How Can Respage Help Your Community?

Social media is one of the best ways to connect your community with current and future residents in places they already live: online, on Twitter, and on Facebook. Not sure how to get started with social media? Respage can help.

We've got years of experience in the Multifamily Industry and we're eager to use our expertise to help implement your social media initiatives. With features like brand reputation monitoring, content creation, and blog posting, our social media platform can help you engage with residents and prospects online.

Want to learn more about Respage? Check out the slideshow below:

Why Socialize?

Socializing helps you provide better service to current renters as well as attract and close prospects looking for a new apartment. Specifically, it:

http://www.respage.com/whysocialize.html

3 Ideas for Improving Resident Communication

If I could boycott US Airways, I would. But I live in Philadelphia, their primary hub, and despite the welcomed arrival of Southwest, US Airways is often the only carrier with a non-stop or convenient departure to my destination. Such was the case with my current trip out to Seattle for the Riverstone conference—sure enough, I saw once again why I don’t like USAirways: their lack of communication.

Clear and sufficient communication is just as imperative in the multifamily space as well. How well are you doing in these three areas of resident communication?

Application process. All first time renters (and many veteran renters) do not understand the rental application process. Surprises such as low credit scores, the need to find a last minute co-signer, or tight application timelines can confuse and upset prospects who are already stressed out by the apartment search. How can you help? How about posting an educational piece on your website that informs customers about what to expect? Explaining what hurdles might arise during the process can help avoid a lot of hard feelings over what is simply business as usual in the multifamily industry.

Social media mentions. It always surprises me that many large businesses don’t reply to social media mentions (including US Airways). Not replying to customer complaints on your Facebook page can escalate to a post you can do nothing about on apartmentratings.com. Free and low cost tools are available to assist with the social media monitoring process, so there is no excuse not to be aware of and respond in a timely manner to comments on your blog and/or social media pages.

Maintenance/weather related notices. You probably have a pretty good process in place to let residents know when basic services such as water, electric, or elevators need to be offline for repairs or maintenance. Why not use these same systems to notify people about the snow removal process and how they can help everyone to dig out? Timely and thorough communication will help you to avoid annoying 5 a.m. calls to the manager on duty.

What are your communication enhancing ideas? Share them below.

Respage Made the Philadelphia Business Journal's list of Social Media Stars!

We are very excited to share that Respage, 4 Walls' social media division, was honored on the Philadelphia Business Journal's list of Social Media Stars! The list of winners—made up of the best social media projects, applications and campaigns in the region—was selected by a panel of judges comprised of Philadelphia Business Journal staff and two independent social media consultants.

Introducing a New Feature of Respage: Corporate Blogs!

We are excited to tell you about 4 Walls' newest product: Respage Corporate Blogs designed specifically for property management companies. These blogs can be customized to fit your company’s needs, from the blog’s design to the type of content posted each week. Depending on your blogging strategy, we can have a dedicated writer create local content, lifestyle content, and/or content that is specifically tailored to your company. Clients can also choose moderation services for comments posted on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Pricing is per blog, per month, with a 3-month minimum contract. For more information about our corporate blogs as well as pricing, visit www.respage.com/respage-corporate-blogs.

Social Media for Apartment Communities

Interested in implementing or improving social media marketing at your community or property management company, but don't know where to start?  Don't have time to blog or post to Facebook and Twitter? We can help.

Respage is a full-service, scalable social media marketing solution that lets you start off slowly and add more programs as soon as you are ready.

Some Respage features include:

  • Resident blog, with optional blog writing and posting service
  • Facebook and Twitter postings and integration
  • Social media moderation
  • Notification of incoming ApartmentRatings.com, Yelp, and Citysearch reviews
  • Resident portal integration

Our most popular services run between $49-139 per month.

We are running weekly web demonstrations—click here to sign up, or here to contact us for more information.

Social Media Guidelines that Fit

It was just visiting weekend at my son's overnight camp in Maine, and since I have more energy than brains, we stayed at a resort in New Hampshire that is two hours from both the Manchester Airport and my son's camp.

New Hampshire's motto is “Live Free or Die,” a sentiment I personally subscribe to—although I know there are always exceptions to the rule. When it comes to debates some of us are having about social media guidelines, even with my leanings toward the Granite State's slogan, I think the average multifamily industry company will benefit from clearly defining and articulating its social media standards in an official policy.

I didn't always feel this way, but I recently changed my mind after hearing a good reason why one of our clients wasn't interested in maintaining a Facebook page. It turns out that they did have one, but decided to pull the plug after reviewing photos the staff had posted which were, in management's opinion, inappropriate. My guess is that the staff wasn't doing anything intentionally wrong, and that management is very conservative, but that is beside the point. The damage was done because unwritten, unknowable rules were broken.

Figure out what your company's standards are, codify them, and then communicate your guidelines to everyone. In some organizations, management can trust staff members to use their best judgment and everything will work out fine; however, marketing departments of publicly traded companies may not be able to get by risk management without an iron-clad policy. Like everything else, social media standards are not a one size fits all proposition.

Meet Respage, the Social Media Division of 4 Walls!

The newest division of 4 Walls, Respage is a social media marketing solution for the multifamily industry. Offering a turnkey service that uses social media tools to help property managers communicate with residents and enhance resident engagement, Respage uses a social media platform that includes a community blog, Facebook, and Twitter. The best part: Respage allows property managers to maintain a frequently updated online marketing program with a minimal investment of time. See below for a few samples of our blogs!

 

 

 

 

 

The True Cost Of Free Social Media Marketing

This post is also inspired by Jen Piccotti's contribution, “Resident Retention: Dare I Say It – Don't Believe the Hype.”

Whether you spend 5 or 30 minutes a day, don't think for one minute that your social media marketing initiatives are free. While there are no out-of-pocket expenses, the opportunity cost of your staff's time is very real—so it pays to carefully measure the true cost of social media.

For example, let's assume that you employ a property manager named Sue, whom you pay $50,000 per year. To simplify this example, let's assume the direct payroll cost is about $25 per hour. (And yes, since this isn't taking into consideration any indirect costs like benefits, equipment, or supervisory costs, it is far less than the true cost of Sue's time). If Sue spends 5 minutes a day on social media efforts, it's costing you about $50 per month. That is perhaps enough time to keep up with Twitter and Facebook, but it is certainly not enough time to write blog posts.

If Sue is like I am, she is a good salesperson and manager, but wasn't an English major. If she needs to blog on behalf of the property, it will take her a significant amount of time to write it. (This post will take me 45 minutes when all is said and done). Even if you've told her to go find content that can be reposted freely, that will still take 10-15 minutes. If she adds a photo, that will take even more time. Just make sure she knows how to distinguish between open source and copyright protected images.

I agree with many people in these forums that ideally, social media should be done in-house. But many of us don't live in an ideal world. Even cursory financial analysis reveals that social media marketing is not free, and when a blog is involved, the costs can really add up. Perhaps this is why so many people have investigated outsourcing some (e.g. only blog content development) or most (posting, blog maintenance, content development, social media monitoring) of their social media marketing.

If You Require Social Media Activity, Will Site People Follow Through?

Mark Juleen posed the question, “Is 30 minutes too much to ask?” when it comes to site people devoting time to social media, in response to Jen Piccotti's post “Resident Retention: Dare I Say It – Don't Believe the Hype.”

Whether the answer is 5 minutes or 30 minutes, without a way to monitor whether people are actually putting effort in, you'll have no way to know that social media tasks are being done in a timely, cost effective manner—let alone at all.

Even in my own personal experience, social media is one of the first things I let slide on days when proposals, sales presentations, travel, and time sensitive tasks get in the way. I have a lot more flexibility with my day than the average on site person, and since I own my own business, I put in more hours than many. However, there are days when I don't even have enough time to pen a tweet (and believe me, it's not that I'm inefficient or lack commitment).

As you roll out social media initiatives, don't forget to put a system in place to measure social media input. If you don't hit your social media efforts goals, these systems will let you know that it wasn't because people simply didn't do the work.

Ideally, put technology in place that lets you monitor posts, comments, and mentions for all your sites from one login. I'm sure there are many ways to go, but at 4 Walls, we use Postling.com (and we recently invested when they were looking for funding). You can contact Dave Lifson (Dave@Postling.com), for a free trial, so you can see how this tool works for yourself.