Out to Put a Dent in the Multifamily Universe

#Apartmentmarketing: Blog for Juice

Multifamily 800 Egyptian Apple Sheets

No matter what, the very first piece of social media real estate I’d start with is a blog. – Chris Brogan

Blog About Everything Unrelated

United Blogs of Benetton is one of my very favorite blogs. It was one of my early inspirations when I started writing a multifamily industry related one back in 2005. The thing that struck me most about the blog is that it had absolutely nothing to do with their core business of fashion. In fact, I remember reading a post they wrote back around that time that suggested their reason for doing so.

I can’t find the post so I am doing my best to recall here. The gist was that they thought that the real value of blogging was to give the people that read it the essence of what they valued as an organization. In other words, they wanted to translate the values of their organization by way of compelling and worldly content.

Our First Company Related Blog

When we started our first company blog in 05′ we did just that. But in lieu of a forward facing, community gathering effort; we brought out the personality of EQRs Portland Portfolio. We called the blog: Portland Rocks Newsletter and the content consisted of stories about our teams. Be it work related or a personal experience we allowed just about everything.

Everything that is except for content about EQR or any specifically related to our apartment communities. Our chief aim back then was to invite people into relationship. Whether they bought from us or not was not the point of the blog. If they did, we considered it icing on the cake.

And, fathom this for a minute. It had nothing to do with SEO or SEM back then. Whoa!

It’s All About the Juice

Fast forward to today – everyone has a blog and everyone is jockeying for the first page of Google search. And, we all do it for Google Juice. We wrap it in 800 count Egyptian cotton [Read: adding value or enhancing experience].

All that being said, I agree 100% with Chris B.

AI: Start a blog today – if you have not already!

M

#Apartmentmarketing: Share

Park Clayton Facebook Page

People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends & people they know and trust! – Malorie Lucich – Facebook Spokesperson

Know and Trust

When it comes to using social media to market apartments, I think we are still in the early miles of a endless endurance pace across the deserts of Africa. Some in the business have caught the fact that business is transacted by great story tellers. And, it is incumbent upon us, on the selling end, to give exceptional reasons for our buying constituents to echo the very stories we tell them when we sell our goods and services.

Park Clayton Apartments

Park Clayton rests just about a mile from Washington University in Saint Louis. The apartment community is but 104 units and boasts zero meaningful amenities outside of location. Even that has it’s challenges as it relates to getting to the university. It sits on the opposite side of a major freeway that disects its way to downtown Saint Louis. Yet we have Likers and we have occupancy.

Our Mills Branded Park Clayton Specific Facebook site boasts just over 300 likes. They are made up of current residents, former residents, industry professionals from in and out of Saint Louis and employees of Mills. Within in the diverse mix of people is a group that hails from the Far East and they love Park Clayton. They love the Luaus, they love the open houses to show off our upgraded units, they love the annual St. Patrick’s Parade that makes its way down the street in front of the building and they love Reb’s dump joke Friday. And they love to share.

Share to Rent

About a year ago Teresa, the Property Manager, used Facebook to give away some goodies and the response was over the top. One resident shared with over 100 of his friends in order to stand out in his quest to receive the prize. He shared the story with his friends in the Far East and they shared back. And, they shared back in a big way. You see, this young man had friends who were in wait to come to the states. More specifically in wait to attend Washington University in Saint Louis. And, you better believe they leased at Park Clayton. All because we told some stories that people could share.

#Apartmentmarketing: Waiting

Girl in wait

“If you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you will be to late.” Seth Godin

Girl in wait

What to do?

It goes against the old axiom, ‘good things come to those who wait.’ Anymore you get cooked in the squat if you wait too long. With the advent of the Internet came an accelerating pace of change. Moore’s Law even exists, to some extent, in the world of property management. We are seeing newer, bigger, better and flashier ways of attracting new people and keeping relationship with them over a long bit of time. It’s nuts out there.

Oh, and we have a blog…

Multifamily: Second Mover’s Advantage

At Mills Properties, we like to think that we are exercising the second mover advantage. While we did have our company [internal] blog in place nearly three years ago now; we were a bit delayed in getting our forward facing blog out to pasture. It did put us behind the eight ball and in the same respect, it allowed us to make observation of several other industry movers and shakers. That time and those observations gave us the ability to design a strategy that has yielded some very good results for us.

At just six months in we have achieved the following with our blog:

Mills Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been the result of some hard work and dedication on the part of many people, first and foremost. Beyond that I would suggest that it’s been the result of setting back and making some observations, learning from others experiments and applying as much as we could.

Today’s call to action – wait. Sometimes, it is okay to wait, watch, learn, strategize, act and fail fast. We did!

What have you gained by waiting?

 

Multifamily #trust30: Future Text

Day 27 of the #trust30 challenge. Getting close to the end; I think I will miss the daily exercise a bit…

Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now. If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?

(Author: Tia Singh)

Multifamily Tomorrow

My tweet would be;

Listen attentively. You will be all the better for it.

That would give cause for me to listen more and speak less. Take more action and give less lip service.

Your listening attentively contributor,

M

Multifamily #trust30: Right and Wrong

Danger in Multifamily

It’s day 22 of the #trust30 challenge – we are coming down the stretch now.

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

…What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.

(Author: Patti Digh)

Danger in MultifamilyMultifamily Right and Wrong

There was a time not so long ago that I go so wrapped up in social media and the highs it gave me that I lost track of being ordinary. Be it comments on my blog posts or twitter conversations with people on the local or national scene in the property management business or the occasional back and forth with a best selling author, it was all very addicting. Addicting to the ego and contradicting to the ordinary.

It cost me in a big way personally about five years ago. I got so caught up in that I ignored the most important people in my life. Not so good. I read a book back then titled: The Heart of Man by Eric Fromm. In it, he described the ego in the way of every man being a wolf. Innate in all of us is this wonderful gift termed free will. It’s right on when handled right and likewise when handled wrong. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the ecstasies of work, life or otherwise because the wolf is always at play. He’s looking for the moment to strike at the true heart. The wolf loves clever and every other wild endeavor. He abhors ordinary.

My prompt – stay true to who you are. And, by all means necessary [put down the phone, the email, the text, the facebook, the twitter, the iPad] to ensure you are true to the ones you love and the ones that love you. Ordinary is extraordinary when you think about it. Try it on for size sometime.

Pretty good prompt for a Friday -

Your see you down the stretch contributor,

M

Multifamily #trust30: Courage

Day 20 in the #trust30 challenge -

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting.

(Author: David Spinks)

Multifamily NAA – In the spirit of #NAAeduconf

The year was 1996 and the NAA conference was being hosted in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton just off the strip. I was fresh into the multifamily industry and right out of residential sales. And, I was excited. It was that kind of excitement where you wanted to read everything, try everything, meet everybody and learn all that one could about the industry and what made it tick.

I’ve told this story a couple times outside of this blog and it seems appropriate to memorialize it in light of today’s prompt. Lisa Trosien was an industry hero of mine and I just so happened to run into her in the hotel gift shop. I recall standing in the aisle looking for something I did not need just waiting for the moment to say – “hey, I think you are great.” At that time, I was star struck as I had a great deal of admiration for what she was doing for the industry. And, I felt like a clumsy child trying to navigate a new found task.

It took awhile but I worked up the courage to talk to her. My icebreaker? Michael Jordan [Also, a person I would love to meet]. Lisa was picking off every magazine that had Michael Jordan on the cover. I started by asking if she was a Michael fan, she replied that her husband was a huge fan. I shot back with some remarks about how great I thought her afternoon session was and she took the time to prod me on what I was going to take back and apply. And, that was that. I had conquered the courage dragon and she made it worth the work up.

People are people and they want to connect

Fast forward a to the year of social media – I recall asking Lisa a question on her blog and three minutes later my phone rang. And, it was Lisa. Ha! I was speechless.

The fact is that everyone in the world wants to connect. And, more times that not with just a bit of wherewithal and mild assertiveness; you can talk to anyone. And, they will talk back.

Your encouraging you to reach out to your hero contributor,

M

 

 

Multifamily #Trust30: Tiger by the Tail

Multifamily Tiger by the Tail

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?”

(Author: Jen Louden)

It’s an attention economy and there are a plethora of messages competing for your interest every second of the day. Not only that marketers are getting more creative and more clever as it relates to sucking you in. Marry in some ADD or ADHD and you have the ingredients for never having to think for yourself again.

Multifamily Think

Anyone who has worked for or with me in the multifamily space knows that I expect you to think for yourself when it comes to running your business. Early in my career someone said, “I am handing you keys to a multi-million dollar business, I expect that you know how to tie your shoes.” Made a ton of sense to me then and it still does to this day.

Anymore whether it be a hiring agent or me personally, you better believe the homework will been done. That is to suggest the background has been explored, the questions have been asked and the references have been checked. And, while I don’t use FB or LinkedIn as a part of the hiring process, I do look you up.

The over-riding point here is that I expect to think for myself and I expect those that come to work for me to think for themselves. And, asking yourself what you know is just half the battle. The even more important part is believing the answer. Even on the tough stuff. I expect to fail fast. I expect people to fail fast. I expect to learn fast. And, I expect people to learn fast. 

What I don’t expect is to light fires – if I have to do that then it’s time to move on.

Your always looking to catch a tiger by the tail contributor,

M

 

Multifamily #Trust30: One Sentence

Multifamily Sentence

Day 17 to the #Trust30 challenge -

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

(Author: Liz Danzico)

Multifamily Sentence

Fail forward fast, learn, grow and press for excellence in all that you do.

Your taking it from the gut today contributor,

M

Multifamily #Trust30: Greatness

Multifamily Amazement

Moving past the halfway point with day 16 of the #trust30 challenge -

Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. If you are facing (and fearing) a difficult life decision, ask yourself these three questions:

1) “What are the costs of inaction?”….

2) “What kind of person do I want to be?”

3) “In the event of failure, could I generate an alternative positive outcome?”

Multifamily greatness

We recently purchased a property from a lending institution who had in turn taken it back from a previous ownership interest. When completing the due diligence phase of our process we discovered roughly 40 units in various stages of disrepair. Units we classify as down. Down to mean not habitable absent some major rehab.

It spoke loudly to the point of the first question – inaction. Banks are not property managers. And, in lieu of spending $25 to $30k to replace the roofs, they left them alone. Result of that inaction? Several hundred thousands of value wiped away.

Greatness starts with forecasting the consequence of in-actions. In this case, it would suffice to say that some back of the napkin math would have yielded an ROI that would have driven a decision to replace the roofs.

What kind of company do we want to be

At Mills Properties, we ask that question a lot. As of late it has been in the area of branding, marketing, digital footprint and the such. We have been slow in moving toward what we want to achieve part and parcel because of near 50% growth in community and unit count over the past four years. And, in part not having a real plan.

Fast forward to today. We have taken the time to craft a 40+ page branding/marketing plan that includes everything from font types and size for all thing forward facing to big ticket strategies to dominate the St. Louis Apartments on and off-line space. It lays it all out and captures how everything from curb appeal to lease contract signing ladders up into an overarching message for the neighborhoods and communities we serve. And, in advance our striving to make a splash nationally at some point.

It all starts with asking the right questions.

Multifamily failure

I think the best way to overcome failure is understand that it going to happen from time to time. In fact, I like what Tom Peters has to say about it, “reward

Crash and Learn

failure.” If you are not failing, you are not trying, you are not learning and thus you are not growing. Equity Residential cements this in their 10 ways to be a winner – one being ‘take educated risks.’ The expectation is that you gather every piece of information you can to include the counsel of others before you pull the trigger. And, if you fail, you simply have a group postmortem where you examine the facts and the various action points to see what could have been done better.

Off for a float trip

It’s Saturday, it’s raining and we are headed out for camping and a float trip. Should be loads of fun. I say that with lots of hope in mind.

Your hoping you have an amazing weekend contributor,

M

Multifamily Leasing: What Pulled Your Trigger

Multifamily Emotion

Common question from a regional manager to a property manager; “What is the reason they didn’t lease?” Maybe the better question is; “Why did they lease?” Take the people that did lease and find out what pulled their commitment trigger.

Triggers:

1. People want to look good. Is it that your address or your building one that will give them celebrity status?

2. Does it save them money?

3. Does it shave their commute time?

4. Does it help them worry less?

5. Is it comfortable?

6. Does it help them feel accepted or included?

Who out there asks, ‘why they did’ in lieu of ‘why they didn’t?’

What did you do with the information?

Your wondering why contributor,

M