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Apartment Reputation Management: How You Can Better Obtain and Retain Residents

 

According to a recent survey, 85 percent of people look at online ratings and reviews at the beginning of their apartment search before choosing which properties to visit. The data speaks for itself. It’s vital for property management companies (PMCs) to have an apartment reputation management strategy in place. 

 

Not having a reputation management strategy can lead to high resident turnover and hinder you from getting potential residents. 

 

SOCi has helped over 200 PMCs and 22,500 properties with their property management marketing efforts and online reputation management (ORM). We know what it takes to improve your PMCs brand reputation!

 

In this blog, we’ll share seven apartment reputation management tactics your PMC can implement today to obtain new residents better and retain current ones.

 

1. Monitor Reviews

 

We’re listing review monitoring first because it’s arguably the most important element of apartment reputation management. Reviews from current or previous residents can greatly influence how potential residents perceive your properties. 

 

It’s essential for PMCs, especially those with multiple properties, to monitor and manage reviews left by residents on all major review sites.

 

Review monitoring also helps you identify patterns in negative feedback and enables you to take proactive steps to address those issues. This keeps current residents content, leading to more renewals, fewer negative reviews, and more positive ratings. 

 

Monitoring local reviews across numerous properties on dozens of review sites is challenging. To successfully monitor and respond to reviews, you need a software solution built for multi-location PMCs — more on this later!

 

2. Respond to Reviews

 

Not only do you need to monitor reviews, but you also need to respond to them. Below are a few benefits your PMC can receive from responding to reviews.

 

White bullet-point text describing the benefits of responding to reviews on a navy blue background with a green heading.

 

It’s worth noting that according to our research, in 2022, only 74 percent of PMCs responded to Google reviews. Review response was even lower on Yelp and Facebook, with both platforms averaging a little more than a 50 percent review response rate.

 

Now is the opportune time to respond to reviews and win residents from competing PMCs. Below are several common review response questions and solutions.

 

Who should I respond to first?

 

Four in ten consumers expect a response to their review within 24 hours of publishing it. Therefore, you need to prioritize the most recent reviews first, making negative reviews a priority. 

 

As a rule of thumb, we recommend responding to all reviews from the past 30 days since online users will perceive these responses as relatively new and timely. 

 

You can even go back to 90 days for negative reviews with text, especially if you’ve made updates that you can point to when addressing the reviewer’s concerns or issues. 

 

Do I need to respond to positive reviews?

 

If time permits, we recommend responding to positive reviews. Remember, prioritize negative reviews and the most recent ones first. However, responding to positive reviews makes current residents feel further satisfied with your properties and shows potential residents you’re attentive to everyone. 

 

Do I need to respond to no-text reviews?

 

In most cases, you don’t need to respond to no-text reviews that only give a rating. Even if they’re low-star ratings, there’s no context as to why the resident left the rating. That said, if you do respond to a low-star rating, you can say something like,

 

“Hi [reviewer’s first name], I’m sorry our [property name] didn’t meet your expectations. Please reach out to [property email] or call us at [property phone number] so we can get more insight into how we can make improvements at [property name].”

 

If it’s a positive rating, you can simply say something like, 

 

“Thank you, [reviewer’s first name], for the great rating and for choosing [property name] to be your home!”

 

Will residents change their reviews?

 

We found that 87 percent of people are willing to adjust a negative review, depending on how the property responds. Therefore, there’s a likelihood that residents will change their review if you respond in a genuine and action-forward manner.

 

That said, you shouldn’t request residents to change their reviews publicly in your response or via a private message.

 

3. Request Reviews

 

So far, we’ve discussed monitoring and responding to reviews. Another apartment reputation management tactic is to request reviews from current residents. 

 

Review volume helps with both local search rankings and conversions. Here’s more details on the relationship between reviews, local search rankings, and conversions.

 

Local search rankings:

 

Our Top Ranking and Conversion Factors for Local Search report found that businesses, including properties, ranked number one in the local pack/finder average 404 reviews, compared to those three through five, which average 280 reviews.

 

Conversions: 

 

For converting potential residents, our The State of Google Reviews report found a strong correlation between the number of reviews on your Google Business Profiles (GBPs) and conversions. For every ten new reviews earned, conversion on GBPs improves by 2.8 percent

 

Positive ratings also impact conversion rates. Conversion improves by 44 percent when a business or property increases its average star rating by one full star.

 

Here are a few strategies to request reviews from current residents:

 

Black bullet-point text describing four ways to gain more reviews on a light green background with a blue heading.

 

You should be strategic when you request reviews. Here are some opportune times:

  • A week or two after moving in
    • New residents will have some time to settle in and can offer valuable feedback on their move-in experience and the property.
  • When renewing a lease
    • Residents renewing their lease allows you to gauge their satisfaction and updates you can implement.

 

We must also mention that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) overtly prohibits “undisclosed paid endorsements” in exchange for reviews or modifying reviews. In short, don’t offer residents a private incentive for a review. 

 

Also, most review sites or platforms have solicitation guidelines. For instance, Yelp forbids its users from asking for reviews in any way. Google’s cracked down on its solicitation of reviews, and Facebook opposes sending mass emails or messages to followers asking for reviews.

 

For more details on how to request reviews properly, read our blog post on review solicitation.

 

4. Utilize UGC

 

User-generated content (UGC) includes comments on social media, reviews, images or videos, or testimonials that residents create. UGC often influences purchase and leasing decisions. 

 

Eighty percent of consumers say UGC (photos, reviews, comments) highly impacts purchase decisions — 8.7x more than influencer content and 6.6x more than branded content.

 

Below are two ways PMCs can utilize UGC:

 

Reviews:

 

As mentioned earlier, encourage residents to leave online reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, or Facebook. You can then ask residents for permission to share positive reviews on your properties’ local social media profiles or your website. 

 

Social Media:

 

PMCs can encourage residents to post pictures and videos of their apartments or rental properties on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You can use this content to showcase the property to potential residents and give them an idea of what it’s like to live there. 

 

Property managers can also repost this content on their local social media pages to increase engagement and attract new residents.

 

5. Gain Video Testimonials

 

Similar to reviews, you can also ask residents to provide video testimonials about their experience living on the property. You can then share these video testimonials, another form of UGC, on your website and local social pages. 

According to our The Secrets Of Facebook Post Engagement report, posts with videos on Facebook have twice the correlation with engagement as posts with photos.

 

Green download button with a mix of black and white text, main mage is a smartphone with Facebook on it

We recommend asking for video testimonials and giving specific recording instructions, like filming in landscape mode, filming in their apartment, or at one of your property’s amenities. 

 

6. Flag or Remove Fake Reviews

 

You should almost always accept a resident’s experience and review at face value. However, sometimes people publish fake reviews about your properties, and in some cases, they may violate the review platform’s guidelines.

 

These fake or inflammatory reviews can unnecessarily damage your properties’ reputation. It’s best to try and get them removed.

 

If you believe a review is fake or inflammatory and violates the platform’s rules, your PMC should flag these reviews and ask platforms to remove them. For instance, Google lets you flag reviews that violate its policies. For more details, read our article on removing negative reviews from Google.

 

7. Address and Fix Residents’ Pain Points

 

The final apartment reputation management tip is to address residents’ negative comments and difficulties. 

 

Again, you want to take reviews, especially negative ones, at face value. Reviews can help raise concerns you weren’t aware of and give you critical insight and data into your residents’ challenges. Moreover, you can analyze this feedback and make proactive changes at individual or multiple properties. 

 

For instance, a resident may leave a review disappointed with the time it took for the maintenance team to respond to a maintenance request, or another may comment on the gym’s cleanliness. What changes can your property make to address this feedback?

 

If you’ve fixed a pain point or issue stated in a review, you can respond to that reviewer, letting them know what changes your property made. This response also shows prospective residents that you’re proactively addressing issues and concerns.

 

Find a Review Management Solution for Your PMC

 

As mentioned, monitoring reviews and your reputation across multiple properties and platforms is challenging. Without a SaaS software in place, it’s nearly impossible. That’s where SOCi comes in! SOCi offers various services and solutions to help PMCs manage their online reputation.

 

Through SOCi’s streamlined reputation management software, users can view every action taken on reviews and monitor every activity on social media.

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By empowering your local property managers with a tool to create personalized responses efficiently, you improve relations with every resident through positive engagement. SOCi Reviews also allows your corporate teams to monitor and approve all actions taken on reviews and activity on social media or local listings.

 

Furthermore, SOCi’s recent integration with OpenAI’s ChatGPT allows your PMC to respond appropriately to reviews in a personalized, engaging, and relevant manner in real-time. This integration helps you increase resident satisfaction and showcase this to potential residents.

Screenshot of SOCi Reviews ChatGPT integration and a response to a Facebook comment and review overlaid on a laptop.

The ChatGPT integration, along with SOCi Reviews’ sentiment analysis capabilities, allows you to immediately respond to reviews and measure sentiment patterns across individual or multiple properties.

 

Request a demo today to learn more about how SOCi can help improve your apartment reputation management!

 

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Chi Whitley

Chi Whitley is a content marketer who specializes in local SEO. He’s passionate about helping multi-location businesses grow their brands and online presence in the ever-changing world of localized marketing.

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