How to Drive Referrals with Micro-Influencers

With organic reach shrinking on social channels, brands are relying on other ways to amplify their marketing campaigns and build credibility. Research has shown that prospects trust referrals over brand claims and this is especially powerful for multifamily, where the most trusted source of information on multifamily communities is referrals from friends and family. Brands can see up to 11X ROI with influencer marketing compared to traditional marketing methods — and it’s time for multifamily to jump on board.

With costs reaching $1 million per post, marketing teams with smaller budgets have turned their attention to micro-influencers — accounts with smaller follower counts, but with high visibility in niche markets or locations. Multifamily has a unique advantage because you already have a large pool of micro-influencers — your residents. Residents make perfect influencers because their reach is both hyper-local and subject matter can be tailored to be highly organic.

With a constant base on influencers at your disposal, the next step is to create campaigns that will excite them and motivate them to share with their networks. People share things that reflect the person they are and the things they connect with, so a good place to start for ideas is their own social channels. Do your residents love cooking? Do they love sports? Are there a lot of pet owners in your building? Influencer campaigns should incorporate common interests of your residents and serve as a candid representation of your community’s lifestyle value proposition.

Incentives and rewards can mimic other common referral programs — such as gift cards, or discounts off rent and amenities. As your campaign picks up momentum, think about offering incentives on a tiered basis, where payouts come after 5 or 10 total posts/ interactions. Once you have your influencers and incentives selected, here are a few ideas to get your micro-influencer campaigns going:

1. Promotion of Community Gatherings & Events: Most communities post pictures of community events on social channels, but with a little help from your attendees, you can increase your reach beyond those just following you. Simply require residents to post a geotagged picture with @ mentions and hashtags, to their personal social media accounts. Provide them with a templated caption and have them confirm their social handles via text or email — you can search your unique hashtags after the event and see the full collection of posts. This is a great strategy, which almost any resident can partake in, regardless of their follower count — just make sure their profile is set to public or that you are connected with them on a given platform. If executed well, you can be confident that your community’s lifestyle value proposition will garner more exposure and could spark interest in future prospects.

2. Amenity Based Campaigns: Did you recently upgrade your units? Did you install a new rooftop grill? Maybe you have a kickass on-site gym and exercise facilities. All of the above make for effective and organic influencer subject matter and allow you another way to promote all of your amenities. People already post #gymlife pics on their own, why not get a piece of the action. What about a “Best Interior Design” contest? Have your residents post and tag pictures of their living or bedroom setups, and choose the best ones! You can post the notices in elevators, common areas, or utilize your mass messaging tools.

Pro Tip: If you want to increase your engagement rates around “competition style” campaigns, think about adding live polling/ voting to your posts. Instagram Stories is great for this, especially if your campaign images are merit-based. Your residents may even get their friends to vote or comment — further extending your influence reach.

3. Don’t forget to supplement influencer campaigns with paid media.
77.1% of customers trust friends and co-workers and by leveraging this fact, you can further increase the penetration of your influencer program. Facebook hosts a slew of marketing and paid advertisement tools and filters to help you effectively deliver your content directly to your target audience — in this case, “friends” of your residents. If you have worked to build your community’s Facebook equity then your current and former residents should already have liked or followed your page. By serving targeted ads to the friend networks of your followers, you can keep a consistent stream of content and messaging in front of local prospects and potential leads. These “Boosted” posts should highlight specific timely content that works in tandem with community events and other promotions that your micro-influencers are participating in.

Pro Tip: Integrate Facebook Lead Ads with your CRM system. When you integrate your Facebook pages with Knock, all Lead Ad submissions populate a new prospect card within Knock automatically. No more email parsing, or having to download and import data from Facebook! Facebook Lead Ads prospects will be treated like any other within the Knock platform. They will immediately receive an auto-response via email, and your team will have access to lead data including primary source, the form ID, and the campaign ID.

As you can see, there are many ways to promote and market your community — but the power of good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth should never be underestimated. Your best brand advocates are the residents that call your community home and are already sharing their best moments with friends and family through social media. Provide them with the tools and incentives to promote the unique aspects of your community, and they will do it happily.

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