I was looking through some previous blog posts and came across one from last year predicting the Marketing Trends of 2012.  Since it was made exactly a year ago I figured it would be neat to see which of these trends and projections have held up over the past 12 months.  Additionally, I have provided my comments on whether or not each particular trend is something that you should continue to implement at your community.  I have inserted the post below and today’s comments can be seen in red.

“With the beginning of a new year yet again quickly upon us, it is time to start gearing towards the mindset of how 2012 will be different than 2011. How will the apartment industry be different? What marketing will come to fruition as the front-runner in success and what marketing will be put on the back burner? These are questions that can only be answered a year from now, but here is a great article put together by Jasmine Brooks in Multifamily Insiders that outlines some areas of marketing that everyone should be prepared to take advantage of in 2012:

“Hey there, MFI family!

I’ve been thinking about marketing trends that our industry should take advantage of in 2012. Here’s my list. Please share yours

1. Video tours – Ever consider filming a prospect tour? When you follow-up with the prospect, be sure to send the video also. You will surely give them the most memorable tour. (Be sure to get permission first!)

–Video tours are without a doubt a unique and creative way to make your community standout from your competitors. This is an easy thing to do with the video capability of smart phones and it allows the prospect to become engaged in the tour, as well as remember exactly what your community had to offer.  It can prove to be a much for effective follow up tool than a phone call as videos are more frequently opened and viewed than other forms of follow-up.

2. Community marketing video – I’m not talking about the kind of video that apartment advertisers put together for you. Get creative and put together your own video! It doesn’t take a huge budget to create a great video. All you need is a flipcam and iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. (Shout out to the Apple users!)

–If your community does not have a marketing video by now, then you are behind the times and are missing out on a great way to add a personal touch to your community.  Just as Jasmine stressed in this original post last year, the budget can literally be zero dollars.  All you need is an IPhone, some creativity and an afternoon to make your community come to life. In the end, having a video up online is another outlet for prospects to be able to find your community given the high emphasis Google now puts on videos in an organic search.   

3. QR Codes – These babies are gaining popularity and you have to know how to use them effectively. Quick reference codes can be used to “unlock” move-in specials or host community contests!

–QR codes can still be found in the marketing repertoire of many apartment communities, especially at communities where the clientele are predominantly technologically savvy, but it hasn’t necessarily taken off as initially projected.  The wow factor has mostly worn off because most QR codes took people to a company website instead of leading them to a new and interesting landing page.  QR codes can still be implemented into your community’s marketing pieces, because they are not costly, but QR codes are not necessarily a must have.

4. ‘+1‘ – Fellow Insider Brent Williams wrote Will the Google +1 Button Amount to Anything? I think it’s safe to say that it’s time for you to add a +1 share button to your communities’ websites! (P.S. If you don’t already have Facebook and Twitter share buttons, you’d better get those in a hurry!)

–Once again, just as with the QR codes, Google +1 has not necessarily defined itself as an apartment marketing trend for the year.  However Google +’s impact on the Google Place Page will be something to keep an eye on!

5. Facebook Page – I’m happy to see that many apartment communities are already on Facebook. For those of you who aren’t – what are you waiting on?! This is simply an extension of your community and if you think your residents aren’t on Facebook, you better think again. P.S. It’s FREE!

–It goes without saying that if you do not have a Facebook Page for your apartment community, then you need to implement one ASAP. A community Facebook Page remains to be one of the more effective means to get your residents and potential prospects involved. Plus, the Facebook Page is content manageable, so if you are worried about what people will say about your property you can always control what is posted on your Page’s wall. When it comes to a Facebook Page for your community, the positives of having one heavily outweigh the potential negatives.  Plus it does not cost a dime!

6. Twitter – Okay, okay. I realize that if you haven’t put your community on Facebook, you probably aren’t thinking about Twitter. But I have homework for you: Go to twitter.com, type ‘looking for apartments’ into the search box, press Enter. Come back and tell me what you see.

–Twitter falls somewhere between Google +1 and a Facebook Page for your community when it comes to defining this as a must have marketing trend. Twitter is much more prevalent than Google +1 and just as with the Facebook Page, it is only going to be as effective as you make it.

7. Text Customer Service – Now this is one trend that none of you can deny! Everyone, including your grandmother, is texting these days! It’s time we started communicating the same way! We have to speak our renters’ language! Think about setting up text leasing, text maintenance, text advertising and even ongoing texting for community events and/or courtesy weather updates.

–Texting has proven to be a marketing trend for 2012, as many communities have started utilizing text for rent reminders, community happenings and prospect follow-up. Texting a potential prospect is one of the most efficient ways to contact a prospect, as the open rate of text messages is consistently over 90%! Texting should be incorporated into your community’s follow-up.