I give you a FAIL WHALE

I watch my Twitter and Facebook streams and they are making me more and more annoyed by the day.  I'm going to hand out some Fail Whales here.

It's true I'm a huge proponent of multifamily social media.  I think that those properties who's core demographic would be on the networks should take advantage of the opportunities granted in communicating with this medium.  Putting my money where my mouth is, I'm personally on Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, my own blog here, profiles at Multifamily Insiders, and several other places.  It makes me easy to find, confer with, and easy to talk about.  That is the point.  I'm a fan of several apartment communities on Facebook, and I've followed many others on Twitter, just like several other professionals in our field have.

So why then am I frustrated?  Because a lot of folks out there are not even close to getting the point.  If "the point" was in New York City, these people would be in Hong Kong.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the fact that these properties and companies have jumped in to social media.  I love that they're brave enough to explore the new avenue for marketing and resident retention, and I give them their just kudos for being willing to take the risk.  I just wish more of them would have taken a look at what they were doing and gone in with a plan.

Please step back from your social media marketing efforts for a moment and consider the communication channel. These are conversation platforms, not For Rent magazine.  For Rent has it's place.  It's an MLS/ILS, and it's okay to put an ad in there, because that's the whole purpose of the distribution.  Twitter and Facebook are NOT an ILS, so it's almost considered rude to only tweet me or to status me your vacancy ads.  Logging on just to send out just ads on these platforms is tantamount to walking into a quiet library and screaming at the top of your lungs.  It might get you noticed, but people will ask you to leave.  On Facebook and Twitter, they'll just stop following you.

I know it takes more time to market with a conversation.  I know it takes more thought.  Guess what?  That's what makes it more valuable. (And I will be the first to concede, I'm not a huge fan of Twitter and Facebook as an initial marketing source.  I think that they are better utilized as a retention tool.  I've always seen them this way because they are community building tools. I do see the applications with initial marketing, but I don't think that there has been enough development of the idea to really get all the juice out of that fruit.) When I'm reading my facebook stream, I don't read anything that talks about your great two bedroom apartment.  What I read is the information about your events, your community and your staff.  I read for personality.  I read for real content.  Give me something valuable and I'll come back and check your site out again.  If I'm the average resident, your hotlist is not valuable to me, so you're going to have to give me just a little more.

Now, I'm not saying that you can't list your vacants.  I think that it's a good idea to do that on both of the forums.  But if that's all you're putting out there 90% of the time, then you may be wasting your time.   We are an information society and our industry is uniquely poised to become a core content creation source.  We can tap in to the best parts of people because we are a part of their home.  Don't let that opportunity pass you by because you're more concerned about getting your hotlist out there. 

Books, Dust Jackets, and Preconceived Notions

5 "Spooky" Suggestions for Your October Marketing - Originally posted to AppFolio's E-zine www.propertymanager.com