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How to Leverage Free User-Generated Content for Apartment Marketing & Social Media

Creating and curating content for apartment marketing and social media can be time-consuming, costly and involve using a lot of creative capital. Many apartment communities simply do not have the resources to employ an entire marketing team, so staff often have to multitask.

 

Property managers are sometimes responsible for far more than just marketing; their duties can involve graphic design, social media, resident event management, lease up programs and more. Due to the multi-tasking nature of these positions, focusing a lot of time and energy on content is practically impossible. However, curating content from tenants or staff isn’t nearly as strenuous on time or resources.

An article written by Bill Gates all the way back in 1996, titled Content Is King, emphasized the value of content far before Internet marketing ever took off.  Many of Gates predictions came true and content has reigned supreme in online marketing. The average Internet user consumes a large diet of content; but also produces content as well – this user-generated content is an often-overlooked area for apartment marketing content curation.

 

User-generated content is extremely valuable for several reasons, most importantly being that it resonates better with users and develops a better brand image. User-generated content also appears more genuine and authentic. Consider some of the following stats:

 

1.     Bazaarvoice found 86% of millennials say that user-generated content is a good indicator of the quality of a brand.

2.     Adweek discovered that user-generated content results in 29% higher web conversions than campaigns or websites without it.

3.     Shopify claims that user-generated content based ads get 4X higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click than average.

4.     Sprout Social found that 75% of consumers say they will share a positive experience with a brand and consumers are 70% more likely to make a purchase with a company after a good interaction.

5.     Experticity discovered that 92% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content.

6.     Social Media Week stated that 87% of brands use user-generated content in order to share “authentic content” and 72% believe (correctly) that it helps them engage their audience.

 

So how would an apartment or property management community go about acquiring this user-created content though?

 

Perhaps the two most valuable sources for curated tenant and staff content is through Instagram and Facebook geotags on public posts. Here’s a brief overview of how geotags work on these two platforms – keep in mind geotags are applicable to other platforms as well, like Snapchat.

Instagram

 

Users can easily add locations to their Instagram posts and as long as their profiles are not set to private, their photos will be publicly visible in the search area.

 

As an example, let’s look at Parkside Student Residence in Toronto. It’s best to access Instagram on mobile, but for some marketers, this may not be convenient. In that case, there are a variety of tools like User-Agent Switcher that allow desktops to act like mobile devices when using a web browser.

These are the results for Parkside Student Residence location search on Instagram.



While it’s not uncommon to find a lot of resident selfies, there will be some fascinating and creative photos that can potentially be used for apartment marketing. Consider this lovely night-time photo captured that could easily be repurposed for some social media content. Or a property might have an up and coming artist creation like Parkside does.  It’s not uncommon to see properties feature some of their tenants (with their permission, of course – we’ll give an example further down).

There’s a few ways to repurpose Instagram content, as it isn’t necessarily the easiest to save from the Internet. The simplest way would be through a reposting app like InstaRepost. If it’s preferable to download photos instead of reposting, there are apps like Instag Downloader or a nifty trick on Chrome if you’re using a desktop.

Facebook


Much like Instagram, users can attach a location to their updates or photos. The location is visible in the search area, if the user doesn’t have a profile set to private. For this example, we’ll take a look at Envie Ottawa.

If we search ‘Envie Ottawa’ on Facebook and select the places tab, we’d get these results.  It looks like Envie recently offered their space up for a music event in which a photographer was present. Since the photographer himself tagged the location, it would be fairly easy to seek permission to use these photos. Perhaps one of the building’s residents was an upcoming musician, which would add for a great tenant story.

Geotags are just one of the many ways to find tenant-produced content. Interacting and engaging with residents in person is another great way to develop and nurture tenant relationships, while perhaps discovering a tenant with an interesting story to tell.

 

Let’s look at how some of these techniques are actually being applied by some apartment marketers.

 

There are hundreds of apartments across North America already employing this tenant/staff content curation strategy, but here are a few that stood out:

1.     Varsity Properties – Featured Tenant of the Month

2.     Domus Student Housing – Domus Boy Band

3.     CAPREIT – Meet The Kims

4.     Evo Montreal’s #StudentsOfEvo Series


While some of these examples are a little more polished and not necessarily 100% created by the tenant, they still show how to repurpose or utilize content relevant to the apartment communities.

This is not a complete overview of all the ways to curate free user-generated content, but it’s a great introduction to leveraging social media for this purpose. We encourage apartment community and property managers to take a look at what their residents are sharing, as it’s a great way to find content and develop tenant relationships.

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