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Leveraging a Facebook Graph Search for Property Management


On top of every Facebook profile and page, people will now find a search box, which is Facebook Graph Search. You might wonder what is so great about another search engine, and what its significance is. Well, this search engine not only provides search results, but they are also customized to the individual’s privacy settings and based on the network of friends the user has. This is not an attempt by Facebook to replace Google or any other popular search engine, but offers a tool for searching into the world of your network of friends.

Facebook Graph Search rewards fan engagement, and for property management the number of comments, Likes, shares, recommendations and check-ins the property has, will play a major role in the results. If a property manager wants to leverage this search engine then places, photos, interests and friends should be the main areas to focus for search criteria.

Importance of Places

When you have set up a profile for your property, you will obviously be mentioning the valid address. This puts your community at an advantage, since Facebook treats all profiles with an address in the page settings, as a Place. This element of Place will play an important part in the search results.

Facebook Graph Search focuses on the connections users make with interests, businesses, properties, and so on. This enables Facebook to personalize their search results. Another factor that significantly influences search results is strength of fan relationships and the interests shared between such friends.

How to Optimize Your Property Page for Facebook Graph Search

Facebook graph search mainly relies on page settings, and hence you need to focus on these aspects for gaining maximum visibility in the search results.

o    The name of the property or the page title should be spelt out clearly and fully. For Instance, write Redbrook Apartments instead of Redbrook Apts.
o    Keep the physical address of the community updated, if it has been missing or wrong.
o    Many property communities seem to ignore the “about” section. In the page description, include much more details than just amenities. It would be better to use similar or same phrases and keywords that you have used on your property website. However, these keywords are not going to be used by Facebook in the way Google uses them. You should also include phrases that indicate nearby landmarks or points of interest, such as “Next to Macy’s supermarket” or “Near the zoo”.
o    Check out other areas of interest and local businesses from Facebook community pages and “Like” a few, and also share and comment on some of their updates. Such activity will create many links that will improve visibility on the Graph Search results.

Finally, if you want to be sure that your property page always appears in relevant searches, regardless of privacy setting or number of friends, you could always create a sponsored ad result. This way it does not matter whether you are optimizing your page or having many likes, and your page will still be displayed in the results. 

The Importance of Google+ in Property Management


Each day some new thing seems to be available on the Internet that seems to promise a better form of social media or as an advanced tool for marketing. When you would have heard of Google+, you would have thought the same, and dismissed it, thinking that you already have a presence on Facebook and Twitter to promote your property. However, that would be a wrong strategy, as Google+ has quite a bit to offer, especially for property management. Therefore, here are the reasons, it is such a fantastic tool, and no property manager should ignore it.

Phenomenal Growth of Google+

Usually the growth story is linked to Facebook, and rightfully so, as it has gained over 110 million users every year on an average, since its inception in 2004. However, the growth rate of Google+ is four times more than Facebook, as it has gained more than 400 million users since June 2011 when it was launched. Even though only a fourth of that is active users, the scenario is going to change quite soon.

Reviewing Limited to Users

On the popular review sites such as Yelp, anybody can simply rant and provide bad reviews. However, your Google+ page can receive reviews only from Google+ users. This means, the reviewers will not only have a profile, but also whatever they write will be showing up on their feeds that everyone can see. This creates an environment for more authentic reviews rather than hysterical rants.

Linked to the Most Powerful Search Engine

Google is still considered the most popular search engine, which actually makes Google+ very powerful in influencing search results, as the two are linked. Search results are being influenced by the presence of posts written by Google+ users. These people with profiles are considered “trustworthy”, and hence the page with these people’s posts and reviews rank higher in the results. Higher rankings in the search engine means better exposure and more people are likely to read the page, thus promoting the property.

Hangouts

Google+ provides the Hangout feature, where you can:

§    Converse directly with potential or existing tenants
§    Simultaneously video chat with nine individuals
§    Share documents with all people included in the Hangout
§    Watch and discuss about a video on YouTube together
§    Share what is on your screen with your group
§    Record and broadcast sessions

All this provides an excellent way for showing your property to prospects, holding a Q&A with tenants, holding meetings, and so on.

Local Targeting

One of the most important aspects to consider while promoting a property is the location. Property managers have to find ways of attracting the local people to occupy the units, and Google + Local (previously called Google Places) accomplishes just that.   

Increasing Popularity

People eventually use everything offered by Google, which is clearly seen from their previous offerings such as YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and so on. This means every person using some product of Google will be soon using Google+, since they already have an account, and creating a profile is quite simple.

Creating an Effective Property Management Website


It is difficult for any enterprise to ignore having an online presence, since most people now conduct their business over the Internet. The same is true about property management, and it pays rich dividends to have an effective website, which can create leads of prospective tenants, and a portal for existing tenants to communicate with the management. However, web technology has made sterling advancements and creating an optimized website might seem a daunting task. Here are a few important points to keep in mind to obtain the best results.

First Impression

Creating an excellent first impression is very important for kindling interest and engaging online visitors. Therefore, you need a property management website that is not only attractive but also uncluttered and easy to navigate. Important aspects of a brilliant and an astounding website design include:

     Professional and clean look for all web pages
     A prominent logo for the property that blends well with the overall color scheme and design of the web page
     Clear menus and buttons for easy navigation
     The design of the web pages should render properly in all popular browsers, and there should be a version for mobile users as well

Obtaining Professional Help

Unless property management has a qualified staff, designing the website in house is not a good idea. Apart from the design, there are many technical aspects to be considered for deriving optimized results, and hence, hiring a design professional would be the best option. The other alternative would be to use a phenomenal software package that has features for creating and maintaining the website.

Meeting Expectations

The expectations of online users are quite high these days, and visitors immediately form an opinion about the company based on the website. Hence, make sure your website has rich features that are able to satisfy requirements of all types of visitors.

Whether it is communicating with prospective tenants or existing residents, the website should not only have tremendous features for making tasks easy for visitors, but also be able to streamline your day-to-day operations. Current tenants should be able to use the website to pay their rent online, make maintenance requests, and voice their opinions. The website should also be able to attract new visitors and generate leads of prospective tenants.

Tracking and Analytics

It is very important to track usage and analyze the performance of your property management website. Tracking page views and clicks will give you an idea about how visitors are experiencing your website, and their geo locations. There are many free and paid analytics tools available that can help you analyze the various aspects.

You can gather important information about the reach and progress of your website, the requirements, and habits of your online visitors, and the areas in which your website is falling short. Using analytics tools is quite easy and most of the information is displayed in an easy to understand format, like graphs and pie diagrams. Google Analytics is one such free tool and property management website software provides easy integration with this tool.

Using Pinterest in Property Management


Pinterest, the photo-sharing website has over 20 million active users and is one of the most effective drivers of referral traffic. This means it can be used as a highly effective tool by property management for promoting the property. Pinterest enables users to create and organize image collections based on different themes such as interests, events, hobbies and so on. Users can also “like” images and “re-pin” photos from other pinboards to their own. Secondly, Pinterest users can effectively use hash tags for highlighting a phrase or topic.

Utilizing Hash Tags

Hash tags are now quite common on different social networking websites for searching and accessing particular topics. Property management can use hash tags on Pinterest while sharing interesting visual content, so that it becomes easier for people to find pins according to a topic or a relevant phrase. Make sure to include your Pinterest link while conducting email campaigns or while implementing social networking strategies. Also, make it a point to let prospects and residents know about your Pinterest page when they interact with you at the site office.

Here are steps to get started on Pinterest:

1.    Create your account with Pinterest. If you want Pinterest to post your pins onto your Facebook page, sign up with Facebook for creating the account.
2.    Change the “Settings” for your account, such as preferences, social network links, and email notifications and so on.
3.    Create a board, which will enable you to name and describe the category or topic, under which you are pinning.
4.    Start Pinning photos
 
According to experts, the life of a pin is for about a week, and it is best to pin on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings to get maximum exposure. Property management should start with about ten boards and schedule about five to seven regular postings. Pinning activity can be increased or lessened depending on the level of response you are receiving. However, the best strategy for gaining Pinterest followers would be sharing very interesting content, commenting, and repining other people’s content as well. Reciprocity always seems to work online, especially on social networking sites.  

Here are some tips that can make a property Pinterest page more effective:

§    A board can be created for each community and upload photos of fantastic landscapes, and focus on amenities.
§    Property management can also consider creating a board for every room in the apartment unit such as the kitchen, living room, patio, bathroom and including some ideas about decorations.
§    Upload photos of any parties or events held at the community
§    If the property allows pets, create a separate board for pet owners, and upload photos of current pets in the community.
§    Design ideas for indoor gardening and upload photos of some of the indoor gardens made by residents.
§    Food and recipes are all time favorites, and a separate board can be dedicated to these topics.

Your Competition

To know if the competition has started using Pinterest, simply type in the name of the community or property name, in the search box on the top left corner. You can gather some ideas about how they are leveraging Pinterest to obtain more prospects.

Increased Profitability with Long Term Tenants


One of the main aims of property management should be to retain tenants, as that improves profitability considerably. When tenants stay longer, unit turnover is less, which means impressive savings on turnover costs. Doing everything possible to retain tenants is a fantastic strategy; however, this does not mean you need to keep the bad ones.

Time & Money

Turnover costs can add up, which can reduce profits to quite an extent. Even for a single unit the turnover costs are considerable even when the new tenant is moving in the next day. When tenants give notice about moving, property management has to start advertising, take calls of prospective tenants, show the unit, conduct background checks, draft a new lease, and collect security deposit. All this takes time and money, and if you are relying on estate agents to get new tenants, you will end up paying about a month’s rent as commission.  

The Costs Add Up

Apart from these costs, property manager will have to inspect the unit before the departure of the tenant, and will have to prepare a schedule for repairs, painting, and cleaning the unit. The old tenant’s security deposit will have to be finalized depending on the damages done to the unit. When the new tenant moves in, the property manager will have to document the condition of the unit, coordinate the changeover of utilities, and take any further repair requests from the new tenant. All this work will take several days, which is a big drain on resources and manpower.

High Morale

According to many surveys, the main reason for higher turnover is poor property management that is not attentive to issues of tenants. The main complaints will be not repairing things on time or poor maintenance of the property. When you consider the costs involved in properly maintaining the units and doing repairs on time, they will work out, much less than what you would be spending due to higher turnover of tenants. Therefore, it is good policy to keep existing tenants happy as much as possible, and to keep the property in decent shape.

A Negative Reputation

Profits will increase with longer retention of tenants, since turnover costs go down. Secondly, you do not want frustrated tenants terminating their lease and moving to other properties. The news of bad property management will spread quite fast through social media and by word of mouth. This will make it more difficult for property management to find new tenants, and vacancy rate can increase dramatically, leading to further losses.

Considering the added costs and the loss of reputation, it is far better to have a respectable and standout property management that is able to satisfy tenants and speedily take care of their issues. Satisfied tenants will not only stay longer, but even when they move, they will have something positive to say about the property.

Judicious property management has far reaching effects in not only improving profitability, but in also building good reputation and sustaining good tenants. Hence, the focus of property management should be a cost effective approach that pays striking dividends in the end, rather than short-term savings.

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