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Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
In our internet-driven society, having a website is now not only strongly advised, but a necessity for property management firms. A company’s website needs to have visual appeal, be easy for visitors to navigate, be optimized for search engines, and also have that “wow” factor that gives you a competitive edge over your competitors. No pressure! Whether you are a new property management business who needs to develop a website, or you already have one but it needs some serious updating, you’ll have to make the choice between designing the site in-house or outsourcing the project to an advertising or web design agency. There are plus-sides and disadvantageous to both, and a lot of it depends on the current structure of your company.   At my property management firm, Trimark Properties, we’ve used both an outside agency and an in-house developer over the years to design the website for our apartments near UF. We ultimately realized which course of action was best for us, but which one should you choose – an in-house developer, or an outside ad agency? An easy-to-navigate, visually striking webpage is critical for property management companies. Benefits of Designing a Website In-House  You know more about your company culture and what will attract tenants Nobody knows more about your apartments, company culture, typical tenant profile, and marketing vision more than you do. While you can relay this information to an outside agency, it can be difficult for them to develop a website that fits your specific vision....

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
  I absolutely love this use of Instagram for an apartment community!     Happy Birthday to one of our maintenance technicians, Rodney! We are celebrating with coffee and donuts in the office, but be sure to wish Rodney #HBD when you see him today! #WildOakKC #DunkinDonuts #Birthday A post shared by Wild Oak (@wildoakapartmenthomes) on Apr 20, 2017 at 7:12am PDT ...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
By now you’ve probably been exposed to “social” ads. You know, the ones you see popping up in your Facebook or Instagram feeds? Maybe even on Twitter? Even if you haven’t yet taken the leap and set up or run any ads for your specific property or location, you’ve probably at least seen an ad for some sort of product or service show up on your page or newsfeed (maybe you’ve even made a purchase from an ad - I’m personally a sucker for t-shirts with cute slogans and any “baseball mom” themed items. Ha!).   But whether you’re already running ads for your company, community, product or service or still just getting educated on where to even start, these awesome tips and insights from the 2017 Multfiamily Social Media Summit should help get you on the right track:   How in the world can we use ads to compete like a big brand? Think about it this way. Nike, for example has a huge, diverse audience. Young, old, sports enthusiasts, casual athletes, sports fans, men, women, children - the list goes on and on. However, in multifamily, our target market and demographic pools are much smaller. Yes, we rent to people of all ages and with many different backgrounds and interests, but all of our prospects have one thing in common - they are looking for an apartment. They are renters. They aren't condo shoppers or homeowners (yes, sometimes they overlap, but most of the time they are solely in...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
b2ap3_thumbnail_Google-home2.pngA lot has been written about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice-activated search devices such as Alexa or Google Home. Yes, apartment property management is beginning to take steps to bring this remarkable technology onboard.   I recently spoke to dozens of industry professionals about how AI plays into their operations. Below are the 12 most provocative comments. Visit the full story in the April issue of units Magazine and see who said what.   1. “Real estate is a top industry that could benefit from AI, but it’s way too early to say devices such as Alexa are making an impact. Even the leading, break-through industries are not using AI regularly yet. So, real estate is not ‘behind’ when it comes to implementing AI.”   2. Asked if the company is working toward implementing AI in day-to-day operations, one apartment REIT with a long-standing, strong reputation for experimenting with cutting-edge technology, says, “Not now. But check back with us in the third quarter.”   3. “For AI to truly be a better and enduring solution from the resident experience point of view, it has to deliver answers, information and convenience that is greater than or at least equal to other options, including what a person could deliver through conversation or what they would need to look up themselves via a web or resident portal search.”   4. “When it came to using chatbot for customer service, owner/investors’ responses were mixed. Some would say, ‘I think that’s great’; and others would say, ‘I...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Insta-Marketing. As in, marketing you can implement instantly. Who doesn’t love (and need more of) that?   Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social networks of today’s highly digital era and it’s actually a fairly easy platform to learn, even for today’s most social media challenged individuals (no shame here - everyone has to learn sometime, right?).   So when it comes to multifamily marketing, what can you actually do to improve your marketing on Instagram and why should you be doing it? Well, a group of savvy marketers recently learned exactly this at the Multifamily Social Media Summit 2017. We heard from Sue B. Zimmerman (also known as THE Instagram Expert). You can find and follow her on Instagram by searching for her handle, which is: suebzimmerman     Here’s what she taught us...   The Why: Instagram has more than 600 million active users Instagram has “less noise” than other social platforms (more simplistic approach with photos) You can use photos to “tell” your story (and your customers will most likely help you tell your story too, through their posts) It’s quick. Posts require little more than uploading a photo and incorporating some hashtags It’s easy to toggle between Instagram accounts (for example, if you have a personal account and a property account) Instagram is focused on mobile (helloooo that’s where our customers are) Instagram is visual (which is exactly what we want to be in this business) You can get qualified leads through this platform...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Multifamily Social Media Summit in Napa, California. It was three full days of nothing but “social” and this social butterfly came back armed with SO many new strategies and solutions (which I’ll totally be sharing with you - don’t worry)!   This is one of the few industry conferences that is hyper-focused on one, very specific marketing niche and I appreciated that. In the marketing world there is an awful lot of “noise.” So being able to listen to ideas and approaches that zeroed in on one of the most customer-facing components of our industry today (social), was a real pleasure.   The conference was fast-paced, with a long list of experts, many of whom came from outside the apartment and multifamily industry. With a new presenter on stage nearly every thirty minutes, the ideas were flowing and the audience could barely take notes quickly enough. The first session featured keynote speaker Joel Comm, who reminded us that Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook is “all in” when it comes to video (he’s already invested $2 billion in Oculus, one of the top virtual reality tech firms).   No matter which social platform is your favorite, you’ll want to be sure you’re in-the-know with video. Why? Because every single expert who presented at #MultifamilySMS2017 dished out data and numbers that just simply can’t be argued with. Video (especially live video) consistently sees higher engagement rates amongst followers than any other form of content....

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Apartment developer American Land Ventures has capitalized on the popularity of selfie photo booths by including one in the elevator of its community Vu-New River, located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The “camera” is dubbed The Vu Tube and is built into the video screen that is mounted to elevator cabin wall. There are touchscreen “buttons” on the monitor so that residents and their guests can take candid shots. The image then appears on the screen in a preview pane and the residents have the choice to save or delete it. Images saved are then posted on the community’s social media channels, including the Twitter wall in the lobby. “Our residents love it and it’s a great memory point that we have during our prospect tours,” Jason Robertson, Vice President, Development, American Land Ventures, says. “It will stand out for apartment hunters, especially those who have visited a lot of different properties in one day.” Robertson says the technology was simple and inexpensive. “It was just a matter of programming the software to enable images to be taken and shared,” he says. This blog was originally shared in UNITS magazine published by the National Apartment Association....

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Residential apartment owners and managers are always looking to minimize overhead, maximize their reputations for quality and reduce resident turn. New technologies now offer solutions that can address inefficiencies in repair and maintenance and help property operators manage quality assurance across their entire portfolio. In the mobile era, where  social media can dramatically impact how residents perceive the quality of their communities — from building appearance to amenities offered — it’s critical that properties are maintained in superb conditions. By doing so, operators will decrease turnover and improve the speed at which vacancies are filled, leading to lower marketing costs to attract and retain residents.   Just a few short years ago, monitoring repair, maintenance and quality assurance across residential housing was typically managed by conducting inspections using spreadsheets or paper-based checklists. Today, new technologies are changing the game by streamlining the inspection process and empowering building supervisors to customize their inspection forms, include timestamped photographs as part of their inspection records, and save each inspection online for easy reference. With the right platform, inspection data can be aggregated for analysis, and segmented by region, property and unit. These new advances help apartment owners and managers optimize their capital expenditures, improve each property’s reputation and reduce resident turnover.   Mobile inspections improve operations by standardizing maintenance checks and ensuring compliance with codes and regulations. A regular cadence of inspections using a mobile platform — and the powerful use of in-line photography — can help spot issues with big-ticket items such as...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
      We at Trimark Properties specialize in student housing, a special niche of the real estate market. The Millennial generation is more mobile friendly than any previous generations, meaning the days of paper storage and outdated computer systems is over. The Internet has reshaped the real estate industry since properties can now be viewed and utilized on a phone, tablet, or computer. Potential residents can take a virtual tour online of an apartment before committing to a real tour and have a plethora of information at their fingertips. Therefore, they are much more knowledgeable about the apartment market since online research is so easy to undertake. The multifamily industry is now focused on what things millennials are looking for. Even though millennials are the most mobile friendly age group by far, many other generations still have the same expectations for ease of technology use as well. Regardless of age, if a person drives past your property and sees it is for rent, they should be able to easily search for that property on Google, find a comprehensive list of the property’s amenities, interior pictures, and contact information for a leasing specialist. Since Trimark has mostly college students in our Gainesville market, many parents are very involved in the leasing process. For a parent who is worried about the living situation of their first child at college, technology can be your company’s greatest weapon, or its greatest weakness. Lack of pictures on your website paired with an unfriendly format doesn’t...

Posted by on in Social Media and Technology
Since its debut earlier this month, Pokemon Go has become a massively popular app, prompting millions of downloads and user numbers that rival Twitter. For those not familiar with Pokemon Go, the app is based off of the Pokemon franchise which features animated “pocket monsters” that users can catch. Though the franchise has covered movies, a TV show, games, trading cards and more, Pokemon Go marks the first time it has been available as a free mobile app, where users can sign up and instantly begin playing the game. Because Pokemon Go is a location-based app, many real estate companies have seen a positive flow of traffic, particularly on the multifamily side.  Pokemon Go players are now visiting what are called PokeStops, designated spots where they can collect more Pokemon. These are mainly random businesses scattered throughout each area. With the game focusing on location, apartment owners and managers have the opportunity to capitalize on this fun trend. If you’re a student housing professional, or have simply noticed your residents using Pokemon Go at your apartment communities, consider using these marketing tips to keep residents happy and attract new ones as well! 1) Have a photo contest of residents who take pictures of Pokemon at the apartment community. Since Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game, users will see Pokemon appear on their phone. This makes for fun moments when they can see Pokemon appear in places like their living room or kitchen. The most creative picture can win a prize from the...