Improving your apartment community's online image can result in more lease signings and a lower vacancy rate. With that in mind, we've created the following list of tips for enhancing your community's online reputation.
#1: Encourage Reviews
Developing a large list of informative and positive reviews takes time, but your efforts pay off in the long run. Review sites are often the first listings that appear under your main website URL when a user conducts a branded Google search for your apartment community. And according to a 2014 Search Engine Land study, nearly 90 percent of consumers trust these online reviews.
While you cannot stop people from criticizing your community on sites like Yelp and Google Reviews, there are a few things you can do to spin review sites in your favor. Swamping negative reviews with a mountain of positive reviews is the first step you should take when trying to improve your standing on review sites. You can do this by encouraging happy residents to leave positive feedback on Yelp, Google Reviews, or any other applicable site, effectively swaying the average rating in your favor. Respage actually offers a custom tool for this exact purpose as part of our Dashboard.
The second step you should take when improving your image on review sites involves responding in a courteous and professional manner. Nothing looks worse for your community than having a property manager respond to a negative review with further negativity. And as luck would have it, Respage has designed a service for communities to avoid this circumstance, as well. Dubbed Review Response, this Respage offering responds to negative reviews with constructive and sympathetic feedback written by our staff of public relations specialists.
#2: Write More Blog Posts
Writing and publishing blog posts gives apartment communities a strategic advantage in a number of ways.
First and foremost, maintaining an active and relevant blog demonstrates your property's commitment to its residents. You want potential lessees to know that they'll be well accommodated if they choose to rent from you. Writing about whatever is happening in your city or neighborhood signals to potential renters that they'll be well-informed of local events if they choose to live in your community.
In addition to proving your commitment to your renters, well-written blogs posts also serve to boost the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value of your site. If you're consistently publishing content that users find to be informative and engaging, Google will reward your website with a higher listing in its search engine results pages. And because higher listings translate to higher visibility in search, blog posts can deliver more qualified leads to your site.
#3: Engage Social Media
Keeping tabs on social media is a great way to improve your community's image while simultaneously attracting new renters. Like review sites and blog posts, social media sites tend to appear in search results for branded keyword queries. And, similar to review sites and blog posts, activity on these assets demonstrates your apartment community's commitment to residents.
In order to make the most of your social media presence, it's suggested that you restrict your social activity to only a handful of channels. You don't want to spread yourself too thin. And with new social sites coming out practically every day, staying on top of all platforms is simply impossible. Rather than wasting a ton of resources on something you don't know, stick with the most commonly used channels, with a particular emphasis on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
To learn more about online reputation management for the multifamily industry, contact a Respage representative today.