By Alan Bryan
Managing a company’s online reputation isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. It involves a savvy mix of online relationship building, core online business tools and consistent attention to what’s being said about your brand online.
For real estate professionals, brand reputation can seem like yet another thing you “must do.” But it is, in fact, a new crucial business practice that’s directly relevant to the bottom line. Plus, online brand management, as the Wall Street Journal recently documented, has never been easier, what with by tools offered by Yahoo! websites or MyHosting.
So with that in mind, here are four of the biggest mistakes real estate professionals can make when managing their reputations on the Web:
1. Overreacting to Criticism
When your reputation gets criticized online, it’s important to react, but not overreact (you do not want get into online spats with past clients); instead, handle online criticism in a professional, prompt manner. It’s important to acknowledge the criticism, provide a correction and move ahead. That approach will more often than not make your real estate business look good to prospective clients.
2. Leaving Criticism Unaddressed
The only thing worse than reacting poorly to criticism is not reacting at all. Domino’s Pizza ran a clever TV ad recently in which it highlighted an unhappy customer whose pizza had the cheese stuck to the top of the box. Domino’s publicly apologized and replaced the pizza for free. The message was made loud and clear – the company was quick to address complaints and correct a wrong to make every customer happy. These types of situations can also be used to promote the your real estate business for good press.
3. Ignoring Online Reviews Like Yelp and Google Places
As Chicago Agent has covered before, for many agents today, their online reputation is formed by online reviews, so don’t ignore sites like Yelp, Google Places, TripAdvisor and many other consumer resources on the Web. User reviews go a long way, and more importantly, they let you know what you could be doing better. Manage your reputation well on the web and manage it better in how you do business.
4. Taking a Reaction-Only Approach
The Web and social media has made your online reputation transparent to many. It’s increasingly difficult to claim some attributes about your real estate business online when the reviews suggest otherwise. Rather, use customer comments to fine tune how you manage your business. Take a proactive stance on the big points. Promise the best showings, marketing and negotiation tactics on the web and live up to them. Promise the fastest delivery times and live up to it. Make real, tangible, literal and specific promises and over deliver on them. You will be surprised at how well this works for you and your reputation online.
Alan Bryan has made a career of doing freelance work for various tech and gaming sites, always with a focus on helping companies transition into the digital world.