Enter your email address for weekly access to top multifamily blogs!

Multifamily Blogs

This is some blog description about this site

Google Places Debuts New Features

If your business has multiple locations, some new Google Places features will be music to your ears.

The changes are designed to simplify the upload and management processes. With the new tools, you can:

- Edit several listings at once

- Search your listings, filtering by specific information or listings with errors

- Upload new listings with a data file, or add them individually within the interface

- Easily send feedback using a "Give Feedback" link

These two short videos show the features in action. The first video is for new users who can't make bulk uploads yet, and the second is for verified users.

1398 Hits

5 Multifamily Marketing/Tech Models in Trouble

5 Multifamily Marketing/Tech Models in TroubleLast week Blackberry/RIM and Best Buy were two businesses that went on a list of dying companies.  It's often hard to predict what the future holds, and we have a tendency to get tunnel vision when it comes to our own businesses.  It's unfortunate these companies have found themselves to be in dire straights, but for me I look at situations like this as an opportunity to reflect on my own business and industry. What may look like a solid model today, may not be tomorrow.  With that, I'd like to share my list of five multifamily marketing/tech models that may be in trouble. 1. The ILS - I've actually been known to say that the ILS is an absurd marketing idea.  While I may have been trying to generate some controversy with that statement nearly 3 years ago, it's interesting to think today I actually believe the ILS model is in trouble a bit.  At least the way the big players look today.  If you look at Apartments.com, ApartmentGuide.com, ForRent.com, Rent.com, Move.com, etc., you'll find their models really haven't changed much since they started.  However, the way people search online is changing.  We may see a few fall off over the next 5 years if they don't evolve in an aggressive way. 2. Pay Per Lease Marketing Model - As tracking becomes more sophisticated we're finding (and concluding) renters are using more than one source to find an apartment.  Is it fair to give all the credit to a single source and pay them a......
Continue reading
6097 Hits

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......
Continue reading
2686 Hits

Google+ Neglect

Alright. Confession time: How many of you haven’t touched your Google+ profile since 2011? Go in Peace. You are forgiven. *Unless* that is, you have neglected your Google+ Business Page. The opportunities awaiting you in Google+ are far too great to be forsaken.

Recent changes at Google have broad SEO implications, opening up a new world of possibilities for businesses that take notice. Last month’s announcement of Search Your World Plus marks a dramatic shift in the future of search engines; a future in which search engines understand the unique individual on the other side of the screen. The people at Google recognize that “best search results” are different for each person, and they’re transforming Google Search to be able to provide its users with personalized content. A large part of how they do this, is by garnering information found within the online communities that people belong. According to Google's chief engineer, Amit Singhal, “...behind most every query is a community.” And they’re modifying the nature of Google Search to reflect this concept.
Continue reading
1633 Hits

The Price of Engagement

And I'm not talking the married kind of engagement. (although that can be pretty pricey too)

I'm talking the price of engagement in regards to social media. I was not a bandwagon social media user. I wanted to understand how to engage and converse with our residents and potential residents before I jumped on the social media train. I also wanted to understand how to measure engagement and then translate that to value for our clients. 

For me, the  issue with social media is not the time it takes to post, blog or tweet, the issue is engagement. Are you maximizing on opportunities of engagement? Are you talking at your residents and prospects are talking with them? Having thousands of fans or followers are great but what are you doing with them?

What gives you the best engagement bang for you buck? I have included my top three.


Posting and tweeting are a marathon, not a race. If you clog up their news feed, they are sure to unfollow or unsubscribe. Studies show a post every 3-4 hours is the sweet spot.


Are you looking at your insights page? Your insights page has a wealth of information and demographics. Use that to your advantage when posting. 


Look at your most successful post (in terms of likes, comments, impressions, re-tweets, etc) and figure out your feedback score. For the posts with the highest feedback percentage, do you see a pattern of posts people engage with most... sports, fashion, decorating ideas? 

I benchmark everything. As a Director of Marketing, making sure my marketing team's time is well spent requires just that, benchmarking everything. Have we figured out the secret formula to social media, engagement and ROI.. not yet but I'm working on it. :-)

Happy posting!


Sparkle Hammond, M.Ed.  First Communities | Director of Marketing
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.century-apartments.com | www.facebook.com/centuryapartmenthomes

Continue reading
2739 Hits

Social Media means having our residents market for us. Don’t be scared…

It seems like over the past five years or so, an infinite number of marketing channels have emerged. We bought pages on listing sites, then we created our own property websites.  Now web pages are generated for our property just by having a resident “check in” on Facbook or Foursquare.  Seriously!  This makes it extremely challenging for an apartment community to have one coherent brand on the web. So what’s a marketer to do? First, claim your facebook page! This can be as simple as going onto facebook and searching for your property name to see if it has already made its way onto Facebook without your knowledge. If you see your property in the search results, click on it and take a look… It probably says X number of people like this, Y number of people are talking about this, and Z number of people were here (where X, Y, and Z are real numbers). This is because everytime someone adds an interest to their profile, Facebook automatically creates a landing page for that interest. So if they like where they live… Bam, landing page!  The same thing happens if someone checks in somewhere…it will add it to an existing page or create a new one.  While it feels like this is totally out of your control, don’t worry – it’s actually a GOOD thing. It means (a) your residents like you, and (b) they’re telling their friends about your property (by virtue of publically checking in).  So how do y......
Continue reading
2272 Hits

The Evolution of Search, plus Your World

Last week Google announced on their blog that they would be transforming their search experience into something rich with people and personal content.  Google claims search is limited to public webpages that are created by people you’ve never met.  At the heart of this new ‘search,’ Google is looking to bring your social world closer to you than ever before:

“Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more. But clearly, that isn’t enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to… all from one search box.” – Amit Singhal, Google Fellow

Google will be bringing this content directly to your browser by personalizing your search results page in three very specific ways:

  1. Personal Results: Find information meant only for your eyes, such as Google+ photos and posts – both your own and those shared specifically with you – on your results page.  
  2. Profiles in Search: Immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following in both autocomplete in the search bar and the results.  
  3. People and Pages: Find peoples’ profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest and follow them with just a few clicks.  

What is Google telling me?

Google will continue to show all of the natural results and ads you would normally see on a results page, but now you will also see websites that your social circles have shared as well.  Just like Google did when they rolled out Universal Search, they are now pushing content from Google+ into the search results along with Google News, Images, Maps and Video.  You will no longer need to leave Google search to find information your friends or family have shared.

[video:http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z9TTBxarbs 433x300]

What kind of impact will this have?

It is no secret the tiny component tying this new search experience together is Google+.  If you ever questioned whether a Google+ account was needed, you may find it more vital than ever, especially if you are a search marketer.  Think of this new search environment as search results sprinkled with Google+ suggestions.  This format of search is not new, but rather an update to the current Universal Search in which all Google products are being represented on one page.

As with any Google update to search (remember the Instant Search craze?), this new approach has caused quite a stir in the search marketing community as Google critics and enthusiasts alike are alarmed with the direction Google is taking.  Danny Sullivan, one of the most respected people in SEO, has written several great articles on this subject.  You can read about his concerns with this new search format on his post Search Engines Should Be Like Santa From Miracle On 34th Street.

What Can I do?

For starters, create or update your Google+ profile. You should also spend some time to build a strategy around the messaging you want to deliver via Google+.  The idea is to be engaging, so people can share your content, which gives it the most reach.  In a world where search is now personalized by what friends +1 or re-share to their circles, engagement levels should become a top priority.

I’d love to hear your take on this updated search.  Do you like this new direction Google is taking?  Feel free to leave a comment or take the conversation to Twitter (@AmadoCan).

Happy searching!

Note: This was originally posted on the Apartments.com Blog - http://www.apartments.com/blog/uncategorized/googles-latest-search-plus-your-world/

Continue reading
1961 Hits

Get over your vanity metrics. Social Media channels are Marketing and Leasing channels

So, you've read through countless fun blogs from within and outside the industry and yes, you've smiled to yourself as you've had to thumb through silly posts about the author's dogs or sunglasses and/or other gimmicky things to keep you reading. And yes, you've gone a step above and read through more authoritative beats like Mashable or TechCrunch or HBR to yes, still find yourself having to smile and get through gimmicky articles on social media.  And in that time frame of lost minutes  (and yes, hours), you were trained over and over to think that social media was about #fans #followers #tweets #comments #posts and other "measurements". Well, guess what they were wrong and you were wrong to believe it. These vanity metrics simply don't add up to leases or renewals. At the very stretch, they are ONLY good for brand lift, which you likely will ONLY consider once you can DEMONSTRATE you have a handle on building true marketing and leasing ROI. Otherwise, I give it to your boss to tell you to eat it and find something else better to do with your time. And the reason is simple, we as an industry need to spend the very little time we do have to market (how many of you truly have a full-time dedicated marketing manager on site???) on getting a return from it.  So, here is how to do it.  Break your social media into two sections Customer Service and Employee/community recognition (which leads to brand lift......
Continue reading
2691 Hits

Budgeting for a Social Strategy

I was chatting with Mike Whaling yesterday, and we both agreed there are definitely some quick wins out there to help optimize your brand, stores, properties, etc. online.  It can be time consuming, but claiming your business's pages on Google, Bing, Yelp!, etc. can be quick ways to get some SEO juice for your websites and help promote your business on those additional channels.  Where I struggle from there is with a content strategy ongoing. Here’s the honest truth, you can’t half-ass it anymore.  Search as we know it today is changing, and if you aren’t trying to be part of or help create conversation then I will predict that drive-by may become your best lead source.  OK, that could be extreme, but the algorithm is changing from a keywords model and more value is being put on conversation and connections with real people to a brand.  Criticize Google+ all you want, but even if that doesn’t do exactly what they hoped it most definitely highlights how Google is giving more credit to social connections. If this really is the case then I believe it’s time to revisit your marketing spend.  Mike and I created an Apartment Marketing Checklist a couple months ago for people to really think about.  It highlights much more than Craigslist and ILSs when it comes to your marketing, and I hope it begins to help you think about the next steps in growing your online presence.  There are plenty of opportunities and strategies to consider, but what I will tell you is ......
Continue reading
2201 Hits

Duplicate Content a Site Killer? Not to the ILSs

            I recently heard someone say that duplicate content will get your site banned from Google. It simply isn’t so. If it were, every single ILS would have been out of business years ago.             Most larger property management companies are interested in maintaining a consistent message and rely on products like Lead2Lease, ILS Portal, Dynamic Lead Solutions or other lead management and tracking solutions to automate feeds to ILSs, craigslist and other online marketing vehicles. Among other things, this results in the same community description text being in hundreds of places on the web.             Let’s look at 1500 Locust as an example, which is managed by The Bozzuto Group, one of the top 10 multifamily developers in 2011 and one of the largest property management companies in the East. Its community description is 199 words long. According to Google’ Webmaster Tools, “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. ” I think most people would agree 199 words is a substantive length.  Doing a Google search for a snippet of the text reveals they are sending this description to (or in some cases, it has been unknowingly syndicated to or scraped by) ForRent.com, Orbitz.com, 4WallsInPhilly.com, BridgeStreet.com, Oodle.com, ApartmentRatings.com, YouTube.com, RealEstate.com and olx.com.  Clicking through to the second page reveals another ten results. After looking at the 5th pages, I got bored. I’m sure if I continued clicking I’d see Google has omitted some results,......
Continue reading
1418 Hits