Monitoring Your Online Reputation in Multi-Family Housing
Submitted by J.Debes
Social media’s influence in the leasing process continues to gain popularity with growing user participation of ratings websites like Apartmentratings.com, Yelp, Apartments.com, Google and others. Customer reviews have become an integral part of most websites like Amazon.com and consumers rely heavily upon the opinions of other consumers when making purchase decisions. Positive apartment community reviews will make your leasing prospects more inclined to lease while negative reviews (without responses from management) will likely deter prospective renters from leasing. Multi-family managers should have operating procedures in place to monitor and manage their online reputations.
The first step to effectively managing an online reputation is educate and train your employees on the importance of maintaining a good reputation on social media. Recent surveys indicate that ApartmentRatings.com and Yelp are the two most prevalent ratings sites for prospective apartment renters. Register on these sites so you can bookmark or add properties to your favorites – thus receiving an alert anytime a review is posted for properties you manage. Additionally, set up a Google alert for each property you manage so you’ll receive notification whenever that property is mentioned online. Check review sites on a monthly basis to monitor them for activity.
Actively solicit positive reviews whenever a resident pays you a compliment. Explain to them how sharing their opinions benefit the property and thank them for doing so. If you receive a negative review or complaint, respond in a non-defensive manner and either attempt to resolve the complaint or list the actions taken to resolve the issue. By responding in a concerned manner, you demonstrate to the reviewer that the property has committed management that sincerely cares about their residents.
Unfortunately, it’s human nature to criticize more quickly than we compliment. If you do not actively monitor/manage your resident’s opinions, you may unwittingly end up with a poor online reputation, perhaps undeservedly so, which impedes your leasing efforts. A good online reputation will help you lease apartments and maximize your property’s value.