Content Marketing: A Long Term Strategy for Apartment Communities

content-marketing-apartmentsIf you spend any time on the internet, you’ve heard buzz words like “content marketing strategy,” “content management,” and “content creation.”

Depending on how much time you spend on social media and blogs, you may have a vague or crystal clear understanding of this marketing tool that involves everything from writing a blog post like the one you’re reading to making a video like this one.

SHARING CONTENT

When content is created for your apartment community, it can be shared on your resident blog, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and any where else your community has a digital foot print. You can have it set up so that the link to your resident blog is auto-shared on a variety of social media platforms every time there is a new post. You’ll have to give your webmaster the log ins for each social media account for them to set this up.

If you have extra time to invest, there are platform-specific ways share the content that can add traction within that specific platform. However, for on-site apartment community marketing, I don’t recommend that as a valuable use of time and resources.

Unless of course you happen to have 100% occupancy, no maintenance issues and lots of free time. In that case, go for it. But, let’s be real — most managers don’t have much time to invest in social media, so make sure the time they do spend isn’t wasted.

DIRECTING YOUR HARD-EARNED TRAFFIC

I think the safest long-term bet with content creation is to create quality content on your website’s resident blog and then direct all traffic from social media back to your website.

Social media platforms go in and out of style every few years and other than getting a lead from a phone number posted in a bio, there’s not a lot you can do to capture that traffic and turn it directly into leads.

content marketing direct all traffic back to website
In this day and age, you can’t ignore social media, but you can choose to use it in a way that is responsible with your resources. Using social media for an apartment community involves posting new content, interacting with questions and comments and managing negative replies and reviews.

This can take a lot of time. If you want that time to be as efficient as possible, it’s important to make sure your goals are clear to you and anyone on your staff who is managing content creation. 

AUDIENCE & GOALS

Content creation for apartment communities is different than for a huge national brand because your audience is generally local and specific.

You’re not going to be creating a content machine like BuzzFeed or UpWorthy. You’re managing a blog and a few social media platforms that have a VERY specific niche.

Realistically, your target audience isn’t very large. Your target audience is your current residents, their friends and family, plus people who are looking for the exact type of apartment you have to offer in that price range in that location.

That means many of the content creation tips given to large nation wide businesses simply don’t apply. Although you want your content to be liked, tweeted and shared… your goal is different and your resources to accomplish this are certainly different.

Don’t waste time and money in social media just because everyone else is doing it. Know concretely why and how it will benefit your residents and your bottom line, especially if you are allocating on-site staff resources to accomplish it.

example-resident-blog-content

MY ADVICE FOR CONTENT MANAGEMENT

Social media is marvelous, but you need to make sure at least 75% of your posts link back to your site. It’s okay to occasionally link to something funny, inspiring, or endearing. Certainly, you don’t want your social media efforts to lack personality.

However, as much as possible, keep all the traffic directed to your website. This will:

  1.  Boost SEO.
  2. Give you the chance to capture leads if your site is optimized with easy to fill out forms and calls to action.
  3. Give you freedom in the future to pivot your social media energy to new platforms without losing a lot of time invested in one direction.

DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN THE FACEBOOK BASKET

Facebook is working hard to not lose it’s hard-earned status of national obsession… but what if it does? What if you had only invested all your energy in developing a great Facebook page and getting all your residents to like it… and then in a flash, no one would be caught dead Liking a page on Facebook?

I’m not saying I think this is something that would happen over night, but the reality is a Facebook page doesn’t give you the control you need to communicate your brand and capture leads. To be clear, I am not saying don’t bother with Facebook at all. I’m just saying it shouldn’t be the primary destination goal for your internet traffic. 

If you have a blog on your apartment community website, it gives you a reliable place to create and share meaningful content. Then you can keep the focus on creating that fun, quality, useful content and centralizing the effort in one place.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments and let’s discuss.  

3 Comments

  • This goes against all that is Social in Social Media. It is not about you, it’s about your residents. The focus should be on content that provides value to the resident. Yes, you can add something about yourself but it needs to be every now and then. Ever hear of the 4-1-1 guideline? 4 posts for the resident, 1 repost, and 1 about you.
    Make your Facebook a place where residents can interact and share posts, that drives up your organic reach and provides an increased feeling of community and belonging.

    • Hi Michael, thanks for your comment, but I’m a little confused. When you say, “you” do you mean the apartment manager? In this article I’m focusing on the value of making an apartment website the hub of information, instead of Facebook or Google+. I think it’s important to be realistic about the resources that are available at a community and also keep the focus on value for all involved. Value for residents, yes, but also value for the staff in terms of getting leads that they need in order to keep occupancy up, in order to keep cash flow for the owner that allows for reinvestment back into the community, etc. I’m talking about the big picture of “content strategy,” not just about having a Facebook page for it’s own sake. Time/money can’t be invested in social media just because some residents might like to share things on an FB page. I just don’t think that’s realistic in terms of priorities. If staff is going to invest time in creating content on the internet, it definitely needs to contribute to lead generation. And that doesn’t mean neglecting residents. It just means looking at the big perspective.

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