Is social media a useful tool for affordable housing corporations?

15 11 2011

I came across this concern in an affordable housing forum on LinkedIn. The user who posed the question was concerned about the effectiveness of  social media in the marketing mix for such corporations since the target market served is likely facing economic hardships. Although this concern is legitimate, considering the time that must be dedicated to creating content and maintaining a social presence, I strongly support using social media for any company. Why?

First off, although it is sometimes referred to as social media MARKETING, this does not necessarily mean that a product is put on the market to be sold. Remember cause marketing? How about WOM marketing? These things are effective but have been brushed off in favor of a pull method of marketing. In other words, I (the company) tell you what I want you to hear and give you the informative materials that I want you to look at. In this scenario, there are few chances for the customer to communicate with the company. Social media is changing this, so don’t be a control freak or you will be left behind!

But also don’t be afraid of the two-way conversation. Maybe there will be some bad publicity and angry customers but it’s not the end of the world. I actually perceive these challenges to be constructive criticism and a wonderful opportunity to improve your company, as well as gain additional support. Sometimes transparency can be a good thing.

Next, imagine all of the other things that a social media presence can make possible for your business aside from directly marketing affordable housing units or whatever else is fitting. Among these are promoting events, connecting with partners, gaining supporters, educating users about the realities of affordable housing, raising funds, and the list goes on.

The bottom line is that social media is taking over our lives! I am joking. Kind of. But the take away message is that I suggest you engage in social media for your business regardless of what field you may be in – it is the 21st century.

Any suggestions or alternate points of view on this subject?

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