I have written a few blogs about general ideas on how to use a Facebook Page for an apartment community.  First off let me start by saying that I cannot harp on the fact enough that a Faceboook Page is only as useful as you make it.  If a property page is created and you think that it going to lead to more leases just because you created it, then you are going to be heavily disappointed.

A Facebook Page needs to be designed with the initial purpose of getting residents involved and having a place where they can be connected to not only other residents, but also to management.  In addition, a Facebook Page will also help to increase a property’s SEO, because it is another site that other property specific sites can be linked to, which therefore is offering another venue for property exposure online.  Although, just because it is a property specific page does not mean that it needs to be updated daily with information trying to sell the community.  Keep in mind that people that “like” the property page do not want to constantly see on their Facebook walls information about your apartments for rent, or what your great special being offered is.  The community Facebook Page needs to be viewed the same way your personal Facebook Profile is viewed in that it would get pretty old seeing the same friend posting status updates about the same thing over and over.

There is a general rule that an apartment community page needs to have a balanced ratio of about 80/20 of general information to direct apartment community information.  General information can consist of multitude of different things:  anything relating to the city the community is in; helpful tips for apartment living; random tidbits of information that your readers may enjoy seeing.  Tracey Lott Heitzman contributed a great article on Multifamily Insiders that outlines the importance of making a Facebook Page interactive.  Below I have highlighted some of her great topics for Facebook Page status updates and you can find the full blog here.

•Have fun with your profile picture and change it up often
•Post your You Tube videos
•Notify residents of upcoming concerts and events in your area
•Post interesting new jobs. I’ve seen a property management company that has a Twitter feed on their website with job postings that fit their demographics
•Post new movies out on DVD or to the theatre
•Start a ‘Best of’ list and have residents to vote
•Offer green cleaning tips
•Plan a Yahoo Sports Pick Em’ Group for the playoffs
•Offer exclusive discounts, coupons, and content (40% of FB users “like” Pages that give them deals)
•Partner with restaurants in the area and offer exclusive deals (I live in a condo community and the new restaurant across the street gives us 10% off!)
•Post a photo of a local restaurants dish and have a contest to have residents guess the dish and where it came from (offer a gift card to same restaurant)
•Advertise a time and place at the community and host a “Sweets in the Streets” where you hand out candy bars
•Post an events calendar to share with sister communities. Allow residents to participate among the communities
•Have monthly Birthday Parties and post to Facebook
•Have a yearly ‘Birthday’ for your community
•Reward residents and fans by helping them give to charity
•Recognize fans and select a “Fan of the Month”
•Become “Fans” of local business and post on their walls
•Use the Question feature to offer polls (more on this below)
•Contests are one of the most effective ways of keeping your Fans interested and engaged
•Introduce various competitions with giveaways
•Watch the comments/likes pour in with these status updates from Funny Status (not all are appropriate)
•Post trivia questions- people love to show off their knowledge
•Ask for opinions
•Encourage your Fans to share personal stories on a particular topic, like “my first apartment”
•Upload lots of photos from Resident Appreciation Events and be sure to “tag” your Fans

These are just a few of the great things that you can utilize a property Facebook Page for.  Keep in mind that people are not going to search for your apartment community by name on Facebook to like your page.  Therefore, it is the community’s responsibility to make sure the Facebook Page URL is made known to every resident and should be on every single piece of marketing material that the community distributes.  It takes sometime to establish a strong Facebook Page following, but when you do, take advantage of it and make sure to be proactive in posting quality information daily, because you want to keep your followers interested in your page.