There's a personal element to social media, even as a company. Everyone's social media feed is curated specifically for them. So whenever your posts or ads show up there, you want to make sure they’re tailored to the audience you're trying to target. Where we start with this topic is splitting up the categories of social media marketing: Paid and Organic.
It’s important to understand the differences between paid social (social ads) and organic social (your regular Facebook posts, Instagram posts, stories, etc.), and the best practices for both from a multifamily perspective.
What are the most important elements when it comes to organic social for multifamily? Writing the copy, and also identifying what resonates with the building is a challenge, but content is key with social media. One of the things often missing with organic social posting when creating content is time focused on individualization and telling a story.
Strategy is different for every building. Organic social is focused on individualization and branding, the vibe and the sense of community. Great organic social content takes a lot of work. It's a creative process, but it's also a technical process. You’ll want to test your channels to see what works, from copy to imagery. So, how do you start making the decision on what to post?
There is plenty of data on when the best times to post are. But where this data fails is in grouping multifamily into the real estate category. Real estate means a lot more than just multifamily, so the best time to post for real estate is an unreliable statistic.
Prioritize quality over quantity.
So how do you decide when to post and how often to post? If you have a great image or video, post it. Trying to stick to a specific number of posts each week can often lead to sub-par content, which in turn leads to poor engagement. Plan out a strategy on a monthly basis, shape your content and imagery around the weather, the surrounding community, local or building-specific events, etc.
Every channel is different, and content needs to be packaged appropriately. For example, Facebook is a place to grow a community, to talk about events and activities, and show people what it's like to live in your building and your neighborhood. Instagram is lifestyle focused. Images and videos of current residents will allow people to visualize themselves living there. The theme and content style on each platform is different.
So, what social media channels should you be using?
There’s not just one simple answer. Facebook and Instagram are where you’re going to find most online users. Your website, contact information, and reviews on Facebook help people find you and discover who you are. Snapchat has local tools you can use to test strategies. TikTok has gained a lot of popularity over the past year. There are a lot of platforms you can experiment with based on your goals and your building’s personality.
Social ads are exactly what they sound like: advertisements you pay to run on social media platforms. These are the “sponsored” or “promoted” posts you see in your feed, stories, messenger, in the right column on the Facebook desktop site, etc. The data that is being tracked through the ad platform helps you design your target audience.
Prospecting is at the top-to-middle part of the funnel. This is where you’re finding your initial audience, getting people interested in your building, and (hopefully) getting them to interact with your ads.
So, how do you target these people? Using data collected by Facebook, you can target people based on age, location, interests, etc. Targeting people based on their profile interests is the key, and you can layer those audiences together to form successful combinations.
As of early 2020, Fair Housing laws changed the way we can target people on social media. Ads targeting demographics, income, age groups, or family status may not be approved. As a result, you're limited on what you can actually find inside of these platforms.
How we get around this with multifamily is targeting based on interests and behaviors that are indicative of those demographics, etc. For example, in lieu of targeting single people, you can target people that use or expressed interest in dating apps.
This is where you look back at your strategy and say, who are the people you want to live in your building?
Retargeting is when you serve ads to people who have interacted with your content already. Whether they follow you on social media, visited your website, or clicked on a prospecting ad, you can create audiences based on how they’ve interacted with you, and serve them middle-to-bottom funnel ads. Prospecting ads focus on lifestyle, but retargeting ads are where you start talking about value. This is where you get them to overcome their hurdles to signing.
The real beauty of social ads is in the testing. Value propositions, imagery, copy, videos—you can experiment and figure out what actually gets results. Testing is how you create long-term, meaningful actions for your business.
This is why budget matters. Typically, it takes about 5000 impressions on an ad before you really have the data you need to determine if an audience or ad copy is working. The more you’re able to spend, the faster you can get to this milestone.
Pairing organic and paid social media together is a great marketing strategy. If someone interacts with your ad and is led to your Facebook page or Instagram account, you want to have plenty of robust content there to keep them engaged or entice them to return. Also, your organic content can help you test imagery or copy for your paid content. If something resonates organically, it will likely work even better when supported by ad dollars. Paid and organic can feed each other. Somewhere around 4-6% of organic social content for businesses is actually seen by people that are actively following you. Facebook and Instagram throttle organic content because they want you to spend ad dollars. This makes it hard for businesses to reach their target audience without a paid social strategy.
Have questions about strategy for paid or organic social media (or both)? Give us a call or visit our website and we’ll help you map things out. Be sure to listen to our podcast series on digital marketing for the multifamily industry and share with others looking to reach their target audience.