Positive apartment reviews do pay off—literally.
In 2021, the first-ever study of the correlation between an apartment community’s online reputation and its bottom line showed that communities with stellar reviews are also the ones that are flourishing financially.
In other words, an apartment community’s online reputation truly matters, and it’s worthwhile to invest time and effort into boosting it.
But when you Google “reputation management,” the first results aren’t tips on how you can enhance your rep. Instead, they’re paid advertisements for companies offering to scrub all negative results, hide unwanted reviews, and conceal any undesirable opinions—all for a hefty price tag. Not only is this practice unethical, it’s expensive, and won’t work the way they say it will.
The good news is reputation management is not rocket science. In this blog we will examine the do’s and don’ts of apartment reputation management that will improve your relationship with residents, attract more prospects, sign more leases, and improve your bottom line in 2023.
Don't break these five rules for reputation management
Don’t incentivize good reviews. When it comes to reputation management, this is the No. 1 rule. You can’t try to control what residents say in their reviews by offering money, gift cards, or other perks in exchange for positive reviews. Google, Yelp, and other review sites will nail you for this because it’s dishonest. Instead of trying to manipulate the outcome, make sure your customer service shines and the good reviews will flow in naturally.
Don’t pay a service to remove reviews. Any website that claims they can remove an unwanted review is a scam (not to mention, can be illegal under federal law). Both Google and Yelp hinge their own reputation on the ability to showcase authentic and trustworthy reviews on their platforms. This means that there’s only a very small number of cases in which Google or Yelp will remove a review. If you believe your community has received a fraudulent review, or one that goes against content guidelines for Google or Yelp, you have the opportunity to report it to the website and have it removed.
Don’t ignore your bad reviews. You can’t please everyone, so you’re bound to get some bad reviews even if you’re doing everything right. Rather than ignoring them, try to view them as an opportunity to win over a resident by showing you care, you’re listening and you’re eager to come to a resolution. Think of negative reviews as valuable because they can point you toward what you might need to consider changing.
Don’t expect happy residents to submit a glowing review unprompted. People are more likely to review a community if they’ve had a negative experience. Others, even if they enjoy living in your community, might need a nudge. Asking residents to review your community immediately after a positive interaction, as we mentioned above, could be all it takes to get more five-star apartment reviews.
Don’t write your own positive reviews. Some apartment operators combat negative reviews by writing fraudulent positive reviews under fake identities. Not only is this dishonest, it’s easy to spot staff-written reviews, and it will harm your reputation. Review sites like Yelp automatically screen all reviews and house “suspicious” ones on a page separate from the apartment community’s main Yelp page, and you could face penalties if the issue persists.
Do these things for a better rep (and happier residents)
Provide great service. It might sound like a no-brainer, but properties where residents and staff regularly interact with each other in a positive way are more likely to generate positive reviews and ratings. When residents feel a strong sense of community, they’re bound to share their experience with friends on social media as well as review sites. A property that simply provides a place to live is less likely to get residents excited enough to write reviews that would improve your reputation.
Ask residents for help. While you can’t ask residents for positive reviews, you can ask them to review your community after an interaction that had a good outcome. For example, if your maintenance team successfully resolves an issue, ask the resident if they could take a moment to write a review describing their experience. You can also ask residents to share what they love about living in your community on their own social media platforms to help boost your online reputation.
Respond to every review. Not only are bad apartment reviews hard to avoid, they’re also notoriously difficult to have removed. Unless the review violates the review platform’s policies, it will most likely remain online. If you ignore negative reviews, it will seem like you don’t care. So, when you get a bad review, address the problem immediately and make things right for the reviewer. You should also write a public reply to the review so that prospects can see that you’ve resolved the issue. There are services that can help apartment operators formulate appropriate responses to reviews, like Respage.
Survey your residents. Taking the pulse of your community periodically can help you prevent bad reviews by uncovering potential issues and giving you vital resident feedback on your apartments, the overall community, and the quality of your customer service. Discovering what your residents love about your community could be just as valuable as learning what they don’t like. You can leverage those residents and make them advocates for your community, helping you boost your online apartment reviews and overall star ratings.
Monitor your reviews on social media and ILS sites, too. Google, Yelp, and apartment-specific review sites such as ApartmentRatings aren’t the only places where people can leave reviews. It’s also crucial to keep an eye on social media, Facebook in particular, for any reviews so you can respond appropriately. Also, internet listing sites like Apartments.com have review components, too, and they all can have an impact on your community’s reputation.
Get a head start on reputation management in 2023
No one wants to start a new year on the wrong foot. By following these basic rules (and sticking to them), you’ll see your reputation skyrocket!
Still looking for help? Chat with one of our reputation experts today to find out what you could be doing to rake in those five-star reviews.