Last week, Tami Siewruk and her team pulled off a great new event called the Optimization Summit (#OptSum on Twitter). Billed as an opportunity not just to hear about social media and online marketing, but a chance to dig into the tools and do it yourself, the event provided an excellent opportunity for multifamily professionals to meet and network with some of the top minds in social media — including speakers like John Jantsch, Jason Falls, Christopher Penn, Geno Church, Duncan Alney and Mack Collier — and experts in the latest digital marketing trends for apartment companies like Erica Campbell, Mark Juleen, Eric Brown, Charity Hisle and Jennifer Nevitt Casey.

This was a very worthwhile event for the attendees, and we thought it would be valuable to recap the event on the latest edition of the Apartment Chat. Here are the highlights from that conversation:

What was your number one takeaway from #OptSum this week, and why?

  • Toni Lawson Palmer: Applying Rockstar Thinking to Marketing. @mackcollier did a great job of showing how it all works together!
  • Jamin Harkness: Number 1 takeaway — Be a part of the communities (Social Media Communities) that your prospects and residents are a part of.
  • Zachary Kestenbaum: My number one takeaway is I should attend next time!
  • Raina Toussaint: I have a list of favs. 1st to implement is Facebook pages and ads.
  • Leigh Curry: My #1 takeaway was the number of avenues available — and it is only increasing.
  • Jonathan Saar: My #1 takeaway — Create a movement not just a campaign (via @genochurch).
  • Jamin Harkness: Find out where our prosp and resid are blogging /visiting online & join — if only to listen and learn and converse.
  • Jonathan Saar: Start with realizing there is more to business than just leaseups — do something extraordinary and leases will happen.
  • Mack Collier: How focused the attendees from the apartment industry were on wanting 2 know how SM wld work 4 THEIR biz
  • Jon Harrington: Take a note from @bestbuy – have employees apply to become Social Media captains.
  • Brian Owen: Find the people in your organization who are passionate already about SM and empower them.

We’re in the business of building offline communities. How can we build stronger online communities, too?

  • Doug Chasick: Honest, open frequent communication WITH our customers, not AT our customers.
  • Mike Whaling: The communication should reach beyond our customers, to other locals.
  • Eric Brown: It is also about your “Community of Interest”, your larger “Community” your “Following”which far exceeds your resident base.
  • Misty Browning: Become the comm/neighborhood expert. Know what is happening and share it.
  • Jonathan Saar: Start by realizing the community exists outside of the sign at the entrance.
  • David Kotowski: Be prepared to hear EVERYTHING, even the bad. Then try to continue the conversation instead of trying to stop it.
  • Jonathan Saar: Remember how it feels when trying to talk to your credit card company and do the exact opposite.
  • Eric Brown: Turn a portion of your Marketing Budget inward, Partnership Marketing.
  • Misty Browning: Include follow/fan in all commun, signs, etc. i think res look, but don’t return. the right content will get them back.
  • Eric Brown: Social Media Marketing is most successful when you “Let Go” Provide the platform & your Evangelists will supercharge your program.
  • Dylan Schleppe: Everyone in an org should have the ability to engage. Who what etc… is context relative.
  • Jon Harrington: If u want to build a comm. online, u need to provide residents & potential residents w/ value. Not sell.
  • Doug Chasick: If we are building a community, don’t we have to reach out to ALL – even those not online?

How do you plan to determine success for your online communication efforts? Anything specific you’ll measure?

  • Mike Whaling: Check out and
  • David Kotowski: We’ve recently partnered with Not sure how well it works, but helps measure how often our info is shared.
  • Dylan Schleppe: Revenue-net/effort cost. Has to measured long term.
  • Jamin Harkness: To move Google Needle, make sure you have enough keywrds on frnt pge of website FREE analyzer.
  • Rosa Green: I’m a PM and the residents who don’t ever call or come by are the ones interacting w/us on FB – can’t put a price on it.

What is one thinking you are doing differently this week because of something you learned at #OptSum?

  • Raina Toussaint: I am on twitter, next week I will have my profile and photo done : )
  • Jamin Harkness: Paying attention to what my customers are saying about me and my competitors online (at aptratings and other SM sites).
  • Mike Whaling: Focus more on the tools that your audience is already using.

More Resources:

Tami and her team are already planning to co-locate the next Optimization Summit with the Multifamily Brainstorming Sessions, which will be held in Dallas from September 15 to 17. Will we see you there?

If you attended the first #OptSum, what were your biggest takeaways? If not, what are your favorite ways to learn more about online marketing and social media trends?