Social media quandary: Changing landscape makes community voice critical


It’s no secret that social media can make or break a development project, but many developers remain ‘gun-shy’ to the environment, still fearing social media will open the floodgates to criticism when, in fact, they are actually ignoring vital opportunities.

The recent introduction of the

Community Activation Systemhas recognised the heightening power of residential communities in the property sales process. It addresses the way property developers can positively influence social media activity in the public arena and also pave the way for targeted marketing that has never before been available.

Interestingly, developers already spend thousands of dollars on broad-based advertising campaigns, such as press and billboards, to get in front of a passive market. They also invest heavily in gaining positive PR in conventional media. They do this to increase awareness, build a recognisable brand and encourage third-party endorsement.

Community dialogue represents some of the most powerful third-party endorsement available, and every person who owns a social media account has the capacity to reach thousands of potential buyers within the target demographic and geographic environment.

More and more, communities are taking the reigns of establishing social media platforms independent of the developer – moving conversations that impact sales away from the developer’s control.

The community voice is now louder and its influence in the sales process greater. While there is most certainly a place for conventional community engagement strategies and developer-led ‘social media’ broadcast, it is not the complete solution.


Cultivating a target market

Recent changes to Facebook Advertising mechanisms have enabled advertisers to duplicate a client database and create a target audience similar to those who are already registered purchasers. Developers have the capacity to tap into geographic networks and directly target those who might have visited the project website or have an established interest in the environment… all for the cost of well under one advertisement in mainstream press.

While it is true that not everyone participates in social media, many people do! With 13,200,000 Facebook users in Australia alone (and the fastest growing group being between 45 and 54), there is argument that the platform can provide more exposure than conventional media.

So why is there still so much skeptical around social media?There are a number of reasons why developers have not embraced the platform. One is the perceived inability to do anything about negative broadcasts. As a business and authority figure, developers have to choose their words carefully and it is often best not to engage in online discussions.

Another reason is, in terms of an advertising platform, social media is an entirely different beast. There are some who have trialed the platform with limited results and concluded that it doesn’t work. However, depending on the campaign objectives, unless you have a good understanding of the platform as an advertising vehicle, and craft the message accordingly, your campaign is unlikely to receive much traction.

A new way of looking at community


Community Activation System approaches community as a valuable sales channel, rather than a recipient of information.

It works from within to empower individuals to support communications objectives and mobilises community-led communication channels in a positive and orchestrated manner. While doing so, it encourages activity that can ultimately provide access to an untapped and primed market.

The system is a result of over a decade working with estate communities and comprises strategies that effectively blur the lines between community relations and sales marketing. It is suitable for property estates, apartment developments, mixed-use developments, retirement villages, master-planned community developments.


A Free whitepaper download on the Community Activation System is available at

 Article by Amanda Fay of AFAY

Communications who is the Founder of the Community Activation System.  Amanda has worked with some of Australia’s largest property companies, and represented around 100 residential estates, master-planned communities and residential/mixed-use apartment developments.

She is trained in marketing and media, with a background in journalism and public relations, and is a Certified Practitioner in social media marketing and online communications.

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