'Does social media turn into leads and leases?'
Customers ask us this question a lot, and we have to say 'probably not.' Other than Craigslist (which isn't technically social media) and generating resident referrals through posts, social media generally doesn't create leads. We track leads for about 400 client communities, and our data shows that six social media-based leads per community per year is a good number.
Why? Prospective residents seem to prefer doing old-fashioned legwork, relying on marketing, word-of-mouth and personal visits before engaging with you online. In other words, they'll engage with you when they put down roots. But it's not to say that social media pages are only for current residents; an active and responsive online community is a great draw for prospects, the virtual equivalent of smiling faces and an open door.
There's more to ROI than leads. Many things that are second nature to our business have intangible ROI – newsletters, virtual tours, videos, even email. As social media becomes many people's primary communication tool, a social media presence allows you to monitor your reputation, deal with customer complaints, and proactively handle maintenance requests. Even more so, it gives your community legitimacy. In a world where apartmentratings.com scores translate into dollars, social media pages demonstrate a commitment to accessibility and transparency. Your residents 'live' on social media, and they want you there too.
Social media ROI can't be measured traditionally – but it can't be discounted. Diversify your marketing investment with an ILS, SEO and other quantifiable sources, but remember that social media is more than a vital customer service tool. It lends peace of mind.