APRD 3301 - Social Media Strategies

Course Description:
APRD 3301 will teach students the skills needed to plan and execute social media communications plans, with particular focus on planning, writing, listening and implementation. The course will also include a group project and an individual final project.
Learning Outcomes
  • Basic understanding of social media and its importance within a communications strategy.
  • Understanding of the business need for various social media channels, including audiences and message strategy. 
  • The ability to craft and deliver effective social media content for brands or organizations.
  • Understanding of the role of social media analytics, monitoring and reporting.
  • The importance of community moderation and engagement, specifically as it relates to reputation management and crisis communications.
  • Knowledge of how to audit, monitor and listen to social media channels.
  • Ability to create business objectives, goals and strategies as part of a social media marketing plan.

Course Objectives:

  • Place emphasis on how social media and internet marketing fit into an overall communications strategy.

  • Highlight the importance of writing as a core function of social marketing. 

  • Teach students how to best use social listening and moderating to build a brand and manage reputation.

  • Teach students the four steps of social media strategic planning.

  • Equip students with best practices, case studies and real-world examples of social media use.

Final Project Description:

Develop a social media campaign for a brand or company. Conduct research and create a social audit. Then develop a strategy, objectives, and goals for the campaign. Define your target audience, then design the social media campaign based around your strategy, objectives, and goals. Then finish the project with your evaluation and analytics of the campaign. 


#BHACommunity will be a social media campaign for Bucking Horse Apartments. This campaign will help gain brand awareness and credibility. The campaign will also help drive new business. Bucking Horse Apartments are a new apartment complex centrally located in Fort Collins, Colorado. There are 322 apartments within the complex. They offer anything from a one bedroom - one bathroom unit to a townhome option that is three bedrooms - two and a half bathrooms with an attached one car garage. Bucking Horse Apartments are not only centrally located within the city but they are also centrally located in the Bucking Horse Neighborhood. 

The Bucking Horse Apartments team has been very focused on finishing the project and getting people to rent units. They have really lacked on having a social media presence. With the #BHACommunity social media campaign we are looking to create a real community within our apartment complex. We want residents to get involved in the community events and to meet each other. When touring future residents around the property or talking to them over the phone we heavily advertise our community feature as a differentiator from our competition. Right now we have nothing to prove that what we are saying is true, but after this social media campaign we will. With creating content that engages with multiple demographics within the complex, this should drive attention to our strong community setting. 

It is important that Bucking Horse Apartments starts to build their social media presence now while they are still seen as a new apartment complex. Having a strong social media presence can only help a new brand like Bucking Horse Apartments. Their social media will not only drive new business but really help with the brand credibility. 

Audit & Research

Social Audit:

Brand Voice: The brand voice for Bucking Horse Apartments is very authentic.  You can see the authenticity of the brand voice if you look at their online posts, or the wording on the website.

Tone: The tone that Bucking Horse Apartments uses through out their website and online posts is visionary.  The website says things like “welcome home,” “Go Urban,” “Locally Sourced,” and “For your Heart.”

Channels They’re Active On / The Types of things they do via Social Media:

Instagram:  They are not very active on Instagram, they only have two posts.

Facebook:  They are a little bit more active on Facebook than Instagram but still not very active, they don’t post more than once a month.  They don’t have a good profile photo or cover photo.  It needs a lot of help!

Twitter:  Bucking Horse Apartments does not have a twitter account.

Apartment Websites:  They posts at least once a month on craigslist, Zillow, and Apartments.com.  They post advertisements for available units on all three of these sites.

Social Listening Findings:

Bucking Horse Apartments have very positive online reviews.  People love that Bucking Horse Apartments are new apartments and make you feel at home rather than in large apartment complex.  The added amenities, low prices, central location and the newness make these apartments a hit for Fort Collins residents. 

SWOT Analysis:

Strengths: Bucking Horse Apartments are new apartments, that are located centrally in Fort Collins.  They are a part of the Bucking Horse neighborhood.  Connected to the apartments are a trail system that can take you all around the city.  Interstate 25 is located less than a mile from the complex.  The apartments are prices at competitive to lower prices than their direct competition.  The new apartments offer above and beyond amenities such as a pool and spa, a Ranch House style clubhouse, a fitness center, a movie theatre, and many more added amenities.  They  have multiple floor plans for units to satisfy multiple demographics.  Bucking Horse apartments has a strong brand value of having a community within the complex.

Weaknesses: There are a lot of apartment complex competition in Fort Collins.  Though Bucking Horse Apartments are the newest complex to be completed other complexes that were built in 2017 and 2018 are The Trails at Timberline and Cycle Apartments.  Both of these direct competitors have a strong social media presence where as Bucking Horse Apartments is lacking a social media presence.

Opportunities: A main opportunity that Bucking Horse Apartments has is to focus in on their brand value of creating a community and presenting it via social media.  Because they don’t have a major presence right now on social media this will be an easy thing to create and help the brand image.

Threats: A threat that Bucking Horse Apartments could face is their direct competition catching on to people liking and wanting a sense of community where they live and implementing that into their apartment complexes.

Strategy, Objectives, & Goals

Overall Brand Strategy:

Bucking Horse Apartments focuses on being an authentic brand.  The #BHACommunity social media campaign will help create brand credibility.  Having brand credibility will only help the brand image.  Because these are new apartments it will be easier to create this brand credibility now rather than in a few years.  Having a strong authentic brand will help drive new business.

Campaign Objectives:

Objective 1: Create an authentic brand image and gain brand credibility.

Objective 2: Drive increase visits to Bucking Horse Apartments website.

Objective 3: Increase community engagement of the people already living there.

Tactical Goals:

Goal 1: Increase social media engagement by 90%.  Meaning have more views on stories, comments and likes on photos, and an increase in followers.

Goal 2: Increase website traffic to Bucking Horse Apartments website to be over 50 visits per day.

Goal 3: Increase the number of residents at each community event by 50%.

Audience identification & audit

Key Audiences & Stakeholders:

1. Future Fort Collins residents, male and female in the age range of 20-30-years old.

2. Current residents in Fort Collins looking for a change of environment and a new home.  They are male and female and in the age range of 20-30-years old.

3. Males and females that are just moving out of their parents homes and living on their own for their first time.   They are already living in the Fort Collins area.  These individuals fit in the 20-25-year old’s age range.

Campaign Targeting Options for Key Audiences:

1. 20-30-year-olds, looking to move to the Fort Collins area, they are both male and females.

  • They are moving for job purposes.

  • Their annual salary will be around $65,000.

  • They do not know much about the area, but they are looking to live in an inclusive environment and a community where it will be easy to meet new people

2. 20-30-year-olds, already living in the Fort Collins area, both males and females that are in need of a new home.

  • They are wanting a community feeling where they live.

  • Looking for as many amenities as they can get.  Some base amenities they they are looking for are things such as: pool/hot tub, community center, and a fitness center.

3. 20-25-year-olds, both male and females that are just moving out of their parent’s house for the first time.

  • They are looking for a sense of community, and a way to make quick new friends.

  • They want a place big enough to be able to live with their friends.

  • They are wanting as many amenities as their money can buy.

Campaign design, tactics, & content

Content One: Meet our Team, Model Units, Pool & Fire Pit, and The Ranch House

Campaign Tactics:

Meet our team, Model Units, Pool & Fire Pit Area, Clubhouse: The tactics here are that when people view the Instagram there are an additional 8 posts for them to scroll through because right now there are only two posts that are from over the summer of 2018. These would be posted to Instagram and Facebook.  We want to be able to showcase and advertise the units available.  As people reach our page it will be nice for them to see more than just two random pictures that are irrelevant at this time.  Within each post of the model units there will be a brief price range for that layout of a unit as well as a link to the website so they can directly reserve a unit or sign up for a tour. 

Suggested Content:

Meet our Team - Caption: Meet our Bucking Horse Apartment team! In the first picture we have Candace, she is head of our Leasing team.  In the second photo is Courtney, she is a member of the leasing team. Also on our team we have Melinda and Ben who are members of our leasing team. You will see Brenden around the office because he is the on site maintenance man! #BHACommunity #RanchHouseTeam

1Bedroom, Mustang - Caption: This is our One Bedroom - One Bathroom option, called The Mustang.  This is a very open floor layout giving you a lot of space for just a one bedroom unit!  This unit comes with all the kitchen amenities as well as a washer and dryer.  The kitchen and bathroom are hardwood floors and the rest of the unit is carpet. #BuckingHorseApartments  #Mustang #OneBedroomApartment

2 Bedroom, Appaloosa - Caption: This is one of the two floor plans for the 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom units.  This one allows you to have a nice kitchen table in the little pop-out area in the kitchen.  The master bedroom has a very large closet attached through the bathroom!

2 Bedroom, Palomino - Caption: This is the Palomino floor plan.  A 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom option.  This unit comes with all of the same kitchen amenities as the other units and the added washer and dryer!

3 Bedroom, Clydesdale - Caption: This is the Clydesdale floor plan.  This floor plan gives you 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  One of the bedrooms being a master bedroom with an attached bathroom!

3 Bedroom, Shire - Caption: The Shire floor plans is a town home style floor plan giving you three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.  This style has a one car attached garage to each unit! Call for current pricing and specials!

The Ranch House - Caption: The Ranch House is Bucking Horse Apartments version of a community club house.  The Ranch House has a full kitchen and the fitness center, theatre room, and an amazing fire place in it! A great place to gather with friends or to come to just to relax.

Content Two: New Year New You

Campaign Tactics:

New Year, New You will be a fitness challenge hosted by Bucking Horse Apartments. Bucking Horse Apartments already offers residents 5 free workout classes with our trainer Shelby. We call the training with her ‘Get Bucking Fit’. This challenge will be for residents to go to as many of Shelby’s Monday and Wednesday fitness classes as they can.  The way that we will keep track of residents participation is on a chart in the fitness center. One focus behind this post is to get the already existing community together for simple activities like working out. Working out not only is good for you but can also be a very social thing in a relaxed environment. By showing on the social media that there is a sense of community existing within Bucking Horse Apartments, that will add credibility to our statement of being a community. With incorporating ‘Get Bucking Fit’ into all the posts for the January challenge. There will be one initial post for the challenge and then ever ten days it will be posted as a story to remind residents to get involved and to start working out. The first post will be posted to Instagram and Facebook. Then the future posts will be posted as a story on both Instagram and Facebook. 

Suggested Content:

New Year New You- Caption: Is getting fit on your New Years resolution list?  We will make that easy for you to accomplish! Join the Get Bucking Fit team in the January New Year New You Fitness Challenge.  Starting Wednesday, Jan. 2nd at 7am with Trainer Shelby.  Training sessions will be held every Monday and Wednesday at 7am.  Are you up for the challenge? Our most frequent workout junkie will win a month of personal training with Trainer Shelby on us!  #BHACommunity #BuckingHorseApartments #GetBuckingFit #workoutchallenges #fitness #apartments #workoutjunkies #newyearresolutions #fitnessgoals


Timeline of Posts:

Initial Post: 1.01.2019

Follow up Post (1) : 1.10.2019

Follow up (2): 1.20.2019

Five-day count down: 1.27.2019

Winner post: 2.01.2019

Content Three: January Photo Challenge

Campaign Tactics:

The January Photo Challenge will be a contest focusing on the community posting photos from events or different locations within the property.  We will gain exposure from these post by having all the residents tag #BHACommunity in their post.  The hashtag then will be trackable to not only our posts but the residents posts.  Having the residents more involved with the community will created more brand credibility.  We will post the initial post on Instagram and Facebook then all the follow up posts as Instagram stories and Facebook stories.  The winner will be announced with an actual post on both Instagram and Facebook on February 1st.  The winner of the photo challenge will win a gift card to the neighboring restaurant, The Farm House Restaurant.  Giving the residents a little bit more of an incentive to participate. 

Suggested Content:

January Photo Challenge- Caption: Show us your best selfie at a BHA Event or your favorite spot in our community! Tag Bucking Horse Apartments in the comment section and add #BHACommunity for a chance to win a sweet prize!

Don’t forget to post your best BHA selfie this month by 1.27.2019 for a chance to win a gift card to The Farmhouse Restaurant.  Winners will be announced on 2.01.2019.  Make sure to tag BHA in your photo as well as #BHACommunity in the comment section.  If your profile is set to private, we won’t be able to view your post so keep that in mind! Good luck everyone! #BHACommunity #photocontest #fortcollins #BuckingHorseApartments #januaryphotochallenge

Timeline of Posts:

Initial Post: 1.01.19

Follow up Post (1) : 1.09.2019

Follow up (2): 1.19.2019

Five-day count down: 1.23.2019

Winner post: 2.01.2019

Content Four: Ranch House Events

Campaign Tactics:

The tactics behind having Small Ranch House Events sporadically throughout each month is to engage the apartments community in multiple ways.  We want our tenants to feel that they are a part of something more than just another apartment complex.  We want them to feel like they are at home.  By being authentic in our brand message of being a Community Apartment Complex will help our brand image and provide us with credibility.  Not only will this help us with our brand image but it will help us gain followers and social media interaction from our existing residents.  All of the Small Ranch House Events will be posted on the Bucking Horse Apartments Instagram and Facebook.  For the month of January all events will be sent in an email to all the residents.  In the email will be stated “To hear about all future events follow @buckinghorseapartments on Instagram and like us on Facebook.  All of the event posts will have multiple hashtags to drive attraction from Instagram users.  One hashtag that will be on every post will be #BHACommunity

Suggested Content:

Coffee Monday- Caption: Stressed, blessed, and coffee obsessed? Come and get caffeinated for free this Monday morning! The Ranch House will have your freshly brewed cup of coffee waiting for you. #BHACommunity #apartments #coffeelovers #freecoffee #cafineaddication

S'mores Day - Caption: Have you had a stressful week, and just wish it was Friday already? Yeah me too. Come release some stress and roast some marshmallow’s with your neighbors! Enjoy some good music and  great company tonight from 5pm-8pm at the fire pit located right outside the Ranch House! We hope to see you there! #BHACommunity #apartments #smores #buildingcommunity # goodmusic

Yoga Class - Caption: Come and enjoy a free Vinyasa yoga class in the fitness center this Sunday from 9-10am!  Yoga is a great way to clear your mind and take an hour to relax.  Sunday is a great day of the week to take a yoga class because it will help you mentally prepare for the week!  During the new year it is important to stay up to date with your mental health. #BHACommunity #yogasunday

HIIT Class - Caption: Come and enjoy a free HIIT Workout class with your fellow neighbors!  Come to the Fitness Center this Sunday and enjoy a high intensity work out.  Getting your heart rate up and burning some calories is always a great way to start your week!  See you there at 9am! #BHACommunity #HITTworkout #HIIT #communityworkouts  

Sunday Game Day - Caption: Brrr It’s cold outside! Come sit by the fire place and play some of your favorite board games in the Ranch House today from 1pm-6pm!  If you have a favorite game bring it and teach us all how to play! There will be a Harry Potter Movie Marathon playing in the theatre room! #BHACommunity #sundaygameday #harrypotter #boardgames

Content Five: 2019 Super Bowl

Campaign Tactics:

The tactics behind having a big Super Bowl event is to bring the community together to watch a commonly watched football game.  This event post will be posted prior to the date of the super bowl to try to get as many residents to come as possible.  This will be an opportunity for residents to meet in a low key setting.  We want to give residents opportunities to meet their neighbors at an event that also is providing entertainment and conversation.  We want to build the brands credibility with this event.  The post will be posted on January 30th on Instagram and Facebook.  The post will use the hashtag #BHACommunity.  

Suggested Content:

2019 Super Bowl - Caption: Up coming Event at the Clubhouse!! 2019 Super Bowl viewing party in the Ranch House and the Theatre Room: Feb. 2, 2019! This event will be potluck style, so bring your favorite football Sunday snack to share with the community! #BHACommunity #2019SuperBowl

Evaluation & Analysis

1.The evaluation of the brand credibility will come from the attendance of each event and the positive reviews.

2.To evaluate that we had an increased website visitors to the Bucking Horse Apartments website we will start to track the daily visits via the Yardi system.

3.Increase community events attendance will be the evaluation for the third goal and objective of this campaign.


This campaign will be the focus of January’s social media.  To follow up this campaign there will be a similar social media plan for the following two months. After those months there will be an re-evaluation of our goals and objectives.  We hope to overall see an increase of business and brand reputation.  While still building the brand name we want to be authentic when creating our community atmosphere.