Online Reputation Management In Real Estate Industry
Realty Plus speaks exclusively to BrijeshMunyal, Joint MD, Ethinos Digital Marketing gauging his opinion on the growing significance of one’s digital image and how it can make or break the company.
Elaborate on Growing significance of online reputation management in real estate industry
Buying a home usually tops the wish list of people and is the biggest investment for any person in his/her life. People tend to take time in researching about the builder/ developer or any past projects they have done to judge their commitment to their existing or future projects.
84% of the people trust online reviews/comments as much as word of mouth opinions from their near and dear ones.
Online forums are another major medium where people are sharing their experiences. As social media & online forums are becoming mainstream, any inconvenience caused to the consumers reflect either on Facebook or Twitter. Some evolved users are now reaching out to stake holders on LinkedIn.
One recent case of user angst relating to one of the real estate companies eventually led to drop in bookings for one of their prime projects.
Upholding a brand’s image is all the more pivotal in the real estate business. Majority of the companies fail to adequately monitor and maintain their online presence which results in damage to their reputation both offline and online. It’s imperative to monitor what consumers are talking about their brand/projects.
ORM has become a prerequisite for any brand online and especially real estate companies need it more than ever.So, it is essential for the brand to monitor their health online and it is essential to win the trust of these audience.
How online reputation management can impact the real estate industry?
As I said if you are a home buyer who was eagerly waiting for the housewarming this Diwali and you realise the builder is behind schedule on delivering the property, where else the consumer will raise a concern apart from social media? As a consumer, they may not be aware of the ground reality- why the project has been delayed but the damage it creates for the brand is enormous.
While reviews/comments/UGC are critical to any business, the weighting is especially high in the real estate market. This industry come with a high price tag, so consumers will tend to do a lot more research to identify and vet the right real estate company.
Earlier real estate transactions used to convert through referrals or word of mouth. Over a period of time this medium of referral has become much more dynamic with digital medium playing a pivotal role.Online reviews are the most authentic way for your customers to share brand experiences with others in the community.
Look at the recent happenings where a lot of companies received flak on digital platforms when there was a slight delay in apartment handover ,which in turn had a negative impact on the brand’s share price as well as investments in its future projects. Imagine one slight negative piece of information leading to huge losses. It is essential for the brands to communicate with the consumers and give them information or make them understand the ground realities so as to keep them abreast about things in such situations.
Just like people are researching online and showing interest in a property through digital means, online reputation has impacted on how users choose the property they want to buy or invest in. Since it is an investment that’s highly personal ,the brand cannot lose their reputation online.
Do online reputation management for realtors helps in providing quality services to your consumers?
Of course, it does. The brands need to be more accessible to the consumers. When they see negative chatter around they should monitor and also be able to communicate/update the consumers about the project. Most of the consumers are not updated unless they call to check the progress or visit the site of construction. Imagine an NRI who cannot visit but just check with their near and dear ones, for them social media becomes an important medium to vent their angst.
The digital medium can be used to monitor the grievances the consumers are facing and then reach out to them directly. Direct communication and pro-active updates are always appreciated by the consumers.
How should real estate companies consider expanding their communication plan to handle online reputation?
We have seen how important it is to monitor comments and conversations. After all, that’s what social media is about! So how can you easily wrangle some control over the always-moving, fast-changing conversation? Try setting up an automated moderation tool.
As Google scrapes across the web for information it is essential we build positive responses across social platforms, positive PR, promote testimonials and encourage satisfied customers to write reviews or share experiences so when users search it’s all positive links that come on the top. Some quick pointers to keep in mind are
- Be a good social listener so as to capture what users are talking about the brand.
- Never fight. There should be a quick response to consumer queries (both positive and negative) but rather polite replies on social platforms or forums.
- Understand your audience
- Keep a watch on your employees as these days some of the consumers have started tagging key stakeholders from the organisation on any concerns raised by them
- Be transparent
- Identify the influencers to build reputation for the brand online across all digital platforms
As a real estate brand, online presence is the digital resume of the brand. Reviews, listings, blog posts, even personal social media profiles of employees/stake holders all contribute to the online reputation and influence consumers.