Much of the material in this post may be items you have read before from others. In multifamily there is quite the pool of pretty amazing folks who work hard to educate us on best practices specifically regarding Facebook. However despite the education available I am still witnessing some common mistakes taking place. As you read this and find yourself in any of these categories I do not want you to feel bad at all. I can’t tell you the amount of mistakes I have made along the way in learning about social media. Making mistakes will only help us improve, so please review this post from that objective. I am outlining today five common mistakes and also remedies that will help Facebook’s impact on multifamily.
1- Making a Facebook Profile instead of a Facebook Page
I continue to get requests from profiles to be “friends” instead of suggestions to “like” a page. The way this previous sentence is outlined I hope speaks for itself. It is against Facebook’s terms of service to set up a business on a profile. If they find out you risk losing all of your hard work. However you cannot have a business page without a profile which lends itself to questions such as “Who should have the profile?” and “How do I separate the personal from the business?” Both are good questions which I would like to hear from your experience what is working for you in the comment section below. What I have recommended to property management companies is to not allow onsite staff to set up a business page through their profile. There is still too much turnover and Facebook pages are not transferrable. Where I have seen the most success is where perhaps a Director or Vice President or even the owner themselves have a Facebook personal profile, give access to someone in marketing to their account, have them set up the necessary business page or pages, and then perhaps give admin rights to the community manager. There are many scenarios on how to strategically do this but the main focus is that a property management company needs to have control (I use that term loosely) over their pages. This approach is really one of the safest.
2- Putting the Cart before the Horse
I can create a brand new Facebook page in less than ten minutes now. It may not have a bunch of bells and whistles attached to it but it will be a functioning page. This really goes to show that there is so much preparation involved prior to setting up your page. Do you have goals outlined for your page both short term and long term? Do you have a content strategy? Do you know your target audience and how you are going to reach them? Are you aware of the full functionality of your future Facebook page? Do you have a clearly defined purpose for your page? These and many other questions should come before you ever start making your page.
3- Overly Focusing on Numbers versus Interaction
Numbers can be very deceiving. If you have 2000 likes on your page but only 2 people regularly interact on your page how does that compare with a page that has 200 likes and on average 15-20 people regularly interact? Using the “suggest to friends” feature is good to get your page going but after that extremely sparingly. You may initially be impressed with the numbers in the beginning but will become quickly discouraged when no one is interacting. If you have a solid but adjustable plan to show your community why they will benefit from this page then you will gain long term interactive page members and your numbers will organically grow from there.
4- Putting Your Facebook Page in a Coma
This point is somewhat related to the second one. I have witnessed either extremely boring content as well as pages that rarely have any updates at all. This happens as a result of not having an adjustable strategy. In your planning stages you may have all thought you had cool ideas about content and topics that could be shared on your pages. When you found that it was not working how quickly were you able to adjust? If you keep doing the same thing over and over again that is where the Facebook coma happens. One tip that I have found super helpful is to really show appreciation for those who do interact with your page. These are potentially your brand advocates. By showing appreciation for their voices you are building a living, moving and breathing community instead of coma one.
5- Lack of Connection to other Media
Part of your overall strategy needs to include all other digital and print media. The launch of your Facebook page should be somewhat simultaneous to any website, print, and outreach changes that are necessary. If you want to see positive growth of your Facebook page it certainly cannot be an island. It needs to be part of the mainland with a clearly defined “interstate” path to all other media you are using. Facebook pages are just another tool that will help your business. They are certainly not the Grand Poobah of business tools.
This post is a little longer than usual so I am wrapping it up now and I would love your thoughts and experiences. I write these in order to help our industry and not to put anyone down. The more we share the stronger our industry will be. Whatever is on your mind, please feel free to share in the comment section below.
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Written by Jonathan Saar