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Student Housing Community Website Leverages Social Media to Show College Students How Their Lives Could Look

Our firm recently completed a website for the 33 North student apartments in Denton, Texas. While I realize that’s not exactly Earth-shattering news for anyone, the project did bring to light a new way of marketing to college students by harnessing the power of social media to personalize a website.   College students are a tough audience to reach to begin with. They grew up with the Internet and social media, so they’re not easily impressed with the latest bells and whistles. At the same time, they want to receive information on their own terms. They’re not followers. They expect companies to show them how a product or service fits in with their lifestyles.   This is especially true for college students who are searching for a place to live. They often have so many options from which to choose that an apartment community that can take that extra step of personalizing its website for visitors – and prospective renters – can gain a competitive edge. By asking students to log in to a website using their Facebook accounts, the apartment community can use pictures borrowed from their Facebook pages to give students a glimpse of what life would be like living at that community.   Our firm did that for the 33 North community (http://www.33northapartments.com). The site has only been live for a short time, but we are already seeing how the social media aspects of the website are encouraging people to spend more time exploring it. In the ......
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College Students Shun Traditional Advertising in Favor of Online Sources When Shopping for an Apartment

I just wanted to share with you some recent insights we gained from a nationwide survey of more than 500 college students in which we asked them about the types of information sources they use when looking for a place to live. No surprise, but Google scores highest among college students as they continue to turn away from traditional advertising – such as ads in campus newspapers – and instead go online to shop for apartments. Fifty-three percent of students we surveyed ranked Google/internet searches as most important in helping them find a place to live. Friends’ recommendations and those from parents followed at 37 percent and 27 percent, respectively. They identified Facebook, ads in the student newspaper, student activities sponsored by apartment communities and online ads/promotions as least important in helping them find an apartment.Our survey also found that 98 percent of college students use Google Search to find information online, and 71 percent of the students ranked Google as the most important website/application they use. Google was followed in order of importance by university websites and Facebook. The students said they rarely turned to Twitter or Google+, which is still relatively new. In fact, the majority of students surveyed said they never use Twitter. We also found that when looking for an apartment, few students use apartment-specific websites, such as apartments.com or apartmentguide.com. Our survey showed they prefer to simply use Internet search engines to find information about apartment communities. As expected, they also placed greater importance on digital......
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