The struggle is real.
Generating new, fair ratings for a multifamily community can be one of the most challenging aspects of online reputation management for multifamily professionals.
Residents pay a lot of attention to ratings when they are evaluating new communities, according to a study completed by J Turner Research:
- 62% say online ratings are a high priority when making lease decisions
- 72% said reviews stopped them from visiting a community
- 70% chose to visit a property with a better online reputation
This would be less of a concern if the majority of the residents at a community were leaving fair, unbiased online reviews of their rental experience. Unfortunately, they are not.
This leaves it up to the property manager to beg and cajole happy residents to leave positive reviews and to quickly and thoroughly respond to any resident who leaves a critical review.
In this post, we take a closer look at the tools that property managers use to manage resident reviews, and how the addition of an automatic ratings platform can provide support.
Online Reputation Management Software
The main benefit of online reputation management (ORM) software is that it automates what would otherwise be a tedious and time-consuming task.
Without ORM software, property managers must constantly monitor every review platform to see when residents post reviews (Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.). Once a review is left, the property manager needs to log in to that platform and leave a response.
ORM software provides a central hub that aggregates all of the review information into one place. Instead of checking a half dozen different platforms, the property managers logs in to one unified dashboard that provides notice when residents publish reviews.
In addition, the same software can automatically reach out to residents to request a review. This increases the overall percentage of residents who leave reviews and should provide a better balance between positive and negative ratings.
While ORM software helps you maintain an active presence online and allows you to respond quickly to any review on any platform, one limitation is that it supports a reactive instead of a proactive approach.
To get out in front of the infinite review/respond cycle, different tools are required.
There are several benefits to using social media as part of your overall online reputation management strategy:
- It allows you to have conversations
- It humanizes the property staff
ORM software helps ask for reviews and respond to reviews, but that doesn’t really represent a two-way conversation. The majority of the time there is one review and one response – kind of like having a discussion with a surly teenager.
Social media is different because it encourages discussion.
Property managers can post news, share information on special events and even ask questions of their residents on social media platforms. Through likes and comments, property managers can begin to get a better picture of what their residents like and dislike at each community.
In addition, posts on social media can be more informal than a corporate-approved response to a negative resident review. Instead of sounding robotic (we apologize for your bad experience, please contact our leasing office…) social media posts can reflect more personality of the property representatives.
The important takeaway here is that – unlike ORM – social media allows you to proactively engage with your residents, so that you can establish a relationship with them long before they go online and leave a review.
However, the drawback is that there is no direct relationship between an active presence on social media and plentiful resident reviews. Residents who enjoy chatting with you on Facebook might still not take the time to review and rate the community.
The Whole Picture
Both ORM software and social media are valuable tools in a property professional’s arsenal to generate favorable online curb appeal for a community.
But both also have limitations:
- ORM software is reactive rather than proactive
- Good Social media communication doesn’t necessarily translate into reviews and ratings
To paint a comprehensive and accurate picture of a community’s reputation, multifamily businesses need a reliable way to automatically generate new and unbiased ratings.
With the OpenProperty ratings platform, communities can now expand their ratings with no additional effort while simultaneously engaging with residents and responding to reviews.
The struggle during the workday will still be real, with property professionals using a combination ORM and social media to help boost the community’s online reputation.
However, when everyone goes home, OpenProperty will continue working all through the night – and even on weekends – to collect ratings for the community.