January 05, 2011

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

Twitter Growing Rapidly In Canada Presents An Opportunity For Landlords

Twitter still has a long way to go before it comes close to nearing Facebook’s user base — Twitter is believed to be around 200 million, a far cry from Facebook’s 575 million — but Canadians are picking up the pace and signing up for accounts.

A Toronto Star article entitled, “Web-savvy Canadians lead the world in time spent online” sited a quoted from a Twitter spokesperson who wrote that, “Twitter accounts in Canada have increased by 75% since the beginning of the year [2010] and the number of daily tweets more than doubled.”

What this stat tells me is that Twitter is in a growth phase in Canada and that it will continue to grow in popularity in 2011.  This growth presents an opportunity for many landlords to gain access to the eyes of the nation. 

Many companies have already set up Twitter accounts and are beginning to grow their group of followers.  Some understand how to engage their community but other need a bit of direction. 

As a landlord you need to understand that the Twitter community is not there waiting to be marketed to.  Twitterers are there to participate in a community and interact with people and companies that they find interesting.  Twitter is about developing relationships, communicating and engaging the community with interesting information, helpful tips and shouts out. It's about contributing to the community and becoming a member of the discussion.  The purpose of gaining followers is never primarily about gaining an advertising audience, it's about connecting with people and developing relationships with them.  It's only through those relationships that your followers will enharently feel connected to you and your brand.

If you try to engage the community and develop a persona for your company then people will naturally follow you and enjoy hearing from you.  Sure, once you develop a following you can occasionally ask your Tweeps if they’re looking for an apartment or to retweet a post about an apartment for rent, but it's not your main goal and you should only do it OCCASIONALLY.

I experienced spamming first hand this past year when I followed a particular property management company.  Every day they would pound out 30-40 posts in a row that would be nothing more than advertisements for their apartments.  It was annoying and it bogged down my system.  The information was boring at best and I didn't feel connected to the company.  All they were doing was advertising to me.  So, I stopped following them, as I'm sure many other people did as well.

Here's another tip - you need to develop interesting content to gain re-tweets.  I didn't feel like retweeting anything that that company had to say, but other people that I follow always have something interesting to post.  Those posts I often re-tweet.  That's your goal - make your posts interesting so that others re-tweet them.  When your posts are re-tweeted then they appear to other people's followers.  Once those followers see your name pop up a few times then they'll see that you're worth following and as a result you'll grow your audience.

If you’re interested in joining Twitter then I suggest that you look up @GreenwinPM.  They're a good model of a successful property management company that's been able to grow their following at a staggering pace.  Jessica Green - the company's twitterer - really knows how to engage an audience.

I would also suggest consulting with RentSeeker.ca (@rentseeker).  They offer Twitter services to their customers and have helped many property management companies in Canada in making their move into the Twitter scene.