Finding that perfect roommate is hard. You want to live with someone you trust, who shares your hours, your interests and your level of cleanliness. Whether you need one more person to fill up that four-bedroom house near work or a single roommate to share the rent at that cute two-bedroom apartment a few blocks from downtown, you'll need to carefully search for a great roomie.
Gone are the days of pinning your listing up on a community bulletin board or utility pole. Now, you have to get creative. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are built for making connections, so why wouldn't it be the right place to connect with a roomie? With the right tools, it's easy to use social media to find a roommate.
In its text box, Facebook asks, “What's on your mind?" If finding a roommate is on your mind, post it! True, Facebook is more of an inside-your-social-circle platform than Twitter's soapbox. But make it public and there's a good chance you'll hit someone looking for a roommate, or at least someone who knows someone looking. And don't forget to ask your friends to share your post.
There are groups on Facebook for nearly anything, and finding one that's a hub for people looking for roommates in your area won't be too hard. Just be sure to keep your privacy and safety in mind. Or search Facebook Events and find a roommate meetup near you and chat with folks in person!
If you have a good idea where you want to live, see if that building, complex or even street has its own Facebook “page." Post on that page you're interested in living there and looking for a roommate who does, too. Flip through other people's comments on the page to see if anyone else is also posting about roomies!
It's not as extreme or expensive as you might think. For just a few bucks, you can advertise on Facebook that you're looking for a roommate. Describe yourself and what you like, your perfect roommate and your wonderful apartment (or the kind of apartment you're looking for), then seal it with a friendly pic. Then choose to whom your ad gets served, by choosing a specific gender, age, location or any interest you might want to share.
If Facebook is a conversation with people you know, Twitter is for shouting for attention, which makes it a wonderful platform for roommate hunting. You have 280 characters to get your message out that you're looking.
Say who you are, what you're looking for and where, and what kinda stuff you want and like. Attach a pic of you looking friendly and inviting like you'll be the best roomie, and…
In your tweet, add hashtags so people can find you. There's no magic bullet hashtag everyone will find. Be creative. Use hashtags like #roommatewanted or #roommatesearch together with your town or neighborhood like #Fishtown or #Skokie, and you're sending up flares for people looking for the same things.
Conversely, click on those hashtags and explore. Or throw “roommate wanted Wichita" or whatever you're looking for into the search box and see what pops up. If you find a great potential lead, tweet back at them or send them a direct message if they have open messages.
WANTED: roommate willing move into apartment with us in East Wichita! pic.twitter.com/CtPkWnvDYZ
— Bri (@wannabree_) June 22, 2015
Make your tweet funny, interesting and unique, and maybe it will get retweeted by a lot of people or picked up by Buzzfeed. Be snarky, be quirky or be motivating and if enough people engage with your tweet, you'll rise in the search results and Mr. or Ms. Perfect Roommate will slide into your DMs.
You can create a Twitter ad just like you can do on Facebook (see above), for about the same price. Use your 280 characters to tell people who you are, your desired roommate qualities and describe your place. Twitter's ad tool will help you target your ad to exactly the people and place that will get it seen by a gaggle of potential roomies.
Because it's mostly not a sharing platform, Instagram is a more difficult app for finding roommates. But that doesn't mean you can't. IG is photo-based, so let the pics do the talking.
Instagram lets you use up to 10 photos in one post, so make the most of it. Be sure your first (primary) image is a great photo of your apartment so people pay attention. Use all the filter tools to make it look Instaperfect. Then…
While your pics are the most important part of your post, you'll need to say the right things in your caption. Like a Facebook post, tell everyone what makes you a perfect roommate, why everyone would want to live in your amazing apartment and what you're looking for in a roommate. But say the most important things first as only your first 125 characters will be shown before the viewer will need to click “See more." And finally…
Even more than on Twitter, having the proper hashtags in your IG post are critical. Unlike Twitter, you can bathe your post in a ton of hashtags, up to 30, in fact. Use that clout to hashtag every version of #roommatewanted, #roommatesearch and #roommateneeded you can think of along with terms like your town or 'hood and #apartment, #rent and #onebedroom.
Instagram ads are very much like Facebook ads, which makes sense as Facebook owns Instagram. Your ads will look exactly like a post, so if you create the perfect IG post, use the app's tools to turn it into a sponsored ad targeting exactly the right audience.
Did you know you can make status updates and posts on LinkedIn just like you can on Facebook? Well, you can! In fact, it's an awful lot like posting on Facebook so you already know everything you need to do it.
The main difference is your audience, which is your network of professional contacts, as opposed to family, neighbors and friends from elementary school. Therefore, you may want your post to be a little more professional sounding if colleagues and potential employers may see it. Go to LinkedIn's homepage and click on “Start a post." Follow the same procedure as above for FB.
Just like on Facebook, posting in a LinkedIn group is a great place for a specific audience to see your request for roommates. But LinkedIn groups often have very specific rules as to what topics you can post about or if you can 'advertise' for something personal, so check the rules in each group before you post.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures! What better way to show off your apartment and yourself than with a video? You don't have to be Spielberg, just friendly and engaging.
Grab your phone, hit record and take a tour of your apartment as you narrate the great things about your place and what kind of roommate you're looking for. Post the video on your YouTube page with a description and hashtags just like you would on Facebook, and encourage people to message you in the comments.
And one of the great things about a YouTube video is it's the best social media site to share on other social media sites. Be sure to take the killer YouTube video you just made and post the link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts.
Or even better, now that you've made a great video, upload the raw video file to your other social media accounts so they post as native video to each app, watchable without clicking out.
Since it's a video in living color, a YouTube ad is different and more visual than other social media ads. Create a 15-second version of your video and submit it as a YouTube ad to play as a pre-roll in front of other videos on the site, targeted to your roommate preferences and location.
You can even go beyond social media to find the roommate of your dreams.