Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Keith Becker, the President of CALNARPM (California Chapter of National Association of Residential Property Managers). We spoke about the implications of social media on property management industry. (Edited excerpts)
Alex: Is Social Media relevant for the Property Management industry and how do you feel it will affect the industry 2-3 years from now?
Keith: I think we are only in the early stages. The best analogy I can go to is, go back around 8-10 years, Craigslist was just starting to be a possibility. Now, it’s 2012 and Craigslist is known by everybody, but back in 2005, it was just a thought and nobody realized exactly how large it is going to be and how dramatically it is going to change the industry. I suspect, as far as Social Media, it is going to have similar, but much larger impact on our business.
At the end of day tenants need and expect something from us, owners need and expect something from us. The new media technologies, like Facebook, Twitter, will allow our customers to reach us in ways they weren’t able to in the past.
These platforms allow certain sense of immediacy, ability to express if customers need/want something. If they are happy with the service we provide; letting us know. It really is a continuing dialog.
From the standpoint of relationship with owners and tenants, unlike sales, property management is a relationship that stretches for years. In fact, I have clients, both owners and tenants, who I worked with for over a decade.
The Social Media platform will allow us to improve upon those long-term relationships.
Alex: I have friends in NARPM and some of them can’t really see how this New Media is going to impact their businesses. What do you really think, 3 years from now, who are the Property Managers that are going to get the most business?
Keith: I belong to the association and we had a guest speaker, here in Santa Rosa. She is a social media trainer. It was that exposure that inspired the spark and a thought process to do my own investigation.
What does this mean to me, to us as a business, beyond my own Facebook page?
Over the course of the last 4-5 months, I have been immersing myself in how serious and how important this really is. Some of the most extraordinary pieces of information I came across were social statistics. For example, did you know that converted into print, Wikipedia would have 2.32 million pages and it would take 123 years to read? There is this wealth of knowledge out there. Youtube is the 2nd most used search engine. Who knew that?
Going back to your statement, Return on Investment (ROI) of Social Media means that your business will continue to exist in 5 years.