The Top Four Blogging Platforms for Property Managers

Why should you be blogging?  First, it’s a great way to keep fresh content on your website (search engines love fresh content). Second, it’s the quickest and cheapest way to communicate your news or advice to a broad group of people. Third, what other work task lets you be a hard-hitting investigative journalist for a few hours?  OK, maybe soft-hitting.

If you haven’t started blogging yet, here are the top platforms that we recommend for property managers:

The Tumblr navigation bar

1. Tumblr
This is the easiest and most fun blogging platform out there.  Instead of being geared towards long articles of text, Tumblr gives equal weight to different types of short posts: photos, links, quotes, chat conversations, audio, video AND text.  It makes it super easy to post more interesting, user friendly content that people will want to read or look through.

How Properties Can Use It:   Attract renters with a fun Tumblr blog showcasing your property. Put photos of your vacant units, a video walk-through or virtual tour, then an article about a featured neighborhood hot spot.

2. WordPress
Wordpress offers more than just blogs.  It’s a full content management system, and savvy developers can build an entire website off its platform.  There are gobs of tools and plugins out there that make it easy for you to manage anything you need in your website straight from WordPress.

How Properties Can Use It:   Have your web development team build a quick WordPress website for your property. You can have a photo gallery, your Twitter feed, contact us page, maintenance submission form and more.  Now it’s easy peasy to make updates to your site.

3. Blogger
Blogger was a popular platform in the early days of blogging, and in 2003 Google snapped it up into its pile of ever-growing products.  If you already have a Google account, you can start your own blog in less than a minute for free.

How Properties Can Use It:   Since it’s so easy to set up and use, create a few Blogger blogs with different focuses – say, one for current tenants about updates or news from the property, and one for potential tenants about why someone should live at your property.

4. Posterous
If you can email, you can Posterous.  All you need to do to create a new blog post is to send an email to post@posterous.com from the email account you signed up from. You can also have a private Posterous group so that you can share photos, text, videos and links with a select few people.

How Properties Can Use It:   Set up a private Posterous Group for your property staff.  You can then brainstorm on ideas, share links and more without your competition knowing what you’re up to.

 

Need help deciding?  Or need help with your social media campaign in general?  Give us a call at (206) 284-2441 or email interact@reachwerks.com!

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Carbing Up, Reaching Out

Pain au Levain, a French bread

Image via Wikipedia

Peter Shankman, founder of online community HARO and overall marketing top dog, recently threw down on Social Media Experts. Hard.

In an article written for Business Insider, Shankman blasts Social Media Experts as pretty much useless, and a waste of money.

“Being an expert in social media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.”

Touché, Shankman. Your point is well-taken. Bread alone does not a sandwich make.

And many companies are essentially carbo-loading: blindly tweeting, Facebooking, and blogging without a well-articulated strategy for how social media will pump up sales or improve service.

Say you’re a hardware store owner, and you launch an aggressive Facebook campaign to advertise a discount on paint. But if your customers aren’t on Facebook, your salesgirl is surly, and your paint expired in 1998, then you can post on Facebook all the live long day and not see a dime from it. Social media is a tool, just like radio ads or TV spots or open houses or business cards.

Yes, bread alone does not a sandwich make. But let me ask you this: have you ever had an amazing sandwich with crappy bread?

A good Social Media Expert could steer the hardware store owner away from a Facebook promotion, and toward a WordPress blog that gives friendly tips and expert advice about home repair and renovations.

Social media is, for better or for worse, a powerful tool that has given a voice back to our consumers. It’s relatively low-cost, it’s evolving quickly, it’s saturating every demographic, and it’s not going anywhere.

A qualified Social Media Expert is not a CEO; his expertise is specific and increasingly critical to the success of a marketing campaign.  He can’t teach great service, execute quality control, or make sure your electric bill is paid.

What he can do is help you figure out how to start a conversation with your customers, in the medium that your customers regularly use. He can show you how that conversation eventually leads to brand awareness, customer loyalty, and increased sales. He can help you find your company’s voice and create unique, interesting content.

(Forgive me, I can’t resist–)

He might just be the best thing since sliced bread.

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Socially Savvy Landlords: How to Use Facebook & Twitter For Your Properties

So you’ve played a little Farmville, perused your cousin’s vacation photos and read the words “repost this status if you agree!!!” far too many times.  You’re ready to use social networking for more than just a way to procrastinate.

Tweeting: Not Just For Nerds and Birds

There are 140 million tweets sent each day.  That’s enough twittilating power that Google has taken notice, and now tweets and the links within those tweets are quickly climbing up the ranks of their search engine.

If you want your management company or apartment building’s webpage to be #1 on Google, throw in some tweets regularly that link to content on your website and have relevant keywords (such as in this example from a rental tour company: “We’re excited to announce that we’re expanding our rental finding tour services http://bit.ly/rental-tours to Portland, OR!”).

Follow Me! Please? I Swear I’m Interesting!

Need more followers? Get found with “hashtags.” Hashtags are when you insert the # symbol in front of a keyword — when people search for that keyword, you’ll come up.

Have a price concession on a rental unit?  Tweet about it and include #rentspecial or #apartments at the end of your tweet to get it noticed. (Taking advice from Charlie Sheen is not usually a good idea, but he’s definitely started a #winning trend by attaching #winning to all his tweets.)

Be sure that all of your tweets aren’t self promotion, though. People use Twitter as a way to find useful or entertaining information.

The best way to get more followers is to engage your audience with interesting content. Tell them what would make YOU want to live at this property. Or, why you would never rent to Charlie Sheen.

Face It, You Need Face Time on Facebook

Ah, Facebook. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on that site.  No, really – 700 BILLION

And the next generation of renters grew up with Facebook – they’re getting their news from there, using it as their primary tool for communicating with their friends, and figuring out which products to buy from there.

The Movie Was Called The Social Network For a Reason

If you only think of your Facebook Page as a mini-website for your company, you’re missing the “social” part of social networking. Facebook is a communication and interaction tool. Your property or company’s Facebook Page is a place to ask questions, answer questions and solicit feedback.

It’s a scary prospect — if you’ve ever been badly reviewed on Yelp or ApartmentRatings.com, you probably still grind your teeth when you hear someone say “review” — but being a good listener and proactively asking for advice will gain you respect (and interaction) from your followers.

 

Breaking Down The Wall

Also, remember that there’s more to a Facebook Page than “The Wall.” Having a resident get-together? Post it on the Events tab. Want to figure out if your tenants think you need new washing machines? Pose the question on the Discussions tab. Trying to decide between two paint colors for the hallway? Take photos of both and ask them to vote.

Real Fans, Not Just Your Parents

Of course, if no one is a fan of your Facebook Page, you’ll just be doing all this awesome stuff for… your mom? (Thanks, mom – just don’t post those photos of 3 year old me in a swimsuit and rollerskates please.) You need to make sure you’re promoting your Facebook Page everywhere that you can.

Once you hit 25 fans, you can create a “vanity URL” – say, Facebook.com/BeautifulApartments. It’s then really easy to pop that URL everywhere – on your email signature, on your business cards, on a sign at your front desk, or on a t-shirt for your mom to wear.

Help!

So – now that you have some insider tips, you’re ready to get your Mark Zuckerberg on. Can’t find the time to do all of this?  Call (206-284-2441) or email Reachwerks and we’ll chat about how The Reachwerkers can help you tackle the world of social networking.