Commercial real estate is one of the industries slowest to adopt technology -- which is confusing, because so much of the business conducted under its umbrella could be vastly improved by going high-tech. And now, like it or not, current events are forcing a switch to remote work, remote socialization, online ordering, and other tech-enabled lifestyle habits.
If social media can help pool contractors market themselves and national security entities do damage control, then clearly its potential is vast and varied. But most landlords and community managers are seriously underutilizing it. If you're one of them, find inspiration in what some of your colleagues are implementing in the social media environment to improve their real-life property.
Showcase the property's features to potential new residents
This is probably the most obvious use for Instagram and, to a lesser extent, Facebook. It's also one of the content types that typically gets amplified through a targeted social media buy. Essentially this type of social post has replaced print ads or feature listings in local media.
Become a source of information on the neighborhood
Since people get bored if a brand only self-promotes on social media, a way to provide actual value while still subtly talking up a property is by sharing interesting and enticing insider secrets. From the best neighborhood coffee shop to community green spaces, neighborhood content livens up a feed and adds context about a building or development.
Share local news and event details
Although landlords’ business pages may not see much organic traffic when they post these types of content, it’s still a good way to provide value to readers rather than be purely promotional. Within larger residential communities, highly active residents may begin their own Facebook Group purely to facilitate community conversation, and this can often extend to promoting the organic content first posted by landlord and property managers. Facebook is encouraging this shift to Groups with a dedicated Group feed accessible from the homepage on the latest version of the mobile app.
Outside Facebook, many residential complexes manage private online portals just for resident interactions and community news posts.
Post about available units and/or open houses
In order to execute this, regular communication is a must from homeowners, community managers or office staff, and the digital/social marketing team. That makes it a more challenging type of content to line up, but if you want brand awareness to ultimately generate sales/rentals, one smart tactic is to put the available units in front of the people who already consume your content. Not all of them may be in the market to move, but presumably many are thinking along those lines or they wouldn't be looking at real estate content. Facebook is well suited to this type of post, as its Ad Manager is nimble, easy to adjust targeting, and can be relatively cost-effective if your ad campaign is timed correctly. Also, with Facebook you can promote photos, videos or even articles written about your company
Spotlight the personalities who manage the property or work there
While few landlords realize this, a human face and voice can do a lot to improve a community's appeal for people who have never been there. In fact, even people who have already toured a property often have remaining questions about the human element. And it very much influences their buying decisions. Use social media to show that the workers and management are personable and dedicated, since this is definitely on the top of many people's livability checklist.
Create posts about relevant community bylaws or rules
This function is generally saved for community web portals, but if you happen to think of a holiday or seasonal tie-in that makes this type of content relevant outside the community, it may make sense to post a teaser on social media. For example:
- Hurricane season is around the corner -- have you looked into impact windows yet?
- For the winter holidays, here are the names of building maintenance staff in case you want to leave them bonuses.
- The pool is open! Remember, barbecues and clubhouse must be reserved in advance.
Encourage two-way communication
No matter how clever and effective your social media strategy may be, if you're not engaging with viewers and seeing them engage back, then you're missing the point. The great thing about social media is that it's interactive in the moment. Encourage people in the community to ask questions, post additional information, DM you with issues or concerns.
The takeaway: Social media is multipurpose and dynamic
For communities and complexes, social media is useful from beginning to end of the customer cycle. Although self-promotional posts are the easy go-to to boost awareness, there are many other ways to share information and increase engagement -- and you don't need to have a big budget or extensive additional resources.