Digital Marketing Trends

By on Aug 19, 2013 in Marketing

Theconcept social network rise of e-commerce has transformed the world into a global marketplace where the focus is on connectivity. Consumers have learned to navigate through the avalanche of sales and discount deals, and have come to value expertise, quality service and responsiveness more than anything else. More important than ever, digital marketing enables real estate companies to engage with their customers while they spend time online. Best practices for outreach and engagement are in a continually fluid state.

Marketing trends in the digital era

Among a series of marketing strategies aimed at drawing customers, organic search and cost per click (in both cases read Google) emerge as the most reliable sales channels on the online market today, according to a recent report from Custora. Not far behind, e-mail marketing and social media networks help get the message out. Even if sponsored stories on Facebook or Twitter don’t have an immediate impact, social media can help businesses enlarge their fan base, gain visibility and turn one-time buyers into loyal customers.

Social media in multifamily can serve a number of purposes. From raising ambient awareness to promoting a brand or a community, online communication is key to a successful relationship with your residents. By addressing their concerns, getting involved in community matters and proactively responding to reasonable requests, you will be able to increase renter satisfaction and generate positive feedback. After all, the least expensive leasing transaction is the renewal.

Keep in mind that social media channels were conceived as a means to connect people who share  common interests. Your audience does not spend time on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to get spammed with sales messages and marketing pitches; for best results, marketing consultants recommend posting one promotional post for every nine posts that are not related to advertising. In other words, only 10 percent of your social content should be overtly promotional nature. This really is about branding, goodwill and reputation building.

Measuring social media efforts

Measuring the results from social media efforts can be a real challenge. While there are ways to keep a track of the number of likes, shares, tweets and retweets a page might get and link them later on to leads and leases, there may not be immediate financial return. A person liking your page does not mean he will automatically sign a lease, yet it will give great exposure to your property and you’ll be among the top options when the prospect looks for a new place. Think of social media as a platform that supports the other advertising efforts that you have in place.

Kristie Bergey, the owner of KB Experience, an event planning firm and marketing agency for the apartment world, uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for communication.

“It is a great way to get the word out about the property through the ad campaigns on Facebook but also to residents who can bring their friends to the property for an event,” Kristie said. “Or if they want to rent, the resident receives a referral fee.”

Some companies, such as Core Campus, have an extensive presence on social media. One of their latest projects, the Hub on Campus, a $40 million student housing complex and one of the largest projects under development in Arizona, has created quite a buzz on all social media channels. With an opening planned for fall 2013, the property is almost full. Facebook contests, referral incentives and gift certificates were used to generate prospect interest and build buzz for the lease-up  Further, the property Facebook page has become a way for residents and prospects to communicate with the property management staff.

Effective tools to manage and monitor online reputation

Search engines like Google and Yahoo! Bing provide direct pathways to you and your business so it is important to monitor the virtual environment on a regular basis. Consider setting up a Google Alerts account with the name of your company and apartment property as the keywords. This will allow you to stay in the loop and take control of what is being said about you on the web.

Additionally, as search engines frequently change their search algorithms, JW Maxx Solutions thinks it’s important for businesses to manually conduct searches of their names, as well as their names with common search terms, such as “scam”, “bad reviews”, and “negative reviews”.  You should conduct these searches at least monthly, but preferably every week or two.

To make the most of all the social hype surrounding Pinterest, the photo-heavy website with similarities to scrapbooking, get an account and start pinning.  Popular categories are home decor, architecture, food & drink, DIY & crafts, women’s fashion, and travel. To see if your site has been “pinned” by other users, type “” in the search bar.

Tools such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite can help give a productivity boost to your business by allowing you to manage all of your social networks from one simple interface; users can post real-time updates, add images, schedule tweets, monitor feeds, keep a track of online interactions and mentions and more, all from one place.

Keeping up with today’s digital market, Yardi recently released a mobile marketing solution suite that supports the entire apartment leasing lifecycle. Fully integrated with Yardi Voyager, the Yardi Marketing Suite now includes four premier products: RentCafe, Yardi PopCard, Yardi Leasing Pad, and Yardi Call Center.

“The Yardi Marketing Suite features a full complement of mobile online leasing and resident services, and now includes tools to expand your online presence with leasing and resident referral programs tied directly to social media,” said Terri Dowen, senior vice president of sales for Yardi. “This smart program incentivizes residents to share trusted referrals via social channels including Facebook and Twitter.”

Whether you are a digital marketing mastermind or just getting your feet wet in the wild world of social media, what’s next for your online property presence in the months ahead?