particularly for Twitter accounts, that will elicit interesting conversation.
“Simply communicating, ‘Buy my stuff,’ is not good
marketing,” Guerzo said. “Those are boring messages and
people don’t like them. The alternative is to think about
what your customers want and offer that.”
She said a sample week of social media marketing might
include five posts—one listing; two questions to strike up
conversation that might draw renters into an area, like,
“What restaurants do you love in this particular neighbor-
hood?”; and two postings with helpful links.
“To the reader you appear to be a customer-focused
company,” Guerzo said. “You’re viewed as progressive and
Once companies determine the social media tools they
will use, they must also figure out how to use those tools
effectively and efficiently. Referring to the Web sites of the
various social media tools is helpful. Any of the free blog
hosting platforms will have an “about” section on its Web
site that will direct users how to set up a blog.
“I learned to use most of these tools simply by accessing
the Web site,” Dunlap said. “Most of these sites are very,
very easy to use.”
Regardless of how easy social media tools are to use, or
the opportunities they offer, they also present challenges.
The negative feedback posted on these sites is especially
concerning to businesses, social media experts and real
estate managers said.
Brad Ashley, CPM, senior property manager at CB
Richard Ellis, AMO, in Kansas City, Mo., said social media
tools are as risky as they are rewarding. He said while
Facebook might publicize a building’s amenities, it might
publicize problems, too.
In the past, a resident unhapppy with maintenance
might have called the office to complain, he said. Now, a
resident can post that complaint to a property’s Facebook
“wall,” a public area where users write comments, telling
100 or 200 people that there may or may not be a problem,
How a company responds to negative feedback can be
equally damaging. Consider Horizon Group Management,
BECOME A PART OF THE IREM SOCIAL NETWORK
BY CONNECTING TO THESE SITES:
(search groups for IREM)
(search for Institute of Real Estate Management)
a Chicago-based property management company that
became front-page news when it sued a resident who
used Twitter to complain about her apartment. The
company was blasted for its reaction, which generated
more attention than the negative comment posted by the
renter to her 20 followers (see “Social Breakdown” on
Negative comments are simply a part of online life,
social media experts said, and they don’t all carry the
capacity to damage. Often anonymous, individuals who
post comments undercut their own credibility by staking
out extreme positions, using profane language or typing
exclamation points in excess.
For the adept property manager, though, online attacks
represent an opportunity. People complain because
they’re frustrated, Gillin said, and listening to their
concerns can work magic. The worst critics often transform into the biggest fan when a company honestly and
directly addresses their complaints.
Like them or not, social media tools are assuredly here
to stay. Even if the current popular tools cease to exist,
others will evolve. As a result, businesses must accept the
Rather than ignore these social media outlets, companies should determine how they will manage their business with these outlets, experts said.
“It’s too late,” Hay said. “You’ve already lost control. The
remedy is to become part of the conversation.” n
Claire Bushey is a contributing writer for JPM. Send questions regarding this article to Markisan Naso at