As most people are aware, mobile device usage continues to expand rapidly and more people are using smartphones today than ever before. Mobile is certainly a powerful trend and should be at the top of any marketing strategy, but that trend is already upon us, so what’s next on the horizon? I’ve recently come across several sources that point to reputation management as being the next big trend in content marketing. In an article by Chris Tate the author explains, “The reputation and image of any business is significantly important to the success of the company due to the impact this can have upon sales……social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and review sites such as Trip Advisor have created a platform for users to share positive and negative experiences online.” Another example comes from Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google and author of the book “The New Digital Age,” who predicts that in the future employing the services of an “identity manager” to maintain one’s online presence will be “the new normal for the prominent and those who aspire to be prominent.”
As the world gets more connected, it becomes easier for users to share their opinions. There are several platforms out there such as Angie’s List and Glassdoor.com, and more specific to the real estate market, you have apartmentratings.com, apartmentguide.com, rentersvoice.com and many more. Those of us that have been exposed to a business course in school likely learned about the multiplier effect, which stipulates that a consumer will tell twice as many people about a bad experience then they would a positive one. In today’s world of social media and constant connection, that can have a huge impact on your business.
So what can you do to manage your reputation? There are services such as ReputationDefender and ReputationX that help individuals as well as businesses manage their online reputation. From a property management perspective, there are tools such as MRI Workspeed, which helps streamline property operations and offers the ability to send a tenant satisfaction survey upon completion of a tenant request. The software then can monitor the tenant satisfaction level as a part of the business analytics dashboards so that owners and managers can easily see the satisfactory level of their tenants and make adjustments to their service accordingly. The idea being to identify any issues and correct them before the tenant decides to broadcast it on the web. Soliciting feedback directly from tenants is a good way to gain insight in to tenant satisfaction, but it is one option of many. In general, property owners and managers need to understand the importance of managing their business’ reputation; whether that is using a service like the ones mentioned above, or dedicating a marketing resource to monitor online activity such as comments, tweets, etc. Think about all the different channels that your properties are exposed online and make a conscious effort to monitor those, overcome negative posts and encourage clients to post positive ones.
Word-of-mouth has always been critical for real estate owners and managers and it still is. However now people share their experiences in the virtual world, where their reach is much broader and the impact is even greater. That is why online reputation management is a growing trend and one that all business owners should be aware of.