Apartment Marketing: Friendslist

Could a platform like friendlist make For Rent’s likely crazy expensive quasi-distribution point irrelevant? Likely not but I secretly hope so…

Friendslist might be something to keep an eye on. Especially in light of the shrewd move by Forrent.com in creating an exclusive, carve their client marketing partners right out of an avenue of advertising platform, relationship on FBs Marketplace.  Could a platform like friendlist make the likely crazy expensive quasi-distribution point irrelevant? Likely not but I secretly hope so…

Friendslist offers a cleaner interface to start, but that’s nothing new. What it does is connect buyers and sellers, or people who are looking for jobs and people who are hiring, through the people they know. Yes, Oodle does this to some extent on Facebook Marketplace, but Friendslist takes a slightly different approach.

No offense FR. But, please know whether it was you, AF, AG or any other provider, I would feel the same. The move gave me every cause to expedite the reallocation of near $550,000 of FR specific marketing spend over the last 18 months. Not a complete departure but a semi-massive one.  Stay tuned…

Apartment Marketing: PSE

Rule number one: People. Spread. Emotion. Rule number two: If there is no spread, see rule number one!

You likely know from your own experiences both on and off line that Emotion Sells! Excitement Sells! Cool Sells! Gossip Sells! Optimism Sells! Humor Sells! Anger Sells! iPhone 4 Sells! Well – more appropriate to this post concerning the iPhone 4 – Being Part of the Cool Kid Tribe Sells! Wit Sells! Deep thoughts by Jack Handy Sells! Heart Felt Sells! To Big to Fail Sells! And B.S. Sells – in spades! Point? It’s the stuff that hits the hardest and softest parts of that thing called heart – soul – spirit and mind! So get out your Kleenex or pick up that axe in need of a good grind – as we have absolutely nothing to tell you that you don’t already know –

Scott Stratten from the very popular UnMarketing Blog cut the idea of sharing down to its core recently –

UnMarketing » Blog Archive » Word of Mouth Has Changed, Sort Of

Look at what gets shared on Facebook, or retweeted on Twitter. Funny stuff, brilliant knowledge-filled posts, sad things, stuff that angers you.

Repeat after me: People. Spread. Emotion.

Apartment Facebook Like Page: Rules for Share

It’s kind of like Steve Leonard’s rule for customer service : Rule number one: The customer is always right. Rule number two: If the customer is wrong, see rule number one! I am adopting Scott’s mantra as it relates to sharing content on your Apartment Facebook Like Page or your Apartment Twitter Status updates: And, to distill it into a set of rules [I hate rules but for the sake of keeping] Rule number one: People. Spread. Emotion. Rule number two: If there is no spread, see rule number one!

Apartment Marketers: Afraid to Blog?

Blogging: This is something you make time for at the expense of other things.

Below is a link to a story that resonated with me relative to a conversation that was broached on Mike Whaling’s: Apartment Marketing Gone Digital’s last episode. I believe it was Eric Brown that made the point about the lack of conversation about blogs as it relates to apartment marketing at NAAs 2010 convention.

Apartment Blogging: Fear

I agree to some extent with Eric that there is a dearth of examples with apartment blogging in the Apartment Space as I think the offerings are growing everyday. For example – Mills Properties – is on the verge of launching seven regional blogs in addition to revamping the Mills employee-centric blog. In addition, JC Hart, Trillium, Paragon, Village Green and PCMG have ventured down the path of blogging and from my perspective are doing a good job of it. I applaud the fact that these firms have taken the endeavor on as an in-house marketing function.

With that, I feel it necessary to make the point that I am not an advocate of ILSs that offer blogging as a part of their advertising package. And, time should be of no excuse. I would rather hear the fear stuff like; I am afraid of what others might think of my choice of topic, my grammar, my spelling or what if I can’t think of anything to write about. Not that those things are not important but – time as an excuse – save it. This is something you make time for at the expense of other things.

Apartment Non-Blogging

To the topic at hand – the following post was offered up on the Conversation Agent Blog a couple weeks ago. In it Valeria Moltoni suggests alternatives to blogging that could and are effective in building your digital footprint. If you are not into creating original and or mashed up blog content – this read is for you. The premise is that participation is an equally compelling form of content creation. She offers some real practical applications using LinkedIn, Twitter and others. So – if you just can’t bring yourself to do it and you elect not to farm it out to a third party, try this method.

Enjoy and let us know your thoughts in the comments below –

Conversation Agent: Blogging at Work if You Don’t Have a Blog

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Participation is content because it is what will activate your content in the context of the conversation. Remember when you worried about nobody coming to your blog? It’s the same with content in other places – you’ve got to interact to activate it.

Apartment Talent: The Price of Waiting

Hey there! Nice to meet YOU! This post is for those of you that serve on the stages of our industry. That is to suggest the leasing, assistant managers and property managers out there. I like what Seth had to say on his blog a couple of days ago about waiting for validation – here is an excerpt:

If you’re waiting for a boss or an editor or a college to tell you that you do good work, you’re handing over too much power to someone who doesn’t care nearly as much as you do.

Keep Cool Keep Control

Some time back, I attended a group counseling session  that described it this way, when you lose control, it’s like you have a string attached to your heart and you give the prompter the string and you allow him or her to pull that string at will. In other words you give up the very control that was given to you on the day you loudly pronounced your place on earth. It’s frankly a travesty of monumental proportions. It’s not unlike that in business – be it sales, marketing, finance, transaction, operations or the such. You cede control under the guise of waiting for validation and you cede control of your future.

Relating it back to Seth’s post and also to caring about what you do in the apartment space – beat your own best self everyday of the week. Remind yourself daily that no one will challenge you more than you will challenge yourself. No one person or thing has control over you unless you cede it to them. There are so many opportunities to build Your Personal Brand today – so many ways to take control of Your Future –

Using Social Media to Market Apartments – Ripe with Opportunities

For all intents and purposes – new media in it’s concerns with marketing apartment homes is in its infancy. It’s the perfect space to join in the conversation. Blogs not unlike this one are the perfect place to; come and observe – start to participate – use for a catalyst to start your own blog and reference back to now and again once you are up and running. Rest on this notion – not even the best of the best in this space know where the platforms and mechanisms will be two to four years from now. It’s any one’s best guess at this point. In spite of that they keep innovating – they keep plugging away –  steady trying, refining and trying again. You can too. It’s the way Brand You is made. The alternative – the price of waiting? – Your Future.

What are you going to do today?

Apartment Marketing: How to Use Facebook Like Pages to Lease Apartments

How to use Facebook Like Pages to Rent Apartments

I love emails like the one below -but before we go there:

Over the past few weeks we have started to quietly roll out some of our Facebook Like Pages as we gear up for the Get Social with Mills Initiative . One of the issues we’ve run into with this slow roll out is anxious PMs and MSs like Teresa and Mike at Park Clayton Apartments. They were ready to run – so, we let them go and in just over two weeks they took the like numbers from 7 to North of 225.

How to grow Your Apartment Facebook Like Page numbers

How did they do it? To make a long story short Mike brought an orphaned stuffed yellow duck to the leasing office for Teresa to see and each time they tried to put the duck away – residents asked to have it back as a mascot. With that T and M – [I often use the first letter of peoples names – with that T is for Teresa and M is for Mike] decided to have a – Name the Duck – contest . In conjunction with that contest they decided to give away a few fun prizes for the resident who yielded the biggest number of Likes to our page in a weeks time.

The Apartment Like Page Results

T and M put on North of 200 Likes inside of two weeks time. Not only that – they yielded something much more important in my opinion – check out the page and I think you will quickly discern what I mean. That point brings me to the email below –

How to use Facebook Like Pages to Rent Apartments

I will let the email speak for itself –

Have a compelling weekend – M

—–Original Message—–
From: Park Clayton <parkclayton@millsproperties.net>
Sent: Thursday, June 03, 2010 12:55 PM
To: ‘Mike Brewer’ <MBrewer@millsproperties.net>; ‘Tracy Seubert’ <TSeubert@millsproperties.net>
Subject: Great news!

Hey guys,

I have some awesome news about our facebook fans. One of my residents came down to tell me that his friends in Taiwan are watching us on facebook and they think it’s great that we do resident events and have contests. He says they told him they want to move here when they get to town just because of what they see online!

Also, he brought down his laptop and we spoke with a couple of his friends in Taiwan who want to move here in August. The program they use to chat/talk internationally is called, “skype.”

Teresa Richardson

Property Manager

Park Clayton Apartments

photo credit: blog.hubspot.com

Apartment Reviews – This Wall was Not Made for Conversation

See this wall -it’s the Mills Properties Kudos Wall in our central office in Clayton, MO.

See this wall -it’s the Mills Properties Kudos Wall in our central office in Clayton, MO. Only one problem, it’s calendar year 2010  and I can’t converse with the people that took the time to write out their thoughts and mail them to our office.

I am certain that many of you can imagine the missed opportunity. My hope is that there are not others out there that have walls like this one in their offices. My plea to you if you do is to get digital fast –

We will be doing as much as we kick of the Get Social with Mills Initiative. Keying off what others have done in the industry, we feel it will be a necessary and fruitful piece of our on-line branding presence going forward.

Would love to hear your thoughts –

Get Social with Mills: The Journey Begins

It’s official – Mills Properties is taking the plunge into new media.

It’s official – Mills Properties is taking the plunge into new media. For the past three years we have been at work producing real results with simple tools like Craiglist and vFlyer. One example, which I will fully detail in a later blog post, includes a manager that used CL exclusively to add 23 points of occupancy in just seven short weeks. It’s an amazing story but it is not where we wanted to be. We wanted to be fully immersed in the use of new media as it relates to marketing apartments.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Step

I am jazzed to report that Mills Senior Leadership has given blessing for me to document the entire journey from soup to nuts. In doing so I hope to utilize all the rich media out there in order to produce some massively cool dialog. The chief aim is to bring real meaning to the word engagement as I am fully convinced that the word is very often misplaced and misused in the world of marketing and new media specifically.

All that being said, I invite you to join us as we take the first step to Get Social with Mills.

Update: And, if it starts to look and or feel like a ton of self promotion, company promotion or ego-centric rhetoric, say as much. Our intent is to tell a story that may add value to your new media marketing efforts.


New Media Apartment Marketing: Random Thoughts

I think many times in the world of new media it is easier to say just what is on your mind without being mindful of the long term ripple effect. It’s really very easy to sit behind a keyboard and rattle off thoughts that are no doubt driven by our emotions.

New Media Apartment Marketing - Breaking GlassCould not pass up the chance to share this list from Logic + Emotion. It’s from a post titled Random Thoughts. In it, David Armano lists five pretty simple yet compelling thoughts that should no doubt be a guide for all of us. The first thought he lists is; We all live in glass houses.

Be Mindful of What you Say

I think many times in the world of new media it is easier to say just what is on your mind without being mindful of the long term ripple effect. It’s really very easy to sit behind a keyboard and rattle off thoughts that are no doubt driven by our emotions. We have all been guilty of it – someone writes something on a blog or in a comment and wham-o Satan’s spawn comes dwelling up inside of our being and we lash out… Or, someone presses something derogatory about our Apartment Community on a ratings site and we sign up just to set the record straight by one upping them in the art of condescension. In this same breath I would suggest there is a difference between expressing passion and ignorance.

Be Mindful of Our Actions

Penned by some philosopher an undetermined number of years ago – actions speak louder than words. I think the essence of David’s thought is that the very act of throwing that stone is reflective of one’s character. I can say, with learning in mind, that there a number of stones I wish I had back in my collection. They were much more useful to look at when I had them in my possession. And, in the same respect, it’s my hope, as we become more and more embedded in our new media apartment marketing lives, that we remain mindful of our virtual actions. Just remember new media never forgets…

Marketing Apartments with New Media

6a00d83451b31569e20120a646d8d7970b-320wiAs we continue to venture into the world of new media and the use of Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, FourSquare YouTube, Flickr and Local or Regional Blogs we will no doubt encounter plenty of opportunity to grab that tin of rocks we keep in the darker places of our mind, warm up the lizard brain and write away. The next time that happens exercise another ancient philosophy [amended for modern times]; write it a un-savable word doc, read it twice, sleep on it and let it go.

Let us know what you think? Drop us a comment below and let’s discuss….

Apartment Internet Marketing – Education

Educate your consumer and they will come back over and over – We see examples of this all over the place. My favorite however is Wine Library TV – dial into the 3:50 min section of this video – it is the point. You get people to this and you are on your way to what I will end this series with.

This is the second part of a five part series based on a recent emarketer survey. In part one we discussed the concept of Exclusivity. Today we discuss: Education as it relates to Apartment Internet Marketing.

I have included the chart here again for reference:

Reasons for Friending or Following Companies Through Social Media According to US Consumers, December 2009 (% of respondents)

What is Education?

Education, according to Princeton.edu is defined as; a gradual process of acquiring knowledge. From the time of birth we are taking in information, processing it, making decisions and acting. All the while we are layering information on top of information, taking in the new and purging the old to make new assumptions about the future to come. In any case, we are subject to the people and the environment we choose to hang around and participate in. There is a Dave Matthew’s song called: The Space Between. In that song Dave belts: “the space between – the tears we cry – is the laughter keeps us coming back for more – the space between – the wicked lies we tell – and hope to keep safe from the pain” I would contend that space between is called – choice. And, that choice is the byproduct of a catalyst and the result is action – all couched in education or better said, knowledge.

Value Exchange

Education would lead us to understand that the single most important catalyst in today’s business environment is garnishing a individuals attention. With no equivocation – it is the most important determinant of business success. When asking someone to give you their attention, you are asking them to give you their most precious possession – time. Ask for that attention in the way of a negative event caused by you and or your organization and expect a less than positive consequence. Ask for that attention in the way of a positive event and expect – nothing. In the Internet age this is the price of admission. In the context of apartment marketing ideas, ask for that attention in the way of educating apartment patrons and you plant the seeds necessary for true engagement.

Consumer Expectation

There is yet another thing that human beings have in common – the need for insight. Insight is often a vibrant, happy and emotionally loaded space in any person’s life. At some level we are all after it – we all want to be in-the-know. The emotion and desire is hard-wired into our system. That is to suggest that consumer’s want – innately. It’s imbued on their hearts and minds. When we apply that fact we can quickly see the overarching need to embed listening, understanding, interaction and feedback into our concept. It all adds up to meaning for the apartment patron. It all adds up to the willingness to give us their attention. As an example – people spend an average of 25 minutes per session on Facebook – why? The need for insight is being met.

Offer it and They Will Come

We see examples of this all over the internet today but my favorite is Wine Library TV – dial into the 3:50 min section of this video – it is the point. You get people to this and you are on your way to what I will end this series with.

Have a over the top and compelling end to your week – we will be back in a couple days with another installment to this series.

Apartment Internet Marketing – Exclusivity

Came across an interesting survey at over at emarketer that spoke to the want’s of social following. The results were captured in the following chart:

Reasons for Friending or Following Companies Through Social Media According to US Consumers, December 2009 (% of respondents)

Using this chart as a catalyst, we are going to do a five part series titled: The Five E’s of Apartment Internet Marketing. The overarching premise will be playing to the want’s of would be apartment Facebook, Twitter and other social medium friends. We start the series with Exclusivity.

What is Exclusivity?

Exclusivity can be defined as the sole right to a specific business function. AT&T’s exclusive right to market the iPhone is likely the most paramount example of this. Beyond that there is a huge push by aggregators to secure exclusive rights to content. We have seen this with the likes of Harvard Business Review striking a deal with an aggregator and Steven Covey striking a deal for distribution on Amazon’s Kindle. These are mass examples of exclusivity but the concept can be applied to things as simple as white papers. In this case the exclusivity comes in the way of getting for giving or more specifically, give me your email address and I will give you the white paper. It’s exclusive in the sense that not everyone would be willing to give personal information to get.

Value Exchange

The overarching point is that exclusivity has a give and take scenario baked in. You give up Sprint to get the iPhone, you give up buying from B&N and buy a Kindle so you can read Covey, you give up personal information to get information. The goods, services, experience or information requires an action on the part of the consumer and guess what, it’s the overriding reason they friend brands. They want to learn about specials, sales, etc..

Consumer Expectations

Human beings have a few things in common – one being the innate need to feel important, wanted or needed. When we apply that fact to the concept of exclusivity we can clearly see that the perception of being a part of what could be considered an elite group is compelling. We own an iPhone so we can feel cool. We read the HBR so we can feel cool. We read the latest Covey book so we can feel cool. We found our apartment on Craigslist and it was a great deal so we feel cool. Consumers are willing to give up stuff and things to feel important, wanted or needed – all day long.

Offer it and they will come

As it applies to Apartment Internet Marketing in the context of social mediums – more times than not, if you offer it they will come. Now, before I go on, I am not suggesting that you can just put any old thing out there and expect participants to join in, you have to work it. You have to willing to commit to listening, joining in, trying, failing, retooling and trying again. Otherwise it’s all for naught. I am suggesting, however, that if you do things as simple as offering a rent concession to the resident that increases your fan page base the most, or something we eluded to awhile back with tryvertising, or simply setting up a kiosk in your lobby set with twitter and facebook and asking anyone that walks in the door to friend you – you will gain an audience. However, it does not stop here…

…in part two of this series we will talk about what to do with that audience: Education

In the mean time, feel free to continue the Exclusivity conversation by leaving us a comment below.

And, have a compelling day!