Unless you’ve been living in an ice cave in the antarctic, you are no doubt aware of the tremendous power of social media permeating our society today. (In fact, by the end of 2013, even those scientists way down at the frozen tip of the planet will able to tweet, pin, like, link-in or otherwise stay in the social loop quickly and easily via an amazing $40 million nano-satellite broadband system.)
Anyway, as fascinating as all that is, from the standpoint of a leasing agent, apartment community manager or property management professional here in a much more hospitable climate, you have the exciting opportunity to enhance resident life by encouraging social connections in the real world as opposed to the virtual world. And in the process, you can build a stronger community, increase resident retention and possibly even lower the likelihood of crime, as residents increasingly engage, care about and look out for one another.
How? There are a variety of ways to facilitate beneficial social interactions between residents, including such simple things as:
• Building a Backyard:
The creation of a backyard feeling, with such amenities as comfortable seating, fire pits or water features will promote a relaxed atmosphere, casual interaction and “neighborly” feelings. It’s amazing how quietly chatting under the stars or toasting marshmallows together can lead to life-long friendships.
• Beautifying Security:
Nobody enjoys being surrounded by insitutional-style chain-link fencing, glaring motion lights or other overtly aggressive security measures. Instead, consider softer methods such as planting low- to mid-level blooming-variety shrubbery – the use of thorny types can add a higher level of security at the perimeter of the property along with beauty. Also, install ambiance-enhancing lighting at entries, along sidewalks, and in the backyard areas mentioned above, where it will discourage loitering about by non-residents or others of questionable intentions.
• Throwing a Party!
Truly utilize that existing party room or those outdoor gathering spaces – you could even temporarily transform a basketball court – and host a “Neighbors Night Out,” “Let’s Swap BizCards” or other connection-inducing extravaganza. Perhaps include a contest to bring their favorite dish to share (along with copies of the recipe), take a vote and give a prize for the winner. It might even inspire a Community Cookbook project!
These are just a few ideas, but there’s no end to imaginative things you can do to enhance your residents lives and encourage people to connect in positive, life-affirming ways in the real world of your apartment community. And as a bonus, in turn they’re likely to boast about your community in their social media world and increase your rate of positive reviews – better advertising cannot be purchased!
Got some other great ideas or photos from things you’ve done? We’d love to hear!