Why Landlords Should Think Twice Before Using Social Media to Interact with Tenants

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Social media marketing is useful for landlords and property management companies to a degree. Being a landlord on social media doesn’t compare to a clothing brand with an entire culture that fans have embraced as a lifestyle.
 
People generally want to communicate with their landlord when the toilet is busted, the roof is leaking, or they need a new doorknob. If you post vacancies, some of your fans might share your post, but it’s not a reliable form of marketing.
 
While social media marketing isn’t completely off-limits for landlords, there are several reasons to avoid relying on social media for the bulk of your marketing efforts.
 

People don’t generally want daily interactions with landlords

While you can use social media to keep in touch with tenants, that doesn’t mean they want to hear from you regularly. If you’ve been trying to interact with your tenants and they’re not that responsive, you might be wasting your time.
 
Of all the distractions landlords face, social media is a significant cause for wasted time. It’s not just personal social media interactions that waste time – even your social media marketing campaign might be a waste of time.
 
You might be one of the cool landlords who comes up with clever posts, but your tenants will still see you as their landlord. They might not want to engage with you using their personal accounts.
 
Maintaining a good relationship with your tenants doesn’t need to involve daily social media interactions. In fact, the best way to keep things cool with your tenants is to respond to requests quickly, make repairs in a timely manner, and be accommodating when possible. You don’t need to be their best friend on social media.
 

Social media users are guaranteed to be distracted

Social media isn’t the ideal place to find reliable long-term tenants. It’s not that reliable tenants aren’t on social media – they are. The problem is that people using social media are often multi-tasking, scrolling fast, lack full attention, and are prone to a variety of interruptions. Effective marketing requires capturing attention, and social media is a battlefield filled with distractions.
 
By relying on social media to manage tenant relationships, you’re essentially engaging with people when they’re tired, distracted, and unable to provide full attention. A direct phone call to existing tenants is a better way to maintain a professional relationship.
 
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social media marketing to reach potential applicants. It doesn’t hurt to use PPC ads on Facebook, for example, but those ads should supplement a broader social media marketing strategy.
 

Using social media to screen tenants might land you in hot water

By engaging with tenants and prospective tenants on social media, you’re putting yourself in a precarious situation. Due to the potential for discrimination lawsuits, the less you know about an applicant, the better. Nothing reveals more about an applicant than a social media profile.
 
Theoretically, you can investigate an applicant by reviewing their social media posts, but that may not be the best idea. You’ll find out if they like to drink, party, and get destructive, but you’ll also discover personal information.
 
Reviewing an applicant’s social media account can reveal their race, gender, disability, family status, or other protected status. It’s illegal to use this information to select or reject a tenant. Even if you don’t use protected information to reject a tenant, you could get in trouble.
 
Say an applicant openly announces using illegal drugs and you reject their application based on that fact alone. Say that applicant’s posts also reveal their race. Their race is completely irrelevant to the reason their application was rejected. However, the applicant decides to sue you for racial discrimination. Since reviewing their Facebook posts made you aware of their race, a judge might rule in their favor.
 

Use social media as a tool and keep it professional

Use social media wisely. For instance, make yourself available for tenants to ping if they can’t get ahold of you by phone in an emergency. For example, if you haven’t checked your email, you might get a Facebook message from a tenant experiencing a broken water pipe.
 
Being available on social media can help tenants get speedy repairs, which contributes to a healthy landlord-tenant relationship. Just don’t get caught up in the need to interact with tenants and potential applicants on a daily basis. Market your properties through proper social media channels and keep your social interactions offline.

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