4 social media tactics to attract student renters
Academic institutions have announced plans to bring students back for on-campus learning this year, boosting demand for on and off campus housing. The average student is between the ages of 18 and 23 and is part of the Gen Z cohort, the only true digital native generation.
According to a survey of more than 10,000 Generation Z tenants led by RentCafé, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok are the leading social media channels most often used by this age group. “Gen Z wants short video content,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing and REACH at Yardi. “About 40 percent of these renters like videos that are longer than 15 seconds or less, while 30 percent will watch for up to a minute… but no longer.”
READ ALSO: What does Generation Z want in housing?
Additionally, Generation Z values integrity and transparency. She wants a personal connection with the content, such as seeing friends and familiar places tagged. Brynna Nugent, Marketing Strategist, Social Media and Reputation Management at BH Management Services, believes the goal is to provide authentic insight into community life, with real estate operators acting as a trusted resource for the community with content guided.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of marketing tactics tailored directly to the student tenants you are looking to attract to your community.
Choose the right platform
Not all social platforms are created equal. Before you start marketing a community, it’s important to know the demographics and their preferred social platforms, according to Nugent. Facebook isn’t widely used by Gen Z, while TikTok and Snapchat content takes time to produce and doesn’t connect with followers geographically.
The big winner is Instagram: it’s easy to use, highly customizable, and offers significant engagement. Additionally, the Reels feature makes it easy to reach subscribers through geographic links, Nugent said.
Tools of the trade
Property managers have a wide array of social media tools to choose from. Whether it’s quizzes, polls, scrollbars, question boxes, or guides, they can easily build a solid bridge between content and potential tenants.
BH Management Services made the most of Instagram guides while marketing The Commons in Knoxville and Northpoint Crossing in College Station, TX. The company also used Instagram Reels to showcase its Olive & Wooster community in New Haven, Conn.
Content creation, community fusion
Whether you choose to showcase certain amenities or make an official announcement, there are several ways to do it in a unique way. Be sure to vary the content between words, images, and calls to action, and don’t forget to use photos of people, because that’s what users want to see the most. For example, BH Management Services increased the number of people in the photos they posted while marketing The Commons in Knoxville.
While creating new content can get overwhelming, property managers can still ask for permission and share photos of relevant people. This saves time and energy by not having to constantly come up with something new for each post.
Nugent believes it’s important to create content that will engage current residents and extend resident-community interaction. Examples include:
- highlight floor plans / amenities
- answer the residents’ FAQ
- post move-in checklists
- highlight milestone dates
- share community events and updates
“Make sure you give the young social audience something they want to see while making sure that they also come away feeling more aware or connected to your community,” Bonardi added.
Posting testimonials from current residents is a proven success. While marketing The Commons in Knoxville, BH Management Services created takeovers on Instagram, where new residents answered questions about the accommodation, life on the property, or just everyday life at The Commons. Northpoint Crossing’s Instagram page is filled with examples that show just how fun and exciting it is to live there.
Make sure the images are well laid out and follow a few basic composition principles to create aesthetic images, Nugent recommended, while following the brand’s guidelines for your community.
Another great idea to help you attract student renters is to include presentation videos or virtual tours of your community, allowing prospects to get a first-person view of what the property has to offer.