InterFace Panel Names What’s Hot for Social Media Marketing in the Student Housing Sector

Panelists included, from left: Matt Pavlick, president at GRO Marketing; Michael Newton, CEO of Swarm; Leslie Cole-Gallant, vp of strategic initiatives with The Pivotal Cos.; and Alison Slager, nationwide enterprise improvement govt for LeaseLabs by RealPage.DALLAS — It comes as no shock that digital advertising — and mainly, advertising through social media — is certainly one of the greatest methods to succeed in potential new renters in the pupil housing area. Students spend an enormous quantity of their downtime scrolling by way of numerous social media platforms, from TikTok to Instagram.And whereas a deal with digital advertising inside the sector has been seen for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic introduced a fair higher emphasis on the area by eradicating alternatives for conventional advertising strategies reminiscent of in-person occasions and excursions.In December, a panel of selling specialists mentioned what’s sizzling and what’s not for social media advertising at InterFace Conference Group’s third annual LeaseCon/TurnCon convention in Dallas.According to a 2021 survey famous by panel moderator Alison Slager, nationwide enterprise improvement govt for LeaseLabs by RealPage, 79 % of entrepreneurs used paid advertisements throughout social media platforms. With advertising budgets tightening, it’s vital to know what resonates with at this time’s college students to make sure all advertising {dollars} are nicely spent.InstagramPanelists agreed that the most dominant social media advertising platform is at the moment Instagram, significantly with its current addition of Reels, a instrument which permits customers to publish short-form movies.“Instagram is probably going going to be the most dominant platform for the foreseeable future, so it is necessary that house owners and operators perceive how the platform is evolving whereas formulating their advertising technique,” stated Michael Newton, CEO of Swarm.Instagram is planning for a number of adjustments over the subsequent yr, certainly one of which is a transition in how the platform shows content material. “There’s an enormous change developing the place the firm goes again to a chronological feed,” stated Newton. “That flips your advertising technique the wrong way up in case you’re working with Instagram now, and it will likely be the greatest change in advertising for the upcoming leasing yr.”As it stands at the moment, the platform makes use of an algorithm that’s written to suppress your posts except you’re paying cash, in keeping with Newton. With a chronological timeline, the greatest solution to get observed can be to publish as a lot as potential — three to 5 occasions a day in order to actually create impressions. “This reversion again to a chronological feed goes to permit corporations to hustle and get their title on the market with an enormous attain simply by placing in the work,” he stated.Another current change is that Instagram will now permit any person to publish a hyperlink in their story, the place in earlier years hyperlinks may solely be included in case you had over 10,000 followers. Matt Pavlick, president at GRO Marketing, not too long ago utilized this instrument whereas launching the firm’s new web site and was capable of garner 380 web site hits in a brief period of time.“It’s a on condition that if any of your properties are posting something, it’s important to embody hyperlinks,” stated Pavlick. “Instagram has additionally rolled out a instrument the place you possibly can collaborate with one other account for posts. If your property has 3,000 followers and an influencer has 5,000 followers, the potential attain is 8,000 followers for a collaborative publish, so you possibly can greater than double your views. Both are free instruments that garner publicity.”TikTokTikTok, a social media platform the place viewers can watch short-form private movies, was famous by the panel as the most up-and-coming advertising platform.“It actually has modified the method we devour content material, particularly for Generation Z,” famous Newton. “That doesn’t essentially imply that it is advisable to make TikToks about your property, however fast, short-form movies are how college students wish to devour your content material. Anything that’s too lengthy or takes any type of effort goes to harm you.”When posting to social media, Leslie Cole-Gallant, vp of strategic initiatives with The Pivotal Cos., famous that transparency, creating a real connection and having a face behind your model are the most vital concerns.“Let residents and potential future residents know that you’re their useful resource and that they’ll actually join with you once they enter the leasing workplace,” she stated. “If residents have seen members of your leasing workplace in humorous TikTok movies, they’re going to dart to these folks instantly as a result of they know them and have a longtime connection. Leasing and advertising efforts must have a bond.”Newton agreed, noting that content material personalization makes a big impact when trying to join with the present technology of scholars through social media. “There is a method that we’ve got rolled out at nearly each property we’ve labored with that was keen to attempt it and 100% of the time it really works very nicely,” he stated.“If you’re doing any type of natural outbound advertising on social media the place you’re discovering college students and sending them direct messages, attempt having certainly one of your staff members who has a contented, outgoing persona ship a 10-second video as an alternative mentioning their title,” continued Newton.“For instance, ‘Hi Ashley, I noticed you’re a pupil at UTK. We’re having a pool social gathering occasion. You ought to swing by.’ That’s how Gen Z needs to be communicated with. When we’ve despatched out that type of message, it’s very hardly ever seen and ignored. It’s typically both appreciated, or typically college students reply again with a video message, and that’s then a really heat, natural contact.”And whereas dialog concerning advertising typically focuses on digital, Pavlick of GRO famous that he anticipates the incorporation of in-person occasions to be very profitable for this upcoming leasing season.“People are completely bored with Zoom calls and nonetheless recognize private contact,” he stated. “I imagine in-person occasions are going to work for this upcoming fall. In a sea of everybody scrapping and clawing to get your consideration and shopping for consideration, reaching out personally, like by way of a video or by way of an in-person occasion, goes to face out from the pack.”—Katie Sloan

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