Student Housing Campaigns — with Madison Meier, Claire Murphy and Casey VanZandt.

Student Housing Campaigns — with Madison Meier, Claire Murphy and Casey VanZandt.

When a Tweet from the audience in the Student Housing Campaigns session at AIM 2013 references a sober Chelsea Handler, you know your speakers are killing it and kill they did! Claire Murphy, national director of marketing for Grand Campus Living joined Madison Meier, Campus Advantage’s national director of property management systems and moderator and industry consultant Casey Van Zandt in an in-depth, quick-witted and fast moving look at how to best market and advertise to this niche.

First and foremost: websites. We all know this interconnected, mobile and agile generation goes straight online to conduct apartment searches. How to best ensure connectivity with them? “Responsive designed websites are a necessity,” said Meier. “If your site is not mobile friendly, students will move right on to the next site.”

“Your site has to have visual impact for student to pay attention,” added Murphy. “It has to be user friendly with fast download times. Google will drop you down in searchability when images take more than 1.5 seconds to download.”

When engaging onsite staff to assist in advertising, social media and SEO it is important they have a strong understanding of why they are doing what they are doing. “Students will do more long tail searches. They are more specific and use more words,” explains Murphy. “By educating our staff they are better prepared to ensure all the keywords are included in all social media.”

So how do you manage the ever-changing, fast paced world of all things social media? Here’s what the ladies had to say about it:

  • Facebook: Work hard to get 250 fans. Once there you can purchase sponsored stories that tell you what your friends are doing. This typically leads to their friends searching thru and liking your page too. Students are 80% more likely to like something if friends already do it, said Meier.
  • Instagram: Van Zandt emphasizes the importance of cross promotion with #hashtags between #Instagram and #Facebook.  #Supercool from #search standpoint. It delivers the ability to #buildfollowing on Instagram through Facebook and #viceversa.
  • Vine: Murphy and team plans to use it as a resident referral contest – shout out your favorite amenity. “We will see how it does.  It is ok to fail because you learn. We don’t use FourSquare because students don’t use it.”

Download the Student Housing Campaigns presentations here.

Session Twitter Feed:

@TheReaMStiles Diggin this student housing session. Bonus: Casey Van Zandt reminds me of a sober Chelsea Handler #awesomeness #AIMConf

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