Sunday, March 7, 2010

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

For those of you that follow me as "The Apartment Nerd" you're most likely familiar with my video posts and with my activity on I recently made a comment on a post over at MFI entitled "Resident Retention: Dare I Say It - Don't Believe the Hype". In summary, the post was using survey data results that asked renters what way they prefer to be contacted. I thought interpretation of the results was out of context as people don't use social media in the fashion that the question was suggesting, and people continue to miss the point in regards to social media in general. So I wanted to share my comment here as I'm trying to make a point about "buzz". Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
So here's the deal. I think the majority is measuring the success of social media wrong. It's not about leads, and it's not like traditional communication. Let's stop and think about this for just a moment. When the majority of the world signs up for facebook they don't think, "Cool, I'll be able to fan my apartment community, or Apple, or Walgreens." Nor do they go on Twitter with the goal to follow a bunch of major brands. They go on these sites to connect with people. An apartment community is not a person, and that is what many are missing. Yet, many are afraid to take the humans that are representing their brands in person and have them represent their brands (as a human) online.

The mistake being made is that the approach to social media from a brand perspective is not being human enough. People don't engage with a brand, people engage with people. Think about that and look at your current approach online. Social media is not like your website or your brochure. It is a place to be a real person, and a person that represents a brand. Instead of measuring your social media success with statistics from counting calls or asking people about a preferred method of contact start measuring on "buzz". Is there a buzz about what you are doing, and are people talking about it. It's the buzz that matters. Just like having a pool party, giving a cool move-in gift, or just offering great service, that creates buzz. We don't measure that, but we know it's critical to our resident's experience. That's how social media works. It's another opportunity to create buzz.

There are definitely plenty of ways to waste time trying to create buzz, and everyone needs a great strategy. I'm tired of hearing about content, content, content. If that content doesn't create buzz and doesn't come across as "human" then you have wasted your time. I'm not saying that content in general won't get you some Google juice, but it's not likely to get you any buzz. And that's what I'm measuring.

On a side note, I do believe that social media sites, blogs, etc. can be built to look like web pages or brochures and they can be used for those purposes. Why not, they are essentially free resources. However, those efforts should be kept separate from ones that your are trying to create "buzz" with. I actually encourage people to have a little bit of both as it can be great in expanding your online brand as a whole.