Talented on-site leasing teams are worth more than their weight in gold. They connect with residents, solve problems – often before they even BECOME real problems – and keep the communities running at a productive, profitable and happy hum.
However, even the very best on-site teams can leave gaps and holes and opportunities for mistakes, imperfections, and inconsistencies to arise. One of those areas that is most likely to have gaps and imperfections? Marketing! Particularly video marketing.
We’ve written about the importance of video at multifamily communities, but have also written about the importance of having a set video strategy as well. Allowing on-site teams to create and share their own videos on their own personal devices opens a Pandora’s Box of potential pitfalls and issues for your team and your communities. Good leasing professionals will understand the power of video for both marketing and leasing, and even for resident engagement at their community. If your team doesn’t set a corporate strategy or put tools / processes in place for video at the community level, you will likely experience the full varying degrees to which video can be created, used, and shared and how drastically different that can and will be from property to property and, likely, even within the same property.
In today’s video-consuming world, real, raw, and transparent video is king, but just because that points towards empowering on-site teams to be creating the videos, doesn’t mean you should simply give them a blank check, green pasture, and free reign to start creating and sharing whatever is needed for the business. So what are you to do? Create a corporate-led video initiative across your entire portfolio and be an engaged leader / participant in these efforts of ensuring its success — here are few reasons why:
Branding and Consistency
Your corporate marketing team works hard to create a specific brand, look, feel, messaging, and image for your communities. All of that work can come unraveled with one single video that doesn’t follow the brand guidelines. In today’s highly competitive multifamily market, every interaction with your community’s team, website, collateral, and marketing is an important interaction. Having a video that is poorly executed or that misrepresents the community or your company will instantly lose those precious interactions with prospective residents. Putting a set video platform in place for capturing and sharing videos at the community level will give your corporate team the ability to not only track and monitor what your on-site teams are producing and sharing, but certain platforms (aka Realync) will also give you the ability to put ‘bumpers’ in place to ensure compliance with brand guidelines and add a consistent look and feel to every video produced and shared. Do it for the brand!
Leasing agents using their personal devices for work is always a tricky topic and one that varies greatly from one multifamily company to the next, which makes leasing agents recording and sending videos from their personal devices or hosting live FaceTime tours from their personal devices an equally tricky topic. While there are definitely pros and cons for on-site teams using their personal devices, let’s start with the cons. First, that leasing agent will be giving out their personal phone number to that prospective resident whether sending a video or hosting a FaceTime tour. Cringe worthy, right? As those in multifamily know, personal numbers in the hands of residents can be a death sentence with residents calling and texting at all hours of the day and night. Second, those interactions being run through that personal device most likely are not making it into your lead management system or CRM. Those systems are put in place specifically for properly tracking all communication with prospective residents and tracking progress with those leads through the pipeline. Having a cloud-based video platform will not only allow videos to be sent via and logged in the proper systems, but removes the risk of giving out personal phone numbers in the process.
Control and Visibility
One of the biggest gaps and risks you take with allowing on-site teams to create, host, or share videos on their own is that your corporate team will have absolutely zero visibility into what they are creating, sharing, saying, showing, or not showing. The content will live on their personal devices and only be accessible on said devices. Not only does that restrict control and visibility for your corporate team, but if that employee with the videos on their device quits or gets fired, those videos are leaving with them. Putting an enterprise-level video platform in place will not only allow your corporate team to see exactly what content is being recorded, hosted, and shared by your on-site teams, but also puts the control of that content in the appropriate hands. If someone quits or gets fired from the community, that content stays within the enterprise solution and is still accessible by the rest of the team for continued use and sharing.
Without visibility into what videos are being produced, where they’re being shared, how they’re being engaged with, and what the overall usage and success of that content is, how can you ever justify or calculate an ROI on those video efforts? There really is no ability to calculate the effectiveness of those videos without proper tracking and data, which leads to zero insight into how they’re impacting your volume of leads, lead conversion, lease conversion, sales cycles, and more. If you’re going to invest time and money into an effort, being able to point to the success of those endeavors and impact it made on your business is critical. Putting an integrated, enterprise video solution in place for your communities will not only give you full tracking of everything produced and shared, but will measure all of the engagement statistics on that video content as well. Not only that, but if you get the proper solution built for multifamily (aka Realync), you will also have backend integrations into your lead management system allowing you to instantly run reports to see which leases were influenced by video throughout the process. With all of that information at your disposal, you will instantly be able to point directly to how video is impacting your various marketing and leasing efforts, and double down on that success.
This is hands down the biggest thing to be aware of when it comes to DIY video on personal devices at your communities and should be the biggest driver for not allowing your on-site teams to go rogue and, instead, putting an enterprise video solution in place. The Fair Housing Act is very specific in what it states should be included in videos shot as advertisements and tours of multifamily dwellings. Simply pulling out your phone and recording a video to share likely will fall very short of fulfilling those guidelines for Fair Housing compliance. What are the key steps for staying compliant? First of all, showing the equal housing logo and disclaimer consistently in every single video. Second, ensuring that there are recordings of every pre-recorded video created or live tour hosted. Without a recording to prove what was said or done on that tour, there’s no audit trail and claims become a he said / she said battle. If you have a built-for-multifamily video platform that is integrated into your processes, that Fair Housing compliance risk can instantly go out the window. Automated built-in Fair Housing compliance will not only keep your communities and your company safe from claims made against them in regards to your video efforts, but will provide peace of mind knowing that there are no gaps across your portfolio on that front.
On-site teams at multifamily communities play a critical role in the success of that property and in today’s day and age, those multifamily professionals need to be properly equipped with the right tools to meet the increasing demands placed on them. While video often seems like it can be very easily implemented via free paths of simply recording videos locally on the device or via Instagram Stories or Facebook Live or by using FaceTime, those ‘free’ solutions do come at a cost. They come at the cost of your brand, your corporate control, your insight and visibility, and your compliance with federal regulations.
It’s not hard to make take your video game to the next level and do so in a Fair Housing compliant, corporate-driven way. Want to learn how? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll walk you through it.
Until next time…keep it real!