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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.

Social Media - Leverage Your Network To Grow Your Online Presence

All too often, when people jump into social media, or when they try to expand into a new network, they seem to try to start from scratch, meaning they go out to try to find new fans/friends/etc without effectively leveraging their existing network.  You already have a group of people that you are already friends with, do business with, or generally have a good impression of you, so rather than try to find a whole new group of contacts, leverage these contacts to jumpstart your entrance!

This strategy works for apartment communities, suppliers, and personal business networking.  An absolute great example of this is actually from one of our new bloggers, Talisa Lavarry.  It usually takes a blogger a while to establish his or her “voice” in the community and build a group of fans of their blogs, but I noticed that Talisa seemed to have a surprisingly high number of social mentions, specifically Facebook “shares” of her blog.  For example, her “If you got it FLAUNT it!” blog currently has 20 Facebook shares, which is fantastic for a relatively new blogger.  After looking a little further, it was clear that she was effectively jumpstarting the conversation for her blog by sharing it to her own Facebook profile, where she already had a strong network.  In other words, she was using her existing strong network on Facebook to help build her network on Multifamily Insiders – brilliant!

So what did this “jumpstarting” program actually do for her new blog series?  (This can be applied to Facebook and most other social networks, as well!)

1)      It established credibility.  If you look at a piece of content, whether it is a blog, a Facebook post, etc, and it has no interactions, people tend to dismiss it, unless they have a very strong relationship with that person or business.  So having a high number of shares at the onset sends the message to all the others that your post is worth taking a look at.

2)      If you like it, then it feels weird if I don’t.  I don’t recall the study, but essentially, if you have a crowd of positive supporters, it is less likely that someone will disagree.  Instead, they are more likely to question their own opinion, rather than go against the conventional wisdom of the crowd.  So not only did she get more views this way, but people were also more likely to read her blog in a positive light. 

3)      Conversation breeds conversation.  Getting a comment or response from someone you know is infinitely easier than getting a comment from a stranger or acquaintance, especially when it is the first comment on a post.  So by reaching out to your existing network first, you hopefully can jumpstart comments from those that know you best.  And once that first comment hits, the second, third, etc comments are much more likely to appear.

4)      Shares breed shares.  Just like comments, if one person shares a post, others are more inclined to do the same.  More often than not, people follow the herd, even when it comes to small decisions, such as whether to share something or not. 

Other great examples of jumpstarting this positive response with their own network is Ross Blaising’s blog series, where he utilized his LinkedIn connections to establish his blog, as well as the Training Factor’s social media program.

This doesn’t have to be just about blogs, however.  Apartment communities can use this same strategy, but the key here is being effective in the conversion.  I’m sure many of us have tried the following phrase, or something like it:

“We have a new Fan Page – please Like it!”

In this example, the community clearly is trying to leverage its existing network, but this approach fails more times than it succeeds.  The problem is that there is nothing compelling for me to bother to go like that page.  What exactly is in it for me?  Even if I know you, or your business, it doesn’t make me actually want to Like it or interact.  So when trying to leverage your existing network, there still has to be something in it for them, such as a contest, something entertaining, or some other compelling reason.

So instead of seeing a new social media profile as a separate beast, instead try to see it as an extension of your existing network, and leverage your group of contacts to jumpstart the conversation!

Brent Williams is Chief Insider of Multifamily Insiders.  You can learn more about social media in the multifamily industry by viewing his “Effectively Posting On Facebook” program.

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Oh Wow! Thanks so much for the compliment Brent and thanks for being such a great help and resource. Learning the ins and outs of all of this has not been easy but it's definitely been fun and I realize that we are all constantly learning and growing. I look forward to all that is to come along with this ride. Thanks again!

  Talisa Lavarry
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Brent,
I agree, many communities don't reach out to their current and prosepective residents enough to let them know of their social media presence and why they should follow.

If you are posting event notices, maintenance notices, community activities, things to do, emergency notices, let them know.

Here are some more ideas for how to get the word out:
[url]http://respage.com/increaseyourfanbase.html[/url]

  Jackie Koehler
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great information! Thank you, Brent!

  Sandy Martin
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks everybody, glad you found it useful! (Sorry about the other comment - it was from our test account )

  Brent Williams

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Share Your Location
Many of you reading this blog have taken the right move and started up a MySpace page to reach your prospects and residents in new and dynamic ways. Some of you have done the same on Facebook, and even have created a group on Facebook.   I just read news, however, that might make that a little more sticky. Apparently, Facebook is soon going to require users to enter "male" or "female" in the profile in order to ensure proper grammar in their website. (http://www.chr...
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