ascertain where and how my audience is using social media, I will then be able to reach certain marketing and retention goals.    Experiment- I will make a Facebook page for my community.  I know how many people in my community use Facebook, so I will reach out to them and invite them to become fans of my page.  I also know that local businesses use Facebook, so I will also reach out to them.  I will daily try different content on my page and use a recording method to track my results.  I am interested in statistics such as how many new fans I have, who are they and why are they fans, how many interactions did I have on my page, did my page result in clicks to my community website?  I will use Google and Facebook analytics to help track my progress.   Analysis- When experimenting with different content and posts, it had an impact on the interactions.  When content was not regular, this seemed to affect website traffic.  Reaching out to local businesses that have become fans has built up interactions on the page.  New fans are...