3 ways the new Facebook features can help your Multifamily social media strategy

In case you haven’t heard, Facebook invited members of the media to their offices in Palo Alto, CA yesterday for some big announcements. While it lacked any real ground breaking changes, it did reveal some fundamental ones coming to Facebook. Here are the 4 biggest ones:

Download your information.

Last year when Facebook hired David Recordon as their Senior Open Programs Manager his focus was on open standards and open source. The corner stone of the open movement is freedom of information. Prior to this new feature on Facebook there was no way to download all of your information. Data portability has always been a problem. Sure you could right click your pics one at a time or copy and paste your posts but boy is that time consuming and boring. (As of this writing this link which should be under your Facebook account settings has not been rolled out yet). Once up you’ll be able to download all of your information as a zip file. You’ll request it and then sometime later that day you’ll be given the download link for it. As for privacy concerns on downloading your information you’ll be required to supply a password and other info. Nice.

New dashboard application.

Admit it… you tried Farmville. You haven’t touched it in a year (I hope you haven’t – what a time sucker). Have you ever wondered what personal information is being accessed by these applications? Using these new tools you’ll be able to track and manage how much information these applications can use. In addition you’ll be able to view past histories in the form of log files. As you have read thus far, the new features were designed with giving you greater control of YOUR data.

Redesigned Groups.

This has been the most talked about addition. Groups have existed on Facebook for quite some time but they weren’t fully integrated, didn’t offer many choices, and you couldn’t post updates specifically to each group. Older style groups will continue to exist but you won’t be allowed to create any new ones. Rather than post status updates to everyone on your friends list I’ve always wanted the ability to post different updates to different groups. Think about your life. I am fairly boring but even with being boring I have different groups of people that I interact differently with. As George Costanza once said on Seinfeld “You’ve got to keep your worlds apart!”. Facebook finally got the message. You can now create groups, chat with multiple people in a collaborative fashion within those groups, shared document collaboration (similar to wiki services on the internet), event posting, and status updates to specific groups only. I can setup my IT Geeks group, my Marketing nerds group and my family group. No family member wants to hear about Multifamily and I’m sure most of you don’t want to hear about my daughter’s potty training episodes. Keep in mind that groups aren’t replacing your friends list but it is going to be integrated with Facebook more than ever. In addition it will be possible to email people in your groups from the email address you are connected to Facebook with and it will show up on your group page. Are you beginning to see how it can be used for businesses (especially multifamily)?

So here are my 3 reasons why multifamily (and your social strategy) can benefit from the new Facebook features:

Create groups according to your property niches.

There are two types of basic individuals for a Property page. Prospect or Resident. At the minimum you could create two groups and vary your information to them accordingly. Part of the prospects group? Send them information on rent specials. You might or might not want your residents to see that information. You could take additional steps by drilling down further. 2nd floor 7832 building group or single people group or married with kids group and send different information accordingly. This would help getting the message you want to send to the right people. Even better is that it gets your residents and prospects communicating with the types of people they’d probably like to.

Create resident chat”inars”.

Because you can setup groups and then have as many as 250 people at a time in them, you can easily set aside a time for residents to communicate with the main office, the property or amongst themselves. It would be a good time to discuss issues that many people might be having as well as getting information out that you need them to know.

Utilize the power of FourSquare.

Why not create a special group that only previous mayors can be a member of? They can gain access to your Property Managers or Leasing Managers directly. Making a big deal out of belonging can give people a reason to want to belong. It can easily be made into a game or contest.

Are these new Facebook features the end all for multifamily (or businesses in general)? Umm…no. Do you all have better ideas than these? I’m sure of it. I would love to hear them.

So what’s next for Facebook?

Good question. There’s a lot of speculation. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, they are trying to make Facebook become a social media platform and not just an application. These new features are in line with that evolution. I’ve heard rumors of several new features still to come. From what I’ve read a full blown email system (Thanks @AvalonMarketing for the tweet) could be next. In addition a site redesign is in the works as well. These two new “possible” features would be a stretch as far as usefulness for our industry but they certainly bear watching.

Happy renting everyone.

More information links:

Facebook Groups – A walkthrough

Want to watch the whole press conference and see what geeks with microphones sound like?

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