For Gen Y renters, the leasing experience starts with social media.
Yet, most properties’ basic information does not show up in searches, and they lack pages on Twitter and Facebook. That’s where Lindsay Simms comes in. Her new business, Renter’s Boom, is poised to help property managers reach a core demographic of online consumers, providing a much-needed service for companies who are about 14 steps back on the social media stratosphere.
Here, she shares tips on how to reach out to the Gen Y market and how to functionally maintain a page both before leasing to a renter, and after.
Tip #1: Gen Y renters search for things in a different way than other consumers
“The gap we’re trying to bridge is the information gap,” Simms says. “When we go to search for something, the first thing we do is ask our friends. I’m not going to Google that because I’m already on Facebook.”
If managers fail to make that connection they‘ll have serious trouble reaching out to the Gen Y renter. Simms suggests managers participate in the engagement by having property information readily available online, reachable my multiple methods. Simms adds that potential tenants should be able to “just type in my apt complex name and it will highlight itself because it already has a page [on Facebook].”
Tip #2: Creative content is key to retention
When Simms manages her client’s pages, she highlights content that targets younger renters. Such posts range from information floating on the internet, and neighborhood-specific content that will help to continue to engage consumers.
“Once they like the page, it’s a matter of keeping whatever content we put out as fresh as possible and as specific to their needs,” Simms says.
One of her most-viewed posts linked to a story about how to make a LinkedIn page fresh. It remains her most popular post because it helped younger renters who were at a point of transition in their careers. Aligning content with their needs helps property managers provide more than just a roof over the Gen Y renter’s head.
Tip #3: Customer service reigns supreme
Managing a social media page is no different than your average day-to-day customer service operations.
When a tenant has a problem, they’re going to go public if the option is available–and it’s imperative that you respond appropriately. As Simms shares from one experience, “One of the tenants was in the workout room and the lights went out while she was on the treadmill. Instead of taking to someone directly, she put it on Facebook.”
There are few ethical guidelines for managing complaints online, but Simms suggests that based on the experience, responses should be focused on how mangers intend to resolve the issue.
“Apologize,” she says. “It’s the best way to make everyone who reads it understand that you’re not just attacking.” Property managers should talk about how they have, or planned, to tackle an issue–and to do so in the proper medium. If someone complains on a Facebook wall or through a tweet, it’s best to respond similarly, and immediately.
Tip #4: Remember; it’s just Facebook
Simms reminds new clients that are fearful of starting anew that it’s just Facebook, after all.
“We’re working with a platform that is very business friendly,” she says, suggesting Facebook as opposed to other social media platforms because the metrics are easier to measure. And for companies who are turned off by negative apartment reviews floating on the internet, owning your page is key to overpowering such content.
“If you don’t give [renters] any other information, that is the only thing they’re going to see,” Simms says. “Why not provide them with other information?”