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Believe in doing the right thing.

Student Housing Business 2012 awards

Best Social Media Campaign auraria student lofts - denver, co by cardinal group management



social media youtube



- Vision -

Overview Being a newly rebranded, repositioned community, Auraria Student Lofts had to start from “bare bones� - no likes, no photos, no comments, no views. What a great opportunity! This blank slate allowed the team to build out each social platform in a new creative, bestin-class way. We have launched three social media platforms, all of which have become wildly successful. The success of these platforms contributed heavily to first year occupancy of 100%, previously 60%, and an 18% increase in rental income since the community was rebranded.

Objectives Our strategy was a five pronged attack. At least one of our following objectives had to be met in each post, video, picture, or share.

1. Brand awareness Creatively leveraging our social tools

2. Personality Give the community a virtual, yet living, breathing personality

3. Community bulletin board Create an online community board for our residents.

4. Virtual scrapbooking Construct a place that showcases our community to residents, prospective residents, their friends & parents

5. Relevant content Engaging content that is relevant to our audience, the community’s location, area, events, and happenings.

youtube YouTube was the perfect platform to create a standout personality for our community. Video allowed us to portray Auraria Student Lofts as a fun, out of the ordinary, and entertaining place to live. Our flagship video showcases the advantages of our community over the competitors. It isn’t your uninspired video mimicking a tour that you see in a stale, lagging industry; rather, all of our videos project the personality of the community and are intentionally filled with good humor and laughs, which speaks specifically to our target demographic.

With nearly 2,500 views, this video has gone viral on the Auraria Campus!

Youtube In addition to our flagship video we have created several other videos that accomplish our objectives of showcasing the community’s personality by providing engaging and relevant content, yet artistically showcasing the community to prospective residents, and creatively building brand awareness. Collectively, the three videos pictured have more than 1,700 views!

youtube results. Our YouTube channel has been a big hit in our market. Our channel collectively has more than 5,200 views and 1,400 minutes of watched time. This has meant numerous favorable reviews, likes, and people sharing the videos with all of their friends via Facebook. Our channel has nearly 4 times more views than last year’s Innovator Award winner for Best Social Media.


please visit to view all of our videos.


While almost every student housing community has a Facebook page, Cardinal Group used this tool in a creative new way to accomplish our Facebook objectives. We wanted to achieve two goals: 1) a traditional ‘community branded page’, and 2) a community ‘mascot profile page’, each serving different purposes.

facebook contests The most successful use of Facebook for our community has been our creative contests. We’ve realized that Facebook provides us built in “brand ambassadors” that allows and encourages our fans to easily share our content with their friends and classmates. If done correctly, the Facebook medium is one of the most powerful ways to spread the word about our community. One such example: we put these “ambassadors” to work in helping us spread the word about our new multi-million dollar amenity suite currently under construction. By creating a Facebook Jackpot Contest, we leveraged Facebook’s: Tag, Like, Comment, and Share features to get our information seen in the newsfeed of our friends. For each Like, Tag, Share, and Comment on the posted picture, a certain dollar amount was added to the jackpot. By incentivizing these standard Facebook actions, the contest generated a lot of exposure on the participant’s personal pages, their friends pages and consequently their friends-of-friends pages through these newsfeed activities. At the end of the contest we chose a random winner, through a random number generator to take home the jackpot.

facebook contests


facebook contests The Facebook Jackpot contest was wildly successful. It shattered all previous engagement records on our page. • • • • • • • •

156 “likes” on the post 25 comments on the post At least 30 shares (due to privacy settings some shares may be unseen by our eyes) 65 total tags Added 97 new fans to our page Within the first week of the contest 5,742 people were reached virally Within the first week of the contest a total of 6,918 people were reached More than 4,000 people saw our message 21+ times

facebook contests

“the ogg promotion” In order to build hype and anticipation for our biggest event of the year, the “Outrageous Giveaway Game,” the community launched a Facebook contest. The contest encouraged residents to perform different tasks to earn a greater chance of winning one of our outrageous prizes at the event.

facebook contests The contest generated a lot of buzz about the “Outrageous Giveaway Game,” which ultimately lead to our most successful event ever. The Facebook promotion of this event led to: • 197 Total Likes • 61 Total Comments • Over 1,637 people were reached virally during the campaig Our goal was accomplished with over 250 people RSVP’ing to the event.

facebook bulletin board In addition to contests, the community used Facebook as a tool used to keep residents up to date on happenings in and around the community.

leasing updates

local specials

resident outreach A “Pizza Power Hour� was recently held for the residents. The first 60 residents to comment on the photo posted would receive a free large onetopping pizza that very night. all of the pizzas were reserved in minutes. Because of the activity the post also reached 4,868 people.

facebook - mascot profile Our Facebook efforts extended beyond our brand page -- we created a page for our mascot, Tealios. Through this page we are able to do things that we are not able to do with a normal brand page. One of the most effective ways we use this profile is what we call “prospect sniping”. We view people that have interacted with other key Facebook pages such as our competitors and school organizations. We then send them a private message with information about our community. This has created some great conversation about the community with prospects and numerous tours and leases.

In addition to being able to “prospect snipe” with this profile we are also able to keep our finger on the pulse of our residents and other students in the institutions we serve.


Most recently, the community launched an Instagram account to connect with the growing number of college-aged students on this social platform amongst college aged students. This account allows us to portray life at our community in pictures. This medium has quickly become a useful tool for building our brand and portraying what life is actually like at our community.

photo contest

To help launch our Instagram account we started a photo contest. This particular contest had the residents taking pictures around their favorite restaurants, historical buildings or sports arenas using the hashtag “#downtownlifestyle” and tagging us, “@ aurariastudentlofts”. The lucky winner took a picture of the Pepsi Center netting them 2 prime seats to an Avalanche game. The contest added 40 more followers, exposed our community to all of the people following those that entered the contest, and over 80 likes on the pictures entered.

the results.

results Facebook likes have increased from 0 to over 675 since the rebranding.

YouTube views have totaled over 5,200

Total people reached each week from Facebook averaged over 8,000+!

Occupancy was 60% at acquisition, and this year the community was leased up to 100% with a waiting list. Of the 3 student housing communities in the market, only Auraria reached 100%.

Social media has helped us reach 44% pre-leased for fall 2013, which is 3 times faster than the previous years’ efforts.



Cardinal Group Management (“CGM”) is a full service real estate management firm. CGM has a specialized platform that allows them to handle all facets of real estate management throughout the United States. This includes: entitlement, development, construction management, property management, accounting, and creative leasing & marketing. CGM leverages their culture, unique company structure and high regard of technology to deliver superior results and reporting to its clients.

Cardinal Group Investments (“CGI”) is a real estate investment and asset management firm specializing in opportunistic and valueadded investments throughout the United States. CGI combines a highly analytical approach with thorough research and reporting systems to deliver results and transparency to its investors and clients.

portfolio Cardinal Group is headquartered in Denver, CO and has an office in San Francisco, CA with ongoing projects currently in seven states. The company currently: Owns and manages 22 student housing properties consisting of more than 4,100 beds. Owns and/or operates ~750 units of conventional urban apartments Advises on a $3 billion (at full build-out) mixed-use urban redevelopment in Denver, CO.

For more information

contact Del de Windt, CEO Cardinal Group Management (303) 407-4502

Best Social Media Campaign 2013  
Best Social Media Campaign 2013