It is now time for student housing operators and managers to begin planning their marketing budget for the upcoming year. While many marketing executives will continue to invest into traditional avenues that are becoming less effective, some will get ahead of the curve by understanding a few facts.
- Students are looking at their phones more than magazines and newspapers.
- Students spend most of their Internet time on Google and social media, not apartments.com
- Students define social media as Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and everything other than Facebook.
- Students are more likely to live somewhere that has strong word of mouth and a large community over a property that only has nice amenities to offer.
This is something that every student housing owner, marketing director, and property manager should know by now. In order to sign more leases, you have understand students’ behaviors and where to reach them. Most would agree that digital marketing is the avenue to reach those students on. However, in our recent market research on how student housing properties use social media, we learned that most student housing properties are still focusing all of their digital media efforts on Facebook and not seeing any results. In 2015, properties are going to have to think bigger. In this blog, we want to put things into perspective for you.
As cliché as this may look, SEO rankings, social media presence, and websites will be the largest lead generators in the coming years. This must be considered in your student housing marketing budget and it will be critical to continually invest in this direction. We know this. You know this. However, the execution of SEO and Social Media campaigns on a corporate level and property level is terrifying. Why? Because student housing corporate teams and properties have not realized that:
- One corporate social media manager cannot create, manage, strategize, post, and engage students everyday on an entire portfolio of properties.
- One part-time leasing agent lacks the time, understanding, and care to effectively manage a lead-focused SEO/social media campaign.
- The SEO presence of individual properties are often neglected; each property deserves an efficient SEO plan to capture students searching Google for places to live.
- Social media automation tools are a waste. They receive the little to no response from students.
Social media and SEO work together. Google picks up social media traffic such as likes, fans, followers, retweets, +1’s, and more as “relevant webpages”. If these page link back to your properties website. There’s a win-win connection between the two.
However, both segments mean nothing if it is halfway done. In the world of SEO and Social Media, you are either winning or losing. It is time for student housing managers to use their resources wisely for each property and ensure that their macro objectives are being accomplished on a property-level. How? Hire more corporate people on salaries for $50,000 a year or outsource SEO and Social Media projects to a company that is 5x more affordable. You decide.
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