When you are deciding what you want to eat out for dinner and want something new, what is the first thing that you do? If you are traveling to a new destination and are not sure what the best hotel for you is, where do you turn? If you are like most, you hop online and go to sites like yelp.com or tripadvisor.com and start checking out reviews from what others have said about these establishments.
Why would you real estate business be any different?
As a real estate agent, your online reputation is just as, if not more, important than your “actual” one. Potential clients can easily turn to google, type in your name, and see what people have to say about working with you. These reviews come from all sorts of places:
• Broker websites
• Your personal website
• and more!
If you have not given thought to your online reputation, or have not recently, the first step is to do what any potential client would do – google yourself. Take inventory of the places that you may have created profiles and sites where people are talking about you. Search for variations of your name and, if you have a common name, include location or broker information to make sure that you are getting all the information that you can.
MANAGE the conversation about your brand. Just like large brands like Apple do, you want to make sure that the representation of who you are, and the services you offer, is correct. Respond to ALL reviews – good and bad, This shows that you are tuned into what others are saying and care about it. Be polite with your positive responses and thank them for taking the time to post about their experience. If you have a negative review, take the time to investigate and resolve the issue. Offer a public response that indicates you are sorry for a bad experience and that you will be contacting them privately – don’t go into details on a public forum which just makes you seem defensive or whiney.
If you have a few bad reviews, don’t sweat and don’t directly ask people to take them down. Most “star systems” work as an average of all reviews so you can offset one negative with a few positive ones. Which brings us to step three.
Be proactive. If there is not much conversation about you out there, create it. Set up profiles on the sites listed above and reach out to your past clients to ask them to submit reviews for you. It only takes a moment and most people are glad to write a few lines about their experience. Plus, it serves as a great touch for your past client sphere.
Research. Manage. Create. These are the three steps in managing your online reputation as a real estate agent. Once you have your finger on what the conversation is about you, you can actively push to make it better. Set a Google Alert to monitor for mentions of your name and a calendar reminder to stay on top of the various review sites each month. Your business is only as strong as your brand – make sure you know where it stands in the public eye!
Written by Gregory Kiep
With over ten years of experience in real estate marketing, Gregory has worked with top firms in Boston and Cincinnati, where he was raised. After completing his MBA at Xavier University, Gregory entered the world of real estate and successfully earned top Realtor awards for sales his first few years. Transitioning to a marketing role, he has worked in content and social marketing, SEO, web development, and branding for top firms around the country. He is currently the director of marketing at Charlesgate Realty. You can find out more about him at GregoryKiep.com or follow him on LinkedIn or Facebook.