Questions for Kyle – How to Use Social Media (Part 4, Facebook)

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Sorry I’m a little late this week! Better late than never though, as they say. 

With over 750 million people on it, and approximately 700 billion minutes spent on the site each month, it’s obvious that being on Facebook is a crucial part of any social media campaign!

Facebook provides an online platform to share photos, videos and information with a community all in one place. On Facebook you can give brief updates to everyone or just an individual using the posting tool, or you can provide longer, more blog-like articles with the note feature.

While Facebook has been knocked in the past for making privacy controls confusing, there have been a lot of updates recently that provide more control over how much your followers can engage with your brand. Some companies are excited about the prospect of followers sharing thoughts and photos on their Facebook page because it gives them a chance to communicate with people and make a company more personable. Other companies may be hesitant to open a brand up to commentary from their followers because of how difficult it can be to moderate that much content.

If you have the time, opening the page up to followers’ posts is a great way to promote transparency and communication. If you don’t have the time though, it’s better to lock it down so you can control the content on the page easier.

A great goal to start with for the Facebook element of your social media campaign is to get 25 “Likes“. Once you’ve had 25 people like your page, you can get a vanity URL. A vanity URL is a name that you choose preceded by An example is our site, Before we had 25 likes, our Facebook page was a random string of numbers after the Facebook URL. A vanity URL makes it easier for people to find your page. Start by trying to get your friends and family to like the page, just to give you the initial boost you need to get the vanity URL.

Facebook is probably the most important tool in any social media campaign, if for no other reason than it is the most versatile. Most other social media sites perfect a single element of what makes Facebook so great, but none have all the features and the large community to compete with Facebook. Facebook is the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none of social media, and it is a great place to begin any social media campaign because of that.

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Upcoming industry events

Take a break from the madness of summer and stop by one of this month’s industry classes or events!  Here are just some of the events happening between now and the end of August:

July 28, 4:00pm – 7:00pm
The Move-Out Process – RHA
It’s time to end a rental term and there are many things that go into the move-out process. This class will take 3 hours to go over inventory/inspection walk through, deposits, abandonment/storage, cleaning/fees, filing of paperwork and small claims. Make turning over your unit as quick and painless as possible!
$45, Members Only

August 9, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
South Sound Supper Club RHA
Landlord/Tenant Safety & Crime Prevention – Monthly Meeting of rental property owners, managers and investors. Come by and network with others in the industry and get your questions answered. This is open to everyone, not just RHA Members. You are welcome to order off their inexpensive menu.

August 10, 9:00am-1:00pm
Budget Prep Seminar – WMFHA
Basic Elements of a Budget | Where to Start| Identify Resources | Pitfalls to Avoid | Leveraging Partnerships | Understanding Suppliers and Forecasting Capitals Expenses | Budgeting for Increases | Managing Your Budget | Communication Skills
$39 Members, $59 Non-Members

August 10, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Advanced Landlord Tenant Law – RHA
Building on our Washington State Landlord Tenant Law class, we look into the non- run of the mill situations that arise during tenancies. We discuss concepts such as retaliation and how to defend against discrimination cases. Consideration is paid to dealing with special situations such as tenant deaths, roommate changes, apartment relocations, etc…. This class is directed to answering all your questions. Includes WA State Lawbook on CD.
$45, Members Only

August 10, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
How To Read a Credit Report – RHA
Reading a credit report can be a difficult task. Come by RHA from 12-1 and learn what all the details inside the report mean. RHA Director of Tenant Screening, Megan McCormick, will go through our credit reports step-by-step and answer any questions you may have about our tenant screening products and compliance. If you have a report purchase through RHA, feel free to bring it. We WILL NOT be able to go over reports purchased from another company/vendor.

August 11, 12:00pm – 12:30pm
Resident Retention & Discount Program Webinar – RHA
FREE WEBINAR! By 2014, 68% of us will be using coupons. Programs with a few discounts are being offered at every turn — Groupon, eBay, and the Sunday paper. However, you can offer your residents more than 250,000 local and national discounts for dining, shopping, movies, recreation, and GROCERIES that they can use every day. Discounts are with local and national vendors and are unlimited use, so your tenants will get the discounts they want when they want them. Compete with the concessions offered by big property management companies. Provide a program that will save your residents the value of one or two months’ rent each year on items they use everyday. Nine of the top 20 property management companies are using this program and others are in the pilot stage. Don’t be left behind. Make your property the best choice for renters in your area with the most valuable amenities. RHA has teamed with Purqz to bring you the best options for your tenants and special pricing to you.

August 16, 6:00m – 7:30pm
Seattle, Eastside & North Sound Supper Clubs – RHA
Landlord/Tenant Safety & Crime Prevention – Monthly Meeting of rental property owners, managers and investors. Come by and network with others in the industry and get your questions answered. You are welcome to order off the inexpensive menu. Parking passes are available.

August 17, 9:00am-5:00pm
CAM / Marketing – WMFHA
Introduction to Marketing | Conducting Market Research | Promotional Marketing | On-Site Marketing | Creative Marketing | Developing a Marketing Plan
$125 Members, $175 Non-Members

August 17, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Introduction To RHA Forms – RHA
This free seminar will give you a brief overview of the extensive catalog of forms RHA has to offer. Learn which forms are required by law and which addenda RHA recommends.

August 18, 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Finding Quality Tenants – RHA
Today’s tenant is savvy and knows what they want. This program is all about how to communicate the information the tenant needs to know. From learning to create effective marketing materials and presenting the rental home, to communicating rental policies and what exactly the lease means. This class is jammed full of practical information you need to have a successful rental.
$45, Members Only

August 23, 11:00am-1:00pm
August Chapter Membership Meeting – NARPM
Speaker: Property Management Panel – “Tips, Tricks and Forms” REMEMBER: Lunch is FREE for both you and your guest if you bring a first-time property manager as a visitor.
$25 Members, $30 Non-Members

August 24, 11:30pm-1:30pm
South-End Membership LuncheonWMFHA
Lunch | South-End Marketing Minute | Government Affairs Update with Joe Puckett | Minute to Win It Challenge!
$30 Members Only

Want to stay up-to-date on what and when industry events are happening when?  We post them on our Twitter account and Facebook page!

Monday Cuppa Joe: It Takes All Kinds…

Monday Cuppa Joe


The Monday Cuppa Joe is a new weekly feature on our blog. wants to give you a quick snapshot of what’s going on in Seattle,

and give you some interesting food for thought to perk up your Monday.


But when you play I Spy, you’ll only ever spy something blue or white!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. I wonder if the Doc was heckling “No bikah, no bikah, no bikah!”

Honey, does this say “iPed?”


Enjoy your Monday Cuppa Joe, and have a great week from the team at!

Taking Great Do-It-Yourself Interior Photos

Have you ever snapped photos of a pretty living room with a big window?  Did the photo turn out looking like complete crap?  Yeah, that’s happened to me too.

Taking interior photos of apartments and rental homes is pretty darned tough.  There’s plenty of great professional photographers in our region with all the equipment and training needed to pull off perfect interior photos (if you need a recommendation, contact us), but for those who prefer to handle it themselves, we’ve gathered some tips to help you snap advertising-worthy pics yourself.

Whether you have a fancy digital camera or are just using your iPhone, there are ways to get around some of the common hurdles to taking interior photos.


PROBLEM: Washed out or too dark photo

This guy's good.

This guy's good.

The most important rule of thumb for interior pics is never, ever use the built-in flash.  Natural light will always be better, no matter which camera you use – particularly the light you get right at dusk.

On your digital camera, slow your shutter speed down v-e-r-y slow to bring in as much light as possible.  On your iPhone, focus on a dark spot first, then move the phone back to your shot (it will brighten the photo).

Can’t take photos at dusk?  Close the blinds and turn on a few lamps.  When possible, position the light behind you so you don’t catch the glowing bulb in your shot.

In a bathroom? Grab a lamp, take off its shade and put it in the bathtub so the light is slightly diffused through the shower curtain.


PROBLEM: Can’t see the whole room

Stand as far back as possible in the room and avoid as much ceiling as possible in your photo.  Bring out your inner monkey by climbing into weird spots.  Crouching low on the ground and looking up a bit can make a room look bigger and reduce the shadows.

If you have a fancy-pants camera and plan on taking photos often, it might be worth investing in a wide angle lens.

For iPhones, there are apps that allow you to stitch together a few photos into a panoramic shot.  Two that I love are Pano and 360 Panorama.


PROBLEM: Uninteresting photos

There’s two things you are trying to accomplish here. First, you want to show the actual unit to a prospective tenant.

So, the photo you took of a nice vase of flowers in the room may have turned out great, but it doesn’t help the renter understand the layout of the room.  It’s important to have photos that demonstrate the “flow” of the unit’s layout.

That being said, you’re also trying to make the photos enticing.  In addition to your “layout” photos, throw in some interesting shots using angles and different focuses.

Climb up high and lay down low to see which turns out the best.  Try snapping close-ups of important details (ornate coving above a doorway? the brushed steel faucets?) with the background slightly out of focus.


PROBLEM: Whatever Emma, they’re still not turning out well                    

All right, this is where the magic of post-processing comes in.

If you’re using your iPhone, apps like CameraBag, Photogene and Photoshop Express allow you to adjust things like the lighting and contrast.  You can also use resizing apps like Crop when you accidentally put your hand in the photo.

Digital camera owners can use more enhanced desktop programs like Adobe Photoshop that have an array of editing photos, filters and aftereffects to make your photos look beautiful.

If Photoshop is too expensive for your taste, GIMP is a great freeware tool with a lot of the same features.

So – now that you’re armed with these photography skills, go take some awesome interior photos for your ads. Hey, maybe you’re the Ansel Adams of apartment photography.  I look forward to seeing your masterpieces.

Questions for Kyle – How to Use Social Media (Part 3, Twitter)

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

How valuable are 140 characters or less in your social media plan? It turns out, they are pretty dang valuable!

Twitter is billed as a micro-blogging tool that allows users to share, follow and converse using only 140 characters or less. This may not seem like a lot (and sometimes it is infuriatingly limiting), but there is more you can do with that small amount than you might think.

In fact, the beauty of Twitter lies in it’s brevity. Most people are not looking to read several lengthy posts about your vacancies several times a day. With Twitter though, you’re able to put your vacancy/brand/name out there throughout the day in a way that people will actually notice and engage with.

Twitter allows for conversation between users with the “hashtag” feature. For example, each Friday users from across the nation join in a conversation by adding #aptchat to their tweets. Anything can be turned into a hashtag, or conversation, and anyone can contribute to a thread. It’s a great way to interact around a specific idea or theme!

Twitter is a great tool to increase resident retention. You can use it let current tenants know about community and neighborhood events, discuss issues and start conversations between residents.

Twitter is an easy starting point for any social media plan. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to manage and it’s a great way to interact. What are you waiting for? Get out there and start tweeting!

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Apartment Construction Boom Targets Seattle, While Ignoring the Suburbs

Apartment construction is booming right now as developers race to meet the increased demand for rental units. This dramatic increase in new apartment construction however is centralized in Seattle, according to a recent article in the Seattle Times.

Construction within Seattle account for 85% of all of the apartment projects in King and Snohomish counties right now.

This represents a departure from the previous trend. “…Between 1996 and 2010, the city accounted for just 43 percent of the region’s new apartments.”

The drive to construct apartment buildings with Seattle primarily comes from massive new hiring within the city. Tech companies, philanthropic organizations (i.e. the Gates Foundation) and biotech companies are all bringing new employees into the city, and those employees are looking to live close to work.

Most of these new employees are in their early 30s or younger, so most are looking to rent instead of buying. Those that are looking to buy may be finding the current selection a little stale, and may be choosing to rent as they wait for more inventory to come on the market.

What do you think this Seattle-centric construction boom means for the suburbs? Share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below!

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Monday Cuppa Joe

The Monday Cuppa Joe is a new weekly feature on our blog. wants to give you a quick snapshot of what’s going on in Seattle,

and give you some interesting food for thought to perk up your Monday.


A Stay of Execution for Eastside Commuters

What are you made of? This guy found out.

The Boy who Made $168.5 million in two days.


Enjoy your Monday Cuppa Joe, and have a great week from the team at!