Every now and then you need to listen to your target audience and understand what excites and motivates them. From a Build-to-Rent operator's point of view, this includes getting a better picture of the kind of lifestyle they want to lead and where they want to live it.
Sitting down with your entire target audience and having one-on-one conversations is tricky, lockdown or no lockdown, so there need to be other methods for getting to know them better. This is where good old social media comes in and where renters mostly hang out online.
Using social listening, you can dig deeper into your renters' mindset and build a better profile of their persona. But what is social listening, and how can it help your Build-to-Rent community?
What is social listening?
Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, about topics in your industry and even your competitors. It allows you to analyse, track and respond to conversations and involve yourself with matters renters find important.
Imagine you hear two renters talking in the social spaces in your community. One says, "I love the atmosphere here, but I wish there were even more social events to bring everyone together." The other says, "Yeah, I agree. It's a great place to live, but I'd love more social activities too." You start thinking, "does everyone feel this way?".
So you ask more people in the building, and it turns out that everyone wants more social events. The result? You refocus efforts to create more social events because you're listening to what your customers want. All of a sudden, you're catering to your renters' needs and building an even happier community. That's how social listening works, just online instead of real life.
Why use social listening?
Having knowledge of social listening conversations allows you to react and offer better services to renters, whether that's simply responding to a happy renter who is talking about your brand online or tweaking parts of your community to meet demand.
Social listening gives you more insight into renters, which can help speed up leasing in your Build-to-Rent community. You can be more in tune with your brand as well as the renters living in your Build-to-Rent homes.
How can you use social listening?
Social listening is all about keywords and using the right ones related to your industry. So if your community is located in Hackney, you'll want to use the East London neighbourhood as one of your keywords and monitor what people are talking about in the local area.
The best way to find these keywords involves using social listening tools that connect to social media and provide you with an overview of who's saying what and when they're saying it. There are some primary keywords you should listen out for:
- Build-to-Rent community name and handles
- Unbranded hashtags related to your industry
- Common misspellings related to your brand and community name
- Industry buzzwords
- Competitor hashtags
- Key people in your industry and company, such as CEOs
These keywords provide you with a good grasp for listening to the right conversations, and you can tweak them as you go along. You'll have much better oversight on everything that's going on in relation to renting, both locally and on a national scale.
How can it work for Build-to-Rent operators?
From your point of view, it's all about understanding how renters behave. By listening to their conversations, you can begin to craft an experience that aligns with their needs. Some of these may be things such as understanding the type of rental contracts they prefer.
Others could include learning about what they expect from a home. The modern-day renter is always evolving, and trends and expectations evolve. By keeping on top of the latest conversations, your Build-to-Rent community can be a leader in the industry, creating the changes that match up with renters' needs.
Listen and build
Using social listening is a great way of understanding renters and building a marketing strategy based on their needs. You can create an even better Build-to-Rent community and position yourself as the Build-to-Rent brand that cares and listens to renters' needs.