Things to Consider When Planning Photo Content for Social Media

Some real quick tips for you today:

• Hire a professesional photog or videographer, and make sure someone from your new media team is there to help coordinate the shoot and ensure you’re getting what you need.

• Consider strategy. If you’re posting daily, plan on taking A LOT of photos while utilizing different scenarios, props and people.

• Keep it real. Adding realistic touches like props and humans (ha!) can aid in giving your photos extra pizazz. If you are using people, make sure you have a diverse group AND outfit changes…I can’t stand when I see the same people in the same outfits on a brand’s feed, it starts to get boring and less engaging.

• Collab. Work with local influencers to add even more diversity to your digital asset collection. Bonus: Often times they have professional photogs at their disposal.

More questions? Send me a note here—one of the services I provide is social media shoot coordination and I LOVE doing it.

Excelsior,

-CJO

How Apartment Communities Can Spice Up Their Events for the Holidays

Today’s feature is all about two simple words that can mean a lot: “You’re Invited.”

Over the weekend I was inspired to blog on this topic after a top-notch Halloween-themed open house hosted by one of my clients in San Diego. My client had over 1,000 bodies through the door during their four hour event and it got me thinking…the fall/winter season can be a very important time for resident retention and renewal rates, so it’s essential to not let holiday bustle get in the way of hosting some thoughtfully curated events to impress your current, and prospective, residents. Yes, it may take a little more effort and budget than normal, but it’ll be worth it when your residents and community realize how much your team really cares.

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Halloween Pop-Up for Client Broadstone Makers Quarter

Events are important when it comes to multi-family housing, for multiple reasons. They promote a sense of community for future residents, and they can also help display the lifestyle image you’re trying to build for future residents to see, and hopefully envy. With that being said, community event ideas should encourage those living in your community to come out of their shells, creating a buzz of excitement and increasing engagement. Because ultimately communities who play together, stay together (think increased resident retention). So how can you add a little of that good ol’ razzle dazzle to your open houses and events? Skim this list to get inspired:

  • Collab, collab, collab! You’re trying to attract attention from your community, so why wouldn’t you involve your community as well? While the idea of asking local businesses and vendors to participate in your event may not be new, make sure that you’re including local influencers as well. Make a list of influential channels that align with your target demo, and make sure they’re getting a personal invite. If the event costs money, a discounted or comp’d ticket code, along with a swag bag, can sweeten the deal.
  • Provide incentives. Let’s face it, we all have busy schedules…so sometimes just having an event isn’t always enough to lure people in. Make sure you have activities, contests, and giveaways intertwined into your event itinerary to keep things interesting.
  • Start clubs. The possibilities are almost endless with this one. Have an amazing community kitchen to show off? Start a monthly cooking club with local chefs. Beautiful clubroom? Try a film or book club. Baller fitness room? Gym club with rotating classes and instructors! A few other random club ideas: gardening, DIY floral arrangements or crafting (think holiday wrapping or card making with local speciality stores involved).
  • Give back. ‘Tis the season! There are so many great charitable causes for your community to get involved with. To maximize your community’s outreach, help your residents and leasing team form their own community outreach group. There’s really no limit to the good work you can accomplish when you work together. It’s the feel-good, do-good resident event idea every community should encourage.
  • Turn it into an experience. Some of the most successful apartment community events I’ve had the opportunity to help with have a festival vibe. Find ways to utilize your amenity spaces and available apartments by creating mini scenes or pop-up experiences for event-goers to pop into and interact with.
  • Keep up with the times. Plan your events around the holidays and current happenings. One of my current clients just got done hosting a “Halloween Open House” with talented local artists turning available apartments into haunted scenes and pop-up shops featuring local vendors…it was a huge hit!
  • Optimize the outcome. Make sure you have an organized contact list of everyone who RSVP’d (at least full name and email address)—send thank you notes and follow-up with an invite to an exclusive tour of the property. And with whatever you decide to do, don’t forget to DOCUMENT these events. If you don’t post, did it really happen? But seriously…make sure you have someone on hand who can promote the before, during and after parts of these thoughtfully curated events on your social channels, blog, website, etc. It’s a crucial part to the equation! And make sure the content you decide to post really paints an aesthetically pleasing picture of the lifestyle you’re trying to promote. A good test for this is asking yourself “Does looking at this make me want to be involved or live there?”

If you don’t have the capacity to host an event, try hosting an apartment decor or “lifestyle” photo contest to keep your residents engaged and excited about where they live.

Take these ideas and grow communities out of them—and never be afraid to do something outside the box!

 

New Media for Dummies: Ask Less, Trust More

I used to keep myself up at night writing novel-worthy emails and reports, all in hopes of people understanding what an agency like me does when it comes to new media facilitation. I would construct the cutest little Excel graphs and formulas (thanks college) to make people see the progress between a brand with a part-time social media manager, and brand without one…again, again, and again. Because unlike other aspects of marketing, many people believe that since social media is a public, “self-made” platform that anyone can do social media—and do it right—on a professional level. Oy vey…

Now when clients start a deep inquiry into my methods and what goes into it all, you know what I tell them? Nothing. We don’t ask our accountants how they do our taxes, because that’s essentially why we hire them…it’s someone we trust to do the job for us. My recommendation for agencies or consultants who are experiencing a meltdown because clients are getting “a little too curious” about the inner-workings, is to invite them to a new media conference with you. Pick one that really speaks to your industry and make them your VIP guest! And if you really want to woo them, you could take it a step further and create your own “social media day” for your clients. Show them a day in the life of you (break for Juice Press and sushi included, of course). Oh, and show them this too…

Earlier this year I made a great outline of what brands are STILL doing wrong when it comes to social media. Let’s discuss:

Treating social media as an add-on to existing marketing plans. DON’T DO THIS. You will find yourself working backwards—wasting time and budget—to connect the dots between social and business strategy to “prove” ROI to leadership. Sorry but if you’re a modern, forward-thinking leader, then you should already know social media holds purpose within your brand.

Hard focus on objectives. Sure, the approach of getting “likes” sounds like it makes a lot of sense at first, but are you really linking back to your broader business goals? I’m not saying that “likes” and “followers” don’t matter, but don’t dwell on them. ROI can be elusive, and social media becomes an end unto itself.

Limiting brand presence to one channel. Under half of the Fortune 500 are utilizing Instagram on a daily basis. What the eff. Instagram has played an integral role in building sales and brand reputation for some of the biggest brands in history, proven by boring ass case studies that you really don’t want to read (so take my word for it).

Blah content. Another big DON’T. We are humans, and so are social media users (minus those pesky bots). Sometimes evoking an emotion, delivering a timely comment back, or simply putting a smile on someones’ face is more valuable then something sell-y, or a straight cookie cutter message that was pasted from your website. Have someone who is able to customize your content, evoke emotion, and relate to the lifestyle, and community, around your brand.

The main thing to takeaway is that real business goals come from brand awareness, conversions, and experience. If you have a client that doesn’t “understand,” don’t get frustrated. Frustration comes from confusion and lack-of-understanding, so it’s nothing to take personal. And it’s nothing you can’t fix.

But real talk, don’t waste your time pulling teeth trying to prove your worth—having a constant stream of communication with your client will eliminate these scenarios, and if it’s time to move on, THEN MOVE ON. Leadership that still fails to understand the value of professional new media services and social teams probably don’t have much value themselves (shrug!). Just being honest…

Excelsior,

-CJO