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All Things Property Management

All Things Property Management is a one-stop destination for folks interested in learning more about managing real estate. Broken down into a variety of targeted columns, the information that you are looking for is easily accessible — from investing tips and best practices in The Intelligent Investor to the real-life dilemmas of property managers in Stories from the Front Lines. We’ve brought on contributing writers from across the country to share their respective expertise with you, whether you’re a landlord, a professional property manager, or an association board member. Your feedback, participation, and comments will help us deliver the information you need most.

YouTube for Property Managers

Over the months, we’ve discussed the value of many different types of technology: websites, Twitter, and social networking sites like Facebook. But one thing we haven’t yet looked at is YouTube. Have you considered including YouTube videos into your online marketing strategy? Well, here are a few reasons you might want to.

Save yourself some time.
Photographs are a near-essential part of any rental listing. With a text-only listing, it’s often difficult for would-be renters to distinguish from one property to the next and, therefore, your units are at a disadvantage from the start.  But even photographs are sometimes misleading. Based on angling and point of focus, it’s possible to (either strategically or inadvertently) make a rental unit appear much different than it actually looks.

Videos allow potential tenants to obtain a more realistic feel for what a given unit really looks like. As opposed to photographs, videos can provide a potential tenant with a realistic vision of the layout of a unit, its size and, if you’re feeling really ambitious, exterior and building features.

Providing this sort of “advance preview” means that you can save yourself a lot of time by paring apartment showings down to those who are really interested in putting in an application on your unit, saving you a lot of time in the long run by allowing you to hone in on serious potential renters.

Show off your stuff.
Because videos inherently provide a more all-encompassing, realistic preview of your units, they allow you to demonstrate why your property is more desirable than comparable properties from the get-go. Again, pictures may just not do your place justice. Reel tenants in by showing off your airy layout, your building’s amenities, and that great view from the balcony. Don’t forget that video is also a great way to convey verbal information. You can talk while filming, adding a personal voice to your sales pitch and easily conveying information that is sometimes more difficult to get across within the confines of a written listing.

Do away with the distance factor.
Videos are a particularly valuable tool for appealing to potential tenants who are looking at properties from out-of-town. From a renters’ perspective, making a long-distance move can be rather intimidating. Some simply don’t have the option of in-person viewings. And, even for those who do have that option, you may well put yourself ahead of the competition if you provide them with a means of avoiding a long apartment-hunting trip.

No matter how sophisticated or nominal your web presence is, YouTube can be easily incorporated into your online rental unit marketing program. After uploading videos to your free YouTube account, you can embed them in your website, providing potential renters with all the information they need in one online location. And if you don’t yet have a website, YouTube is still a great solution. You can easily link to your videos through Twitter, Facebook, or even on a Craigslist posting.

As always, the more information you can provide to potential tenants, the better off you are. There’s no doubt that YouTube is a simple, inexpensive way of doing just this.

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  • You are right on target. Here is a great creative example by the Riverstone Residential management team at Elizabeth Square in NC using YouTube to promote the community. Enjoy it.


  • I couldn’t agree with you more. This past March I had the opportunity to speak to multifamily housing professionals on “Video & Photo Sharing for Optimum Growth & Brand Exposure” at Tami Siewruk’s Optimization Summit (http://optimizationsummits.com/) in Dallas, TX and I spent a great deal of time covering YouTube and Google Universal Search.

    Online video when combined with an integrated marketing approach is hands down one of the most powerful tactics for a marketer. A recent comScore study (http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/4/comScore_Releases_February_2010_U.S._Online_Video_Rankings) looked at online video utilization just for the month of February ‘10, and found that 174 million U.S. Internet users watched 28.1 billion videos, averaging 161 videos in that one month alone. Online video allows you to communicate easier, engage with users at incredible levels, offer a deeper taste to your audience, and increase your search engine rankings.

    When it comes to videos and photo for Web I consider these four main things: Publish. Optimize. Distribute. Promote.

    There is a variety of types of video content marketers can publish including branded, viral, user generated content, product/sales announcements, Vlogging/blogging, episodic series, events, training and more. For Rent Media Solutions creates Community Theater videos, which are professionally produced and edited videos of both the apartment community and the surrounding area. The videos are then syndicated to our vast video syndication network.

    Video optimization allows your video content to achieve maximum visibility among your target audience and should play an important role in your overall video strategy. Additionally, it should be used in conjunction with best practices for general SEO. Remember that it’s not just about syndicating your videos to multiple sites. When optimizing your video content for video sharing sites such as YouTube, be sure to include rich keywords in your titles, descriptions and tags. My favorite keyword research tools are AdWords, Google Insights, Google Suggest, Compete.com, Wordtracker, Yahoo Keyword, Google Analytics and Alexa.com. Below you will find even more ways to optimize your video assets on YouTube for both the consumer and the search engines:

    YouTube Captions and Subtitles

    The caption feature allows you to give viewers a deeper understanding of your video. Adding captions and subtitles makes your videos more accessible to people who can't follow along with the audio—either because they speak a different language, or because they are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • YouTube Audio Swap

    This is a great feature if you want to add music to your video. But be sure you really want to do that because once you add a new soundtrack, the audio track on your video will be permanently replaced. I would recommend uploading a few videos to experiment with.

    YouTube Playlist
    One of the best ways to enjoy YouTube and get your content to be easily shared is by creating a YouTube Playlist. You can add as many playlists as you want and you can add content to them at any time. Be sure to include a name, description and any tags you'd like to include for searching purposes. Insider Tip- make sure your playlist is set to ‘public’.

    Once you have created and optimized your video content, you need begin distributing it video sharing and social networking sites. Most markteres look directly to distributing their videos to YouTube but don’t forget about other sites such as revver, crackle, dailymotion, blip.tv, metacafe, Facebook, Twitter, veoh and more. These smaller video sharing sites are great for adding additional traffic and impressions to your videos.

    Now that you have your videos uploaded to the core video sharing sites, you can start promoting them. YouTube and Google use a very complex algorithm in their process to configure which videos come up first on searches. Without going into all the details, the best way to increase your video search rankings is to make sure you have a unique username, relative meta data, a high view count and a good number of ratings and comments. The more eye balls you drive to your existing video content, the more likely your content will rank higher. If you want to maximize your video presence I recommend reading my “8 ways to generate even more exposure with your community video article and executing some those tactics.” Tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog, widgets, mobile, and RSS are just a few examples of additional ways to promote your videos.

    With shoot-and-upload video getting easier by the day, and more and more consumers sharing their digital photos; the explosive use of video and images on the web is only going to increase. I will be conducting a video workshop again at the September Optimization Summit #optsum and my session will reveal the secrets behind using video and still images online, and strategies for optimizing your visual media assets to better engage your audience and potential customers to take action.

  • As a renter myself, I can say that videos definitely enhance a community's website. I'm actually looking for a place to live right now, and the websites I've been to that incorporate video make it much easier for me to get a feel for what it might be like to live at the community.

    From a business standpoint, not everyone feels comfortable trying to integrate a YouTube channel into their own website - there are questions about where to place it, which videos to promote, and how to best reach visitors. We made the TurnSocial bar to give business managers an easy way to integrate YouTube, along with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Foursquare and more, directly into their website via a small toolbar that rests unobtrusively at the bottom of the page. If you are going to put the effort into branding a YouTube channel, it makes sense that you'd want to maximize its' reach by incorporating it into your existing website - and we've tried to make that as easy as possible.

    Thanks for the great post! I hope we see more and more properties using YouTube to reach new prospects - I know that it helps sell me on a new place to live!

    Matt Hendrick

  • Here are a few more video tips I'd like to add:

    1. Keep it short - average online video is 3.5 minutes.

    2. TubeMogul.com allows you to distribute your video to various outlets (YouTube, Facebook, Metacafe, etc.) all at once. Uploading your video one site at a time is tedious! This has been a great timesaver for me.

    3. Include keywords in your video's actual file name.
    GOOD: luxury-apartments-downtown-los-angeles.mov
    BAD: apartmentvideo2.mov

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