How to Drive Referrals with Micro-Influencers

It’s the end of an era: Organic reach is shrinking on social channels. As a result, brands need to rely on other ways to amplify their marketing campaigns and build credibility. Research has shown that prospects tend to trust personal referrals over brand claims.

This is especially powerful for multifamily, where one of the most trusted sources of information on apartment communities is referrals from friends and family. Brands can see up to 11x return on their investment (ROI) with influencer marketing compared to traditional marketing methods — and it’s time for multifamily to embrace micro-influencer marketing.

Getting Started

With top influencers (those with over 100 million followers) earning up to $1 million per post, marketing teams with smaller budgets have turned their attention to micro-influencers. These are accounts with smaller follower counts, but with high visibility in niche markets or locations. Multifamily has a unique advantage because we already have a large pool of micro-influencers — residents. (For a full run-down on finding micro-influencers and leveraging residents, listen to our podcast episode on this topic.)

With a constant base of multifamily micro-influencers at your disposal, the next step is to create campaigns that will excite them and motivate them to post. People tend to share things that reflect the person they are and the things they connect with, so a good place to start 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 the 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 on rent and amenities. As your campaign picks up momentum, think about offering incentives on a tiered basis, where payouts come after five 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. You can search your unique hashtags after the event and see the full collection of posts. 

This strategy allows any resident to join 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

Consider highlighting your property’s top amenities to make a social media splash. Have you recently upgraded your units with new kitchen countertops? Did you install a new rooftop grill? Maybe you have a kickass onsite gym and exercise facilities. All of the above make for effective and organic influencer subject matter and provide 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 are 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 influencer reach.

3. Don’t forget to supplement influencer campaigns with paid media

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. 

Final Thoughts

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 who may 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 happily become your very own multifamily micro-influencers.

Want more tips? Check out Knock’s guide to social media ad basics for multifamily.