Younger renters in Michigan are flocking to Urbane Apartment properties, thanks in large part to the company's social media campaigns.
As the president of Royal Oak, Mich.-based Urbane Apartments, Eric Brown uses a creative, targeted online presence to draw in new residents. He has turned his portfolio of 15 communities into the hottest ticket in town by building an online community and making his site a hub for what's hip in Detroit.
Here, Brown shares five of his top social media strategies with Multifamily Executive:
1. Manage Social Media Yourself
All social media initiatives for Urbane are done in-house, which makes a big difference. “Outside consultants can’t manage social media,” Brown says. “That’s like saying you want someone to manage your phone calls or leasing office.” All Urbane leasing agents are required to compose six to eight tweets per day, plus two to three updates on Facebook, to engage residents and potential renters.
2. Start a Blog
This is the easiest way for anyone developing a social media strategy to engage with the local community and drive traffic back to the main rental website. Brown relies heavily on his blog, which he calls an online magazine, to post information about local events and happenings.
3. Embrace Partnership Marketing
Urbane Apartments is a major media sponsor of concerts and other events happening all around Michigan. Brown says that gives tons of content to post on blogs and all other social media outlets. He even hires writers to post about events like major music festivals that are of particular interest to potential renters.
4. Focus on the hyper-local
Brown knows the number of followers on his Twitter and Facebook accounts matter for getting potential renters in the door. But it's not all about quantity; he would rather have the right ones following those accounts. “Do I want people from Kansas City as followers? Unless they are moving in from out of state, not really,” he says. “But I know who is young, local and going to events and [engaging them] is almost like trying to talk to prospects one on one.”
5. Content, Content, Content
Most owners want to start with Facebook and Twitter campaigns when thinking about social media, but Brown says it’s more important to provide great content first. “That’s what we use our online magazine for, because over time, you start to create hundreds of articles on the web,” he says. “When someone is moving to Royal, Oak, Mich., guess who comes up on a google search first? We do. And it might not be about an apartment, it might be about their neighborhood, or where to find the best sushi. But whatever their interest may be, we try to provide that kind of content and link all the articles back to our website.”