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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

Live Video: If you aren't leveraging it, you should be (no experience required)

Live Video: If you aren't leveraging it, you should be (no experience required)

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. That’s pretty impressive. If you haven’t dipped your marketing toes into the live video waters yet, you better (and quickly, before everyone is doing it)!




If you’re not quite sure where to start or how to incorporate live video into your property’s social media marketing efforts, here’s a Multifamily Social Media Summit 2017 conference recap, with some great tips and tricks to get you started.

  1. Stick to using Facebook Live or Periscope for your live videos. While many marketers love the Instagram platform for a variety of other social media marketing efforts, their video feature isn’t a fan favorite. Instagram videos eventually end up going “away”, whereas Facebook and Periscope videos can be viewed multiple times and utilized in other ways (so you essentially get more marketing mileage when using these two platforms
  2. Be real and authentic. Don’t get caught up in the old school objections to video (like polished and perfect, professional lighting, professional equipment). To create great video and to truly connect with your customers, you only need to be real (and have a smartphone). Really! A favorite example of real and authentic that was shared at the conference? The video of Candace Payne. Remember her? The Chewbacca Mom? If you don’t, you can watch her infamous video here:  [embed=videolink]{"video":"

    It's the simple joys in life....

    Posted by Candace Payne on Thursday, May 19, 2016
  3. Her video was real, funny and people related to her. She didn’t plan to make a video that day and that’s the beauty of it. Spontaneity and transparency are what make you relatable. Your customers (and residents) will buy “you” before they ever rent the apartment. Video can really help you make that connection. You’ve just got to be willing to put yourself out there. If an everyday mom who just finished shopping at Kohl's can make a live video, so can you! 

  4. Live video offers a unique opportunity for your customers to actually engage with you...while they’re watching. This is such an upgrade from a typical social media post (community makes a post, customers comment and respond, customers wait for community to respond back...you get the idea). Regular social media posts are almost (I said almost) feeling like email (remember when email felt “fast”? Well, it’s not). Live video allows an immediate connection with your customers. You can build the relationship with them before they ever call, email or visit your office (and you can even start overcoming objections via live video - before they ever tour in person. How cool is that)? Bottom line: Social Media isn’t just about posting content. You can post content all day long, but if your audience doesn’t engage with you, there’s no conversation. As Joel Comm so eloquently told the crowd: "Great content (live video) + engagement = RELATIONSHIP." This is your goal!
  5. Storytelling is how you build the very foundation for your live video library. Like any great story, it can take many forms:
    • Educational/Informative

    • Inspirational/Motivational

    • Entertaining/Fun

    • Experiential - who you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing


One word of advice: Just try it! Yes, I know you don’t want to make a fool of yourself. Yes, I know you don’t quite know what to say on camera. Yes, I know this is scary. But you know what? This is where the industry is going whether you like it or not. And most industries are way ahead of us when it comes to live video - we have some serious catching up to do!


So put your marketing rockstar sunglasses on and give live video a whirl. Just like your first few weeks of leasing apartments, each video will get easier. You’ll get better, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t and you’ll grow. And in the meantime, your customers are going to love the authentic, real, hospitable you! And just in case you still don’t have enough ideas to get you started, here are a few live video ideas native to the multifamily industry. Pick one and give it a whirl. If you do, will you share with us? Please? We will be here waiting to cheer you on! Still a little scared? Reach out and I'll be happy to give you a pep talk.


Live Video Presentation and Content Ideas For Apartments and Multifamily:


  • Show a vacant apartment

  • Showcase a furnished apartment

  • Meet the staff

  • Tell human stories. For example:  Meet Mia (resident or staff member or social director, concierge, etc.). She likes to hike and there are so many great places to hike here around ABC Apartments. (Discuss local hiking spots, places she has been, tips). The goal is to try to connect with people. Again, they buy you before they rent the apartment.

  • Explore the neighborhood (urban communities could even rent a bike and take a tour through the city/neighborhood)

  • Show the building in progress (new construction/renovation)

  • Show new features/amenities

  • Tour the fitness center - and make it interesting! Use the equipment, showcase the features

  • Broadcast an event (social event, pool party, grand opening)

  • Knowledge from a resident. Interview a resident and get their best tips about living in the community and the surrounding area (think traditional testimonials/tips, except via video)

  • Walk customers through the leasing process - show them how simple it is to lease

  • Offer time-sensitive specials

  • Q&A - What are the most frequent questions your teams are asked? Turn those into a video

  • Run a contest -  enter to win by commenting on our video

  • Provide packing and moving tips

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great suggestions, Kristi!

  Stephanie Oehler
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is great, Kristi! So many creative ideas in this article!! Two quick suggestions:

- Test the strength of your wi-fi and/or cellular connections before starting the live stream. While streaming, stay away from spots that are likely to lose signal.

- Be cautious of Fair Housing compliance, and make sure anyone who will be running these live videos is aware of phrases/terms to avoid! (https://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/library/part109.pdf)

  Jordan Easley
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Loved this conference! I just shared all this information last week with my Social Media Ambassadors. They actually did a Live video while touring the property where we met. I also challenged them to do a Live Video announcing a Valentine's Day giveaway earlier in the month. The reach and engagement was huge on their videos. Think I have them all as believers now.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

When I still managed a community-and way before the advent of Facebook live and all of the incredible technology we have now, my team created our own marketing videos for use on social media, Craigslist, sending to prospects etc and we got really good results and exposure! Great post!

  Rommel Anacan

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