Social media advertising is not just for consumer goods brands. With the right strategies, apartment communities can effectively and cost-efficiently reach in-market renters on their favorite social channels.
We’ll go over three areas of social advertising that you can reexamine to improve your results and reduce your ad management efforts. But first, let’s cover why social is a major leasing opportunity right now.
Why social is a prime channel to engage renters
Social media is an increasingly beneficial channel for many multifamily marketers as people are engaging on these platforms like never before. Social distancing ignited digital connection, bringing higher levels of online activity as communities found new ways to come together. In 2020, overall user visits to Instagram increased by 43 percent and usage on the already popular Facebook rose by 3 percent.¹
Users are visiting social media sites for longer stretches of time. Research finds that adult social network users are expected to spend more time on social platforms than they did pre-pandemic, totaling up to 1 hour and 35 minutes per day on average.² Similarly, almost half of in-market renters reference a property’s social accounts during their search.³
This focused attention from renters can help you boost your renter acquisition strategy. Apartments communities traditionally use organic social media for resident retention by showcasing amenities, providing event updates and encouraging two-way discussion. Social media advertising expands organic efforts by helping your property engage new audiences outside of the current followership.
Wondering where to start? Here are three ways to effectively attract new renter leads with social advertising.
1. Save budget with quality data and audience targeting
More than eighty percent of people looking to rent are on Facebook,⁴ but properties face unique challenges in reaching those renters. Fair Housing Compliance requirements in Facebook’s advertising platform put limits on how multifamily communities develop audience lists.
When creating campaigns, communities must identify as a “Special Ad Category” in accordance with regulations. They are also restricted from targeting audiences using age, gender, ZIP code, cultural identity, or any options related to protected characteristics.⁵
Due to this, multifamily marketers may be tempted to cast as wide of a net as possible when creating their lists—especially when managing social media campaigns in-house. This broad Facebook ad targeting strategy puts more advertising budget toward general, irrelevant audiences who are less likely to take action on your property’s ad.
Your leasing team can get around this by leveraging first-party data from Internet Listing Sites (ILS) when building your lists. Tools designed for multifamily allow you to target renters that are active on ILS sites, so you can focus your budget on renters that are searching nearby while also remaining compliant with Fair Housing regulations. Rent.’s hyper-targeted solution, RentSocial., has been found to help properties reach over 50X more in-market renters compared to non-segmented targeting.⁶
2. Avoid wasted time with multifamily-focused tools and integrations
Social advertising alone can quickly become a full-time job. Between defining the audience, developing creative, and optimizing performance, ad management puts pressure on already busy leasing teams. So it’s important to build a strategy that complements your marketing efforts instead of taking the focus off of core tasks.
Social media advertising solutions that are designed for multifamily can integrate with ILS and your Property Management System (PMS) to make the process easier for your team.
Integrations save time and resources by eliminating the need for your team to struggle over ad setup and approvals. These integrations enable your property to develop creative based on previously provided listing photos and descriptions, and can automatically update ad creative whenever listings change.
By delivering prospects directly to your PMS or CRM, you’ll also be able to clearly track leads and evaluate ad performance once live. We’ve found that properties increased leads by over 30 percent per month on average by combining Social Ads Express
3. Make the most out of your efforts with lead capture and reporting
One of the primary goals of social advertising campaigns is to generate leads. So make it easy for renters to request information.
One way to start is by including lead forms in your advertising campaign that appears within the social media app itself after a renter clicks on the ad.
This approach provides a more seamless experience for the renter by keeping them within the same channel instead of juggling them between the ad and the property website. Once they complete the form, your ad will then automatically capture lead contact information and feed it directly to your PMS or CRM.
You only want to pay for high-quality leads, so make sure that you have quality reporting in place. With insight on performance, you can identify what advertising platforms work best for your property, how different creative resonates with your audience and how budgeting impacts response rates.
Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) such as cost-per-click, conversion rates, and click-through rate will help inform how your leasing team can adjust creative and budget for each ad set.
Make social ads work for your team
Success in social media comes down to developing an advertising strategy that fits within the multifamily framework and works for your specific property. It’s possible to find that perfect balance after locking in on what your team needs to reach the right audience, seamlessly integrate with other platforms and continuously improve.
¹ Posting less, posting more, and tired of it all: How the pandemic has changed social media. Vox. March, 2021.
² US Social Media Usage. eMarketer. 2020.
³ Apartment Resident Preferences Report. NMHC/Kingsley. 2020.
⁴ Rent. Renters Survey, 2021.
⁵ Four Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in Property Management. Multifamily Executive. January, 2020.
⁶ Based on census.gov population statistics and Rent.’s 2021 Renter Survey data. Assumes a 12-month average lease duration, renter population that is 18+ years old and the same pricing offered across social ad providers. June 2021.
⁷ Rent. Internal Data, January – July 2021. Based on lead generation beginning two months after Social Ads Express was activated. August 2021.