Taking Control of a Building's Online Reviews

With the prevalence of online review sites, there's a good chance that your building is mentioned--either for the better or worse. But that doesn't mean you have to passively accept bad reviews.

New York—With the prevalence of online review sites, there’s a good chance that your building is mentioned—either for the better or worse. But that doesn’t mean you have to passively accept bad reviews. In a recent webinar titled “Managing Your Online Reputation,” Charity Hisle of Socially Engaged Marketing explained how property managers could respond to negative reviews and manage their building’s Web presence.

One thing property managers can do, especially if they have a new building, is to buy a variety of domains with the building’s or management company’s name with negative modifiers attached (for example: Building XScam.com, IhateXYZcompany.com). This way, unhappy residents can’t buy these domains and start hate websites that will show up in prospective residents’ searches.

An important part of managing an online reputation is to keep track of all mentions and reviews of a building. Hisle suggested setting up Google alerts and tracking everything on a spreadsheet. This way property managers can follow up on reviews and know who to reply to.

As mentioned, with so many review sites, there’s a strong possibility that there will be negative ones of a particular building. And these complaints should be addressed.

“[Responding] demonstrates that you’re listening and care,” Hisle said.

However, there is a “good” way to respond to negative reviews and a “bad” way to respond. When there is a negative review, Hisle suggested that property managers “take it offline” by contacting the person directly—if possible—rather than responding to the review. This way, when other people search for the building, the bad review won’t have more “weight” and show up at the top of searches.

“Try not to ever remove content, because people get angrier,” Hisle warned.

Hisle also said there should be a hierarchy for bad reviews. For example, if a resident writes something online that addresses safety or security issues, that issue should be addressed immediately.

Not all reviews are going to be negative, of course. And positive reviews of a building should be addressed as well.

“Thank them,” Hisle said. “Then share these positive comment on social media sites as testimonials.”

Though it might seem ideal to only have good reviews online about a building, surprisingly this could backfire. (And don’t ever pay for good reviews.) According to Hisle, “95 percent of people become suspicious when there are only positive reviews.”

Ultimately, Hisle said residents just want to make sure their concerns are being heard.

“Avoidance is not the answer,” she said.