Case Study: CommunitySherpa Expands Digital and Social Media Footprint of Lincoln Property Company’s Apartment Communities

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apartment Finder, the leading source of critical information for apartment seekers in the multi-family industry, continues to deliver proven results and help increase the business of customers of its industry-first social media marketing service, CommunitySherpa, launched last June. Harnessing the power of social media, CommunitySherpa has helped drive significant monthly organic growth in online traffic as well as increase resident engagement and retention to an early subscriber, Lincoln Property Company, one of the largest apartment property managers in the United States.

“We recognized the potential of CommunitySherpa immediately, signed on, and have seen significant results to date. We’ve been impressed with the national social media footprint that CommunitySherpa has created for us in a relatively short time.”

CommunitySherpa provides a robust solution to building and managing a social media marketing program for apartment communities, residents and prospects. This monthly subscription service includes the creation of a custom-branded blog, Facebook and Twitter presence for the participating apartment community; regular updates with unique hyper-local content; and monthly reports detailing traffic and leads.

“CommunitySherpa was created to overcome the challenges that social media marketing presents for many multi-family professionals by providing them with the content and expertise required to execute a social media strategy – affordably and effectively,” says Marcia Bollinger, Apartment Finder’s president. “We’re always excited to deliver measurable results to valuable customers like Lincoln Property Company, whom we’ve helped improve their visibility on the Google Web, increase their Web traffic and enhance retention.”

Each of the 350 apartment communities that Lincoln manages follows a comprehensive national marketing plan that includes traditional offline channels and, more recently, a greater emphasis on reaching online audiences. Lincoln wanted assistance executing a key component of their online marketing plan – social media.

“We knew that social media was critical for resident retention and creating a sense of community, but we simply didn’t have the internal resources to dedicate to it,” said Jennifer Staciokas, vice president of marketing and training at Lincoln. “We recognized the potential of CommunitySherpa immediately, signed on, and have seen significant results to date. We’ve been impressed with the national social media footprint that CommunitySherpa has created for us in a relatively short time.”

Since rolling out the CommunitySherpa service to 120 of its apartment communities in October 2009, Lincoln has witnessed dramatic growth in its site traffic and resident engagement. To date, these results include:

  • An overall increase of nearly 100% in organic, non-paid traffic to its corporate site, www.lincolnapts.com.
  • A 48% increase in the number of unique keywords used to drive traffic to www.lincolnapts.com, as a result of expanded breadth of content on its social media channels.
  • Improved resident retention: many properties have seen higher participation in resident activities since launching CommunitySherpa.
  • Residents are actively engaging with each other and leveraging the social media platform to form lasting relationships and offer support to one another. For example, the residents of an apartment community in Atlanta joined together to support a fellow resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Increased reach to new audiences of prospective residents.

Based on these results, Lincoln is aggressively marketing the CommunitySherpa platform to all its property owners to implement the social media marketing service to as many of its apartment communities as possible.

Scott Wilder, senior vice president of residential management at Lincoln Property Company adds, “All levels of the Lincoln organization have embraced the CommunitySherpa social media platform as a means to engage both current and prospective residents online. As a result, our content is extremely relevant and we are seeing increased traffic to our corporate and community web sites. We look forward to expanding our social footprint by leveraging this digital asset to more of our communities.”

The Lincoln Property communities are some of the over 900 apartment communities that have subscribed to CommunitySherpa since its launch in June 2009. By driving engagement and increasing the reach of customers’ online presence, CommunitySherpa is the latest component of Apartment Finder’s revolutionary prospect-focused distribution strategy to maximize quality Internet traffic to advertisers. Considered the fastest-growing multi-channel brand in the industry, Apartment Finder’s print and online products provide the latest information about apartment rentals to millions of consumers across the country, while offering a comprehensive and targeted integrated advertising solution for multi-housing professionals.

About Network Communications, Inc.

Network Communications, Inc. is a leading local media company providing lead generation, advertising and internet marketing services to the housing industry. The company’s leading brands are Apartment Finder, The Real Estate Book, DigitalSherpa, Unique Homes, New England Home and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. NCI has market representation in more than 500 local markets around the United States. The company’s strategy focuses on providing high-quality and measurable marketing solutions to local clients by leveraging its proprietary prospect-focused distribution and content management infrastructure. NCI distributes more than 9.4 million local print catalogs of apartments for rent and homes for sale every month through more than 300,000 distribution points; NCI’s websites are leading Internet destinations for consumers looking for homes to rent or buy, with an average of 2.0 million unique users every month; and it provides internet marketing services using social media tools to its customers.