How to Make the Most of Community Sherpa

This article was originally shared on MultifamilyInsiders.com on January 20, 2012. You can view the original post and its responses here.

Allow me to start by saying that I do not work for NCI! However, I do believe that their product provides a great foundation for us to be successful in our social media marketing initiatives, if that is your company’s goal.

Community Sherpa’s blogging helps increase your community’s search engine optimization through the use of strategic keywords, Facebook helps keep your residents and prospects engaged, and Twitter allows you to further promote your community while “listening” to conversations of people who may be looking to move. (More on that in my 2012 Marketing Trends post.)

I have come across several Facebook pages (even some of TriBridge’s own) that are backed by Community Sherpa but have zero activity! Many community managers are under the impression that Community Sherpa will bring traffic to their social media sites and keep them engaged. Wrong! Sherpa creates blog content, feeds it to Facebook and Twitter, and they may occasionally post a status update or two. The rest is up to us!

So I’ve decided to share a few ways that you can complement Sherpa’s strategy to make social media work for you!

1. Put it on paper!
Promote your blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts in print! Put your accounts on a flyer, brochure or even your letterhead.

2. Put in online!
Make sure that your social media accounts are accessible through your community’s website. An icon following your e-mail signature wouldn’t hurt either!

3. Speak up!
We are so used to putting things on a flyer and thinking that the residents will get it. Most residents don’t read! I am sure that you have residents coming in every day to pick up packages, submit service requests, etc… Don’t forget to mention the trivia that you’re running on Facebook or the giveaway that’s happening on your blog! Word. Of. Mouth. It’s powerful, it’s memorable.

Now that we’ve promoted our social media accounts, let’s discuss how we get our fans talking. Considering that you’ve allowed your on-site teams to post content to Facebook and Twitter…

4. Train your employees!
This is SO important! As the marketing manager at TriBridge Residential, I don’t have time to manage 30+ Facebook pages. However, I do make time for monthly training webinars in which I teach our employees how the accounts work and how they should respond. (How to communicate online is especially important!)

Sidebar: Sorry for the use of so many exclamation marks. I get excited.

5. Give ’em somethin’ to talk about!
Your on-site teams will need some engaging content to post on Facebook and Twitter in order to get their fans talking. Unfortunately, fans don’t always pay attention to Sherpa’s blog posts. The majority of Sherpa’s posts don’t receive very many likes and I’m okay with that. Sherpa is just helping us keep the page active so that we stay present in the minds of our fans. So be sure to always keep the page fresh with the latest news in entertainment, sports and even company news and community events!

6. RESPOND!
The only absolute way that you can keep your residents and prospects engaged (other than giving away iPads all the time, but that get’s expensive) is to respond! Engage! You’ve produced great content, great. Now, when a fan leaves a comment, respond! Keep that conversation going and keep them coming back for more!

7. Utilize the appropriate tools…
to make your job easier. HootSuite.com, SocialOomph.com, and Seesmic.com are some of my personal favorites. Schedule posts in advance. Post on several accounts at once. Learn these tools and use them to your advantage.

At the end of the day, whether you use Sherpa or not, these strategies should help with your social media efforts. Try these tips and let me know how it goes!

Over and out. It’s Friday. Enjoy your weekend.

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