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Resident Buddy: stellar tech tool for renters, property managers

Anyone who rents an apartment knows that the resident portals haven’t been innovated since 1999, so Resident Buddy’s superior design and function is a breath of fresh air in a stale industry.

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Resident Buddy launches for renters, property managers

Marketing, tracking, reputation management, resident retention and search solution provider, rentbits.com has launched Resident Buddy, a new product designed to “simplify rental living,” giving renters a simple way to pay rent, submit and track maintenance requests, meet and connect with neighbors, post items for sale, find a ride share, or even a sitter.

The company tells AGBeat that “Resident Buddy was designed from the ground up for renters BUT it is truly a tool for property managers, and was created to help close the backdoor on resident retention by giving them a simple way to expand their reach far beyond the apartment leasing office.”

What sets Resident Buddy apart

First and foremost, the user interface blows potential competitors out of the water, as most products renters are offered to interact with come with horrible colors from the 90s, tons of text in size 8 font, nearly impossible navigation that is almost never mobile friendly, and as a whole is completely outdated, making them difficult to use. Not Resident Buddy. While they focus on various features unique to their offering, the most notable feature is its quality design.

As for features, the maintenance request is the brightest shining in that residents can submit a maintenance requests from any device, but instead of throwing them into a black hole with fingers crossed, residents can track requests in real time rather than just a red light green light system others have implemented.

Dan Daugherty, CEO of rentbits.com said, “For maintenance request transparency, a top frustration from residents is not knowing where their maintenance request is in the queue. Did the office receive it? When will it be completed? Do they need more information? etc. Setting expectations with the residents, and surpassing those expectations dramatically increases resident satisfaction.”

The Exchange is a fascinating feature that could go a long way toward retention. “Think Pinterest, meets Craigslist, but only accessible to residents of one community,” the company notes of their closed, secure network. “It’s a hyper local way for residents to tap into the opportunities hiding all around them; finding the concert tickets they’ve been searching for, finding a ride share to work, or a babysitter from someone in their community that they can trust. It’s a pretty cool feature that actually gives renters an easy way to connect and get to know their neighbors, not to mention, make and save some money.”

Emulating the simplicity of the hotel industry

Additionally, unique to their offering is that each community with Resident Buddy gets one unique, central phone number to use. The cost for property managers is $1 per unit per month, and if they opt into allowing residents to pay rent online it is $2 per pay rent online transaction.

Daugherty said, “We built Resident Buddy from the ground up with a very strong focus on user experience and simplicity. I believe the User Interface is the best in the industry. Residents come to Resident Buddy to take action. That might be to pay their rent online, submit a maintenance request, post an item for sell, post an event, etc.”

“We took what the hotel industry has been doing for years and brought it to the apartment industry,” Daugherty added. “All in an effort to make life simpler for renters.”

Resident Buddy video and photo tour:

[pl_video type=”vimeo” id=”56786133″]

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Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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Publishers anticipate price hikes after Facebook’s purge

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm may lead to price hikes for publishers trying to remain relevant.

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Facebook is changing the way News Feed filters content, putting more focus on posts from friends and family. This will effectively reduce the amount of paid content users see from publishers and brands.

Some agencies think this may increase how much advertisers will need to spend on paid ads to keep the same number of views. Just since last quarter, ad rates increased by thirty five percent.

Facebook’s VP of product management, John Hegeman said advertising will be “unaffected,” but agencies aren’t so sure.

Doug Baker, director of strategic services at AnalogFolk, stated this is the “final nail in the existing coffin” for organic reach.

For years, organic reach has been declining since more content is being shared. Smartphones and tablets lowered the threshold for ease of posting, and users can now share content without being tied to a desktop.

News Feeds are super saturated with content, and it has become increasingly difficult for content creators to organically reach users in the midst of posts from family and friends.

Mass-reach media buys end up seeming like borderline spam, and clog up an already extremely populated stream of content in your feed.

In December, Facebook announced plans to deprioritize “engagement bait” posts that urge users to share, like, or vote to artificially gain greater reach.

Using a machine learning model to detect different forms of engagement, Facebook rolled out Page-level demotion to curb frequency of advertisers using engagement bait.

Facebook noted it will still favor content from reputable publishers while reducing clickbait, spam, and misleading stories.

While engagement is only a small part of ad ranking, advertisers may see serious price hikes to keep the same level of performance.

It looks like Facebook is trying to go back to its roots as a social site, like how Snapchat recently announced a plan to keep news and social more separated on their platform.

To reach users with these new changes, advertisers must optimize and more carefully plan media strategies to make content relevant to target markets.

However, brands may find loopholes in the algorithm, continuing practices that drive artificial engagement. CEO of digital agency TMW Unlimited pointed out that brands may “be tempted to be increasingly controversial or polarizing in order to stimulate conversation.”

Even as Facebook insists it’s not a media company and its advertisers are actually “partners,” it’s likely brands will see significant price increases to remain in the News Feed instead of relegated to side ads.

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Facebook’s news feed changes will impact how you reach consumers

(TECH NEWS) Facebook is changing how you see the news feed, but it will also impact how your business reaches consumers.

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Once again, Facebook is making some significant changes to the News Feed (you probably know this because people are freaking out). This time, the changes revolve around improving user experience by cutting down on sponsored content — but what does that mean for advertisers and Facebook businesses?

As it turns out, not a ton – just a higher content standard and the accompanying challenge of creating positive, enjoyable content. Maybe.

Anyone who’s spent any time on Facebook in the past few years knows that it’s as much an advertising business as it is a social network. It’s impossible to make it more than a few posts into your News Feed without seeing a “Suggested Post”-type ad, and unless you use an ad-blocker, your sidebar is full of even more blatant attempts to sell or promote products only loosely related to your likes and interests.

It appears that no one is less happy about this than the man himself. Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to dial back advertising posts in favor of user-created content, conversation-inspiring posts, and other non-public items of interest. The goal is to connect you more consistently with the content that you love rather than the content that you tolerate; as you can probably guess, advertisers aren’t thrilled about this notion — some are even considering it an ad-pocalypse.

That’s a little dramatic.

The road to creating engaging, profitable ads for this new Facebook is relatively simple, if not easy. Facebook will be prioritizing posts that objectively bring happiness and positive experiences to users, meaning that your ads will need to be intrinsically fulfilling for your target demographic. While relying on “traditional” marketing strategies like clickbait titles and high initial engagement numbers won’t get you there, retaining people with your content will.

In fact, this move is fundamentally similar to YouTube’s policy wherein creators are paid more for longer audience view times than if their audiences flake out after a few seconds. One might argue that such a policy was put into place to safeguard against meaningless content with catchy titles, and that’s exactly what Facebook appears to be doing here.

With this return to their roots, Facebook is making steps toward bringing positivity back into social media — something we all could benefit from right about now.

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Walmart may have just solved the biggest snag in online grocery shopping

(TECH NEWS) Walmart submits a patent for technology that could fix the crack in online grocery shopping.

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When online shopping became increasingly popular, it made total sense as it is a huge time saver. However, not being a frequent user of the services, I have questioned how people go about selecting exactly what they want as what will be sent to them, isn’t what’s pictured online.

Apparently, this is a major challenge for services that offer online grocery shopping, as people tend to be particular about their cuts of meats and selection of produce (we’ve all had those moments where we’ve examined each apple in the bunch, admit it).

Walmart, a leading competitor in grocery sales, is looking to eradicate this challenge with a newly submitted patent for their developments. The new system they’re proposing will give online shoppers a look at their actual potential purchase via 3D technology.

The system, dubbed the “Fresh Online Experience” (FOE), will use three-dimensional scanning to show online shoppers images of the products.

First, they will select from a stock image (say they’re looking for an orange). A human worker at the location they’re shopping/delivering from will be notified and will then select an orange and send the shopper a photo.

The image would be sent from a store associate interface and will appear in a communications module where the customer can view it. They are then given the chance to approve or deny, based on the image.

The customer will have a fixed amount of time to approve or deny the item/image. To combat too much back and forth, the customer is only given so many vetoes until they have to choose an orange that’s been previously selected or remove it from the order altogether.

When the orange is approved, it will be stamped with an edible watermark and will be included with the finalized order. While this seems like a lot of work on the associate’s end, Walmart has stated that some of the FOE will include automated aspects, which could save human workers from having to continuously scan fresh items.

This idea comes on the heels of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, making them a giant competitor for Walmart.

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