Today on the Fourandhalf property management blog, we are talking about online reputation for property managers. Active reputation management is essential in this industry because as you know, many property managers get reviewed by tenants only when there is a problem. For example, when you are in the process of an eviction, which is an act required by law when a tenant does not pay rent, that tenant is likely to write a negative review. Tenants who have to wait for repairs and services while you try to get authorization from an owner are also likely to write something negative about you and your services.
In the property management business, you might manage 300 units in a sample year, and perhaps you will get four to five reviews in that year. Most of them, unfortunately, will be negative. It does not have to be that way, because within that same year, you will come into contact with between 600 and 1,000 different people at least. Think about the owners, tenants, roommates and vendors you work with. All these people can give you a positive review, but they probably won’t think about doing it unless you ask.
At Fourandhalf, we encourage you not to let the small minority of your tenants represent your business online to the whole world. The secret to online reputation management is this: you have to ask. When it comes to handling “the ask” effectively, there are only two things to keep in mind. You must make it simple and you must make it timely.
Make it Simple
First, you need to decide where you should have your review posted. You can pick your battlefield, whether it is Google, Yelp, Yahoo or some other site. We recommend Yelp and Google. Make sure your account is set up on these sites, and display all the branding and imaging that reflects your company and what you do. It’s important that you are easily recognizable. When your pictures and logo as well as your company description are in order, your tenants and owners will know it is you when they arrive at the review site. This makes it easy for them to post the review, and they don’t have to do a lot of digging or research trying to find you.
Make it Timely
Ask for a review at a point when you know your tenant or owner is the happiest. Send an email asking for a review when you know your relationships are strong and your contacts are pleased with the work you are doing. The best times to ask a tenant for a review might be after a successful repair or after you issue a full security deposit at move out. An owner might be willing to write a great review for you once a great tenant renews a lease or you save money on maintenance costs. Time your ask so you will get an encouraging and positive review.
What Not to Do
There is no magic bullet in online reputation management for property managers. There are companies out there willing to offer you reviews that are put together by people other than owners and tenants; people you have never even met or talked to. They will publish those reviews on your sites, but we strongly recommend against this type of service. First of all, the reviews are bogus and don’t actually reflect anything you do. Secondly, Yelp and Google use ever evolving algorithms to track the reviews. If they find that a company is posting fake reviews on your behalf, the account will likely be shut down. That would be a huge problem for your business and detrimental to your reputation. It will also cost you money, so don’t take the chance. Instead, develop a simple ask and make it timely. When you do this, your positive reviews will increase and your good work will be accurately reflected online.
If you have any questions about online reputation, please contact us at Fourandhalf. Reputation management for property managers is part of the consulting services we offer, and we’d be happy to talk with you.