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Four Ways to Attract Prospective Residents Via Social Communities

October 2020

The types of content that appeal to a Millennial differ from what engages a member of Gen Z or downsizing Baby Boomer. 

1: Meet Prospective Renters Where They’re Most Active

There are a variety of social media platforms today. Each one is dominated by different demographics, so it’s important for apartment community managers to know which demographics are most active and on which platforms.

For example, more than half of Instagram users are Millennials and members of Gen Z, according to Hootsuite. If an apartment community management team is trying to reach these demographics, it should incorporate Instagram as part of its social strategy.

Apartment managers looking to attract Baby Boomer renters may opt for Facebook, since some 96 percent of boomers use Facebook at least once per week, whereas only 36 percent of Gen Z do the same, says The Manifest.

Additionally, social media platforms continue to evolve and new ones continue to emerge. Managers must monitor which new platforms are growing in popularity among their target audiences.

As consumer time online only continues to increase, apartment community managers who can identify the platforms their target audiences use most and incorporate them into their social strategies will enjoy the greatest success.

2: Carefully Curate Content to Appeal to Each Demographic

Once apartment managers have determined the platforms their target audiences use most, they must then make sure they are tailoring content for those audiences.

The types of content that will appeal to a Millennial will differ from what engages a member of Gen Z or downsizing Baby Boomer..

For instance, promoting updated indoor amenities such as granite countertops may not be the right approach for attracting Millennial and Gen Z renters, who prefer community-focused amenities that offer a sense of convenience and service. With them, highlighting service amenities such as valet trash services, concierge-type services or social aspects of a community will likely be far more effective.

Baby Boomers, on the other hand, may want to see interior unit amenities, especially those that emphasize overall size and storage space. Boomers are likely to be coming from a house and looking for apartment communities that can accommodate their need for a large amount of space.

Another important component to consider when creating social content is the impact of visual content. Social media platforms across the board have become increasingly visual. In fact, social media posts with video have 48 percent more views than those without, says Biteable. Apartment community managers should consider this in their social strategies and work to ensure that all content is visually appealing. Managers should also incorporate video content wherever possible.

Social media content must also factor in game-changing events like deadly global pandemics. During COVID-19, many apartment community managers have taken the opportunity to incorporate items of value, such as tips for making apartments look professional when working from home or virtual tour videos for prospective residents.

Apartment community managers who tailor content to specific demographics can incorporate strong visual and video content and provide relevant information that considers current events will likely see more traffic and engagement on their social platforms.

3: Incorporate a Mix of Organic and Paid Strategies

A comprehensive social media strategy should include both organic and paid content, such as Instagram and Facebook ads. This will allow apartment managers to target existing residents, as well as prospective new residents through an integrated approach.

By incorporating a paid strategy, managers can significantly expand their reach to prospective residents, which will have the long-term impact of turning new followers into leads.

4: Respond to Comments

One of the most important aspects of a social strategy is maintaining a positive online reputation. More than half of potential residents will find their apartment online and will pay close attention to how a community’s team interacts with its online followers. This includes how they address issues, how quickly they respond and how the issue is resolved.

This also includes responding to both positive and negative comments. Many apartment companies make sure they are responding to each and every comment, and quickly—within 24 hours at most.

Prospective residents are ultimately spending more time online, and basing their renting decisions on information about a community they find there. Ensuring that apartment community management teams maintain a positive online reputation and respond to questions or comments in real time will have a significant impact on the perception of a community and its long-term success.

Scott Wickman is the Regional Vice President of Western National Property Management.