A whopping 22 percent of the world’s population uses Facebook, not to mention 81 percent of millennials check Twitter once a day and 56 percent of adults use more than one social media platform (Social Media Today). Long story short, if you’re not using social media to find new tenants, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.
Use the following ideas to reach potential renters with social media, while building your brand and connecting with industry professionals in your area.
Make Your Properties Stand Out With Video
Very rarely will someone want to tour an apartment without first seeing what it looks like, both inside and out. While images have traditionally been used in rental listings and when sharing on social, 2017 is the time to use video instead. Why? The statistics for video use on social media in recent months are staggering:
- People watch Live Facebook videos 3x as long as regularly posted videos (Facebook)
- 10 billion videos are watched every day on Snapchat (Animaker)
- 3 in 4 adults report watching YouTube at home or on mobile devices (Tubular Insights)
As a property manager, you can take advantage of this trend on social media without spending a lot of time or acquiring new skills. Here are a few ideas to test:
- Virtual home tours on Facebook Live, Snapchat or Instagram stories. Simply do a live video as you walk through the rental property. Do a full-home tour or highlight a few upgrades or rooms.
- Hold Q & A sessions about the property via live video, or take questions ahead of time, record your responses, and share the video on social.
- Take video of staged home “experiences” – Bring a couple in to cook a meal in the kitchen, or have some friends do a barbecue in the back yard, showing tenants what life in the home really looks like.
Start a Facebook Community
Social media is a great way to build you brand, which ultimately leads to attracting new tenants. When you provide value to people, even if they don’t rent from you, they’re more likely to remember your name when it comes time to find a new apartment down the line.
One way to build your brand and add value on social media is to start a Facebook community. Here’s what you need to know to make it worth your while:
- Make it regional, with a group title like “Renters of Pacific Beach” or “Santa Monica Rental Forum.” This will attract local members who may be in need of a renal now or later.
- Invite others in your industry to be a part of the group. They will promote the group to their social following as well, allowing you to attract even more people.
- Host cross-promotional Q&As. For example, host a Q&A with your go-to handyman, who will then field questions from renters for a certain period time. You might promote this within the group like, “Join us on Tuesday at 7-8pm EST to all your handy-man questions answered! My go-to guy, John Smith, will be here to give advice and tips!”
- Respond and engage with everyone in the group. Answer their questions, post resources regularly, and respond to all comments. The more interactive you are, the more valuable it is for them and you. If the group goes stagnant, no one will check in, rendering it ineffective.
Attract More Female Renters With Online Deals
Studies have found time and time again that women are the decision makers in a family household. Not to mention, single females are driving the demand for rentals, citing more freedom and not yet ready to purchase a home as being two of the main reasons, according to CNBC.
Luckily, you can attract both of these groups of women by sharing deals and discounts on social media. A May 2016 study found that 60 percent of all shoppers who search for deals and discounts online are women—making them a prime target for your “Spring Special!” or “Summer Move-In Discounts!” posts.
The trick is getting these opportunities in front of the women who might be interested. Your best bet is to do a Facebook ad for the property, or set of properties you’re renting. With just $5.00 spent a day, you can target women in regions as specific as your neighborhood, narrowing down by age, interests and more, and see a number of leads come through.
If you already have a large following on social media, post your deals and discounts with hashtags like #FlashSale #InstagramSale or #ShopSmall, all of which are used and searched for often.
Connect With a Twitter Chat
Another great way to show your value is by starting a monthly or weekly Twitter chat. The process is simple: You choose a topic for the chat and a date when people should plan to be in “attendance.” You and everyone else participating uses a specific hashtag with each tweet so all the questions and answers can be found with a simple hashtag search.
You can use this platform as another way to connect with local workers in your industry, driving higher attendance and strengthening your network. To make the chat most successful, be sure to prepare before hand:
- Promote for a few weeks leading up the chat on all social platforms. If someone isn’t following you on Twitter yet, they may after seeing your post about the chat.
- Choose a topic ahead of time and remind everyone when promoting so they can prepare questions.
- Create a rough outline of what questions you want to pose and specific topics you plan to cover.
There are many ways to use social media to find new tenants. Whether you’re sharing seasonal rental deals or chatting with potential renters on Twitter, use social media to reach a wider audience, while building your brand.
About the Author: Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She's worked with a variety of real estate clients and has written for Forbes, Inman, House Hunt Network, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.
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