Yep, there are ton of them. We’re going to focus on a few that we think can be good for your marketing efforts and one’s that will integrate with facebook, Twitter, or your blogs.
Eric Brown and his team use Ning as their resident portal. Much more social place that offers more than just a place to pay your rent. A good website developer can customize Ning to fit your needs.
Building out a site needs some skills, so maybe you can just start out on Ning by finding a cool niche group to join. Smaller Indiana is a business forum for people only in Indiana. With groups like this you really get out what you put in. There are a number of people that get a ton out of this site, and you may find a cool niche group in your area that you can use to build up some brand recognition.
If you build it they won’t necessarily come. Here’s another Ning site that pretty much died. It had good intensions, but they pretty much have given up on it. Last blog post Oct. 2009. If I were these guys I would at least put some type of notice on here for where to find new information, or at least syndicate their regular blog content here. It’s not a worthless site, but they’ve given up on it. Their website is UBER social! Like I was saying before, you don’t have to be on everything. It’s about what feels right for you. Personally, I think you can get everything accomplished on Wordpress to be social. Urbane using their site as their portal makes sense, but you definitely need a niche and use the platform to be much different than any of your other online assets.
As we’ll talk about in the second half of this session, integrating your social tools is a big part of what you can do to maximize your online brand. With video, it’s not that you have to be on YouTube. Blendtec has done a great job with that, but like Gary Vaynerchuk, myself, and countless others we just use YouTube or Viddler or whatever to host our video. Once you have that embed code or link you can share it all over the place. For example, I put my vlog posts on YouTube, but embed them at theapartmentnerd.com and over on Brent’s site MultifamilyInsiders.com. I’m able to basically be in 3 different places, and I can share links to those places on facebook or twitter or myspace or my ning site or linkedin or you get the point. When you do this, however, I want you to really think about your content strategy. I’m not suggesting you go out and just create some commercials for your company, post them, and see what happens. I’m suggesting you have an ongoing video content strategy.
Flickr has a following, and there are groups that really use it. There’s an opportunity to engage with a unique crowd, and to basically own some keywords. For example, out of the 60 photos on this page for the search term ‘Indianapolis Apartments’ only 5 photos are not of a J.C. Hart property. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.
Setting this up is as easy as just emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Actually, that’s the only way to begin an account. After you do that, you can just email in your posts. Your subject line is the title of your post, and any attachments like audio, video, pictures show up as well. It can be customized, but just like Tumblr you can syndicate your content almost anywhere by just using the tools right within Posterous.
This applies to online reviews as well. Now, people are fighting this, but I believe it is a battle that won’t be won. Even if any of these models fail, there will somebody waiting to replace them. Personally, I have a couple URLs just waiting to be turned into review sites.
So, does everyone understand how powerful Google really is?I know I don’t, but if you really start thinking about it, it gets kind of scary.Essentially, much of what we build online is geared around the mighty Google. Other search engines obviously have their place, and Bing has made a nice push, but Google accounts for over 65% of searches conducted.
So much of this is website optimization as well, but you should know what people are finding when they search for your property name or management company brand name.
Claiming your businesses will make an immediate impact just on the mapping services of the search engines, but it will also help you with your website optimization in general.
If you are building out blogs for your brand/properties I recommend you install Disqus as well. If you have a little then Disqus gives you instructions you can follow. Otherwise, as I’ve said all along, doing it is much different than building it. You can hire people to build them.
The beauty of social media and websites is that we can follow people. We can see what’s working, and we can adjust based off of real data. These are just of the tools, but we’re in marketing here folks. Many of us report to someone that wants to know what’s working, what our ROI is for our marketing efforts, and how we can improve our efforts. If we’re not tracking and measuring we’re just winging it and all the work you’re putting in and what you’ve learned the past couple days might as well get thrown out the window.That all said, I don’t want you to think that you’ll spend countless hours going through reports, but when the time comes all the info will be there for you when you need it. More importantly, some of the tracking tools help you measure engagement
Beyond Facebook Part 2 - Optimization Summit
Beyond Facebook: Marketing on Other Social Networks<br />Session Leaders: Mark Juleen, Charity Hisle, & Brent Williams<br />
Welcome to Part 2<br />Not going to be as in depth, but we’re going to cover a lot more<br />Please note as I go through my presentation anything you’d like us to dedicate more time to?<br />
Categories<br />Social Networks<br />Videos<br />Photos<br />Blogging/Micro-Hybrid Blogging (Whatever that means)<br />Underrated<br />Reviews/Ratings<br />Geolocation<br />Wrap up with Integration & Measurement<br />
With any additional social network you use for yourself or your business, you need to have a purpose and strategy. <br />Just having a page that does nothing isn’t really helping your cause.<br />I recommend starting with a personal page and understanding any social network yourself before applying it to your business.<br />If in doubt or it doesn’t feel right, do the opposite of Nike.<br />Social Networks<br />
Facebook<br />What? I thought this was “Beyond Facebook.”<br />Yes, it is, but here’s what you should be sure to think about as it relates to other networks you get into. <br />DOES IT INTEGRATE WITH FACEBOOK?<br />I think this is important. Facebook gets so much traffic it would be a shame to put effort into another social site and not have it syndicate to Facebook easily. <br />The easier it is to integrate with Facebook the better.<br />
Others<br />We’re not going to waste time on Bebo or Friendster or sites popular in other countries, but we’ll get into Myspace and Ning for your business.<br />
Why MySpace<br />At this point MySpace is more about the discovery of something new.<br />It’s about finding entertainment.<br />If you build out a page for yourself I recommend thinking about how it ties to entertainment and your business.<br />At least that’s how I would take advantage of it today. <br />It’s all how you put it together, and it may be better to pay for a web designer to build it out for your needs.<br />One cool thing about MySpace is that you can really customize the pages.<br />It can be a place to connect with other local businesses, radio stations, etc. as well. <br />You don’t have to just think about connecting with your customers.<br />
The Blog is your hub<br />I don’t care what platform you use, but you need to have a blog.<br />Hopefully you had a chance to attend the Wordpress sessions.<br />If not, it’s easy to hire someone to build you blogs, and just learn the basics to posting content<br />There are other solutions out there as well like Blogger, Typepad, etc.<br />Also, there are some really simple platforms in Tumblr and Posterous<br />
One of the most underrated social media platforms<br />
Here’s a couple ideas for you<br />Create a unique slideshow brochure for your company, locations, brands, etc.<br />Share a presentation like this one highlighting your expertise in your field.<br />Build a presentation that highlights your staff and where they can be found online.<br />
Reviews & Ratings – Get Social<br />“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”<br />
Online Reviews Strategy<br />I’m working on a more lengthy strategy presentation for the upcoming Apartment Internet Marketing Conf., but here’s a summary.<br />Embrace online reviews<br />Use them to push improvements<br />Begin surveying internally<br />Respond to positive or negative reviews<br />Claim your Yelp! page(s)<br />Encourage people to give reviews by having links on your websites, etc.<br />More to come in my presentation next month.<br />
Where you at?<br />This is going to get crazy! Trust me.<br />If you thought online reviews were tough to manage, bring on Geolocation check-ins.<br />Services include:<br />Foursquare<br />Gowalla<br />Yelp!<br />CauseWorld<br />There are plenty more<br />
Strategy for GeoSocial Platforms<br />Make sure your business locations are listed<br />Write in some tips (and maybe a special coupon)<br />Play the game yourself and check into your locations.<br />Just be ready to implement a strategy as soon as facebook and/or Google make their move with the GeoSocial idea.<br />
OK, let’s talk integration and measurement<br />
So what?<br />This is marketing<br />mar·ket·ingnoun - : an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer<br />Marketing is about being found and the how, when, where, and why that goes along with that.<br />The question is, when someone is searching online for something, what do they find?<br />Better yet, what do they find when they find you?<br />And, as search becomes more social, how are you taking advantage of that.<br />That’s right, I said “Search” is social.<br />
OK, so what to do about it<br />Step 1 – Get social on Google<br />Create a Google profile for your business using a general account like email@example.com<br />This way it can be turned over to someone in the event you get hit by a bus.<br />Step 2 – Claim all your business listings<br />I’ll show you one, but someone will have to put in the hours here.<br />Step 3 – Claim your business listings on Bing and Yahoo! as well.<br />
It’s about the SEO<br />Without some of the basics like grabbing your listings, tagging photos, tagging posts, and adding in websites you’re just not helping yourself.<br />Every little thing counts. Just when you think you have it under control it changes, so it’s definitely best to have the basics down.<br />Hubspot has a really great tool to help you with your SEO. They have a deeper program as well that can help you with analytics and recommendations. www.hubspot.com<br />There are plenty of other companies out there that can be very helpful with SEO, but don’t just go with the first guy that sends you an email offering to “Review your website.”<br />
Syndication and Integration Tools<br />RSS feeds (Real Simple Syndication) feeds can be used for a number of things. <br />Once you have a feed from a website or blog, you can pretty much push out to any platform.<br />Many sites or tools already have functionality or widgets built in. You just need to copy and paste the feed.<br />Example: www.TwitterFeed.com<br />Crazy Nerd Example: www.twitter.com/apthelpdesk<br />“The niche DJ is about to explode!” – Gary Vaynerchuk<br />It doesn’t have to be all your original ideas for content.<br />
Where? How?<br />Subscribe to blogs using Google Reader or even in Outlook<br />Social Bookmarking<br />Digg<br />Del.icio.us<br />Reddit<br />Socialmarker<br />StumbleUpon<br />
Commenting<br />Getting involved with blogs you like can help with your SEO as well. It’s about being social anyway right.<br />You can’t expect people to engage with your online work if you don’t with theirs.<br />Comment everywhere you can with your industry peers, local businesses, resident’s blogs, etc.<br />Disqus is a commenting format used on the best blogs. A great tool that tracks all your comments on blogs that have Disqus installed on them.<br />
Syndicating Your Content<br />Some good options<br />Google Buzz<br />Tweetdeck, Seesmic<br />Ping.fm<br />Blip.tv<br />And you’ll get some unexpected love from Bot websites as well that just syndicate your content based on keywords mainly.<br />