Courtesy Serendipit Consulting

The argument of whether social media is a critical part of a student housing community’s marketing strategy has been proven time and again, but what owner–operators should really be analyzing is how effectively they’re turning their social media followers into residents. 

A successful social media strategy comprises various key elements that work together to accomplish the end goal: sign new leases and renew existing ones. 

Social media trends, platforms, and algorithms are constantly changing. We now have the ability to track all social media efforts and directly attribute them to signed leases—and this technology will only continue to optimize a company’s social efforts. Thus, with the right strategy in place, there should be no reason a student housing community fails to analyze its social media results and directly turn its followers into residents. Below are three ways to ensure that your community is doing just that.

Effective Conversion Tracking Using UTM Codes  

With the use of custom UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitor) codes, each post you share across any social media platform can be tracked through the entire website funnel, starting with a click and ending with an action. Even if you don’t have the technology in place for online leasing, using UTMs your social media followers can be added to your customer relationship management (CRM) system and followed up with until the point at which they're ready to sign a lease.

Interactive Incentives and Referral Programs 

Students are bombarded with promotions and ads on a daily basis through social media, so it’s important your incentive is eye-catching and that it contains a “wow” factor. A 24-hour Snapchat story incentive with a waived application fee, or an interactive scratch-off promotion on Facebook in which students unveil their “reward” after they’ve taken the desired action are just two examples of engagement you can track. 

Such promotions foster engagement and crowdsourcing while simultaneously resulting in signed leases.

Call-to-Action Branded Graphics 

An effective social media strategy should also include a balance of engaging/informational content with sales-focused content. Using a branded-graphics series of call-to-action (CTA) posts with shortened, Bitly links will increase your click-through rates and keep your community’s brand top of mind. In this way, you can promote your community’s unique advantages and amenities through visuals that highlight your brand’s cohesive design standards.

The above are just a few ways to ensure that you’re leveraging your social media strategy in a way that will turn your followers into future residents. As technology continues to advance and additional social media platforms come into play, the opportunities to attract and retain renters will increase, along with the ability to track which of your efforts lead directly to new leases.