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Apartment Finder Launches Suite of Innovative Services and Tools

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RISMEDIA, June 29, 2009-Network Communications Inc. (NCI), parent company of Apartment Finder, understands the importance of fresh and interesting web content, and recognizes the incredible potential of social media marketing as a way to increase a company’s bottom line. To propel this understanding to another level, NCI conducted extensive proprietary research in the multi-family industry comparing the social media habits and attitudes of residents to property managers. The conclusions are decisive and impactful.

Key findings show 76% of multi-family professionals use social media networks, with more than 60% stating social networks help increase resident retention, increase referrals and improve communication with their residents.

Comparatively, 80% of residents use social networks, and with more frequency and intensity than people at management companies. Citing these important behaviors, NCI today announces at the National Apartment Association Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada a suite of new turn-key social media marketing services and features to improve search results, increase referrals, enhance resident retention and deliver measurable results for its customers.

These innovations include:

CommunitySherpa: a fixed-cost monthly subscription service that provides property managers with a custom-branded blog, Facebook and Twitter presence for their community, with content-creation and network administration support, as well as detailed reporting and analytics;

Apartment Finder Facebook Applications and Facebook Connect: features that make it easy for renters to find and share information about a customer’s community and that give advertisers the ability to flow their community information from NCI’s Advertising Management System directly into Facebook Fan pages and personal pages;

Say It! Forum: a new interactive feature on ApartmentFinder.com collects user-generated data on neighborhood favorites: date spots, restaurants, salons, shopping and more; distributes recommendations through Twitter and local Facebook pages; increases search-engine rankings and connections with prospects and tenants.

Dan McCarthy, NCI’s chairman and CEO, an early adopter of social media in marketing, says, “We believe that the core of a powerful social media program is content. But, we also recognize the challenges that social media marketing presents for many multi-family professionals, as well as all other local marketers. They clearly understand the importance of adopting a social media strategy for their business, but the idea of creating a blog or social identities across multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace for their apartment communities, and keeping those channels fresh with content, is daunting. At NCI, we have taken our content-driven process and skills that are already in place for our more than 25,000 customers, and have developed a way to help them execute their social media marketing…simply, affordably and effectively.”

Marcia Bollinger, Apartment Finder’s president, states, “The explosion of social media tools and networks creates a unique opportunity for apartment communities to get active on the social web by providing interesting content relevant to their residents and getting involved in creating a vibrant and engaged community. We are so excited to be able to help our customers improve their visibility on the Google web, increase their web traffic, enhance retention, and turbo-charge their marketing programs. It’s a natural extension of the services we provide on land, online, and now in their community.”

According to the company, Apartment Finder, like all NCI brands, is social media certified. Every member of the Apartment Finder team has gone through a detailed training program with Domus Consulting to educate them about the power of social media networking best practices, as well as to give them insight and experience in developing effective and influential networks.

In addition, NCI commissioned an exclusive White Paper examining the potential of social media marketing in the multi-family industry. Written by a noted social media expert, the paper, At the Tipping Point: Social Media in the Multi-Family Industry, uses the company’s exclusive, proprietary research on social media habits and attitudes of residents and property managers.

Dan McCarthy concludes, “Social media marketing requires expertise, management and focus. CommunitySherpa is the first service that we are rolling out from the dedicated DigitalSherpa operations team in our company. Our mission is to do the heavy lifting associated with building content and managing community. This work doesn’t remove your marketing from the process: it enhances it. At NCI, every person at our company has the unique skills in content development and management, as well as knowledge of social media networks to deliver on our mission and help our clients create highly engaging and successful programs.”

To find out more about CommunitySherpa as well as download the White Paper, visit http://community-sherpa.com

For more information, visit blog.ApartmentFinder.com or www.Facebook.com/Apartment-Finder.

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