In this day and age, it is difficult to avoid the fact that your personal and professional information are likely accessible to the public through the internet. The field of Real Estate has shifted enormously from using print-based marketing strategies to a digital marketing focus.
This has pushed potential buyers and sellers to use the internet looking for positive reviews on dedicated review sites as a major source to determine who they will choose to join them on their journey of buying or selling a home.
You might find yourself asking: “Why is this even important?” In a recent study, The National Association of Realtors found that 44% of consumers chose to search online first for a real estate agent. Likewise, another survey, found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 89% of consumers read businesses’ responses to those reviews.
This means, it’s not about IF they are saying anything about you; the question is:
“WHAT are they saying about your real estate services?”
Now you are probably thinking: “This information is fine and dandy, but how do I actively stay on-top of what is showing up online about my business?”
There are four steps real estate professionals can take to begin the process of online reputation management (ORM):
Assess the Damage
One of the ways that search engines like Google gather information about you and your business revolves around a technique called Search Engine Optimization (SEO.) There are many factors that are considered when ranking content. Dive deeper into this subject here.
To be clear, search engine optimization is not online reputation management. They are related due to keyword ranking strategy. There are many online places that will rank your services that you might be unaware of.
For instance, a Yelp rating or a series of online reviews that uses stars might feature a negative review of your business that could cripple your chances of attracting new clients. Another easy way to check your online footprint is by simply typing your name followed by key words:
Your Name (Scam)
Your Name (Reviews)
Your Name (Better Business Bureau)
Repair the Damage
Search engine results are difficult to get rid of. Social media comments can be deleted, but screenshots and comments are harder to erase. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage.
Long term brand restoration goals should include creating positive content that will bolster your image. You should strive to provide a space for potential customers to have a positive experience with your business. By creating fresh, engaging content, responding to your clients’ needs and adjusting accordingly, there are opportunities to push the existent negative content deeper into the search rankings ensuring that potential clients will have a lesser chance viewing it..
There are no guarantees this will fully work, but it is definitely worth the effort.
The tools that I mentioned have various ways of measuring the information that is present about you on the internet. One way is to measure the sentiment of your content as well as content posted about you to determine if it is positive content.
Actively Monitor Your Online Presence
There is a type of SEO called Online Reputation Management SEO that focuses on ranking multiple pages for a keyword as opposed to a single page. In this instance, the goal is to rank multiple positive pieces of content toward the top of a search result.
Here are FREE TOOLS to aid you in managing your online social proof and presence:
1. Google Alerts
Along with many other free business tools, Google offers an array of options for consumers to remain in the loop about content that mentions their name or business. Head to Google.com/alerts and enter the information that you would like to be alerted for. Presto, it’s that simple. You can receive email notifications and set preferences on how often you would like to receive these alerts.
2. Social Mention
This is a free tool that will allow you to search the web for any mentions of your brand and name. This is helpful in measuring sentiment as well as researching your competitors to compare your reputation to theirs.
Hootsuite is an all-in-one social media posting tool that allows up to three handles to be measured and tracked for free. Within this platform, you can easily view mentions, sentiment and respond to posts as they appear. An advantage to this platform is its’ ability to multi-task and provide a dashboard for your handles where they are easily accessible and maintained.
4. Complaint Search Box
This is a free tool that scrapes over 40 consumer complaint websites for your company name or criteria that you enter. This is a helpful pathway to gathering information in one convenient place.
With constant supervision and the creation of fresh, meaningful content, blazing a path to not only heal a brand reputation but also maintain a healthy one, is a much less daunting task.