Resident Retention with a little help from Google

Like many people in property management, I'm a Craigslister.  I've used Craigslist for a long time, not only as a place to put my listings up for vacant apartments, but also to find several jobs, short freelance writing gigs, to sell a ton of junk I really didn't need to buy in the first place, etc.  Currently, I'm in the market to adopt a golden retriever, so I'm often looking at the pets section.  A few days ago, I found this ad:

"Jake got out yesterday afternoon from the Shangri La apts. He is very friendly and most likely would have come up to and gone with someone.Please either respond to this ad, call [Number Removed], or have animal control get him and take him to the Seattle animal shelter where I can retrieve him. Jake is about 25 pounds, mostly black with a left white paw and partial white on his right paw. He also has a white chest with some brown marking on his legs and chest. His tail is bobbed. He is greatly missed!! Thanks in advance for your help."

I started to wonder if the Shangri La staff knew that these residents were looking for their dog.  We often talk about utilizing search tools  for brand management and on line reputation management purposes, but here is a classic example of an opportunity for resident retention that could have been brought to you, not by the number three, but by the letters that spell GOOGLE ALERTS.

Google Alerts can be a great tool for managing your on line reputation, brand and for just keeping tabs on who is talking about you.  They're every paranoid Jr. High girl's fantasy.  All you do is go through a less than 5 minute set up process and Google automatically sends any postings with your name or specified key words directly to your in box.    They are one of the easiest tools out there, they're free, and best of all, they have multiple uses for your staff.

To see a tutorial on Google Alerts, I recommend this post from the folks over at Kinetic Blogs.  And remember, you're not limited to search for anything by just your property name.  I currently have GAs set for my name, my business name, my blog, general property management search words, research trends, learning patterns,  conferences, etc.  Get creative and use this resource to tap in to your client base just a little further!

Avoiding the Ole' Swoop'n'Squat

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