In any apartment complex, the most powerful relationship isn’t between landlords or managers and tenants, but between the groups of neighbors. When each household gets along, tenants are more likely to renew their leases, work out conflicts independently, and report overall satisfaction with their housing situation. And one of the best ways property managers can foster these relationships in our digital age is via social media.
Social media is a powerful business tool, and real estate professionals need to make use of its communication capabilities to bring neighbors together. These four strategies can propel your properties forward and transform them from a collection of isolated tenants into a true community.
Build A Private Group
Social media is vital to attracting tenants to your properties, so if your complex is like most others, you already have a page for public communication. Such pages are a and can power conversions. Once you’ve attracted a group of tenants, however, it’s time to migrate away from that public page.
Instead of relying exclusively on your outward facing social media page, create a closed Facebook group specifically for tenants. As Rachel Morency, the communications director at the UK housing group Octavia explains, social media won’t be the only communication mode, especially with older tenants, but . Managers can post community events, tenants can reach out to each other, and problems can be addressed collaboratively within that forum.
Clear Up Confusion
Another benefit of having a private Facebook group for your tenants is that it will allow you as a property manager to provide updates on community rules and expectations in a central location. As the explain, communal spaces tend to bring out the worst in people. On social media, though, you can share light-hearted reminders about the laundry room rules - an infographic seems charming, while a note taped to the door of the laundry room can seem passive aggressive. It’s an easy way to make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them without making anyone feel “called out.”
When two tenants meet in the hallway or the laundry room, they may introduce each other, but most don’t spend much time connecting, even if it would be in their best interest. How can we bridge that gap? As property managers, one option is to highlight a tenant or household of the week. With permission from each family, share a few fun facts, interests, and photographs. This offers community members something to talk about when they bump into each other and can even encourage them to connect around shared needs like carpooling, shopping, or babysitting.
Social media isn’t just a tool for communication; it’s also a great way to encourage group engagement through community competitions and contests. For example, you might use Facebook or Instagram as a platform for a photo contest, challenging tenants to capture the best photos of community life or hold seasonal door decorating contests submitted through social media. These can be attached to small giveaways like local restaurant gift cards, car washes, or small home goods, and can help make your property group feel more like a community.
From a practical position, social media pages, like texting, are a great way to communicate with tenants because they’re more likely to respond to digital communications - but for property managers, their usefulness goes far beyond that. Rather, in such close quarters, social media is the front porch chatter and sidewalk friendships that tenants would have if they owned a home, a space to socialize and check-in with neighbors and community leaders. As a property manager or landlord, your job is simply to create the space, as you would any other communal area. Welcome to the digital town square.