Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

There are a lot of different versions out there of how the Seven Deadly Sins apply to social media but here are some that For Rent Media Solutions has put together to assure that you are making the most of your social media marketing campaign.

1.      Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest

We have all been there before and understand this one. When most companies enter the social media landscape they want to have a presence everywhere. In order to be effective both with time and resources, you need to have goals and a solid strategy to support them. It is not necessary to have an account on all of the social networking sites. Choose one or two platforms that best match your goals and target audience and get to know how they work.

2.      Don’t Get Greedy

One of the main reasons businesses enter the realm of social media is to build relationships with consumers and increase their brand awareness; however this does not mean you need to solely promote it while you are on these sites. Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of the content you are submitting, sharing, tagging and commenting on should not be yours. Don’t consistently link your content. Offer help to others that genuinely and directly benefits them, not you. Provide value to the conversation and become a trusted member of the community. Move people to engage your brand and be collaborative. You can only build a community by contributing and that contribution needs to provide value for the consumers. Only then will they begin to trust your brand.

3.      Don’t Lose Sight Over Quality vs. Quantity

Social media is about quality not quantity and it should not be looked at like a popularity contest. Having the highest number of followers and fans is not what it is all about. Take the time to build a targeted list even if it is smaller and takes longer. It is important to have followers that take action versus having thousands of followers/fans that will never convert. Social media is about building relationships, so you will also want to make sure that you can manage the relationships that you have.

4.      Don’t Try to Control It
Your relationships are your brand. Anyone can blog, tweet or Facebook message about a good or bad experience they had with your product and it can be seen by millions of people. Embrace the transparency of social media because people are talking about your communities whether you like it or not. We can all learn a lesson from the recent experience of a property management company that is suing a former resident for $50,000 over a tweet complaining about mold. Read more here: What the Horizon Realty Fail Can Teach You About Social Media. Within a few hours, Horizon    Realty became a “trending topic” on Twitter, which means that Horizon was one of the most talked about topics on Twitter. Although trending topics on Twitter tend to be short-lived, the reach and distribution of social media goes further than Twitter.

If you try to control the message too much, you will lose control. Rather than be fearful of messages made about your brand, engage. Use it as an opportunity to display your customer service and you will win customers for life.

5.      Don’t Be Fake
As we’ve mentioned before, social media is very transparent.  Consumers will know if you’ve entered a space with the intention of only promoting your business and not engaging in conversation with them. This is a big mistake businesses are making. Your company needs to be honest and personable in the online space in order to build relationships, loyalty and trust. It’s ok to make a mistake, admit when you are wrong and move on. People want to do business with people NOT with companies so talk to them versus talking at them.

6.      Don’t Be Lazy
Not only do you need to be honest, but you need to be THERE! Don’t get in the mindset of “Set It and Forget It.” Your brand needs to be involved more than just once a week and response time  is critical. You have to write interesting content, you have to stay current, and you have to be willing to show up and put forth the effort. This is a relationship that needs continuous nurturing.  Setting up profiles on social media Web sites is easy. However, growing those profiles and keeping those profiles alive require time, dedication and resources.

7.      Don’t Be In Violation Of Fair Housing
Fair Housing laws are still applicable with social media. Generally, any postings online should be considered the same as email or text messages. This information is discoverable and can lead to liability. Posting photos of residents and employees? Get a model release and consider fair housing implications! Posting endorsements, testimonials and raves from your residents?  Get endorsement permission! Allowing unmonitored and uncontrolled posts?  Know how to respond to “bad press” about your community. Monitoring and controlling the posts?  Your liability increases – libel and fair housing issues.

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About :

Director of Social Media @HomesDotCom & @AptsForRent. Jock. Newlywed. Wine Lover. Industry Speaker. Tech Geek.



  1. Managing Your Reputation Online

    A real Social Media CHALLANGE has become apparent in the past couple of days, evidenced by a certain management company that’s taking a lot of heat in the media, both on- and off-line. So how does a company respond adeptly, in real time, to controversy in this new world? Managing your reputation effectively in the social media sphere requires a four-pronged approach:

    1) Be aware of the tools and services, and know their functionality. (e.g. understand sites/applications like Yelp, Digg, Apartment Rating sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FriendFeed and others, and why and how people/residents use these tools, or may prefer one tool over another).

    2) Before you leap, look and listen to what is being said about you, our industry, and the competition in each of these networks to get an understanding of the environment.

    3) Engage in a direct, trustworthy manner that positions the company as a peer instead of a bully … in other words, don’t use social media as your megaphone.

    4) Be prepared for social media’s transparency. How you respond in a controversial situation will be at least as visible — if not more so — than what you’re responding to.

    Engaging too soon, and without having a strategy or accurate understanding of the outlets, is bound to #fail. Engaging without listening first to what is being said about you is bound to #fail. But … and this is tricky … so, too is a strategy that abandons a proven “old way” of doing things completely in favor of a “new way”

  2. Erin Korogodsky says:

    Great points Erica and Tami! I’d also add keep it simple and keep it interesting. A fundamental question on Twitter is “What are you doing?” “Call for Leasing Specials” is not interesting. Its vague. A photo of your team delivering pizza’s to a new resident on move-in day is more interesting. Release/fair housing rules apply but that’s easy – you can just take a picture of your leasing agent delivering the pizza instead of your resident, “HOW NICE!” Maybe they’ll think, “I know someone who’s looking for an apartment!” and pass your info on. That’s the idea here. Share what you are doing that is positive and engaging. Other ideas of things to share:

    1) “Coffee is hot in the club house – come grab a cup!”
    2) “The sun is shining and the pool is open – who’s going for a swim?”
    3) “We filled 2 recycling bins today and have 1 less trash bag headed to a land fill – we’re going greener by the day!”
    4) “Our favorite ice cream shop is Erin’s Yummies and they’re offering buy one get one free to our residents – grab a friend and go get yourself some!”
    5) “New carpet in the 2 bedrooms and its the nicest shade of tan – I bet it matches all your furniture!”
    6) “I just finished 4 maintenance requests – who else needs help?”

    What are some of your examples that have people engaged with you?

    Use social media as a way to demonstrate the type of service you provide and you’ll make people stop, think and engage with you!

  3. Awesome points Erin and Tami! Thanks for contributing to the conversation and bringing some new ideas!

  4. There are more sides to this story than that of social media, however; the initial fallout from this situation proves how powerful social media is, as well as word of mouth and customer service.

    I’m sure you are familiar with Yelp.com, the community-based Web site that helps people find local businesses, and the 25 less than favorable reviews Horizon received on that site. It appears as though concerns were raised long before Amanda. Although these were reviews from only 25 (22 of which were overwhelmingly negative) people, some who weren’t even residents, it is still interesting to note the power behind word of mouth and social media. As of today’s date, more than 333,000 blog posts related to the keyword “Horizon Realty” were indexed into Google. This is an 11,000% increase just from 7/29.

    Horizon could have taken a more proactive response to the situation, instead of helping it spiral out of control. Here are a few suggestions we have that could have helped Horizon use their new found Internet buzz to their advantage.

    1.Get Proper Training and Education on Social Media: It is imperative that companies large and small are properly educated on social media and understand what may take place, know how to respond, and are prepared for the possible outcomes.

    Bonnen only had 20 Twitter followers, which likely means she didn’t use the service much, wrote uninteresting posts, or didn’t engage with other users beyond her immediate followers. Which probably also means very few people were actually or potentially going to read any of Bonnen’s tweets. If Horizon had a true understanding of Twitter then they probably wouldn’t have feared Bonnen’s lone tweet from the beginning.

    2.Listen To What Consumers Are Saying: Use brand listening tools to track your presence and monitor your brand to prevent a PR/social media backlash. Horizon could have benefited from using FREE tools such as Google Alerts (Google.com/alerts) to track mentions on Google, Technorati.com to track blog posts, Backtype.com to search blog comments, and Twitter Search (search.twitter.com) to search Tweets.

    Another great recent example outside of our industry is, United Airlines, who blew off musician Dave Carroll after breaking his expensive Taylor guitar during a flight. His video, “United Breaks Guitars” instantly went viral and — while the $180M drop in United Airlines value may be overstated — cost United some brand equity for certain.

    3.Everything Negative Can Have a Positive Spin: If you are going to bring out a topic that involves social media, you need to understand social media. Bonnen aimed her tweet at 20 followers, but Horizon’s lawsuit–and the questions Bonnen raised about the company’s management practices—made global news. We applaud Horizon for searching social media sites in their due diligence in defending their suit, but as a result, the relationships developed weren’t necessarily beneficial ones.

    Horizon could have turned the situation around if they really had a handle on Twitter and were prepared to use this medium to their gain. Horizon could have been making a good impression before thousands of potential customers or business partners; instead it created a groundswell of negativity that did little to enhance the company’s reputation.

    We hope these tips come in handy in the future, so property mangers can take the appropriate precautions and prevent a social media/PR mishap such as this from happening!

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