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New Feature: Social Bookmarking! But What Is It?

If you are keen observer of Multifamily Insiders, you have noticed a small addition to both the home page and to the blogs section. It has a whole bunch of little icons, many of which you are familiar with:


So what is this thing? Well, in the big world of the web, certain websites help to both spread the word about new websites, and other try to categorize it. That's pretty much what those little icons are for. For example, many of you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or MySpace, which are the first three icons on the list. So now, let's say you read a GREAT Insider Blog post and want to share it with your friends on Facebook. All you do is just click that little icon on the page you want to share! If you are feeling especially excited about a blog, add it to several websites to spread the word!
 

You can also use this to promote your own blog posts, as well!
 

We also included the sharing tool on the front page so we can help spread the word about Multifamily Insiders overall. Imagine if mentions of Multifamily Insiders started popping up all over Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn!
 

So just click on one of the little icons you recognize and try it out!

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Mike BrewerYou've heard that before, right? Well, it's especially true in social networking! Social networks like Multifamily Insiders are the online equivalent of an entertaining industry conference, and if you want to make contacts, build your business, and get as much out of the "conference" as possible, you have to make yourself open to that type of networking. That's where a picture/no picture comes in. For example, which person would you rather strike up a conversation with, read their blog post, or care at all about what they have to say?              In general, a picture of yourself is best. It doesn't have to a glamour shot by any means - it just helps people feel more comfortable by seeing your face. If you don't have a picture of yourself, something unique or otherwise personal will do, such as a beautiful landscape, a picture of your kid or pet, or something else that says something about you. A little less personal is using your company logo as your picture. It's a step above no picture, but few people want to talk to a billboard - they want to talk to somebody personally, and a logo just isn't very personal!So if you want to actually network on the networking site you joined, then take a moment and add a pic! You'll enjoy the response you get!(Not sure how to upload a picture? First click the "My Profile" link on the left of the screen. Next, put your mouse over "Edit" at the top of......
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Isn't our business supposed to be personal?

First of all, I want you to know that I am all for technology.  I have a cell phone, a laptop computer, voicemail, an email account, and a Facebook account.  I love that I have access to information and can communicate with the touch of a finger.  I love the fact that I can communicate with someone across the country in the middle of the night if I want to.  It is amazing.Now for the reason for my post today - I am so sick of not being able to talk to a live person.   I can't tell you how many times I have tried to reach someone only to get a digital recording and the prompt to leave a message.  I can't count the number of times that I have called communities, left a message, and never received a phone call back.  I can't tell you the number of Regional Managers that I have tried to contact, left a message, and never received a phone call back.  What if I am a resident with an emergency?  What if I am a prospective resident in desperate need for an apartment?  What is I am a family member of an employee trying to get in touch with someone because of a family emergency?Technology is great but it shouldn't be abused.  People want to talk to a live person.  They want a phone call back.  They want to know that their needs and wants are important.  While I understand this problem isn't unique to......
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Do your people do the right thing even when you are not looking?

Would it surprise you to learn that in a recent study across the country where apartment communities were contacted with requests for information via the internet that less than 10% of the communities contacted responded?  In our current economic climate where maintaining occupancy is a challenge in many of our metropolitan areas, would your communities be part of the 10% or would they be part of the 90%? 

As we begin 2009, I would challenge all multi-family professionals, whether onsite or at a corporate level, to make sure that your teams are doing the basics.  Studies have continually shown that internet traffic is qualified traffic and that the number of individuals that are looking for an apartment online continues to increase every day.  Are your properties capturing all of the internet leads that they are receiving?   Are they following up with all leads in the manner that the prospective resident requested?  Are the internet leads answered in a professional manner?  If you don't know what your people are doing when it comes to internet leads, I would strongly suggest that you find out - today.  The only thing you have to lose is qualified rentals!

 

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Seach Engine Optimizing (SEO) on Multifamily Insiders

One of the benefits to getting active on networks like Multifamily Insiders is the search engine rank aspect. When you make a free supplier listing or add a blog post, these tools can help improve the search engine rank of your company, product, or service, but only if you know how to use them. Right now, I'm going to touch on one of the most important aspects of SEO optimization, which is called "Meta" information. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10, users don't bother entering the Meta information, mainly because they don't understand what it means or how important it is!Basically, Meta information is one of the ways search engines categorize and place value on website results. So when you run a consulting business, you want your listings, articles, and blog posts to show up at the top of the heap when people are searching for "multifamily consulting", for example.In both the supplier listing and blog posts, there is a tab/link for Meta information. One of the fields will be for a description, which should incorporate your company name and the description of either your service, or in the case of a blog post, a quick blurb about the blog post. For meta keywords, again use your company name and then keywords that are appropriate for the situation. For example, in your supplier listing, use keywords that associate with your company's services and products, as well as your industry. For a blog post, use keywords that associate with the specific content......
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Using Multifamily Insiders To Understand Social Networking

One of the biggest benefits we felt we could bring at Multifamily Insiders was introducing the concept of social networking to a wider group within our industry. Although almost every member of our industry has heard of MySpace and Facebook, many still don't really understand the benefits and why their residents actually use social tools like this. Even though Multifamily Insiders is more of a mix between professional and social networking, we feel that we can be the gateway to understanding some of these well-known social networks for our members. In other words, if you don't quite have a handle on what a blog is, how a discussion board works, or social networking in general, you can use Multifamily Insiders as a test area, which will help you understand your residents needs a little better! So if you are currently waiting on the sidelines and not yet a member of the site, take a moment and sign up. If you are already a member but are waiting to get involved, the easiest way to jump into the mix is to make a post or two on the discussion board. Since our website is based upon sharing knowledge, here are two easy kinds of posts to make: 1) Share your experiences with the group. Have you recently thrown an onsite event that was a big hit? Tell us about it! Are you seeing a trend in multifamily construction? Share what you know. 2) Ask a question! Multifamily Insiders can act like a......
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Live on Technorati

I will take the time to write a longer "how to" and "why should I" blog in a few days, but I wanted to throw this nugget of information out:  When you make a new blog post on Multifamily Insiders, it gets shown to Technorati, a blog search engine!  It takes a look at the tags you use (see the link on the right side of the blog-writer window) and indexes your blogs.  I won't get into the nuts and bolts, but basically, it helps with your "web presence" by giving you better search results for the things you talk about, namely your company or brand!  I'll talk more about this later on, but just trust me that it is a very good thing!
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New Facebook Group

Since more and more multifamily insiders are jumping into Facebook, I went ahead and started a new group there.  Check it out! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=45902715371
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