All around the world, human behavior has changed drastically due to COVID-19. More importantly, the topic of the home has taken on a whole new meaning. Since mid-March, the Uncomn team has spent countless hours analyzing consumers’ behaviors and responses to the outbreak. We have taken note of what residents’ priorities are and the way in which you can increase resident retention, build leads, and re-evaluate the way you choose to design your property because let’s face it, COVID-19 may get a cure within 2020 but the repercussions will last for years.
Now more than ever, Twitter has become a reliable source to get updates in real-time. Even more major news stations. Twitter is where your residents can get all the insight they need regarding property updates and safety tips. The same goes for Instagram and Facebook.
There are a handful of different features and channels within Instagram and Facebook that are useful to connect with your current and future residents. Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, live streams have come back in a big way. As we have mentioned in previous articles regarding healthy social media practices, authenticity is essential. Live streaming, on Instagram in particular, is a fantastic way to authentically connect with your audience that is also direct and transparent.
It opens the door to:
• Have real-time conversations with your residents and prospects.
• Have an authentic conversation outside perfectly curated emails between the leasing team and residents.
• It gives your current and future residents a chance to ask their own questions.
• It’s a way to establish trust and community in a time when those two things are needed the most.
We have observed many residents expressing concern about amenities shutting down. Rather than addressing it in a social media post and email only, address it through a Livestream. Livestreams open up the floor for real conversations and Q&A’s.
We all are slowly gaining answers on how to best navigate this pandemic. Considering that your tenants are living so closely together, the extra precautions are being taken may easily upset your residents. The Livestreams may not solve their problems or open up the gym, but they will make your residents feel heard. This maintains resident retention and creates a great impression upon future tenants as well that can drive them towards following your profile or scheduling a virtual tour.
Speaking of future residents, like virtual tours, live streams are a great way to show off the property digitally. Since hosting live streams maybe something new to your leasing team, we highly suggest rehearsing prior to going live. More specifically, blocking the traffic and path of the tour, confirming that the leasing team member doing the tour is speaking at the proper volume, being prepared to answer questions that may pop up during the live stream, and checking your WiFi range in certain places of the property.
We have recognized the value of implementing our Instagram story services before. Like many of our other social media services, it provides insight on property and neighborhood updates, displays the lifestyle of your property to future tenants, and overall, establishes a community in a fun and unique way.
Now, with COVID-19, it does more than drive conversation about what our tenants are binge-watching on Netflix. It is a space to support local businesses. This is actually something we already do as part of our business outreach service. However, local restaurants are struggling now more than ever. Creating an Instagram story about the top 10 best local restaurants that are doing takeout/delivery gives your residents desirable insight.
More importantly, these supportive Instagram stories give your property’s social media accounts a great reputation within the local digital community. In a way, it is a chance to be philanthropic and be known as the property who did everything they could to help support their neighborhood. Instagram stories in this COVID-19 era is a powerful social media tool that will establish a community in a whole new way.
Website updates for COVID-19
As properties temporarily cease in-person tours with prospective residents due to COVID-19, leasing teams will have to rely on different strategies for scheduling appointments.
- Adding and Updating Banners – Utilizing a top-bar announcement banner on your websites can be useful when communicating relevant updates that pertain to residents and visitors in response to COVID-19.
- Virtual Tours/ Facetime tours- Promoting and encouraging virtual tours and FaceTime tours can provide prospective residents with an alternative to visiting the apartment community during this time of social distancing.
- Adding chatbots- Utilizing chatbots on your website is a great way to engage, qualify, and convert apartment prospects.
For more insight on this topic, view our previous blog post Shifting Marketing Strategies for Apartments COVID-19 Shifting Marketing Strategies for Apartments.
Google Ads Strategies for COVID-19
During an economic downturn, you’ll discover that many of your competitors will reduce ad spend which means it is easier and faster to get results, and in some cases, you will be able to reduce your costs in pay-per-click advertising. However, making modifications across your Google Ads campaigns is necessary.
- Ensure your ad placements are not showing up on sites with sensitive content related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Updating your Call Extensions with your new leasing office hours.
- Add promotion extensions for any current specials you may have.
- Add an extension for Virtual Tour options at your apartment community.
From our observations, there is no reason why we can’t work with and around the problem. In fact, the home has become a safe space in a whole new way. Following social media practices, re-evaluating your property’s design features by prioritizing the needs of self-quarantine consumers, and adapting your marketing strategies into the digital universe even further, gives your property the chance to survive during and long after COVID-19. Hope is not lost and neither is home.