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AIM 2021 Session Recap: Is Influencer Marketing Relevant to Multifamily Rentals and Leasing?

Under the Influence: Maximizing Influencer Content in Multifamily

 

Virtual platforms burst onto the scene in 2020 and proved they’re here to stay. Apartment operators are beginning to forge virtual connections between their property’s social media pages and online influencers’ virtual footprints, and leverage those relationship to expand a property’s reach.

In the 2021 AIM session, Is Influencer Marketing Relevant to Multifamily Rentals and Leasing, panelists explored the potential benefits of influencer content and strategies to maximize results.

“It’s really about aligning your brand with trusted sources in the community,” said Brandon Howard, Founder of ResEssential. “You have to understand and know your core values, and find influencers who are aligned with your core demographic. Not everyone makes sense, and you have to be comfortable with an influencer shaping your message. You want it to feel authentic.”

In the apartment industry, the key is finding influencers who produce content that benefits the multifamily space. Popularity and follower numbers aren’t relevant if the content doesn’t directly highlight the property or brand.

“Identify an influencer with a niche that makes sense,” said influencer and photographer Alivia Fields of Alivia Fields Creative. “If you find someone who posts a lot of at-home content, that makes sense. Someone who posts a lot of travel content doesn’t fit.”

Moving beyond online reviews and curating other forms of social media content is now an important component of brand development.

“Happy people don’t leave reviews, you have to ask them for it,” said Sydney Webber, Customer Marketing Manager at Knock. “But there are so many different forms of social truth that are good for our businesses, beyond just reviews. Tagged photos and social media posts might not be the first touch point for prospective renters, but they’re along that journey.”

Fortunately for operators, they can often leverage their homes and amenities to work out exchanges for social media content from influencers, rather than paying out of pocket.

“Trade is just as valuable as money when it’s the right trade,” Howard said. “Find influencers in your building and trade apartments for content. Influencers also need to constantly create new content, and, in order to create new content, you need locations. Apartment communities, and especially newer ones, have amazing amenity spaces. Offering the use of those spaces in exchange for content is worthwhile. If an influencer is looking to host an event, or maybe a fitness influencer needs a gym to shoot from, that location space to shoot from is valuable to them.”

Another strategy to leverage influencers involves creating sharable moments or events at the community that feature an influencer or celebrity with social media clout. By hosting occasions like kick-off events or watch parties with an influencer presence, properties can generate countless impressions and reshares, at little to no cost.

Once a property has tapped into an influencer’s network and leveraged their brand equity, they not only have a newfound cool factor, but can also access and attract a pipeline of potential influencers and future content.

“Influencers are friends with influencers. If you find one, you find them all,” Fields said. “Influencers want to post and share about things that are cool. If it’s a cool moment, they want to be there whether they’re being paid or not.”

Addressing this challenge head on is the next frontier for digital marketers who are facing an ever-changing digital environment, according to the panelists on the “Embracing High Intent Prospects Throughout the Renter’s Path” session at the 2021 Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference.

“The experiences that consumers are having in other areas of their lives are raising the bar for us,” said David Bell, chief product officer at RentPath. “They’re raising the bar for all consumer expectations.”

In order to reach that bar, multifamily marketers must ensure their content is consistent across all channels, information flows seamlessly across those channels and they’re able to recognize the customer at every touch     point, Bell said.

“The first step is actually making sure that all of the information across the web is correct,” said Kim Boland, director of digital marketing for Morgan Properties. “Cleaning up your online presence to make sure all your information is correct, especially in maps.”

According to a RentPath test of 1,500 multifamily properties, fewer than 250 properties had a complete Google My Business profile. When content was enriched, the communities saw a 28%     increase in impressions and a 20%     increase in user actions.

In addition, RentPath found that properties with 10 reviews on its listing service received twice as many leads and properties with 10 reviews within the last six months received four times as many leads.

While just having content in these digital arenas has a big impact, it isn’t enough. The content has to be consistent and interconnected to a point that     you can identify the prospect at any point in their journey in what Google calls multi-moment. For example, a true multi-moment experience would mean a prospect could visit a Google My Business listing and pick up exactly where they left off on the community website.

“Most industries aren’t there yet,” Hoffman said. “Give yourself some grace. You shouldn’t be there yet.”

The next step in getting there, however, is having the right technology in place and rethinking what the     most important technologies are as marketers.

“It’s no longer that the core assets are an ILS and your website,” said Sarah Gencarella, director of marketing at Olympus Property. “I would say it’s your website and a CRM to be able to track which ILSs are most successful for you, and what PPC is most successful for you.”

But technology isn’t the only touchpoint. People still matter.

“The human element of marketing is so critical, even with the migration to AI technology and things being more automated than ever before.” Gencarella said. “You can’t have that human element without the people.”

And your people have to work with technology to deliver a seamless experience to every prospective renter that works like their last Amazon order    

  • Sydney Webber, Customer Marketing Manager at Knock
  • Brandon Howard, Founder at ResEssential
  • Alivia Fields, Social Influencer & Photographer

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