Heat Level: Mild: These tips are beginner-friendly.
Bottom Line: If you want to build trust with potential clients and grow your business, pay attention to your online reviews. Google certainly will!
Do This: Make sure that you’re in control of your online reputation by...
If you’ve ever shopped online or considered trying a new restaurant for the first time, you’ve probably looked at online reviews. In today’s digital world, online reviews are a pretty big deal for companies in all industries. In fact, 95% of shoppers today read online reviews before making a purchase.
If you’re buying something that costs less than $10, you might take a gamble, skip over any negative reviews, and hope for the best. But for big commitments (like choosing a Real Estate agent), online reviews are an essential part of the decision-making process. So if you’re ignoring the reviews building up around you or your business, you’re risking more than some bad PR...you’re risking your reputation.
As a real estate professional, your business relies on your reputation. And online, your reputation is synonymous with your reviews. This means that when people hear about you, their first impression will be the collection of star-ratings on your Google My Business listing, Zillow profile, Facebook page, and so on. Make no mistake: your star rating is a big deal. Some 87% of American-based consumers feel a business needs to have a minimum star rating of three or higher (out of five stars).
Yes, online reviews can get it wrong and not tell the whole story. Sure, they can be a pain to keep up with, particularly if you run into any trolly behavior. But they’re also one of the most valuable sources of information consumers rely on. In fact, 85% of consumers trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations, and 73% of consumers trust local businesses more after reading positive reviews.
In other words, you need to pay attention to your reviews - because your potential clients definitely will.
And think of it this way: personal recommendations have always been a great source for new leads, but if you relied solely on individual referrals to gain new clients, your growth would be slow and limited. Online reviews provide that same level of trust, but reach significantly more people and last forever.
Google My Business is probably the most popular place to find information (including reviews) about a business. Since people heavily rely on Google and Google Maps, GMB is a key review hub to keep an eye on. Your GMB account can also connect with and display reviews from other platforms (like Facebook), which means it should serve as your primary hub.
Having reviews on your GMB listing also helps increase your visibility. Having multiple reviews, and regularly getting new reviews, is a huge factor Google uses to rank GMB listings. This means that listings with a consistent review presence rank higher than their competitors on local search results and map searches.
For real estate pros, consumers also consult with numerous industry-specific platforms like realtor.com and Zillow. Reviews on these platforms are equally important since they’ll be seen by your target audience: people actively looking to buy or sell a home!
Finally, platforms like Yelp are popular with reviewers and consumers alike. While Yelp is mostly known for restaurant and dining reviews, they reach across all industries and users do turn to the platform for information on all kinds of businesses.
First: do you have access to your Google My Business listing? What about any other listings? Search for your business on Google and see what comes up. Claim any listings you don’t already have access to on sites like Zillow, Yelp, Realtor.com, etc. If there are no listings to claim, set ones up on GMB and Zillow at minimum.
Once you claim all of your listings, log into each one and take a look at your reviews. As you’re looking through everything, ask questions like:
Once you’ve checked through all of these review-based platforms, remember to head over to Facebook. Users are able to leave reviews and recommendations on Business pages, so check your page and make sure you didn’t miss anything there. You should also take a quick look through the comments on your posts on all of your social media sites if you don’t regularly review them. Comments sections aren’t necessarily reviews, but it’s worth taking a pass through them to make sure there’s nothing that hasn’t been addressed.
Reputation is everything in business, especially in real estate. And today, reviews are the top way consumers judge a business’s reputation. If you want to control the narrative around your company’s reputation, improve your overall online presence, and continue to add new clients, you need to get serious about your reviews. Once you’ve claimed all of your listings and have a good picture of your starting point, head to our next post to start creating a review strategy to use the power of online reviews to your benefit.
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