A positive online reputation is a huge accomplishment for any community. While it might have taken a considerable amount of work to obtain, it’s far easier to lose. All it takes is one bad review to change your overall star rating. That’s why it’s so important to establish a cadence of reputation maintenance that will help protect what you’ve worked so hard to create.
Make sure you carve out time to maintain your reputation by taking a proactive approach:
You need to know what’s being said online about your community. According to BrightLocal’s 2017 consumer review study, Facebook and Yelp are the two most popular review sites—but that doesn’t mean you can ignore Google, Bing or ApartmentRatings.com. Keep up with mentions, photos, and posts about your communities across all platforms to gauge renters’ sentiments. Doing so can help you identify any potential issues so you can take action to fix them. If you’re seeing multiple comments about how your gym equipment is outdated, invest in some upgrades. If pet waste is a problem that online reviewers are noting, install waste receptacles around the property or create a designated off-leash pet area. Listening to, and implementing solutions on, resident concerns will go a long way to reducing churn and fostering loyalty.
Everyone knows that it’s important to respond to negative reviews, especially when you’ve taken steps to fix the issues. What’s surprising is that 42.5% of today’s renters want to see responses to all reviews, according to the latest NMHC Renter Preferences Study. Marcel Digital suggests that you can reinforce positive sentiments by acknowledging good reviews when you get them. You’ll be perpetuating the positivity cycle and demonstrating that you’re not just doing damage control—you truly care about what your residents think, which is also important to the prospects you’re hoping to attract
Seventy-seven percent of consumers who responded to the BrightLocal survey stated that they think reviews older than three months are no longer relevant. If your reviews are outdated, it doesn’t matter how good they are. And, while Google is constantly changing its SEO algorithms, reviews remain one of their top ranking factors, according to a study by Local SEO. You can improve your organic search engine ranking by having a steady stream of fresh reviews. The easiest way to make this happen is to survey your existing residents proactively. BrightLocal found that 68% of consumers left a review after a local business asked them to. You have a huge, untapped source of reviews, all you have to do is ask.
At the end of the day, even the most high-end communities with the best staff can get overlooked by prospective renters if their reputation starts to slip. You can’t always avoid negative reviews, but by staying vigilant, you can take action to mitigate the fallout when they appear. Your reputation is the first impression many renters have of your community; make sure yours accurately reflects what they’ll find when they take the next step to visit.