Ben Faunce, senior customer success manager at SOCi, discusses how marketing has been affected during the pandemic and what leaders should be doing going forward.
Clear communication and a strong online marketing strategy are more important than ever as multifamily property managers navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Multi-Housing News hosted a 30-minute “Snap Session” webinar last week with Ben Faunce, senior customer success manager at software company SOCi, to discuss the challenges that property management firms are facing and content and messaging strategies they can adopt.
“It’s important to get content out there now,” said Faunce, urging companies to make full use of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to engage with current and prospective residents and make their properties stand out. Property managers can post appealing photos of available units. Companies that have taken advantage of prolonged closures to improve their amenities should let the world know.
Multifamily managers can also brand themselves as community builders by sending thanks to local hospitals and pharmacies, promoting local restaurants and grocery stores that may be open and giving weekly shout-outs to team members such as maintenance workers, Faunce added.
Companies should also use social media to support and engage current residents. Ideas include asking residents questions on Facebook and promoting fun and unique events, such as a cute puppy contest at an apartment community or a balcony dance party at a senior living center. “I see some really inspiring posts across thousands of properties I work with,” said Faunce. “At the end of the day, always be leading with empathy in everything you’re doing.”
The industry is currently gravitating towards virtual property tours as leasing has become challenging over the last month or so. Google’s Tour Creator is a useful tool for creating immersive, 360-degree views of a community. Self-guided tours are also an option to consider. The tours can be scheduled on Zoom and property managers can speak to prospective renters over the phone as they navigate the property. Having a messenger bot on the company’s website and Facebook page is an easy way to weed out prospects that aren’t serious.
Now is also an opportune time for companies to create videos. If the budget is available, it’s a good idea to spend the extra money to make them look sharp and professional. If not, keep the videos loose and engaging. “Video is just skyrocketing across social media,” said Faunce, noting that video-sharing service TikTok was the most-downloaded app across Android and iPhone over the last 90 days.
Finally, as parts of the U.S. gradually lift restrictions related to the pandemic, property managers should think about putting together a social campaign around the reopening of amenities such as gyms, pools and rooftops. Each reopening milestone can warrant its own post, complete with an explanation of why it makes sense, as well as quotes from the relevant government or public health guidelines.