Now, more than ever, consumers experience much of the world around them through the lens of social media. Though the majority of their interactions with others are still face to face, a lot of the information we get about one another and about the world around us comes to us through social media websites. When residents want to find out information about your property managers, resident events, hours and contact info we here at MyNewPlace are hearing more and more frequently that a go-to resource is a property’s Facebook page. Facebook provides an easily navigable way to share pictures and information. However, Twitter is becoming more and more of an active means of communication – and the changes made to Twitter over the past year have added extra features that greatly enhance the way people and businesses communicate through this social media tool.
Twitter Instant Follow
Earlier this month, Twitter debuted its ‘Instant Follow’ button – which you can stick right on your webpage and amass followers with one click. (Previously, potential followers had to click a link TO your Twitter page and then click another button to follow you). Seems obvious, right? But it was a long time coming! If you are already in the habit of communicating important information to your residents or anybody who might have an interest in your apartment community – instant follow is an excellent new way to encourage new followers right from your website.
With only 140 characters available in each compact Tweet, there’s not really space for texts that go into a lot of detail. 140 characters can often get the message across, but in many instances, its necessary to write more, a great deal more. When it comes to using Twitter as a tool to advertise available apartments, communicating up-to-the-minute information, and sharing cool stuff about your property – a 140 character Tweet may seem like it would make a good blurb, kind of like a classified ad from the newspapers of the previous century. Though it may be tempting, the best use of your Tweet is probably not as an ad, but rather as a way to direct people to your own site, where they can get all the details you’re tempted them towards. Features now embedded into Twitter automatically create hyperlinks if the web address is proceeded by “http://”. Long URLs can also be shortened through third party services. We use Hootsuite!
In the past, third party software such as Twitpic was needed to upload photos onto Twitter. The latest version of Twitter, however, allows a user to upload and view a photo without having to leave the comfort of the Twitterverse. Just as with links, users are now able to preview photos, making the Twitter experience richer in many ways. Adding photos to an ad on Twitter is a great way to show possible renters what you have available; not just the customary long shot of the complex, but a picture of the actual unit. What about pictures of your summer party or your residents spending time together? These provide endless ways to advertise not just your property – but also your community. A picture, after all, is worth 1000 Tweets.
Users who click on a Tweet can now quickly see information that goes along with that message including conversations, links and map information. This feature can be great for a company managing multiple properties. A Tweet can contain a wealth of information about an available unit that can let a potential renter know exactly where the apartment is as well as what businesses may be located nearby. With the street view feature on Google Maps, apartment searchers can even see what the neighborhood looks like (well, at least, what it looked like when the Google Maps car last drove by).
Integration with Apple
While its not at all necessary Tweet through an iPhone or an iPad, the new changes to the Apple OS5 will make it easier for users of these products to make the most of this social networking platform. Rental companies that expect to be heavy Tweeters may want to keep that in mind the next time they’re ready to upgrade their computer systems.
Of course, Twitter isn’t the only social media company to continue making improvements. Google also recently announced its “+1″ feature, which is a bit like a Facebook ‘Like’ (though not nearly as social just yet). Since appearing near the top of Google’s search results is the bread and butter of any company with an Internet presence, +1 could eventually become a very important component of a company’s search rankings. We will publish a full article about this feature and its potential benefits to Multifamily in the near future, but in the meantime begin to consider possibly adding +1 to your webpage. Note: the +1 feature can also be used privately to help keep track of favorites, or publicly to make recommendations to others, but does require the use of a Google account.
Already using Twitter and/or +1? We’d love to hear about it – here or on our Facebook page!