Mills Apartments Charts Social Media Course

It’s official, Mills Apartments is slowing making it’s way into the world of social media.

Mills Apartments Charts Social Media Course

It’s official, Mills Apartments is slowing making it’s way into the world of social media. While the process of participation has been slow to evolve, we have not been completely idle. Over the past two years we have listened and interacted here and there, dipping our toe in on experimental basis only. We are now going from dipping our toe to a full swan dive by creating an overall marketing strategy that integrates social media into the mix.

The following are the areas we are choosing to focus our time and attention;

  • New website [not something that we would have elected to do [nor see as an absolute necessity] except that we collectively did not like our current one]
  • Prospect Portals
  • Resident Portals
  • Ten blogs, eight of which will serve the various neighborhoods and regions where we have a presence. The other two will be penned from our home office, one from the various team members that make up this family called Mills and the other by our President – Kirk Mills.
  • One Twitter Account Click Here
  • One Facebook Like page for each of our 47 [as of today] properties Park Clayton Apartments
  • YouTube Channel

Now we have no illusions that we can pull this off with out the help of a professional and after a bit of a beauty contest we elected to work with Mike Whaling over at 30lines. He along with a few others [hopefully, soon to be announced] are building the lion’s share of the infrastructure. Up to this point, he has proven to be a very valuable partner and resource and as such we are very excited about the future.

The post today is really just a tease in the way getting our story out there in the crowded sea of multifamily social media starts. I have been given full permission to document the good, the bad and the ugly along the way in building this out. And, in doing so I would be remiss not to mention the many fine trailblazers that we have borrowed [wink wink] ideas from. Many of the things you will see in the coming months will echo the efforts of others and many will take on little tweaks and nuances. And, I will do my best to site the sources of inspiration and feel free to call me on the carpet if I miss anyone.

With all that being said, I wanted to share the first of a number of internal dialogs that relate to our get social initiative. This gem is from our Communication Strategist and Brand Manager – Melissa Presusser. It relates to our blog initiative and went out to a select group of managers who have been charged with beginning to create compelling, over the top and very cool content. While they will by no means be alone in this – we thought it right to have them highly involved in the process. We are certain that it will be a work in progress and we will learn a lot along the way.

As a premise, we are encouraging all of our bloggers’ to read the introduction of Brains on Fire. We are going to use their passion for ignition in hopes of putting a real dent in the city of STL.

With that – here we go!


Mills Properties will begin a blogging frenzy in the next few months with 9 blogs going at one time.  We have chosen all of you to help get this super important piece of our web presence started!!  You have all shown a very strong ability and passion for writing and using social media and we think you will be perfect to join our team!  This is an excellent, rockin opportunity for you to really build your skills and help make really great things happen – bigger than big!

Here is what will be required, if you choose to accept…

  1. Accept our offer to be a Fabulous Mills Blogger
  2. Purchase, with petty cash, the book Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements
    or pick it up – I believe it can also be purchased in store at Barnes & Noble or Borders
  3. Read the introduction of the book mentioned above by October 26th
  4. 4. Attend the Mills Blogger Training Class on Tuesday, October 26th at 9:00 at the corporate office (we should conclude at or around 12:00)
  5. Get started with your crazy cool content to make things happen at Mills

We can’t wait to hear from you!  Please call me if you have questions!

Let us know what you think and a big thank you to all that have inspired us along the way…

Do Signs Matter When Renting an Apartment?

Dollar Sign


I ran across a blog this morning that suggested that dollar signs or the lack thereof mattered when it came to significantly increasing a restaurant patrons spend. Just for sake of discussion I visited a couple of ILS’s; Apartment Finder, For Rent and Apartment Guide and found that all of them use $ when demonstrating price.

Restaurants use it successfully

The Food Section: Restaurant Menus, Dollar Signs, and Spending

A new study by the Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration reveals that the way in which prices are displayed on restaurant menus has an impact on the amount of spending by diners.

It’s Not Normal – Does that make it remarkable?

In the spirit of being remarkable or memorable – would it make a difference? Would it give cause for a prospect to inquire about the higher priced apartments and or would it allow us to push rates with no real consequence to our leasing efforts? Is it worth testing to see if it works in our space?

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Daylight Harvesting Ballasts

Simkar Lighting Adds Dimming/Daylight Harvesting Ballasts as an Energy-Saving Option in Their Green Initiative Fixtures

I wonder if we have an opportunity for savings with this product. In light (pun intended) of current (pun intended) economic times our budgets need a charge (pun intended). Okay – enough with the puns – we all need to be cognizant of areas we can save money and utilities is a big one. I will be handing this idea over to our facilities team tomorrow for further study.

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Equity picks Portland, Oregon portfolio to go green

If I were a smarty pants, I would say something along the lines of; going green is so 2008 or 07′ or 06’…where have you been Equity?

Nevertheless, I am proud to see EQR embrace the green movement. They certainly have a large enough footprint to make a real impact. I am also very proud of the fact that Portland, Oregon was selected as the place to begin implementation. As many of you know I was the Regional Manager for the Portland market for a number of years so this is especially cool for me to watch.  Incidentally, I caught the story on the Portland Rocks Newsletter blog we put together back in 2006.

Call to action:

I thought we could demonstrate the power of community and help them out with a few ideas. If you have a free minute today drop a comment below and I will pass them along to the fine folks in Portland. I know they would appreciate the feedback.

Have a compelling day.

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Apartment Article Rant

I just can’t get past this one.

Here is an excerpt from this months MFE Magazine. It comes from the Editor.

“I am a fan of telling it like it is. At a gathering of industry
executives earlier this year, one REIT CEO did just that. He was
talking to an intimate group of his peers about how the recent influx
of renters into multifamily properties was only temporary—that these
renters would still want to buy single-family homes once the market
recovered. He argued that, knowing this, property managers shouldn’t be
shy about raising rents. “While we can, we should stick it to them.
Stick it to them,” he said.” [see article here]

The description of this whole exchange and the idea that it was printed in a magazine that I really admire just rubs me the wrong way.

“…he was candidly sharing opinions and perspectives that may have brushed some in the audience the wrong way.”

Include me as part of the audience that was brushed the wrong way. Was there thought given to the idea that once printed, the room referred to grew exponentially?

I can’t see how comments like that could be admired, one. Two, I can’t see glorifying it by calling it wisdom.

I would say this, candidly. I would never work for, with or around a leader and organization that openly promoted that kind of inane rhetoric. I want to believe he was kidding.

Maybe I have the wrong perspective about our industry. Maybe it is about grabbing the cash while you can and pilfering the unique talents of people while you can. I really doubt it however. I am both convicted and convinced that an organization governed by those principles might prosper for a brief moment but will die on the social media vine over time. This is just the kind of ammunition that a resident needs for his/her blog, for his/her MySpace page, his/her Facebook page, etc… I guess it could of been worse, we could have learned his name and the name of his company. What a day that could have been.

All that said, I get the point of being direct and candid. I believe in taking advantage of moments of truth. I believe it crucial conversations. I believe that is why I wrote this post.

Apartment Search by Cort

Did you know that Apartment Search by Cort was providing apartment search results for I just discovered it. Can it be?

I once heard a comedian do a bit on road rage. In it he described how an older couple were driving in front of him and not only were they driving slow but they were straddling the dividing line so he could not pass.

He describes climbing out of his driver’s window while laying on the horn and shouting, "pick a lane."

I say,, pick a business. And Cort, you should be ashamed. Know that I will be removing my listing from your site on Monday and I will expect it to be off this site as well. Thanks but no thanks.

Leasing agent attacked in O’Fallon, MO

Suspect Arrested After Attack On Leasing Agent In O’Fallon, MO
Last Edited: Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008, 5:51 PM CST
Created: Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008, 5:51 PM CST
By Roche Madden

(KTVI —  —

For the second time in a month an O’Fallon Missouri apartment leasing agent has been assaulted while showing a property. [Click here for the rest]

Please be careful. So much to say on this topic. Any thoughts and feedback that anyone has on the subject please share as it can and will be useful to all.

Our hearts go out to the victims in these two cases.

Example Preventive Maintenance Letter


In an effort to better serve our community, [Community Name] Apartments has established a Preventative Maintenance Program with a Fall/Winter annual inspection. This means that our maintenance staff will need access to your apartment starting at 9:30 am on Wednesday & Thursday (November 7th & 8th). The maintenance technician(s) will start our preventative maintenance on the fourth floor and work their way down to the first floor. They will conduct an inspection in your apartment for leaks, check smoke detector, air filters (replace if needed), and note any problems, which need attention.


If you have any specific concerns, please note them on the attached form and leave it on your kitchen counter, for the technician to see when inspecting your apartment. Please keep in mind that some repairs noted might require scheduling for a future date to be complete. We hope that this will not be an inconvenience to you but rather a positive experience. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our office.


Thank You!

[Community Team]


Do you have a letter you want to share? Drop me an email and or paste a copy in the comment section below.

Property Management Renewal Letter

November 7, 2007


Dear Resident,


It’s been a pleasure having you as a resident at [Community Name] Apartments. Your management team would like to take this time to thank you for your continued residency here and hope that you have enjoyed it as much as we have.


Attached to this letter is your new lease contract. This contract, if approved by you, will be an extension of your current lease for another year. All you need to do is check the boxes and sign at the bottom. It’s that easy! Once you have done this then you simply drop it off at the office or in the drop box located at the front of the office.


Also enclosed with your new lease agreement is your renewal packet with some important paperwork, including some information regarding a change in our utilities billing, for you to fill out and return with your renewal lease.


Another important change to note is that [Community Name] will now require all residents to carry Renter’s Insurance. Your renewal lease cannot be processed by our office without proof of that insurance.  You can either make arrangements with your private insurance company, or you can stop by the leasing office and pick up information about [Insurance Company Name]. 


To show how much we appreciate your time here at Park Station we would like to extend a special renewal offer to you. If you turn in your renewal contract by Monday, November 26, 2007, we will give you a $400 credit towards your rent!!!!


It is our hope that you chose to stay with us, however, if you decide otherwise don’t forget to give your 60-day notice to vacate.


Thank you again for choosing to live at Park Station Apartments!






[Insert name here]

Leasing Agent

5595 Street Address

St. Louis, MO 63112

Phone Number