When you develop apartments and condominiums—and provide management services to more than 30,000 units across the US—understanding social impact comes with the territory.
From investors to tenants, engaging with the public is key. And in today’s world, social media acts as the town square.
Through Sprout Social, KETTLER is able to maintain its brand consistency across its portfolio of nationwide communities while significantly growing engagement with current and prospective residents, sometimes by more than 500%.
Putting a Plan Into Action
Melissa Fasano started at KETTLER in 2016 as a Social Media Manager. As she took on her current role of Director of Audience Engagement she remained focused on how best to streamline social for KETTLER’s growing portfolio of properties.
“We found a need for our on-site teams to have more posting autonomy,” Fasano said. “But with that comes the need for proper procedures and workflows to be put in place first. We needed a tool to assist us.”
That tool came in the form of Sprout Social.
“When we first onboarded Sprout in January 2017, we decided to overhaul the entire strategy for what our outgoing communications looked like for our properties, from our corporate office and beyond,” Fasano said. “Although each property has its own voice, the teams are ultimately working for KETTLER, so we wanted to make sure the brand voice was cohesive.”
Fasano created a social program for the KETTLER team to follow that heavily focused on Sprout’s capabilities, including the message approval feature.
“I would say being able to approve posts was a big part of why we chose Sprout at the time,” Fasano said. “A lot of Sprout’s competitors did not have that capability. Our marketing department traditionally owned everything online, but when you have a growing portfolio of over 120 properties, it’s really difficult for one or two people to have eyes and ears on everything that was going on with a given property.”
Nearly a year later, the benefits of investing in Sprout are evident.
“Our property managers that are using Sprout Social on a daily basis, using social strategy that we put into place, are doing fantastic,” Fasano said. “They’re the teams who have rapid turnaround time with their communities and are able to get swift responses to folks who are sending us messages. You can see the engagement levels spiking on all of their social channels and as a result, ultimately providing our audiences with a valued forum to have their voices heard.”
Keeping Customers Content
Beyond publishing, KETTLER is focused on resident retention.
“While we want to put out content that will entice new residents to visit our communities, a lot of our audience is made up of current residents,” Fasano said. “We want our customer care to turn into retention, so having the means to get into the messages and focus on the customer’s needs is super important to us.”
Engagement and outgoing messages are key KPIs for KETTLER, as the company wants to cultivate strong relationships with current and prospective customers. Over the course of the past year, the results of her social efforts have given Fasano plenty of reason to smile.
At one property in St. Charles, Maryland, Facebook and Instagram engagements increased 548.8% year over year. This can be partially attributed to a 90.6% rise in outgoing messages over the same time period.
Another property, this one located in Newport News, Virginia, saw engagements rise by 247.8% year over year.
KETTLER’s corporate social profiles have also benefited. Across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, the company achieved a 293.4% increase in engagements over the course of 2017. Additionally, over the same time period, KETTLER captured 603,432 impressions and 5,774 link clicks.
“Before Sprout Social, there was no real way to see what the return on our messaging was,” Fasano said. “We struggled to see trends in engagements or impressions on posts and relied heavily on Facebook reporting. It’s really important to me that we have a comprehensive overview of how we’re performing. I pretty much live in Sprout’s Group Report and from there, I’ll drill down to see which profiles are getting maximum engagement, including how many messages have been sent out this month and the impressions that those messages are receiving, which helps us to better evaluate what the next steps should be for the program and our future strategy.”
It’s important for Fasano to prove ROI in an industry that didn’t always understand and value the impact of social media.
“In our industry, digital strategy has heavily relied on traditional marketing methods, often times focusing the budget to be exclusive to internet listing services like Zillow and Apartments.com for marketing our communities,” Fasano said. “Now, it’s abundantly clear that having a social media presence has a direct impact on leases. It has a direct impact on increased leads. Being able to really prove that social media is helping in tandem with other digital advertising components is so important to our success.”
Preparing for the Future
So what’s in store for KETTLER and Sprout in year two?
“We’ll be doubling down on using Sprout and refining the way we roll it out to new hires to really make sure we’re covering all our bases and getting the most out of the tool as possible,” Fasano said.
Part of that includes leveraging Sprout’s tagging functionality to gain better insight into specific marketing campaigns. Creating more content based on the most popular and effective posts from the last year is another priority. And then there are Sprout’s chatbots.
“I’m finding bots to be incredibly important,” Fasano said. “I’m in the process of finishing the setup of that with our team. The whole goal is closing that gap in communication and turnaround time for responses, making sure that somehow, somewhere, someone is getting answered.”
If the past year is any indication, KETTLER’s social future looks bright.