Reputation is important. That’s why many builders tout their years of experience and happy homeowners. However, many builders don’t give their online reputation management much thought outside of damage control.
Your reputation isn’t created by accident; it’s carefully put together by every comment, review, and conversation your buyers, real estate agents, investors, and other businesses have with one another. That’s why builders should expand their perspective beyond just damage control and take a more active role in managing how they appear online.
Find out why home builders should expand their perspective of online reputation management beyond damage control and how to implement a reputation management strategy.
What is online reputation management?
Reputation management is the process of managing and improving how customers think about your brand. It puts your brand in the best possible light in the eyes of your customers. A holistic reputation management strategy will reinforce a positive brand message and enable you to effectively respond to negative feedback.
Why online reputation management matters
The internet has become our default source of information. Whenever a recommendation is given or we see something we want, we go online to look for reviews and ratings. Consider the last thing you purchased online – did you read the reviews before buying it? When buyers are committing hundreds of thousands of dollars and decades paying off the mortgage, you can be sure they will review builders carefully. Remember: your product and business are only as good as buyers think they are.
Most businesses treat online reputation management as an afterthought when it should be a forethought. Proactive management prevents unflattering portrayals and negative feedback from influencing potential customers. Businesses that value online reputation management and have a formal system typically experience higher customer satisfaction and growth.
Developing an online reputation management plan
Maintaining a positive reputation and properly managing negative feedback is an important part of a successful online reputation management plan. There are two main components of an effective reputation management strategy: monitoring and responding.
Monitor your reputation.
You can’t create a plan without first knowing what’s being said about you. Your first step is to listen. Monitoring allows you to know what your customers, partners, and even competitors say about your brand and homes.
You need to develop a presence where your buyers are. Where do your buyers talk about you? Do you know?
Social media is a good place to start but you should also include forums, review sites like the Better Business Bureau, blogs, news sites, and even Google. Media monitoring tools streamline the monitoring process by tracking whenever your brand is mentioned, even when the person isn’t directing the comment toward you.
This is an important distinction – while it’s good practice to review all social media mentions, it’s essential to know that not everyone will include an @mention, which sends a notification to your social account. If you’re depending on the @mentions, you’re potentially missing out on a lot of conversations.
In addition to monitoring the web for conversations, a well-designed customer survey can provide additional invaluable insights and feedback that can be used to better understand your customers and their experience with your company.
Encourage satisfied customers to leave feedback and reviews. People who have had good experiences don’t tend to leave reviews so prompting them is a good idea.
You can also share positive news about projects, developments, charity or community involvement, and more through social media posts, press releases, and blog posts.
Create a response plan.
Now that you know what people are saying, it’s time to respond. Properly responding to public feedback requires a solid plan. Your response plan should clearly state the following:
- Who will monitor for comments and reviews. Ideally, this would be the person in charge of your social media accounts since they’re already watching the pertinent platforms. Additionally, it can also be someone from your customer service department.
- Who will decide when a new comment requires a response. You should be responding to both positive and negative comments. If the comment was positive, a response may lead to additional positive engagement. If it was negative, a proper response may change the person’s opinion.
- Who the company’s subject matter experts are. Sometimes your frontline person may receive a comment they’re not quite sure how to handle. Set expectations for the kinds of comments they can feel free to respond to and which will require advice from management.
While we like to believe everyone will have a positive experience with our brands, we know that doesn’t happen. When you do receive a negative comment, it’s tempting to ignore it or send a boilerplate reply. Instead, respond quickly, politely, and professionally. Make it clear that you’re listening by acknowledging the issues. If the complaint is too severe or the conversation is starting to go off the rails, continue the conversation in private. Ask for an email address or phone number and follow through with the request.
No one likes receiving negative feedback but with a proper plan, you can win over a disgruntled customer and salvage a relationship with the right approach.
Don’t leave your reputation to chance; a well-developed online reputation management strategy will allow you to respond to customers instead of simply reacting.
Graphic Language can help fine-tune your digital marketing strategy, including online reputation management, so you’re well-positioned to drive the highest quality traffic and yield the highest quality leads. Connect with us to see how we can partner in your digital marketing success.