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THE MULTIFAMILY MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: Is Online Reputation Management Worth the Big Bucks?

December 09, 2019

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As a multifamily professional, you might be reviewing the status of your property — specifically the number of current leases — and feeling very confident in the numbers you see.


This is great for right now, but what about in six months, or even in five years? Do you think those numbers will stay just as high? 

 

For years, marketing agencies and the multifamily industry have consistently stressed that the way to ensure a prosperous future is to not neglect your online reputation management (ORM). But can it truly make an impact? (Stay tuned for our next blog that will dive deeper into this question.) 

 

More than half — 54% to be exact — of digital marketers consider online reputation management to be “very necessary” to a business’s success.

 

Even with the multifamily industry booming and new properties leasing up at breakneck rates, finding ways to increase your leads is still an important consideration whether your property is in a peak leasing season or not.

 

While your property might be in a great place at the moment, eventually leases will end, and a portion of your renters will move out in a continuous cycle. It’s possible that in the past, new renters have quickly filled their spots.

 

In today’s overwhelmingly online world, if too many low ratings fester online without adequate responses, the status of your property could look very different in a short two-years’ time.

 

With another possible recession looming on the horizon, multifamily properties need to prepare to ensure a prosperous future.

 

Below, we expand on why marketing companies have stressed the importance of online reputation management as well as offer some slightly opposing and thought-provoking questions for your multifamily business to consider when planning your strategy: 

 

Combat Negative Reviews

Online reputation management is crucial for combating biased negative reviews that are shared online about your property. An incredible 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.

 

Additionally, many consumers read an average of 10 online reviews before they feel comfortable trusting a business. If a majority of those reviews are negative, a prospective renter might move on to the next property in their search list. In fact, 72% of residents say negative reviews stopped them from visiting a community.

 

ORM is a critical component in this scenario because you can use it to efficiently and personally respond to negative reviews. While you are not able to delete the review from the web or change your ratings with ORM, you can show you care about your renter's complaints by attempting to resolve the issue as well as provide proof if the review was unfounded. While ORM does not give properties any control over the number of biased reviews online, it can give you control over your response.

 

Encourage Residents to Leave Reviews

Did you know there is a secret ratio between good and bad ratings that can be even more important than the actual content within a review? 

 

Here it is:

 

For every one bad rating, you need 40 positive ones to undo the damage.

 

While that might seem daunting, proper online reputation management claims to help you reach that successful ratio. Marketers say that when you are actively engaged online with your residents, you can launch campaigns and outreach to ask your current residents to leave reviews. But if a high rating, such as five stars, holds more weight than a review, is ORM a reliable creation of positive ratings? 

 

That being said, it is true that the more you interact with your residents online, the more likely they will have a positive outlook on the property. Marketers insist that this will lead to them leaving a good review — even if their experience was not perfect. This is why ORM, paired with an objective rating platform, can offer the perfect combo for establishing a positive ratings reputation. 

 

Communicate With Renters

The beauty of good online reputation management is that you can put your predictions about the solutions renters might need into place before the need arises. 

 

For example, with ORM, you can build out an extensive FAQ page as well as flood your social media with helpful and relevant information. That way, both current and prospective renters can easily find the answers they need with little to no effort. 

 

As well, when your property is actively monitoring online activities, they have the ability to respond to any question that arises.

 

The Main Takeaway

The biggest achievement many companies experience from investing in ORM is a 25% growth in sales. Further, 70% of companies prefer to use in-house employees to manage their online reputation. This can help set your property up for a prosperous future. 

 

However, when it comes down to the bare bones of how many new leads your property is receiving every month, ORM may not be able to deliver an amount equivalent to the time you spent nor offer a way to measure the success of your strategy.

 

While you can respond to negative reviews, ORM does not always move your ratings upwards.

 

So, what facts are marketing companies missing when they push the sole use of ORM? What is ORM lacking? And is there a better solution for increasing ratings and leads? 

 

Stayed tuned to our blog for an examination into online reputation management and what strategy is most effective for laying the groundwork for your multifamily business’s success.