Connecting with Residents Online | National Apartment Association

Connecting with Residents Online

In a world of adding Facebook friends that are practically strangers, texting others from the next room, and being quicker to live-tweet an event than enjoy it firsthand, it seems that fewer and fewer people are truly connecting with others. How can you, as an apartment manager, connect with your residents online in a way that fosters community, instead of making face-to-face conversation even rarer?

Tactics to Engage Current Residents

Some residents may keep to themselves, but many people enjoy knowing that you take a personal interest in them. If you forget about them as soon as they sign the lease and hand you the down-payment, you’re missing out on a way to make your property feel like home. Here are some ways to let your residents know how much you appreciate them:

  • Keep updated accounts for the complex on a few major networks, and encourage residents to comment with their own updates, pictures, and questions. Every once in a while, run a social media contest that gets people out of their apartments and into some friendly competition with each other. Here are some tips specifically for Facebook.

  • Use your social persona to develop a brand voice for your complex that makes residents feel comfortable and welcomed. If you can’t always be present on the property, you need to maintain a digital personality that your residents will recognize and respond positively to.

  • Inform residents of regular events around the community with fun, eye-catching emails. Make your newsletters something they want to open — keep text short, images engaging, and information valuable. Assume that everyone has only a few minutes to scan your newsletter, and use that time frame to keep content pared down to what they would most want to read.

  • Make things like bill pay, maintenance requests, and facility reservations easy with an online portal. Any convenience you can bring to your residents in this way will increase your value to them, which in turn increases their loyalty to you.

Even if many of your residents don’t have time to engage all of your efforts fully, the fact that you’re providing the opportunity shows that you care. Residents who see that you are interested in them as people lives will feel more at home on your property and more likely to recommend it to others. Plus, it improves your search rankings when prospective renters are looking for a home.

Tips to Gain New Residents

Modern home shoppers like to vet their options online before they ever set foot in a model unit, so your online presence is critical for attracting new residents. A modern, easily navigable website that responds well to desktop and mobile devices shows shoppers that you value their convenience. An abundance of the information they want — pricing, layout, amenities, security, nearby attractions, and features unique to your complex — shows that you can be trusted to tell them everything they need to know.

Your presence on social media will increase your appeal to prospective renters when they see residents conversing with you as you post useful, engaging content. Toward this end, focus your networking attention on sites that your future clientele is likely to use. If you attract elderly residents, don’t overlook Facebook, as many baby boomers (and older citizens) now spend time there. If families with children favor your property, be an active voice on sites like Pinterest and CafeMom.

Make sure you encourage current and previous residents to review their living experience with you on apartment-hunting sites (,,, etc.), as these are also a valuable resource for home searchers. Let any displeased reviewers know that you’ll do whatever you can to make amends for their experience.

Utilizing These Strategies for Maximum Engagement

You don’t have to be online constantly to establish a good online presence. A policy of consistent updates (even just once a week) is better than throwing out sporadic, low-quality content in fear that you’ll be forgotten if you aren’t talking all the time. Once you’ve decided on your brand voice, it will be a lot easier to decide what you have to say and how often to say it.

When engaging with residents (or potential residents), the most important thing to remember is not to force interactions. Encourage connections by setting the example of taking interest in others; but after that, it’s up to your residents. Even if they don’t always reciprocate your efforts, you can be sure they appreciate them.

What online methods have you used to interact with your apartment residents? Have you tried any avenues that we left out?