Written by: Jessica Atkinson
Every environment has an impact on how we behave.
Think about going on a first date. You may change your hair, the way that you dress, the way you talk, or even the type of food you order…
Because first dates are filled with pressure and unspoken expectations, we often sacrifice our real personality for the way we think we should behave.
Social Media does the same thing to us every single day - especially when it comes to managing your property’s social media accounts.
THE FEAR OF RELATING
We live in a world where anything and everything can be seen, shared, researched and judged on social media. It’s no wonder we default to a cold, corporate tone whenever we create posts for our company’s profile.
However, this chorus of lifeless captions & bland images creates a huge opportunity for your property to inject some creativity, and better yet, personality into the content you create.
I transitioned into property management after studying acting for several years. Actors are taught to express, rather than suppress, human emotion. So as you can imagine, it was a struggle for me when I entered the multifamily industry where the standard is ‘corporate marketing speak.’ Before I knew it, I was just another robot repeating the same script over and over again.
I felt inauthentic and it didn’t improve our leasing rates or resident satisfaction. It was a lose-lose.
GENUINE & SIMPLE
After a few years of being in my position and gaining more self-assurance, I began to witness the benefits of building relationships with the people I was serving. I found it was, in fact, possible to be a professional and a human at the same time. Who knew?
Bryan Kramer wrote that,"Communication shouldn’t be complicated. It should be genuine and simple." I took this to heart and started practicing it daily.
Almost immediately, I noticed that we started getting positive reviews, better feedback, and happier residents.
In a matter of months, the office had a completely different atmosphere. Residents were starting to trust us. They wanted to interact with us more often. We went from ten negative posts a day to one negative post a week. We were finally starting to turn things around just because we found the right way to communicate with our residents.
Ultimately, I learned that our industry was failing to follow 3 simple steps. Relate with your audience, embrace your imperfections and engage more. Trust me, it’s one of the easiest changes you can make that will have the greatest impact on your customer satisfaction.
LESSON 1: Relating to Your Audience
When I began my research about the idea of having a human presence on social media I discovered Bryan Kramer, the creator of the H2H Club. Not only did Bryan begin the conversation of what it was to be human on social media, but he also began to bridge the gap between businesses and consumers. Instead of the famous B2C concept (business to consumer) he converted it to H2H.
Human to human.
“You don’t sell to a brand, you sell to a person.” -Bryan Kramer
That statement could not be more true. Always remember who you are selling to. Who is on the other end of the computer screen and what is it that they need to see on your page?
You can only begin to answer these questions by first creating a relationship with your followers, fans and prospects. Instead of blasting the interwebs with endless sales driven posts, find ways to relate to the people reading your content. Start sharing the lifestyle of your property rather than just the product.
One of our unofficial mottos is to move our industry “from floor plans to five year plans.” Take a moment to put yourself in potential residents shoes and think about the first thing you’d do in a new home, in a new city, or with a new community. Identifying with relatable human experiences in your posts will result in a massive shift in the way your residents and prospects perceive your community.
LESSON 2: Embrace Your Imperfections
The idea of being perfect is outdated. We live in a world full of imperfections and most of the time that's where you will find the most meaningful lessons. People can relate to mistakes and mess-ups because we all make them!
Learn to embrace the imperfections. Perfect does not exist especially in an industry like this. So why not own up to the mistakes and be okay with saying “Yep, we’re human and we make mistakes too!”
A great example of that was the ever famous KFC debacle when they ran out of chicken. If you haven't read the article I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect example of owning up to a huge mistake and let me tell you, people LOVED it. Not only were they admitting to a major mishap in their company, but they were willing to be vulnerable. And it went over extremely well with their customers.
LESSON 3: Engage! Engage! Engage!
Last but certainly not least, engage! Don’t be afraid to comment, reply or react to posts. This will begin to widen your audience and put your name out there. By reaching out to your followers you begin to be seen not just as a faceless corporation but as a human voice for that property.
The most successful content gives the audience a ‘call to action.’ Whether its a simple question or asking them to share/tag photos from a recent event. People love to share! So give them space to do so on your page.
By sourcing content from other users in the area, you are not only sharing real user-generated content, you’re also interacting with the lifestyle of the people living in the community. This is the exact audience you need to target. Engaging the fan base/followers of your current residents and neighbors is the best way to ensure your audience is filled with real leads.
“92% of customers trust user-generated content over other forms of advertising.”
THE SHAPE OF OUR FUTURE
Social media is shaping our future and is quickly becoming the main source of communication. But we use social media so often now that we completely forget that we still need to humanize ourselves.
One-third of the entire world now uses social media sites and there are approximately 60 million active business pages on Facebook.
That's a lot of competition to face. Even with new amenities and large open floor plans with high ceilings, you will almost always run into another property that offers the same thing. What is it that is going to set you apart from the 60 million?
At the end of the day, we are all people who have emotions and crave authentic interactions. So the answer is quite simple.
Relate to your audience, don't be afraid to admit when you've made a mistake and engage with the people you are selling to. Simply put…