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Leverage Social Media During Social Distancing

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spreading COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, we’ve seen businesses and school closings, events being cancelled and in-person contact being limited. As we continue to social distance ourselves, communication, response plans and ideas on how to continue to engage with residents have likely been on your mind or already developed.

 

Social distancing might seem intimidating, but we are more connected than ever thanks to social media. Now is the time to take advantage of social media technology and sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

Below are some thought starters on what to communicate to current and prospective residents plus unique ways to keep engaged with residents virtually:

 

Communicate Transparently and Frequently - Make sure all of your social media channels are current and include information about how you're adapting to the current environment. Update your hours of operation and how residents and prospects can get in touch with staff. Be transparent and just state facts. Communicate daily,weekly or as available to address the property’s COVID-19 response,advice,policies and protocols. Include links to FAQ guides or to authorities and external organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins University, local governments and outbreak maps. Below are some examples of timely topics and updates to provide.

      Office closures and impacts

      Amenity space closures, adjustments and guidelines

      Resident events

      How to handle rents, renewals and other payments

      Package handling

      Maintenance requests

 

 

 

Communicate With Empathy - This is a time of much uncertainty, fear, and anxiety for people, some of whom have been personally affected by the Coronavirus or have had loved ones that have. It’s important to be sensitive with the language we choose to use in our marketing and communications. Tweak your copy to be more empathetic to your residents' potential situations.


Consider Livestreaming - Use Facebook and Instagram Live to make important announcements and hyper-timely updates.

 

Leverage Online Listings for Virtual Tours and 3D Matterports - Share links to your listings for prospects to view photos, virtual tours, 3D matterports, floorplans, reviews, neighborhood information, nearby transit and points of information and more.

Leverage Digital Leasing Tools - Leverage your website for appointment scheduling, touring, and online leasing.

 

Host a Virtual Open House - Use a chat platform such as FaceTime with the prospect and the leasing agent doing a virtual walk through of the property and unit.

 

Use Social Listening Tools - Social listening is an important tactic that helps multifamily property organizations understand sentiment and conversations about their brand. If you have a social listening service, you can set up keyword terms for mentions of COVID-19 or coronavirus in connection to your property or local community. Regardless of whether you use a service, or follow social comments on your own, following comments and trends will help you better serve your community.

 

Respond to Your Reviews - Now is a great time to respond to those reviews you've been too busy to tackle. You can also encourage residents to leave reviews on your online listing and share the positive ones to social media. Google just announced that they are temporarily disabling new reviews, review replies and new Q&A for all businesses until further notice. For Google's complete Help article on the issue, see the link at the bottom of the article. Yelp also announced a zero-tolerance policy against "any claims in reviews of contracting COVID-19 from a business or its employees, or negative reviews about a business being closed during what would be their regular open hours in normal circumstances". Any flagged reviews during this time will be manually reviewed by Yelp staff and if they don't comply with the guidelines they will be removed. These reviews will not be counted against a business's star rating. For Yelp's response on the issue, see the link below. 

https://support.google.com/business/answer/9792336

https://blog.yelp.com/2020/03/yelp-covid-19-response-and-support-for-local-businesses

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