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How to Master the Creation of a Custom Snapchat Story

Putting on an awesome event and want residents to be able to share their moments on one story? Snapchat has introduced custom stories, designed to make the sharing of big events easier! This is a great feature to utilize during your next big event. You’ll be able to invite your friends, friends invite their friends, or even have it set to show to anyone who is in a designated area known as the “Geofence”.

Creating this custom story is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4! See below on how to!

Take a Snap– You will need to start this off by taking the first snap! If you’re doing this for an event, take a quick snap of event set up, residents arriving, or anything else you’d like.

Tap “Custom”– this will be in the top-right corner of your story.

From here you can choose the privacy settings. Choose either Private Story, Custom Story, or Geo Story. We suggest using the Geo Story option as that allows you and anyone else in that area to have the option of adding to this story.

Name Your Story, Select Geofence Area, and Choose Who Can Add To and View– Select a name for your story. Be creative and make sure the name reflects the content you and others will be adding to the story. Next, utilize the geofence toggle. Simply enter in the address of where the event is taking place and that will make the story appear for anyone inside the designated area. Finally, choose who can view and add to the story. Friends of friends is suggested because this will not only allow that user to view and edit but their friends as well.

Click “Create Story”– Once clicked the story is published for use! The story will appear under your “stories” section. You and others can add as many snaps as you want to the story. Just like any other story, it will only last for 24-hours and you will be able to see who has viewed and manage other settings.

This is a great way to encourage user generated content amongst residents and market your brand!

Tips and Tricks to Bring in Reviews

It’s no secret that prospects are turning to online reviews when shopping for a new apartment. These reviews have a huge impact on whether a prospect decides to rent at that community or not. According to JTurner Research, the effect of online reviews on students’ decision to visit a property is rated at 6.26, while in conventional housing it is rated relatively higher at 7.33.

At Cardinal, we take reputation management very seriously as we have set monthly review goals for each community. The goal is to obtain a monthly goal of 2% of residents leaving new reviews. But some of you may wonder what is the best practice in terms of asking for reviews? And what is the best way to generate positive reviews?

Obviously, they key to generating positive reviews is by providing the best customer service to residents. The next best way is to ask for them! However, we know asking for reviews can sometimes feel like a daunting task. So we’ve put together some ideas and practices for bringing in those reviews and helping you hit your monthly goals!

  1. Asking a resident for a review in person is definitely the preferred method. Personal connections matter. Therefore, is so important to build rapport with residents before asking for a review. The best way to build rapport with residents is at events, when they pick up packages, etc. Asking happy residents for reviews always gets us the best reviews! But it is also important to get feedback from residents who may not be happy, learn why, and address those concerns.
  2. Have an internal competition with your teams. While this is not the most encouraged method, due to review sites strictly prohibiting against this, this is an option to use every now and then to bring in reviews. Use a cash prize or gift card for the winner as an extra incentive to get participation.
  3. Send out Jturner collateral! Not only does JTurner send out monthly surveys to residents they also send out to prospects upon completion of a tour. Use JTurner to you advantage, they are here to help! Remind TMs to ask for those reviews AND let residents/prospects know that surveys are in their inbox. Also utilize the simple survey links (​your PSM has these). It is also important to review trends (keywords) in Ratings Tracker and JTurner Dashboard and if possible make the changes reviewers are referring to. Once the change is made, email residents letting them know we listened and ma​de the changes they asked for.
  4. Leave maintenance cards in unit after service request is completed to satisfaction. Utilize FIFTY3 to get these made. Maintenance does a lot for the community! There is nothing better than to bring in some reviews for the maintenance team members and all the hard work they put into the community.
  5. Find ​which reputation sites are lacking in reviews and focus on asking for reviews for that site. This is an important one! The review sites with the least amount of reviews will have the most impact on your ORA score. Bring in a lot of 5 star reviews to a review site with very few reviews and see your ORA score boost!
  6. Have a monitor or screen set up just for reviews. Setup in leasing office so happy residents, prospects or event “goers” can leave a reviews while in the office.

Get Digital With Your Outreach Marketing

At our student housing assets, classes are ending and students are beginning to filter out of the market. This leaves many areas looking like ghost towns; making outreach marketing much harder and less effective. During the summer months, we should begin to shift our outreach efforts online. “But Ryan, how can I use my Tshirt Cannon 3000 on the internet machines?”

You might not be able to use your swag bazooka, but thinking strategically and using channels our target demographic frequent you can drum up some valuable leads. Check out these digital outreach ideas below.

Reddit University Pages
Most, if not all, Universities have subReddit pages. Students discuss everything from course recommendations to housing suggestions on these pages. By filtering posts with certain keywords such as “apartment” or “housing” you’ll be able to dig up instant prospects. Simply google “___Insert Name____ University Reddit” (make sure to put your target University’s name) and you should be able to find the subReddit you’re looking for. Once you’re in the subReddit click the “search” bar in the right-hand side and type in your desired keyword (such as apartment) and search. You can then sort posts by “new” to bring up the most recent posts to the top. You just struck gold. Reach out to prospects on any relevant posts and give them information about your community and any current specials!

Facebook Groups
Many students are active on University-related Facebook groups. These groups offer a forum for students to sell items, ask questions, and interact with each other. One particular set of groups that sees a lot of activity are incoming freshman groups. These groups are often names XYZ University Class of 1234 (i.e. Florida State University Class of 2022). Freshmen generally know less about university-related topics and are often more curious about these topics. If your community can house freshmen this could be a fantastic source for mining leads.

Simply search for a group on Facebook, click “join group”, wait for approval of your access request, and then look for opportunities in posts that you can offer up your community as a housing resource!

Hashtag Mining 
Hashtags can be a marketer’s best friend. When users use hashtags in their social media posts it gives marketers a backdoor into finding prospects. Many students will use hashtags that relate to their university which gives you an opportunity to engage in their conversation. For example, incoming freshmen at Florida State University are using #NowANole to declare that they are headed to FSU! There are many different hashtags that students might use that relate to the university. Do a little research about the top hashtags you should target and then get to mining!

Social Media Location Mining
What if I told you there was a way to interact with residents that live at your comps? Would you send me a million bucks? Great, you can make the check out to Ryan Sundling. Residents at your comps are likely taking photos at their apartment community and tagging their photos at that location. Simply look up the location on Instagram and have instant access to residents at your comps.

Micro Influencers
Influencers are people that use their large social media presences to subtly advertise products. For example, you may follow someone on Instagram that is a fitness guru. They may partner with a running shoe company and post a photo of them lacing up their new shoes. Those shoes happen to be from the company the influencer partnered with in exchange for money and/or free product. We can do the same thing but on a smaller level. Look for micro influencers at your target universities. This might be a popular frat president, fashion blogger, or other minor “celebrity”. Offer them a gift card if they post a story about them touring your apartment community.

User-Generated Content
Calling user-generated content (UGC) outreach marketing may be a stretch but it can be a great digital marketing weapon. UGC is when a social media user posts content on their profile about your brand. This could be a user attending one of your events, touring the community, a resident showing off their apartment, etc. Our goal is to encourage this content by offering contests and other incentives. One strong example is holding a contest with current residents where you ask them to create an Instagram  story giving a Cribs-style tour of their apartment. In their story they need to include a certain hashtag and tag your community. At the end of the contest choose a winner and give them a prize like a smart home package. Additionally, ask the resident to download the story and email it to you in exchange for a $20 gift card and rights to use it for marketing purposes. Now you’ve had residents evangelize your community to their friends, many of whom are prospects, and you have tours of different unit types you can use to show future prospects each unit type!

Email Student Groups, Orgs, and Athletic Teams
If you can capture big groups of residents you’ll increase your chances of hitting 100% greatly. Student groups, organizations (i.e. greek life), and athletic teams all offer the opportunity to capture groups of leases. Reach our via email to these groups and offer your community as a living option. Personalize each email and offer something unique to that group. For example, if you’re reaching out to the swim team tell them about your great lap pool and that you’d reserve the pool for practice during a certain day and time just for them. Another approach is to offer tiered incentives based on the number of people that sign from that group. For example, if 4 people from the same Greek organization sign you give $200 to their philanthropy. If 8 people sign you’ll donate $800. If 12 or more sign you’ll donate $150 for each lease.

Outreach marketing can’t stop just because your market has fewer people physically in it.  Hopefully, this post gives you a few more arrows in your quiver when marketing your community this summer.