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Facebook + Student Housing = Community Success

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 By Sarah Douglas, Senior Search Optimizer

Should Your Student Housing Community Have A Facebook Page?

One of the hottest topics circulating in the online marketing world today is social media, particularly Facebook. Unfortunately, very few are focusing on how to execute in a manner that will foster success and a return on investment.

Everyone may be rushing to get a company Facebook page – but true success does not come from just throwing together a profile. The first step should be figuring out what your goals are. This should begin with determining what you want to gain by utilizing social media. Are you trying to build your brand and customer loyalty? Or are you trying to generate leads? For student housing communities, we think it makes the most sense to go for the former; a Facebook page will help keep your current student residents interested in living at your community, which in turn will lead to more inquiries.

With the recent addition of Facebook Places, encouraging your residents to “check in” should be a part of your strategy, too. Offering something as simple as complimentary cookies in your community office for those that “check in” could be the added boost you need to get even more interaction with your residents on Facebook.

Ok, I’ve Got A Facebook Page –What Do I Do With It?

Once you’ve taken care of the basics of providing your contact information and linking to your site, the next step is interacting with your residents. Make sure to let residents know that they can visit you on Facebook, and give them an expectation of what they can find there. You may even want to consider accepting maintenance requests or establishing a virtual suggestion box via Facebook.

The next important piece is establishing a routine for your Facebook updates. Updating often is essential to capturing and retaining the attention of your residents. You should plan on posting to your account at least once or twice per week, and more often if it makes sense. Have fun with it, but remember to be relevant and interesting to your target audience. Great, engaging content may include:

- Apartment maintenance notices

- Rent reminders

- Notices of upcoming events at your location

- Reminders of upcoming events at your local University

- Creation of photo albums of recent events at your apartment community

- Referral bonus offers

Don’t Forget…

• Facebook and other social media sites are dependent on the authenticity of the communication. Let your personality shine.

• As with most things, commitment is key – update your Facebook page regularly with relevant content. Always keep in mind the “so what?” factor as you post. If it’s not engaging, it’s not helpful.

• Consider rewarding those that interact with your Facebook page the most – a prize for a certain number or frequency of check-ins will give your residents an incentive to participate.

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