by Danny Soule – 9.29.11
Ignite Social Media shared a great list earlier this year of the top 50 branded Facebook pages as of March 28, 2011. This list is compiled based upon total number of fans, as well as the increase in fans on a monthly basis. It is pretty amazing to see that some of these pages added over one million fans in a thirty day span! Of course, just about every single business on this list is recognizable to everyone that has ever watched a television, but there still are a few surprises on there. Who would have thought that Converse All Stars would be in the top ten??
Take the time to open some of these pages to see the interaction that occurs on a daily basis in each one. Many of these pages are well known brands to begin with, but they still take the time to encourage fan interaction each day. Red Bull may have the best “hint” on what they would like for you to do if you open their fan page.
This list is not something that the typical business owner should look through and shoot to get their page on the list, because it is probably impossible. Many of these brands already have tens of millions of followers that joined their pages, because they already knew of these companies. That’s not to say that there are not some great ideas to pull from this list, because obviously, all of these companies are doing many things right.
by Danny Soule – 9.27.11
Moving is not fun.
There really are no if, and, or buts about it.
It’s a stressful process having to pack up ones belongings, make sure the home is in spectacular condition to ensure receiving as much security deposit as possible and then of course, having to find another place to move that meets ones standards. Any help that can be provided to ease the trial and tribulations of moving is absolutely welcomed in my book and that is where One Call Move comes to the rescue.
One Call Move is a one stop shop business when it comes to getting things setup at your new home. They take care of the essentials (i.e., the utilities) for you prior to your move, so that way you don’t have to worry about calling around figuring out which company to go through to get your basic necessities setup. One Call Move will call for you, at no charge might I add, and let you know which companies are offering the best deals and leave it up to you to decide who you would like to have as your providers. In addition to scouting out utility companies for the customer, One Call Move even will find the best architects, engineers, maid services, handymen, etc. for you and once again, still at no charge to the customer.
One Call Move started out as a service provided for soldiers returning from war, in that, family members of this heroes determined that there was a need to ensure that all utilities were on and taken care of, so a soldier would not be returning to a dark home. The last thing that an individual deployed at war has time for is to sit on hold for hours upon hours waiting to simply get their power turned on at home for their arrival back to the States. From here One Call Move branched out to provide this service to any individuals looking to simplify their moving process to allow for a more pleasurable moving experience.
One Call Move is absolutely a great service provided and I’d definitely recommend calling upon them for any and all upcoming moves!
by Danny Soule – 9.23.11
In the apartment industry it is every single person’s duty, from the apartment developers all the way down to the maintenance workers, to figure out what the renters want. Apartment living is overall a very transient lifestyle and very rarely will you meet someone that has lived in the same apartment for a large number of years. People move for all sorts of reasons, whether it’s just for a change a scenery, a job relocation, or in order to cut back on some costs, individuals that live in apartments will always move more than home dwellers.
Ultimately apartment employees do not want residents to move, because that leads to numerous amounts of vacants, which causes lack of income and lower NOI. Therefore, the million dollar question to answer becomes what renters want. Apartments.com conducts a survey a few times a year to get inside the mind of the apartment renter to figure out what exactly it is that people are looking for. The results of the survey are always interesting to analyze, because they will change depending upon the time of the year. One of the more recent surveys comes from February of 2011 and gives some great insight into what renters are looking for right now. Here are some highlights from the 1,800 individuals polled:
-28.8% were moving to relocate for employment opportunities
-20.3% of those that previously owned a home are moving, because renting is more affordable
-26.3% are searching 1-2 months in advance of their desired move-in date
-48.3% said cost was the most important search criteria
-The top three resources people were using to search for their apartment are all online resources
by Danny Soule – 9.22.11
LinkedIn has continued to strive since its launch in 2003 and here are some interesting facts from this social media sites success so far:
- There are roughly 120 million active users worldwide
- North America makes up over half of the worldwide users
- The user base consists of around 48.8% Male users and 51.2% Female users
- The average user household income is around $89,000
- The average user is around 46 years old
- LinkedIn surpassed MySpace to become the #2 social site
- LinkedIn accrued over 4,500 members in its first year of existence
- LinkedIn counts executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members
- More than 2 million companies have LinkedIn Company Pages
- 18% of small business owners have a LinkedIn profile
- As of March 2011 there were nearly 1 million teachers on LinkedIn
- LinkeIn’s net income in 2010 was only $15.4 million (compared to Facebook’s $2 billion)
- When LinkedIn went public in May, the shares closed at $94.25, up 109% from opening at $45
These are all very interesting facts and I strongly encourage visiting each one of the links embedded, because they are filled with even more information from LinkedIn from this calendar year. LinkedIn is still constantly growing, but they should beware, because there is a competitor lurking. Identified was just released three days ago and is modeled after Facebook. It should be interesting to see how much of a competitor they are really going to be.
by Danny Soule – 9.21.11
I was just recently in Dallas for a start-up at a property and spent the latter part of the afternoon shopping a couple of apartment communities. For the sake of this blog and confidentiality, I will call the properties “property X” and “property Y.”
Property X was a very luxurious property that had numerous amenities and was located in an up and coming part of the city. The
surrounding area is a little rougher around the edges, but there is a great deal of construction being done to bring higher end shopping to the area to provide a hopeful facelift to the community. The leasing agent was very insightful about the property, but went out of their way to provide me with all of the negatives about the property and the area. I found this to be slightly awkward, because I had not even broached the topic about any concerns or objections I may have had. The tour was decent due in part to how nice the property itself and the interior of the apartments were, but there was no urgency at the closing to persuade me to lease an actual apartment. My overall experience at Property X was what I would typically expect at an everyday apartment community in any city.
Property Y was a much more unpleasureable experience than my time at Property X was. First off, Property Y was hands down the nicest community I have ever seen before. This property had all of the bells and whistles that you could ask for in a community and was the epitome of the word “luxury.” The clubhouse was nothing short of a mansion and had me sold on the community the second I walked through the doors. About the same time I walked through the doors is also the last time that I was sold on this property, because it was all downhill from that point forward due in full part to the leasing agent I was “helped” by. I could probably write multiple pages about my experience with this individual, but I will briefly summarize things that stood out: I was not greeted by this person when I walked through the door; the individual neither introduced themselves, nor did they even get up from their desk; I was given the prices and specials for every floor plan, before I was even asked what I was looking for; the individual gathered my name and phone number, but did not ask me anything about what I wanted; this person was working at the Taj Mahal of apartment communities, but did not have one bit of excitement about working at this property; I asked about viewing an apartment and was instead shown a 3D model of what an apartment typically looks like; I had to ask again to see an actual apartment and was basically given a sigh and rushed through a mediocre tour of all of the amazing amenities this community offered; I showed the model apartment to myself with no details pointed out by the leasing agent about this luxurious apartment; at the end of the tour, I was given a business card and told to call if I decided I wanted to get an apartment. From these details, it should come as no surprise that the property is about half-full, because if I was in fact a prospect, I probably would not have leased at this community solely due to my experience with the leasing agent.
My point in analyzing both of these experiences is to show how big of a role a leasing agent can play in the success of an apartment community. More so with Property Y, this individual is working at an amazing community that will absolutely sell itself, but if what I experienced is how all of their tours are given, this person is probably single-handedly dampering the property’s possibility of success. Having pride in what an individual is selling as a leasing professional is one of the most important things to display to a potential resident. The leasing agent is a representation of the property and if a bad vibe is felt by a prospect, much as I did with Property Y, then people are naturally not going to want to live at that community. With that being said think about this everytime you are showing an apartment to a prospect and strive to have a aura of positivity and pride about your community. It will make a huge impact on the success of the community.
by Danny Soule – 9.20.11
With word of mouth always being a main source of traffic for apartment communities, as many venues as possible a community can utilize to spread the word of their community, the better. Word of mouth from physical person to person tends to take the backseat nowadays to the word of mouth via social media networking.
Every apartment community needs to have a Facebook Page, which is the first thing most people think of when they do hear the term social media. That’s a given. This is just the beginning of the basics though, because there are a multitude of other social websites that apartment communities can utilize to expand their online presence. In steps a revolutionary social expansion website, such as Social Twist, that can come in to ease the complexity of posting for the apartment community.
Social Twist is the ultimate word of mouth resource and looks to expand your potential crowd of followers and referrals exponentially through a conglomeration of social sites. With the ability to shape your brand through Social Twist, the apartment community is not limited to just the normal local marketing and can also help to increase the SEO for the property name online.
Social Twist has only been around for a little over 3 years and they surpassed the 100,000 website mark in August! Many major brands are already using this social media expansion site and I’d love to hear about an apartment community’s success from using this b
by Danny Soule – 9.19.11
It is always beneficial to not only post on Craigslist all throughout the day to get a gauge for when prospects are searching for apartments, but it is also very advantageous to post numerous types of ads as well. In posting many different ad types, the leasing specialist posting is able to see which ads are drawing in the attention of the potential prospects. Therefore it is very important to determine the specific ad that the prospect saw that made them pick up the phone and dial your community.
When the ad is finished, the publisher will immediately notice that TinyMCE allows for the inclusion of many more pictures than Craigslist normally allows (4) and also provides a forum for the pictures to be vastly larger. These two features are what allow for a more innovative and attention grabbing posting since pictures are one of the most important parts of a Craigslist ad.
What have you done in the past on Craigslist that has received an increase in calls?
by Danny Soule – 9.16.11
As a leasing specialist you are the first contact for nearly every prospect that walks through the leasing office doors. It is important to be on your game with every single prospect, because there’s no second chance at making a first impression.
With this in mind really concentrate and make a push to accomplish the little things not only this weekend, but everyday you’re in the office:
Make sure that your balloons are out front and you are in the office ready to lease five to ten minutes before your scheduled time to be in the office. There’s nothing wrong with being early.
Walk your tour routes to make sure that they are completely clean and there are no unforeseen surprises that could hamper a tour.
Check the model and show apartments to ensure that the lights are on, there aren’t any little surprises hiding in the bathtub or cabinets and it smells fresh inside the apartment. You don’t want there to be any extraneous features that could hinder the prospect from realizing how great your apartment is.
Right when you get into the office, search your community online to make yourself aware of any new information posted on any websites about your property. It’s pertinent to be aware of what’s being said about your community, because if you don’t make the initiative to make your online reputation, someone else will do it for you.
Make sure to get 3-5 Craigslist ads up throughout the day in between taking tours and phone calls. Space the ads throughout the day in order to monitor when you are receiving calls from your posted ads.
Put together an informative post for your property’s Facebook page. Use the ratio of 80/20. 80% posts about relative information to the city, community events, news happenings, fun facts, etc. and 20% posts about direct apartment community information.
Get your key cards out from the previous day that still have follow-up phone calls that need to be made. Follow-up needs to be done EVERYDAY!
When the phone rings make sure to enthusiastically answer the phone, gather as much information as possible about the prospect and really make a true effort to build that rapport, so they will be not only more inclined to come visit you, but will also feel more comfortable leasing with you.
Hop up from behind your desk and greet every single person that walks through the door, so they immediately feel welcome and at home. The leasing office can sometimes be an intimidating atmosphere to walk into. Make it as inviting as possible.
Take the time to fill out the entire key card to ensure for proper follow-up immediately following the tour.
Really sell your community to the prospect while on tour and make sure to point out all of the unique features when inside the model apartment in order for the benefit of each to be acknowledged.
At the closing table really make an effort to close on every prospect to lease and if they will not lease, absolutely aim for a hold in order to get them back in the door tomorrow. If they still are not willing to hold an apartment, schedule another appointment with them.
Complete your follow-up email and thank you letter the second the prospect walks out the door. In doing so, the tour will be fresh on your mind and the prospect will be taken aback by getting an email so soon after their tour. Plus, most apartment communities do no follow-up at all. You will distinguish your property and show that you are a cut above the rest.
All of these things are supposed to be done every single day, but really make an effort to go above and beyond of what you normally are expected of this weekend. If your goal is two leases this weekend, then aim for four. Don’t give yourself an opportunity to look back on a day and think you may have obtained a lease if you did something differently. Make
every tour count everytime!
by Danny Soule – 9.15.11
With a majority of apartment communities claiming their number one traffic source from ILS’s and other property specific websites, it’s very beneficial for communities to do everything possible to capture the highest percentage of these viewers. Often times there is no real way for a property to know if someone is viewing their material online, or exactly how much online traffic they are turning into foot traffic through the community doors.
One such way for a property to be able to engage their online viewers more is through the use of ContactAtOnce!. Through ContactAtOnce! an apartment community is able to sign up for the Apartment Chat package and reach out to these online viewers through the various ILS’s and social media pages the community has. If there is a potential prospect that visits a particular ILS (i.e., Apartments.com, Apartmentfinder.com, etc.), the leasing agent will have a notification that there is currently a visitor viewing their information on the apartment site, as well as the prospect will be notified that there is a leasing agent available right now for them to speak with. From here the leasing agent can type in an introductory question in order to give the prospect the initial opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the property before they even visit. With this unique opportunity to communicate with the prospect online, it would still be very important that the leasing agent withhold from giving any specific information about pricing and specials for this material needs to be saved for the closing table after the prospect visits the property.
Using ContactAtOnce! gives the leasing agent the upper hand in creating their initial rapport with the prospect and allows the prospect to immediately have a connection with someone at the property. I’d personally love to get property specific feedback from communities that use ContactAtOnce! to see how beneficial it was to the leasing agents, because I feel that this would only help to get more online traffic through the doors of the property.
by Danny Soule – 9.14.11
So with all of the initial hoopla that came about when Google+ was created and how it was going to rival Facebook with the possibility of a potential social media takeover of Mark Zuckerberg’s giant, it appears that Google+ has finally at least stirred up the pot at Facebook to force some constructive moves to be made.
With the announcement released yesterday of Facebook’s Improved Friends List, Facebook users now have the option of grouping their friends into Smart Lists, Close Friend Lists, Acquaintance Lists, Restricted Lists and a Better Suggestions feature for newly added friends. Now, I am not sure how others first responded upon reading this announcement, but I initially thought that this “new addition” sounded oddly similar to a certain competitors Circles feature offered.
Let’s analyze each of these added features of Facebook Improved Friends List:
- Smart Lists- did you go to the same college as numerous of your friends? Do you have coworkers that you are friends with? Friends with Mom and Dad on Facebook, or just have individuals you’re friends with that you live in the same city as? Well, with smart lists, Facebook will automatically group these individuals that you have these relationships with in order to make communication with them much more personalized. Therefore, if you have a work outing and post pictures to your Facebook, it will only be shared with those such individuals who you have grouped as coworkers.
- Close Friend Lists- this list is very straight forward. Those people that you have as Facebook friends that you actually talk to in real life on a regular basis would be categorized here. Now it makes being able to know what they are doing every second of the day that much easier. This is a list that the users would actually put together on their own and would be able to directly communicate with this list as a separate entity.
- Acquaintance List- this is a list that I feel like would be significantly larger than the Close Friend List for the typical Facebook user. I would be willing to bet that nearly all Facebook users can scroll through their list of friends and either find people that they have no clue how they know that person, or they can find people that they have not spoken to in the duration of time that Facebook has even existed. This list would be the place to put those people, because the Acquaintance List would limit the amount of feed that you would see from these people since they are individuals that, as harsh as it may sound, you may not really necessarily care what they are constantly doing on a regular basis. (Side note, Google+ actually has an Acquaintance Circle.)
- Restricted List- this list would be reserved for those people that you are friends with on Facebook, but you do not wish for them to see the pictures from the great weekend you had, or be involved in conversations you may have with some of your other Facebook friends. By being on the Restricted List, a Facebook user would still be able to send them messages and remain in contact, but communication would just be more selective in that a restricted list patron would only be able to see public posts from that user.
- Better Suggestions- when a new friend is added to your profile, Facebook will now essentially guess as to where the new person should be listed in regards to your selected lists and place that person there unless otherwise specified by the user.
With the adaptation of these new lists, each one will have its own separate news feed in order to make the management and viewing of each differentiated. All in all the new lists are just another way to personalize ones Facebook profile to make it slightly more interactive and convenient for the user. With that being said there is a slight possibility that Facebook modeled the smart lists in a similar fashion to Google+ Circles, but then again, Facebook already had a feature that was similar before with Facebook Groups and not everyone is so keen on Google+ Circles.
In no way do I feel that Google+ is eventually going to surpass Facebook in the realm of social media, but what I do believe is that Facebook should essentially follow Google’s every move that they make when it comes to Google+. Or then again should it be the other way around, because it’s important to keep in mind that Facebook is the one with 750 million users to Google+’s 30 million. Bruce Henderson’s quote sums up this back and forth one-upper competition between these two social media powerhouses and can be viewed by both Google and Facebook in that, “Your most dangerous competitors are those that are most like.”
Archives by Month:
Archives by Subject: