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Is Your Community FLAWSOME?

No person or brand is perfect, and fortunately today’s consumers—or in our case, residents—understand that while we strive for perfection, it is sometimes hard to reach.  Now before any apprehension sets in, as we know you deal with resident complaints and work orders every day, let us explain. Although no community is perfect and incidents do happen, hiding or avoiding flaws can actually be detrimental to your relationships with residents.  According to TrendWatching.com, “Human nature dictates that people have a hard time genuinely connecting with, being close to or really trusting other humans who (pretend to) have no weaknesses, flaws or mistakes – don’t assume brands are any different.”  Basically, if something goes awry, address the issue, keep your residents in the loop, share your plans to fix it and, if possible, provide solutions to prevent it from happening again—all in your most human-like tone even if you are communicating it through a computer.  This is called being flawsome. Flaw∙some [flaw-suhm] adjective: Marketing trend and term coined by TrendWatching.com that describes a brand that is embraced and respected by consumers despite having flaws. Being more accepted as a brand by consumers for being “human” and transparent. Being a transparent brand that has flaws, knows it has these flaws and owns them! Now don’t misinterpret this resident sentiment.  Being flawsome does not mean getting away with more and doing less now—residents’ unwavering expectations and standards are still set very high.  Being flawsome comes with still trying to meet these expectations to the best of your ability, but when the......
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Increase Occupancy Via Twitter Mind Control – The Three ‘R’s

Up until a few weeks ago, we had no competition in social. Our community dominated the Twittersphere. Enter our biggest competitor. A recent change of management brought forth a more social staff. Tweets are now going out and, this time, they’re not just recycled from Facebook. After almost 2 years of research, I’ve discovered that most of our residents are using Twitter regularly so we’ve scaled back the Facebook and beefed up the Twitter. Increasing Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control starts with three ‘R’s.  This post offers insight into new mind control methods you can use in both conventional and student focused housing markets. Part 1 of the 'Increase Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control' series (seen here) will show how to search for relevant posts in your area, but it doesn’t quite go deep enough. To maintain our position as top dog, we’ve had to think outside the box. Now included in our daily searches are local events such as New Student Orientations.  You may be asking – OK, so what do I do with them once I find them? A careful balance of engagable posts, that’s what. Retweets - A ‘Retweet’ is Twitter’s version of the share button. Clicking ‘Retweet’ directly copies a user post and sends it out to your followers. It also generates a notification to the user you quoted, but the text is small so while this type of engagement is sought after by many, it’s not the most effective. Replies - Replying to a Tweet will also ......
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21 Ways to Show You’re Social [in pics]

Social Media is powerful—that’s pretty much recognized across the board. But a massive social following doesn’t just happen overnight (unless you're like Jeremy Lin or Madonna). Which is why it can be beneficial to promote your community’s virtual presence in the real world.

Here are 21 examples of how businesses create visibility for their social media platforms through means which are offline. Some tactics could clearly translate to the multifamily biz, others would take a bit more creativity. So to get you thinking...




Dillard’s Breezeway Billboard - In a fairly basic attempt, Dillard’s invites shoppers to get updates on special offers and events through their social media platforms, by placing a sign near the store’s entrance. Easy, simple, to the point. 

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Welcome to the Age of the Customer: The Information Age is Over

Source: Forrester Research, Inc.By Dan Hobin, CEO, G5 I’ll never forget when I was in college, I saw Guns N’ Roses open for The Rolling Stones.  A few songs before falling off the stage, Axel Rose whipped out, “You’re crazy—hey hey, you know you’re crazy—you’re f***ing crazy”.  Remember those lyrics? That was a good tune, and probably what someone would say to you today if you told them the Information Age is over. According to a report published last summer by Josh Bernoff of Forrester, the Information Age is evolving into a whole new age. With commoditization and the continuous disruption of technology, the Age of Information has given way to the Age of the Customer – an era where only “customer-obsessed companies will survive”. When we moved from the Industrial Age to the Distribution Age to the Information Age, competitive barriers like manufacturing strength and distribution power lost their value of differentiation as they became commoditized. Similarly, the commoditization of information has now opened the door for a new type of differentiation. In the Age of the Customer, dominance will come from those companies who engage best with empowered customers. Customers are digital, they are mobile, and they now have more power than ever before. The balance of power has shifted. With online reviews, social media, and smart phones, your customers know more about your products, services, competitors and pricing than you do—and they share their opinions with their friends. So is the Information Age actually over?  Consider that when we moved from the Agriculture Age to the Industrial Age, agriculture did not......
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Painting Postcards; The Apartment Developer's Dilemma

I toured an apartment complex the other day and was asking tons of questions of my leasing agent (who knew that I was a developer and was just shopping their product). I am always struck by the wall that goes up when you ask demographic questions (I do get that that these young folks are taught to not even address these questions for fear of being hunted down by the crazy Fair Housing police). Unfortunately, as a developer, these are about the only questions that really concern me.   When choosing whether or not to undertake a $50M investment, understanding who the prospective renter is- is actually a critical part of my job. Of course there is always the basic demographic info that we get from our consultants:   Income breakdowns. Traffic counts. Local rent comparisons. Gender breakdowns. Blah, Blah, Blah…   But to best serve the community and position my leasing team for success, it’s all demographics and psychographics:   ·         What are the racial and sexual preference demographics in the area? ·         What kind of cars do they drive? Do they require regular or premium gasoline? ·         Do they wash the car themselves or use a service? ·         Do they drink beer and wine or alcohol? Which brands? How often? ·         Do they have their shirts dry cleaned? ·         What gym do they belong to? Do they go or just pay for the membership? ·         What TV shows do they watch? ·         Do they have or want to have children......
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Maximize Your Property’s “Exposure”

When’s the last time you Googled your property? What did you see? Harmful reviews that you didn’t know existed? Outdated property photos? Incorrect information? Oftentimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day operations and running our apartment business that we fail to put ourselves in the perspective of the consumer (or apartment prospect), the true reason we exist and ultimately the factor that will contribute to our successes or demise. I want to offer a suggestion—er, or rather a challenge—to all on-site professional property managers and staff: Google your property. What do you see? What might be more fascinating is what you don’t see. Generally, when a potential renter finds us from a traditional ILS (i.e. apartments.com, apartmentguide.com, etc.) and expresses interest, he or she will most likely Google that property, look for reviews and other insightful information that will guide their decision. On the flipside, prospects already aware of a community’s name might bypass an ILS, and Google a property’s name to gain knowledge. This is where savvy on-site staff can truly shine by utilizing all outlets available to flood a search engine with pictures, amenities, and language that can sway a prospect to rent. So, what will you find when you do a Google search? The other day I Googled my own property for the first time and I was introduced to a plethora of advertising outlets that I didn’t even know existed. And the best part, they were all free! Here’s a few that will likely pop......
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Do You Have A B2B Marketing Message?

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL As property owners and managers we need to change our thinking about marketing. For instance, do you have a B2B (business to business) marketing message or do you just focus on B2C (business to consumer) marketing? I would guess that many of you have B2C messages down pat, but fail to focus on B2B. The reason the real estate management industry does not look at itself as playing in the B2B world is due to a myriad of things, but the most pertinent being our training and how we’ve been taught to present ourselves to the marketplace.     For instance, a typical business report about the economy focuses on consumer spending, retail, housing starts, home buyers, and the stock market. There is no mention of the terms we are familiar with, such as number of units, total square feet, vacancy, occupancy, tenants, building improvements, and leases signed. There is no connection to our industry metrics and benchmarks. Our data and statistics are not tracked due to the nature of our business model. It is as if our industry is a forgotten piece of the economic pie. For this reason, I think there is a disconnect in how we really fit into the picture. My intent is to turn the tables and give you some tips on how to improve your B2B marketing messages by giving you the confidence to realize that we are vital to our communities. The B2B marketing message you create......
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Questions Are Nuggets Of Gold

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL When managing your property staff, encourage them to ask as many questions as possible. In general, people are afraid to ask questions because they think it makes them look less qualified. However, you must listen and treat each question like a nugget of gold. As a property manager you need to train your staff on the ins and outs of your business, but if they are not sure about something, encourage them to ask questions. Otherwise, acting without direction may have serious ramifications! Hearing questions before an action is taken should be like music to your ears, when compared to hearing about a mishap or a mistake made because they didn’t ask. For example, would you want to risk to an employee’s safety because a team member failed to ask a question about proper safety procedures? Also keep in mind that when something takes longer to do or makes your staff work harder, don’t scream at them for asking, “Why must it be done this way?” and respond with an “it’s my way or the highway” type response. Instead, explain that it is for the greater good of the property, the building ownership, or that it is a requirement of the insurance policy. Make it clear to everyone involved why there are certain processes and procedures in place. In so many cases, if people do not understand the reasons, it can create confusion and problems. Life is hard enough without being caught in the......
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Lessons Your Community Can Learn from Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but once again the occasion raised the question; is it a day full of love and romance, or simply an over-glamorized “Hallmark” holiday? During the week of the fourteenth, the topic of Valentine’s took over social media platforms everywhere, as an inundation of tweets and posts told the tale of two hearts, one positive and one negative. As “#HappyValentine’sDay” was a trending topic on Twitter, “#Happytobesingle” followed close behind from those who were not as enthused. Whether the array of red and pink decor, flower bouquets and chocolate heart boxes leave you feeling tickled pink or filled with anxiety and despair, Valentine’s Day still provides some informative takeaways for your business.   1. Don’t limit your gestures to special occasions, spread the love year-round.Although holidays are an appropriate opportunity to show someone you care, provide gifts to family and friends and maybe partake in the annual mingling with relatives, these kind gestures ought to become habit all year long—and your marketing efforts should follow suit. Building relationships and engaging with residents must be an ongoing occurrence, especially in your social media interactions. Share the love each day by setting aside time to interact with residents through social media.   2. Spice things up.Monotony and routine have no place on Valentine’s Day, nor should they appear in your marketing. Keep residents involved and engaged by using different communications outlets and messages. Explore new ways to attract residents while also adding value for current renters. Have you ......
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Does Your Property Manage You?

By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL Do you manage your property, or does it manage you? This should be at the forefront of your mind every day. This question is meant to keep you on track and focused. Why? Because property management is an industry that can make or break you! As property managers we are the ultimate in multi-tasking. We know that anyone can become a property manager, but the ones that truly standout and differentiate themselves are the ones that manage their building. Not the other way around. There can be constant interruptions and challenges throughout any given day. The day starts out fine until you get a call about a flooded property, or an unexpected customer complaint. Now you need to drop what you are doing and attend to the crisis at hand. As you begin to tackle this new challenge, it is best to keep reminding yourself that you manage the building, the building does not manage you! When the flood hits, do you have a contingency plan? Why is the customer complaining? Analyze the issue and address the problem. The number one solution is to be proactive. Do all you can to prevent these issues from happening again. Manage it and do not just react to it! When an issue arises, it must be broken down into the smallest components in order to find the reason or cause. Once it has been solved, it is time to develop a new approach or plan so that......
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