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The Importance of Social Connectedness

The Importance of Social Connectedness

We all know that great resident retention depends largely on factors like timely maintenance response, friendly staff, unique amenities and beautiful curb appeal. But how much thought is given to the importance of social connectedness relative to resident satisfaction and renewal rates?

There is a great deal of evidence of late on the impact of being socially connected (or not) on physical health and psychological well-being. You can read an outstanding article on the subject citing several related studies here.

Witten Advisors presented some interesting industry data on connectedness at the recent NMHC Annual Meeting in a session titled "Hanging onto Residents by Cultivating Real Community and Relationships." Take a look at the following graphs:





Surprising, no? Such a small percentage of residents have more than a couple of friends within the community, and the majority have none. And yet, look at the correlation of number of friends to intent to renew! It seems like a no-brainer that efforts to increase social connectedness among residents are well worth the investment, time and energy. All those great activities you spend hours planning are so very worth it! Anything you can do enhance or facilitate interaction between your residents will pay off in a big way; community apps and portals that make it easy for residents to communicate with you and each other, a consistent and creative schedule of events designed to get people talking and playing together, pet play dates and sitting connections, carpool-to-work opportunities, book clubs and bulletin boards for selling stuff. You get the idea . . . there are so many ways to help your residents connect.

Connect to succeed. And have a lot of fun along the way.


This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great post Judy! Our clients at Mobile Doorman focus on building community and cultivating relationships through events and creating an open steam of communication with their residents. One of the ways they execute this is by sending push notifications to their residents’ phones notifying them of what is going on at the property. In doing so, their residents have a better sense of belonging ultimately making the renewal process a breeze for both parties.

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Thanks, Mobile Doorman! Technology that helps drive connectedness is a beautiful thing.

  Judy Bellack
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This is exactly why I got into this industry! My very first startup was actually a social network specifically for the communities to help build those connections.

Several years ago, I remember Virginia Love talking about their use of RentMineOnline, which is now a part of RealPage, and it occurred to me that one could track the use of that system with renewals to get a true data point on actual renewal behavior. (For those who are reading this who don't know about RentMineOnline, it was a social recommendation program where people could recommend their apt community to their friends - Therefore, those that moved in because of the service would be considered to have friends in the community, and therefore, their renewal rate, when looking at a large scale, would reflect the power of that relationship.) I don't think this was ever looked into, which is too bad.

  Brent Williams
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Thanks, Brent, and agreed that tracking renewals to get a true data point on this topic would be tremendous.

  Judy Bellack
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Nice post Judy. Yes and social networks are still a great way to make sure you communicate all that great buzz that makes your community great. Here are some tips on encouraging resident engagement online to connect with your neighbors: http://respage.com/why-socialize

  Jackie Koehler
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Hi Judy: Important point. Loved your "proof" that correlates # of friends to renewal intent! Is that graph available online someplace?

  Munish Gandhi

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