August 15, 2012
Facebook for Property Management – A Best Practices Approach
The most popular online activity is social networking, with channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest nabbing 22% of the total time spent on social networking sites. Of those channels, one in particular is favoured for marketing purposes: Facebook. The wildly popular networking tool is used by 92% of marketers. (In contrast, Twitter is used by 84%, LinkedIn by 71% and blogs by 68%.)
Facebook is more a phenomenon than a website. It attracts 901 million monthly active users, with 137.6 million unique visitors per month in the USA alone. The average user spends more than 7 hours and 45 minutes on Facebook every month.
Making the Most of Facebook
If you’re among the 92% of marketers using Facebook as a promotional tool, it’s important that you understand how the site works so you can most effectively reach your target audiences. Here are 5 tips to help ensure that you’re making the most of Facebook for property management.
1. Choose the right cover photo. Your cover photo is the first thing users see when they reach your page, and has been shown to attract more attention than any wall content. A full 100% of viewers look at cover photos, with the average user finding it within 0.5 seconds of reaching any page. By comparison, only 65% to 92% of viewers notice profile photos on Brand Pages. That’s not to say your profile photo doesn’t matter, but it IS to say that your cover photo should represent your business at its best. Choose a professional 851 x 315 pixel banner that reflects your commitment to excellence and shows users that you take care of your property – online and otherwise. Remember: Unlike anything else on your page, your cover photo is guaranteed to get noticed.
2. Use apps. Users don’t have to wander far from your cover photo to find any apps you’ve posted; they appear right below your cover photo. Take advantage of this valuable real estate and customize your page with apps. You can integrate YouTube apps to post video tours of your properties, and integrate email apps (like Constant Contact and MailChimp) to capture leads and build an interactive community with prospective and existing tenants.
3. Write articles to create a sense of community. A very effective way of engaging users is to invite their comments on your page. Facebook is more than an online advertising tool; it’s an online community. It’s important that you make visitors feel welcome and create opportunities for them to interact – with you and each other. By writing articles about recycling programs, building upgrades or even community events near your property, you’re inviting users to comment on, “Like” or share what you’ve posted. It’s a good idea to develop a communications plan that includes a schedule of your upcoming articles. You should also read up on the best ways of handling negative reviews, which may appear from time to time. With the right approach, you can turn negative comments into positive developments by showing tenants and prospects that you care about their interests.
4. Get comfortable with metrics. One of Facebook’s great advantages for property management is that it provides a lot of valuable analytics, totally free of charge. It’s up to you to pay attention to those insights. Find out what they mean and then figure out how to use them to your advantage.
As Facebook explains:
Total Likes are the number of unique people who like your page.
Friends of Fans are the aggregate number of friends all your fans have, meaning that each post has the potential to reach these fans (since their “Like” or comment will go on friends’ news feed, thus propagating your content).
People Talking About This (PTAT) refers to the total number of people that have engaged with your page, whether they “Liked” something, commented, shared or answered a question. This assesses engagement beyond the old standards, “Likes” and clicks.
Total Reach is the total number of people who have seen content associated with your page. This number offers a sense of how far your message has traveled.
5. Personalize your page with milestones. Not only do milestones create a more human experience, they also show users that your business is thriving. Each milestone acts like a chapter in a story-telling process. Find construction photos of your property and drop them in where they fit along your timeline. If you started an internal recycling program, list that with a recycling logo or graphic. Milestones empower you to draw attention to memorable events and achievements, highlighting your successes as a property manager without blatantly advertising your product. An added bonus is that milestones offer visitors another opportunity to “Like” or share your posts.
When all is said and done, Facebook for property management is an invaluable marketing tool that reaches your target audiences where they live. It pays to understand this powerful channel so you can maximize your online presence.