Whether you are struggling to find renters to sign residential lease agreements or simply don’t know where to start, there’s no need to worry. Technology can do much of the work for you—chiefly, social media websites.

The “main event,” so to speak, of the social networking world is, of course, Facebook. However, this site, which began humbly as an entertaining distraction for undergrads nationwide, has quite a few more practical uses these days. In fact, Facebook’s newest feature is one that property managers all across the country may find quite useful.

The Graph Search cometh

Developers at Facebook recently created the “Graph Search,” a tool that allows users to search various topics and get custom results based on the activity of people, places and friends near them. Basically, instead of sifting through a friend’s profile to find a tiny bit of information that may be relevant to them, Facebook users can easily search and find that exact thing using Graph Search, without spending the hours it would take to do it manually.

This can help users find a variety of information: from their friends’ favorite restaurants to places they frequent, to (presumably) a lot more—at least that’s what the company is telling the world.

Where does the property management business come in, you say? Well, the search function can give users a better perspective on amenities and events in a given area. The search engine also opens up the ability for users (a.k.a. prospective renters) to search for apartment communities based on where their friends live currently or have lived in the past, and all by a simple two-second search.

Thus, this new addition may prove to be of great benefit to the marketing & leasing strategies of property managers across the country and the best part is they will not have to do a thing. As long as managers maintain a fair share of happy renters living at their communities, then Facebook’s Graph Search will do all the heavy lifting for them, leading new renters to their respective Facebook sites.

Taking advantage of Graph Search

Whether this happens or not, though, depends on what terms people enter in the engine. While searches can lead to an array of results, there are specific ways that this function can be of substantial assistance to a variety of businesses, especially property management companies.

When entering search terms into Graph Search, constructions must be fairly simple. Fortunately, as the user begins to type, Facebook will offer a few helpful suggestions. For instance, renters searching for apartments will receive search suggestions like those below, the results of which may end up pointing them towards your community:

  • “My friends who live nearby”
  • “Apartments and condo buildings nearby”
  • “Apartments and condo buildings in San Jose, California”
  • “Apartment and condo buildings that my friends like”
  • “Apartment and condo buildings that my friends have been to”

It’s worth mentioning here that in order to take advantage of the Graph Search, there is one important thing you need to do — create a Facebook page. Chances are, you already have one, but creating a Facebook page is required to take advantage of this potentially lucrative feature.

Once you have a Facebook page for your community, here are two suggested steps to ensure that your community is featured more prominently in Graph Search results:

  1. Encourage residents to list your apartment community as their place of residence.
  2. Encourage residents to like your page on Facebook.

To incentivize renters to perform these tasks, you might consider a promotion such as a prize drawing if they take action by a certain date. The promotion could be communicated on your website, via email, newsletter, or at a community event.  However, keep in mind that tenants may change their Facebook settings and likes after the promotion.

Two important things to note regarding this potentially fruitful marketing tool:

  1. It is currently in beta mode and in limited release. This means that for the time being, the visibility that one stands to gain from the search is about as limited as the group of Facebook users currently using it.
  2. Though many sources have spoken about the benefits of Graph Search for both businesses and consumers (including this very article), no one outside of Facebook knows exactly how things will play out once the feature goes live for the millions of Facebook users across the country. However, it is certainly something to keep an eye on in the coming months.