With 74% of consumers saying that positive online reviews make them trust a local business more, and only 5% saying they don’t pay attention to online reviews – can you afford not to manage your online reputation?
Let’s take a look at the research a customer may do when deciding to sell their property:
Google is increasingly placing emphasis on reviews and ratings, so agencies with ‘social proof’ are more likely to appear in higher positions in the Pay-Per-Click Ads and organic search results. Agencies with star ratings are also up to 20% more likely to receive clicks through to their website.
Customers are most likely to seek out reviews when making a high value or high risk decision such as buying or selling a property. So after browsing agency websites, the customer may proactively look for reviews. Research shows that 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews.*
Given online reviews are increasingly part of your customers’ decision making process, how can you make sure that your agency is represented fairly online? We’re all busy, and managing reviews can be very time consuming.
So we’ve put together a 4 step process for managing your online reputation.
Step 1: Audit your existing reviews
Step 2: Make review collection part of your everyday business
Research shows that if asked directly, 50% of customers are prepared to leave a review for a business.*
It’s really important to achieve a steady flow of recent reviews, as the older the review, the less weight it will be given when the customer is choosing an agency.
Make asking reviews part of the way you do business.
Make it easy to leave a review. Don’t say ‘Please leave us a review on our Facebook page’. Say ‘We’d love to hear your feedback at www.facebook.com/youragencyname. For more on this, see how to collect Facebook and Google reviews below.
Step 3: Choose the right review sites
Realistically, it’s impossible to get good reviews on every site – so which do you choose?
Our advice would be to ensure you have a number of good reviews on Google (at least 5 per branch), 5-10 reviews on Facebook, then concentrate on one other review site.
Google reviews are believed to influence the position of estate agencies in the organic search listings and the Google ‘local pack’ – the results shown just below the ads, opposite a map.
We’ve written a separate Guide to managing Google Reviews, including how to give your customers a link to leave a review directly.
Even having 5-10 Facebook reviews will make a difference to the perception of your business. Take a look at our guide to getting Facebook Reviews.
Dedicated review sites
Once you’ve covered off Google and Facebook, decide on a review site for the majority of your solicited reviews (remembering to top-up your Google and Facebook reviews with recent feedback when possible).
There are many options, but our clients tend to use one of four sites:
When making your choice, take a look at the sites that are being actively used by your competitors. Choose the review site most frequently used, as this is where potential vendors and landlords are most likely to end up when searching for reviews.
Your own website
Step 4: How to deal with negative reviews
Unfortunately, the nature of the property market is such that it is almost impossible to keep all clients happy all of the time.
Of course, reputation has always been important for estate agencies, but in the past, any negative feedback was limited to word of mouth.
Nowadays, a disgruntled customer can post a damning review in a matter of minutes.
Golden rules when receiving a negative review:
The only way to counter negative reviews is with many more positive ones. If you inadvertently end up with negative reviews on a review site, you may need to switch your focus to that site for a period of time to redress the balance.
So there you have it, the Homeflow guide to building and maintaining your online estate agency reputation. Just let us know if we can help you with your website or any other aspect of your online marketing.
*Source: BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey 2016