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Appreciation - Who needs it?

"There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread." ~ Mother Teresa Appreciation fuels productivity and reinforces relationships. It's important to know what makes a person feel appreciated. What do people like, enjoy, appreciate and value. Unlike a Briggs Myers test, we need to know more about their heart. I found a book some years ago that I just love called the Five Languages of Love. According to Gary Chapman the author, the five languages of love are physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service and words of affirmation. You can take the official 5 Love languages personal profile assessment and determine the rankings of these languages in your life. The more we understand each individual person's heart, the more thoughtfully we can demonstrate our appreciation. It is always good to have a meeting with each of your team members and find out the best way to reward them. Some people appreciate a word of affirmation over a gift. I surveyed property management site teams once with this question - What is the best gift you ever got from a business associate? Here are the answers: Pens, Monte Blanc pen, gold ink pen, emery boards, a nice bottle of wine, calendar, clock, sash chocolate, cookies, coffee mugs, design poster signed by the artist, dinner for two, food for the staff, tape measure, gift basket, gift certificate, leather checkbook cover, leather coasters, letter opener, screw driver, Christmas poinsettia, small flashlight, smile stamp, thank you card ......
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Shouldn't you get a better title than Mayor for checking in - 220 miles above the Earth traveling at 17,000 mph?

Foursquare just announce the first check-in from NASA Explore Badge was received by Commander Douglas H. Wheelock of Expedition 25. He checked in using Foursquare at the International Space Station unlocking the NASA Explorer badge in the process. Checking-in using Foursquare's mobile site from the space station venue the commander received the following message.,  "You are now 220 miles above Earth traveling at 17,500 mph and unlocked the NASA Explorer Badge! Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream." To make an even bigger social media statement -  he then tweeted his success! http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2010/oct/HQ_10-273_Foursquare.html You can follow NASA at http://twitter.com/nasa Commander Wheelock can celebrate now, but when Expedition 26 docks later this year we will see a competition for the most exclusive mayor-ship on Foursquare generated by the arrival of Commander Scott Kelly. "Check-ins from around the world have been cool, but this blew my mind!" said Dennis Crowley, CEO and co-founder of Foursquare. "We're psyched to partner with NASA to help users explore the space program and the universe."ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Who can compete with that? YOU CAN!  Foursquare and NASA  have created earth-bound locations that will release this special badge around the planet. Visit a NASA-related venue where you will find information from NASA about the location and earn your NASA Explore Badge. My brother lives near NASA in Houston - I can't wait to get my mine when I visit him next!   NASA has always believed in supporting the idea of "exploring" and......
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Apple & Facebook - Happen? Won't Happen?



This Week news sources are reporting that during an Apple earnings call, chief executive Steve Jobs suggested the company might spend an astonishing $51 billion in cash on one or two "strategic opportunities." After a leading people to believe conversations between the two business giants were about the integration with PING, is there actually an offer to purchase Facebook?

Apple and Facebook have a lot in common, says Tom Kaneshige at Network World. "Both are innovative companies with a rebellious history and, critically, are icons of their respective generations." It's not as if they're completely separate entities, either. Apple's Ping is a move into the "social networking game," while Facebook is a huge hit on the iPhone and iPad.

Are we looking at the world most creative products joining with the world fastest growing social network? What do you think? Happen? Won't Happen? Is Mark ready to cash in?

I am an MAC fan and a Facebook Fan! I love the innovative spirit of both. I would love to see what happens if they join forces!

I say it is a good thing, but it probity won't happen. Put on your "Futurist hat" and tell me what you think? What would Apple do with Facebook?

What say you?

Toni Blake


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To My Online Friends - An Open Letter of Apology

Today I have had an epiphany. Several things happened that made me see the light.  First, SocialTimes.com reported that 71%  of tweets do not get a single reply. I have often wondered why my tweets drifted off into thin air, like I was only tweeting into the wind. I’m not big on tweeting, but others are, so I do it to stay cool. :) I have followers, so often I tweet out of “Twitter guilt”! I also realized today that 2 people are following me on Slideshare. REALLY - you can follow people on slideshare. Today I also learned that you can "check in" to local businesses on Yelp and become a Duke! That's right - I was really proud to be the Mayor until I leaned my buddy was a Duke! I am working to build friends on MFI, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare and everywhere I look is my profile! I just think I am at the end of my preverbal social media rope. So, to all my friends. I apologize for all the request, updates, unnecessary tweets, group invitations, check ins, shouts and status updates. It’s ok if you don’t follow, lead, comment or share, I am just really happy to be your friend. I apologize if you have felt obligated to follow me because I quote Elvis (like I did last week on Facebook). If you are my friend and I hope you are, I would like to publicly apologize for the expectations of social media. I will try to reduce m......
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FOUR Powerful Ideas for Foursquare Success - It's time to PLAY!

Toni Blake Foursquare Guide 1  Foursquare's gorilla marketing has turned geotagging into marketing juice for local businesses. More than 3 million people have become active players on Foursquare, with over 20% pushing their "check ins" to their Facebook page and Twitter accounts. This is one of the most powerful "local" social media tools available. I downloaded Foursquare to my iPhone and have really gotten caught up in the game. I find that it has awakened the sleeping "girl-scout" in me. It has been a long time since I have earned a badge and I was quite thrilled when I did! I must admit, the first time I became "the Mayor" I wanted to stand up in the restaurant and make a public announcement. I find myself checking  what "places" are nearby that I may want to visit while I am traveling! Have you engaged in this game yet? You can download the app to your smart phone to get started. Get ready to have some Foursquare FUN! Here are FOUR Powerful Ideas to increase your Foursquare Success 1. The first step towards success with Foursquare is making sure that your property is listed as a venue. You can check to see if your business is in the Foursquare database on their website. (Brent can you make this a hyperlink?http://foursquare.com/add_venue) From here you can also claim ownership of the business (it will be referred to as a ‘venue’ on Foursquare), and start to build your profile. Don't list the property as just an apartment community. Feature your property amenities and......
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Are you on Skype yet? You should be!

Today you can go to Skype.com and download FREE application to turn your laptop or desktop into a Video Call center, plus the call is FREE through the internet. Talk Face-to-Face with your regional, president, mother, sister and friends on Skype. You can read your little girl a bedtime story from your hotel room on the road, Doug and I often share dinner together on Skype and enjoy real-time conversations. I took this screen shot not to long ago. Doug Skyped American Idol on one computer and then set up an Ichat with me on the other so we could watch Idol Gives Back together. He made a sandwich and I ordered room service and we were online for free for a couple of hours enjoying a meal and TV. This is an amazing tool and I am having a BALL!!!!  I am excited to begin to use this program to share training, inspiration, motivation and ideas with my clients and industry professionals.  You will need a built in or web cam for your computer. I went to PCMag.com for the best reviews on equipments and found Editor Choice web cam from Logitech. Anytime you have to purchase an electronic devise I recommend you check first with PCMAG.com. I was then able to search for the best price on the best devise and found it at Best Buy on sale. Anne Sadovsky just purchased this one and we are Skyping away! It is so much fun sharing ideas and it's a great ......
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Hide & Go Seek BINGO for Apartments!

I had a Fan on America's Top Apartment Leasing Best Practices ask for an idea that would incorporate a Bingo theme into a leasing incentive!!! After a little help from Google I created the fun idea of hiding Bingo balls throughout the tour route, clubhouse, amenity areas, and mini-modle! Each time they find a new ball they are one step closer to winning! I found the balls for only $17.99 for a Wooden 7/8" diameter with burned in numbers that won't rub off!

Then I found bingo game supplies for less than $20 that includes 1000 playing cards from us-bingo.com! This looks really cheap and easy! Hide & Go Seek Apartment BINGO - check out your new apartment & community to WIN!!!! I am cracking myself up today!!!!! :  )


I thought this was too fun not to share here!!! I never would have thought of BINGO -

Thanks Suzy for giving me the challenge - I hope you like my idea! Join us at America's TOP Apartment Leasing Best Practices where the TOP 100 leasing professionals from across the country share ideas!


 Toni Blake


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The New Facebook Community Page - don't be fooled!

Facebook has created a new page type called a Community Page. Just because it was launched on April 1st, don't be fooled by the language to think that it is the right type of page for your apartment community. When you click on "Create a Page" you will now see the option of the "Community Page to the right. This is NOT what you want to build. Your business fan page should be built by selecting "Create a page for a - local business" seen on the left side of the page.


Community page are for "causes" and groups of people passionate about one thing. This is Facebook's answer to the  "unofficial" pages.  Facebook has announced that these types of pages will be administered by the Facebook community.  You can read more at AllFacebook.com and Mashables.com. People have created pages for a variety of topics. You can check out some of the examples like "I don't care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia - it has 5.82 million fans. 


Here is a link to the AllFacebook.com blog with more details. 



Have a Happy Easter!

Your Friend, 

Toni Blake


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Resident Oriented URLs are ABUNDANT - should you Go Daddy?

It seems that most companies are still buying URLs that promote themselves. Even though many of us have read "the cluetrain manifesto" and are working hard to use our "human voice" in business. Many of the best resident oriented URLs are still ripe for the picking. If we are going to be "found" in the new marketing world, the content must attracts renters when they are looking (Googling) for answers and information that mattes to them. While in Canada I searched for the availability of the follow URLs and found everything I could think of AVAILABLE!  I just heard that $200,000.00 was paid for Multifamily.com. How valuable will the best resident oriented  site names be once everyone begins moving in this direction? If I had a ton of cash laying around, I think I would pick up a few of these and see what happens.  Have you thought about how you are going to attract the public to your apartment community blog? What key words will move a renter's google search to land on a blog built by YOU? What can you share in the spirit of "pure giving" in a human voice that services the public? How can you create blog content that will build trust and loyalty in total strangers and inspire them to find out more about you? Is the URL stile available to share that message? Here is a list of blog names and content descriptions that I started and shared with my executive audience in Toronto.Before I close......
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How are you making your "Mark" in Social Media?

It's important to maximizing the use of the tools on Facebook. The value is not in the tools, but what is built with them! By adding graphics and clever photoshop in the profile picture you bring unique identity to a facebook fan page. The visual representation of the profile picture  goes with each and every post, comment and is sent out again each time a it is "shared".  While considering options for a profile picture I had a revelation.  What if I made stamps? Each time I "post" ... the stamp could be my postmark!!! Here are a few of the decisions we made:1. We created a white boarder around the artwork so the entire postmark shows with each post. You can as see both in the profile picture and the post below! Facebook crops your profile picture so we used the white boarder to be sure our entire image was exposed.2. Remember, each time your profile picture appears it is accompanied by the entire name of my page.  Therefor you do not need the name of your page in the picture. This allows the use of this space to make a clear simple artistic statement that represents the unique identity of the page. We did repeat our fan page name at the bottom for ID purposes, however, it is there for the when  the new stamp is shared in full size.3. To launch the new postmarks/stamps we created a special postcards for the two fan pages and the results have been fantastic. 4. We......
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