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Social Media Whitepaper Multifamily

Social Media Whitepaper Multifamily

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Published by UrbaneWay

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Published by: UrbaneWay on Dec 23, 2009
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12/31/2010

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 There is tremendous interest in social media in the multi-family housing market, yet fewsuccess stories. The potential benefits of social media are being talked aboutfrequently. Can it help with resident retention? Can it generate referrals and salesleads? Can it help market apartment communities?There is talk of the pitfalls as well. One apartment manager found his social mediaprogram took up so much of his time that his regular work started to slip. He startedreferring to “social networking” as “social NOT working.”But up until now there has been an important voice left out of these discussions thatcould help answer many of these questions, the voice of the apartment communityresident. By measuring the attitudes, values , and social media behavior of residentsthis report will add a critical perspective to the discussion. After all, if the social mediaprograms we create do not have an impact on apartment residents, they have no effectat all.In part I of this report, I share measurements of apartment community residents to helpunderstand how a social media program can effect decisions to stay longer in anapartment community, and make referrals to new residents.In part II, I share measurements of the social media behavior of apartment communityresidents. In addition, I compare those measurements to those of apartment managersgathered in a separate survey. To implement a successful program, it is important toknow how apartment residents are now using social media, and how usage is differentfor the people charged with implementing the program.In part III, I lay out best practices for implementing a social media network in anapartment community.Finally, in Part IV, I conclude with a discussion about content development which Ibelieve is the tipping point, the point at which social media programs in apartmentcommunities succeed or fail.Josh GordonPresidentSelling 2.0
 
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Introduction: How socialmedia works now
By now, most Americans are familiar with social media services likeFacebook, Twitter, MySpace, andLinkedIn, which allow individuals tosocialize with each other online. Usingthese services, people can exchangemessages, share interests, formassociations in groups, or just stay intouch.Until now, businesses have used socialmedia as a general communications toolfor public relations and marketing. But a just-released study,
The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications
, has now documented thatthis is changing. The rising tide of potential consumers using socialnetworks now indicates a new role for social media: as a primary tool of customer engagement.Could the next leap forward in thedevelopment of social media happen inan apartment community? Recenttrends point this way.Apartment communities could be theultimate test of this new trend because,unlike most social communities,apartment residents share no commoninterests, only a common geography.With no common interest (i.e. hobby,profession, music, technology, politics,etc) community building is harder.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbergshared the secret of how online socialnetworks succeed. At the 2007 Davosconference, a newspaper executiveasked Zuckerberg how he could build asocial network for one of his powerfulmedia brands. “You can’t,” respondedZuckerberg. He then explained thatsocial communities already exist, andthat the question the executive shouldbe asking instead is, how he can helpthem do what they want to do. All onlinesocial networks exist only to enhanceand serve previously existinginterpersonal networks.So, how will apartment communitiesplay an important role? Because socialmedia usage has grown so much, manycompanies are now finding that amajority of their customers are engagedwith it. And, according to theaforementioned study, those companiesare beginning to shift their use of socialmedia toward customer engagement.Will this work?One of the first places this new trend willbe tested is in apartment communitiesacross the country. Apartmentcommunities offer a pure testing labbecause they represent a community of people who live in close physicalproximity, and yet have no structuredway of knowing each other. If onlinesocial media can improve communityrelations and become the core tool of customer engagement in the multi-family housing market, other industrieswill follow.

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