How the multifamily industry thinks about resident referrals has changed. The old school “refer-a-friend program” happens every day and apartment marketing teams have yet to figure out how to monetize the conversation that social media marketing has provided.

With the Right Focus on Social Media, Resident Referrals Have a Huge Impact on Apartment Marketing

Teenage boy holding a social media sign smiling

Teenage boy holding a social media sign smiling

Social media has changed dramatically over the past years. Big social media players made major changes to how apartment marketing teams used the new channels for marketing campaigns (think Facebook ). Pinterest has gained in popularity and apartment marketers felt increasing pressure to show the ROI of these channels. Predictions from social media and marketing executives show where the industry predicts social media is headed in 2016.

Relationships with our Residents are Key!

Social media plays an important role in any resident referral marketing program. However, it’s not the only channel your residents make referrals and communicate about their apartments through. While it’s important to make social media a focus, don’t forget about all the other media channels people use to share information, in addition to face-to-face interactions. Relationships are key may sound a bit first grade but if we sit down and look at what we do day in and day out you will quickly see that the apartment industry can do a much better job of nurturing relationships with our residents.

  1. It’s time to invite residents and employees to join the marketing team! The most powerful marketing tool you have is the story of a happy resident. It has become crucial for us to engage our brand ambassadors, encourage them to refer and reward them for those referrals.
  2. Resident Referrals will go mobile. Don’t ignore the power of “in the moment” actions. Make it easy for your residents to refer to your apartment community when and where they want to. That means mobile. Does anyone have an app for that?
  3. Ambassador and resident referral programs will increase in popularity throughout the multifamily industry as companies realize it plays a role in the future of social marketing efforts. While the idea of engaging brand ambassadors isn’t new, we have to focus on resident referral programs becoming an essential marketing tool rather than an after thought. We need to be capable of encouraging, tracking and monetizing resident referrals; those who don’t will be left in the dust.
  4. Marketing spend will continue to shift away from traditional channels. Recent Forrester Research shows that 55% of marketers believe that social and mobile marketing will continue to increase in effectiveness as marketing channels.

The Creation Of True Brand Ambassadors

The biggest marketing assets are your residents and local businesses. As an industry, we are finally starting to realize the power of brand ambassadors. We see the power of social channels. Now it’s time to put more effort into engaging residents as a marketing strategy for the apartment community. Whether through social, mobile or face-to-face, resident referral marketing and refer-a-friend programs are the “new black”. Several property management companies have already started to harness the power of their residents. Management companies have already started focusing their budget, time and resources on their residents. For me it’s fun to watch it all unfold and read the reports of the amazing results that are being achieved with this new focus.

From the First Visit, the First Resident Referral to the Final Reward we Must Keep Engagement High

From thanking them for referring to sending ambassador program reminders, we have to make certain that our refer-a-friend programs include regular emails, old school door hangers, mentions in our digital newsletters etc. All of these efforts are keenly designed to keep our programs on the top of our resident’s minds. We have to remind them to put our community in front of their friends!

How are you creating a buzz with promotions?

How do you create those WOW moments that keep your residents communicating about your community?


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Today’s Social Media Marketing For The On-Site Teams