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The number of multifamily residents connecting through social media outlets is steadily increasing and spans across multiple generations. In 2012, the question to consider is not if your community should be connecting with residents on social media, but how you’re using these social media outlets to increase resident retention and attract new residents to your property.

Satisfacts.com states that 30% of renters today are using mobile devices to assist in their rental search, with Ipad tablets and smart phones making up the bulk of increased traffic towards company websites. In order to ensure that social media marketing through mobile devices is successful, properties must offer the most convenient access possible. Most residents don’t want to bookmark a multifamily webpage to view in full screen on their home computer. They would much rather access websites that are easy to navigate and have been designed with mobile view options. Convenience can also be achieved by offering residents location based check-in through sites such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp. Scannable QR codes and mobile leasing inquiry forms are other ways for residents to instantly receive the information they want about your community. We recommend visiting Multifamilyinsiders.com for their useful presentations on expanding social media influence into the mobile market.

ApartmentExpert.com explains that resident reviews should also be taken into account by multifamily properties looking to evaluate their social media influence. While social media sites that feature only glowing positive reviews of an apartment community may cause renters to be suspicious, negative reviews could turn them away completely. Thankfully, social media focuses on conversation and these negative reviews can often be publicly answered by property staff. Leaving thoughtful and individual responses to each negative remark received shows that your community values customer service and is willing to help unsatisfied residents. Multifamily Executive also states that simply asking residents who are pleased with their rental experience to post reviews can help to offset negative ratings. MFE explains, “If asked, 62 percent of residents said they would post a review, but less than 9 percent have been asked,”

If your company is attempting to increased traffic towards social media outlets, it’s important that these websites remain full of useful information. Too often, multifamily communities will have social media sites for the sole reason of promoting their services. Social media should instead be about offering up new information. Linking to a recent blog post, discussing industry news, offering apartment living tips, and asking for resident feedback are all ways to make sure your property is connecting with your social media audience.

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While utility submetering is proven as an excellent way to conserve energy and decrease operating costs, many property managers and owners are still hesitant to enter the industry. Learn how your choice in utility submetering provider can make or break the submetering experience.

Poor customer service can have a huge impact on the submetering process. Residents that have never lived in a submetered unit may not understand the importance of energy conservation and will certainly express concern if their utility bills are higher than expected. Submetering companies without strong customer service values leave these residents in the dark, which could ultimately decrease resident retention for your property.  Consider whether your submetering provider offers in-house customer service and the chance to speak with a live representative for support, instead of a recording.

In addition to offering superior customer service, submetering companies should also be up to date on the latest industry news. Connected submetering companies can educate your organization on energy rebates available for submeter installation, tax incentives, or state submetering mandates. Submetering companies should be connected to this industry through social media websites and regularly contribute to energy management publications.

Convenience is another factor to consider when choosing the right submetering provider. WaterWatch Corporation incorporates convenience into our submetering services by offering a wide range of resident payment options, installation services tailored to your property’s specific construction, and real-time management reports. Your organization deserves a submetering partnership that’s hassle-free and designed with your specific property in mind.

Are you currently partnered with an inadequate submetering provider? Consider transferring your services to WaterWatch Corporation. Take advantage of our transition program and switch providers effortlessly.

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As we approach summer 2012, organizations are beginning to report on this year’s green trends for multifamily and commercial properties. Staying on top of green industry trends can help your property to conserve energy, lower operating costs, and appeal to new residents. Is your organization up to date?

In January, the Earth Advantage Institute reported seeing a large spike in green multifamily building certifications over the course of 2011, especially in Northwestern and Midwestern states. The first multifamily apartments were given LEED Platinum certification in 2011 and certifications such as LEED and EnergyStar have already been on the rise in 2012. In fact, a recent University of Notre Dame study proved that LEED certified buildings actually had a measurable increase in business compared to those without any type of green certification.

The Earth Advantage Institute has also noted energy education is an industry-wide trend for 2012, especially in terms of commercial tenants. The institute explains that the adoption of commercial building energy reporting in major cities such as New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, is prompting property owners/operators to educate tenants on energy conservation. It is also extremely important that multifamily residents are educated on any energy efficient upgrades made to their properties.

Offering a less car-dependent lifestyle is another trend for both multifamily and commercial properties in 2012. “Walk scores” from walkscore.com are now included in most multifamily marketing material and mixed-use commercial and multifamily spaces have risen in popularity for their convenience. Many communities have situated themselves on public transportation lines and even offer shuttle services to town centers or amenities on the property.

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