Who better to tell your story than your own residents?
Online ratings and feedback in today’s connected community can make or break your reputation, and once you’ve received feedback – positive or negative – those reviews live online forever. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take control of the conversation by addressing issues swiftly, encouraging residents to engage in your events and educating them on how important feedback is to the community, even before they sign the lease and certainly many times after that.
More and more people make daily decisions by looking at online reviews and ratings via popular online services. Where to eat, stay, shop and live! It's critical to understand and acknowledge that providing an engagement platform is a critical need as part of your success strategy to encourage ratings and reviews. The focus isn’t asking your residents outright to rate you – that’s too obvious. Instead, creating an online resource and guiding residents to these resources will help shape the messaging that directly affects your reputation.
Now, think a bit about what they are saying. A simple Google search is all you need to do to see what’s out there – and it may not be all positive. You may think that you are putting yourself at risk giving your disgruntled residents a platform to voice their issues and hurt your reputation. And while there will be some that will air out their frustrations, what about providing the majority of your residents who are happy with a platform to share all the things they love about you? There is no one better to be your advocate!
Let them tell your story – and regarding the negative? Use that to your advantage and solve any issues right away. If you get a negative review or a low rating, don’t despair and don’t engage in a nasty verbal exchange. Instead, take the review in stride, address an issue if necessary and move on. More often than not, these unhappy nay-sayers will actually end up thanking you and writing a corrective positive review.
It’s all about managing your reputation and it affects your business in a few ways you may not have considered:
- Trust: people want to do business with people they trust and admire.
- Attracting new residents: this is a given; you know they’re searching for reviews and comparison shopping.
- Establishing important ongoing connections: when you engage with your residents they are more likely to review and rate your services. You’re connecting with them in a completely different manner than simply sending them an email newsletter or even greeting them by the mailbox. It’s inevitable that they are going to talk about you to their friends and family.
Done well, online reputation management creates stability, negates inaccuracies and enables you to position your business in a way that defines who you are and what solutions you offer. When you monitor your online reputation management, use your content in appropriate and easy-to-find forums. That way, when a future resident looks you up, it will be effortless on their part to find you. Positioned the right way, your digital reputation can drive opportunities to your community.
Who better to tell your story than your residents? Encourage them to give feedback through a number of online strategies. For example, whenever you blog or feature videos, mention and showcase your review site. And, don’t neglect social media. Be visible on all of the most popular social media applications and create messaging that feeds into your online reputation.
At the end of the day, what do you have if you don’t have a solid online reputation? Even if you occasionally get a negative review, steer the conversation to the positive and know you’ve done what you could to create a workable, practical platform your residents can use help keep them and others coming back, year after year.