Multifamily marketers today have many platforms available to show the world what makes their apartment community the best out there. Most use social media marketing as a contributing avenue of distribution, and have the difficult decision of choosing which social media platforms will best help them accomplish their strategic goals. As a professor once told me, the answer to almost any marketing decision: “ it depends.” Define and consider social media objectives. Are you trying to create awareness? Are you trying to attract new residents? Are you trying to create resident engagement? Each social media platform has strengths and weaknesses, but when used in the appropriate capacity can achieve its desired effectiveness. To help you identify those distinct opportunities with different platforms, here are a few multifamily marketing examples for some of the top social media channels:
Instagram – One of Instagram’s greatest strength is its visual appeal. Marketers could take advantage of this with a contest inviting residents submit their best pictures from around community; showcasing all the great amenities that are available.
Pinterest – Considering that Pinterest’s user-base is largely female, marketers should plan accordingly when producing and optimizing Pinterest accounts for business. Like Instagram, this platform is highly visual, but doesn’t include hashtags for search and content curation. Apartment communities can post and collect boards with decorating ideas, local holiday activities, or easy meal plan recipes, with a focus on apartment living. Pinterest is also a valuable tool for SEO.
YouTube – YouTube currently is the world’s second most used search engine¹ next to it’s parent company Google. Video marketing is a great way to capture and engage the attention of potential residents for a quick chunk of time in the midst of their online search. Many communities will even embed videos on their site to increase visit duration and reduce drop-off. Every marketer dreams of having their creative video go viral. However, there’s a lot of very creative competition out there. Marketers need to bring their “A” game when it comes to YouTube if they want their video to reach a broader consumer audience. No one wants to watch a boring video.
Twitter – As a user, Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms. I get to choose what I see (for the most part) by following certain brands and people. With business accounts, you can be as promotional as you want, but you definitely want to add value and offer useful relevant content if you want to gain and maintain followers. Like Instagram, hashtags are a great way to get your message out to people with a specific interest. An important constraint with Twitter is you only have 140 characters per tweet to get your message across. You can use pictures, but that’ll count against your 140-limit as well.
Google+ – Google+ is a must for any apartment community’s online presence. Google + is growing very quickly, and will continue to grow. It is anticipated by the year 2016, Google + will outgrow Facebook when it comes to social sharings. You can also segment your message through the use of circles on Google +. Google + is essential for SEO, because it’s closely tied to local search and integrated with Google maps.
A few other best practices for social media marketers when using these channels:
Use fresh content for engagement
Have clear calls to action (CTAs)
Maintain a unified “brand voice” across different channels
To answer the original question: “which social platform should I use?” My answer remains: “it depends.” Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Marketers must decide which platform will be appropriate for the objectives they’re seeking to accomplish and the demographic they’re looking to reach.