Establishing a strong brand identity is key to getting more leads through your social media channels. Converting these leads is another story, especially in the multifamily world. Lead-to-Lease conversion is key. Doing this means you have to think creatively to reach potential residents in a way that establishes trust and sets your multifamily community apart from the competition.
Try to visualize the apartment hunting process from a prospect’s perspective. What would convince you to move to an apartment community? Obviously, location and price are at the top of the list, but there are other important factors in play, too. Is it the overall appearance of the buildings, the amenities, customer service experience? Yes to all of these, but more important is the trustworthy review of current and past residents that helps you seal the deal.
Think about this: people usually are more likely to invest their money in a product they have a personal connection with. Potential residents are the same about apartment communities. While establishing this through content created by your company is possible, turning to your residents to create what’s called user-generated content (UGC) is an even better way to build rapport.
UGC can be anything from a review to a social media post created by someone that’s familiar with your community, but the most common (and often most effective) way to use UGC in multifamily marketing is by promoting videos. But what’s the best way to add them to your marketing strategy?
How to Make User-Generated Content Work For Your Residents
If you’re not already using UGC, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with potential residents in an authentic and genuine way. Here are a few ways to effectively add UGC to your multifamily marketing strategy.
- Host competitions or contests. Nothing beats a little healthy competition. Seasonal challenges like determining which resident has the best Christmas lights or Halloween costumes opportunities for holiday content. However, regular events are another way to show potential residents about the different activities they enjoy if they are a part of your community. Current residents can also show off their favorite parts of their apartments with fun events like a balcony decorating contest.
- Get involved with your neighborhood. Create a community-focused social media presence by having residents highlight their favorite parts of the neighborhood. If your apartment community has a gathering space or a pool, encourage residents to take pictures or videos of themselves hanging out and enjoying the amenities – showing potential residents what they can also take advantage of if they move in.
- Encourage reviews. There’s nothing more powerful than the words of your current residents. When residents agree to provide a review, encourage them to share their authentic experience. Video testimonials featuring their unique journeys living on your property and the benefits of being a part of your community. This is also a great opportunity for you to collect feedback on improving the living spaces. On the management end, you can highlight your efforts to make your community a more resident-focused environment.
In addition to coming up with different strategies, we recommend doing the following to encourage residents to submit UGC:
- Offer incentives. Don’t forget to build motivation to help increase resident participation. Ethically, people should be compensated in some form for the content they create. A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Advertising found that “unpaid and natural” UGC was perceived as less manipulative and more favorable than paid ones. If traditional payment isn’t something you’re interested in, try offering incentives like gift cards to popular neighborhood restaurants, stores, coffee shops, small kitchen appliances, or home decor. This is similar to a referral program which historically converts from a lead to a signed lease at nearly 50%!
- Don’t make it complicated. It shouldn’t be hard for residents to create or provide UGC. Have clear brand guidelines so there’s no question about what is and isn’t acceptable to submit. Although you want residents to leave true, authentic reviews, anything a resident submits should align with your goals and future marketing plans.
- Find your best social media channel. Run analytics to determine which social media platform is best for reaching your target audience. For example, if your community primarily caters to people 55+, TikTok and Instagram might not be where you direct all your efforts, instead focusing on platforms like Facebook. On the other hand, if college kids dominate your resident population, these options might be more plausible and effective.
- Engage with the UGC your residents create. Don’t take your UGC submissions for granted. Be sure to respond to comments, thank residents for their contributions, and actively create conversations around their content.
Creating Lasting Connections with User-Generated Content in Multifamily Marketing
UGC isn’t just another trendy marketing strategy. It has the potential to not only help strengthen your reputation and relationship within the community but also significantly increase leads and decrease empty apartments. While other strategies like 3D marketing tools help people place themselves within a space, UGC gives them a realistic perspective of living in an apartment community.
For you, a property owner, establishing a solid foundation for your marketing strategy begins with investing in your current residents as much as you do potential residents. Even though they’ve already moved in, they offer valuable insights that can help inform the multifamily marketing customer journey for potential residents.
Don’t feel like tackling UGC yourself? Another beneficial investment you can make is working with a real estate marketing agency like Primary 360 that specializes in working with multifamily communities. With our +35 years of experience, we can help you focus on engaging with your customers and building strong relationships that will influence the UGC you receive. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can incorporate user-generated content into your multifamily marketing strategy.