Social Media Outlets for Student Housing

by Katie Sloan

Today’s college student wants apartment shopping at their fingertips. Social media is the key.



Facebook is the most effective tool for reaching the largest number of the college student demographic. Creating a Facebook profile gives you the ability to promote your property to its fullest potential. Additionally, this can be accomplished through creating a Facebook group for your property’s residents. Groups enable residents to communicate with each other about various topics that are important for neighbors in any community. Facebook also allows you to create an event page, which is a great way to maximize attendance. Promoting your page is crucial in building brand awareness and developing a relationship among the property. Showing off your events online helps create a visual reputation of your community being the “in” place to live.

Publicity is beneficial in building a brand image. You can increase enrollment by focusing on the college student’s pack mentality and posting the number of people attending the event. “Liking” a business has become a way for Facebook users to observe a company’s recognition among friends. The check-in feature on Facebook also creates a sense of attractiveness because it increases user engagement and intensifies your properties’ name on the website. Similarly, uploading all pictures that pertain to your property also aids with this. Residents have the ability to tag themselves in pictures on the website, so giving them as many tagging opportunities as possible is a good idea. Facebook ads are a paid way to advertise while controlling costs at the same time. These ads allow you to put a daily spending limit while maximizing your daily click through rate.

Students want to hear advertising that is exact and to the point. That is why Twitter is another great tool for marketing to students using a social media outlet. Even though you can only use 160 characters per tweet, tweeting can be used to promote upcoming events, leasing specials, or sending general messages. People are able to follow you by name or by searching current trending topics.

Meeting up with or running into friends is something that every student looks forward to. This is why telling everyone your current locality is so trendy. Four Square is a location-based social media site, where users can check into any given setting. The site incorporates gaming by offering badges for checking in at a specific place. The person with the most check-ins becomes mayor of that location. Being mayor of that spot gives them additional discounts and perks at that specific place. Four Square is able to link to the other social media sites so brand awareness is increased with the reputation of your community’s name.

Aside from these specific media sites, your regular blogs can be a benefit to endorsing your property as well. Blogging websites gives you the opportunity to discuss important topics involving your assets. This could include features of your property, information on your business, or topics you are trying to communicate to the student demographic. This is an effective way to tell the story of what makes your property stand out above the others.

Social media outlets are a positive way to get the word out about your property, but it can also come with some pitfalls. The most important key to remember regarding social media is to make sure that your websites are current at all times. The last thing you want to do when utilizing a multimedia marketing campaign is present outdated information on your sites. This shows a lack of commitment to your consumer and can also lead to miscommunication. Because social networking promotes free speech, it is important to scan websites daily to ensure that negative comments are not shown regarding your community. Responding to these comments in a timely manner is critical in showing that your community cares about what the public thinks. Disapproving publicity is easily communicated with so many social bookmarking outlets available on the internet. Yelp, Stumble Upon, and are popular websites that allow consumers to voice their opinions regarding a place of business. Another way to contribute to the harmful word of mouth regarding your property is to not respond at all and allow the damaging press to continue. Low user interaction can also diminish the appeal of your social media sites. Make sure that you are continually involving your residents with games, contests, and interesting content. Just take care to ensure that all information is clear and cohesive. There should be a unified brand among them all. Make sure everything you are conveying does not contradict any Fair Housing laws. Everything you include needs to be Fair Housing compliant.

Social media is an essential element of a profitable student marketing campaign that you will not have success without. It is a convenient outlet to endorse your property to a significant number of students. The trick is making sure that all your data is up to date and appealing to the student reader. If used correctly, it can be the most cost effective, lease-producing tool for your property.

— Jennifer Messina is the marketing director for The Quarters on Campus in Austin, Texas.

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