The Top Online Reputation Management Musts

Top online reputation management (ORM) musts to keep a solid reputation and presence on relevant online platforms. 

What are the top online reputation management (ORM) musts to maintain a solid reputation and presence on relevant online platforms?

By Julia Crawford

Proactively maintaining and nurturing a healthy online reputation profoundly impacts resident decision-making, property performance and brand visibility.

Feedback also provides real estate companies the ability to improve operations and mitigate risks. With 79% of residents making their leasing decisions based on ratings and reviews, online reputation management (ORM)is vital in the growing competition in multifamily.

A positive reputation builds trust and influences decisions, directly impacting lease conversions and resident satisfaction. We asked Julia Crawford, Senior Vice President of Product Management at Grace Hill, to discuss the top considerations for every ORM strategy.

What are the owner/operator top concerns or pain points in online reputation management?

The major pain point for owners and operators is negative online reviews themselves, which affect occupancy rates and overall revenue.

This negativity impacts their brand, deters resident renewals and prospect visits and leads to higher vacancy rates. This industry needs better technology to monitor for negative reviews and proactively address issues before they escalate.

For teams, gathering and managing scattered feedback across multiple platforms for all properties within a portfolio is extremely time-consuming. It can be a herculean effort to make sense of unstructured feedback and formulate a successful ORM strategy. Every unanswered review is essentially an unaddressed complaint. This raises concerns about efficiently addressing negative comments, maintaining professionalism and brand consistency.

On top of this, operators struggle to measure success. Far too often, benchmarks lack clarity and consistency, which makes it difficult to understand how a property stacks up against local competition. Marketing teams can struggle to identify and leverage a property’s unique strengths and advantages, hindering the ability to differentiate communities.

What are the top three ORM musts for multifamily properties?

 First, maintaining an active and consistent online presence on relevant platforms is essential. This includes social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as review sites like Google My Business, Yelp, ApartmentRatings as well as Internet listing services (ILS). Regularly updating these platforms with engaging content, responding to reviews and comments and interacting with residents and prospects helps establish a positive online reputation and significantly impact search engine rankings. Everybody wants their properties to be at the top of the list.

Second, consistent management of online reviews is critical for shaping perception and maintaining a positive reputation. Implementing tools or platforms to monitor reviews across various sites, promptly responding to both positive and negative reviews and addressing resident feedback professionally and empathetically are essential components of a successful strategy.

Third, establishing a feedback loop to gather insights from residents, prospects and stakeholders is essential for continuous improvement. Using tools to actively solicit feedback through surveys and using this feedback to identify areas for improvement, address issues and enhance resident satisfaction demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ongoing improvement, ultimately contributing to a positive online reputation.

What metrics do you consider most important when using an ORM platform?

 One of the key metrics is tracking the Local Brand Visibility (LBV) score, which is the aggregate metric of a property’s reputation across five categories — reviews, social, listings, search and competitors. This metric provides a clear benchmark for measuring how a community stacks up against local competition and where it ranks from an industry perspective overall.

In addition to LBV, it’s important to track reviews in the last 30 days and the percentage of increase or decrease in that time. A higher number of reviews can enhance the credibility, trustworthiness and online visibility of a property. Adding to that, tracking search engine optimization (SEO) rankings is extremely critical for measuring ROI by correlating changes in rankings with changes in website traffic, leads and conversions. Higher rankings result in increased organic traffic to the website.

From a social perspective, tracking page followers, total impressions, total engagements and engagement rates allows property managers to evaluate the effectiveness of their content strategy. Tracking total impressions helps assess the reach of the company’s brand across social media and other online channels. Increasing impressions indicates growing brand awareness, while a decline may signal the need to adjust marketing efforts.

What are the most effective tools available to help organizations meet each task?

 Organizations need a holistic ORM solution with a comprehensive approach to building, maintaining and leveraging a positive reputation.

The ideal solution includes features such as advanced filtering, rotating templated bulk response and generative AI capabilities. These directly address the pain of having to spend an enormous amount of time on reviews across multiple sources and properties within a portfolio.

A solution that leverages AI for advanced sentiment analysis is paramount. It allows property managers to process large volumes of reviews quickly and efficiently. Property managers must stay informed about conversations, trends and sentiments related to their properties and address any issues or concerns promptly.

Moreover, the ability to efficiently cross-publish posts to multiple accounts increases brand visibility and engagement. By sharing updates, promotions and community events, property managers can foster positive relationships with residents, prospects and local communities.

The ability to effectively manage listings across multiple providers within a centralized location is also key. Listings serve as the first point of contact for prospects seeking information about properties. Accurate and up-to-date listings ensure that prospects receive correct information about amenities, availability, pricing and other important details, increasing the likelihood of inquiry and lease conversation. Additionally, search engines prioritize accurate and consistent information, so properties with accurate listings are more likely to appear higher in search results, increasing visibility to prospective residents.

Lastly, a solution that brings all this information and data together, providing insights and recommended actions is essential for understanding the health of an online reputation and crafting a successful marketing strategy.

How does effective online reputation management play out in the marketplace?

 In the digital world, having an active online presence is like keeping the doors of a business open.

It’s about being where residents and prospects are, so regularly posting updates, engaging with comments and responding to reviews shows attentiveness and approachability. People want to see onsite teams that are actively involved and care.

The results can be extremely impactful, as a one-star increase in Yelp ratings can lead to a 5% to 9% increase in revenue. Promptly responding to feedback shows that management is listening and taking it seriously. Continuous improvement and feedback loops are like a roadmap to constant enhancement. They involve listening to residents, prospects and stakeholders and leveraging their feedback to enact positive transformations.

About the author:

Julia Crawford, SVP, Product Management

Top online reputation management (ORM) musts to keep a solid reputation and presence on relevant online platforms. 

Julia is the Senior Vice President of Product Management for Grace Hill. She has over 20 years of product management experience driving innovation in complex product portfolios. She is a leader who drives execution, intending to delight customers by providing solutions for their business.

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