Reputation management and public relations in general are important for any business. In the age of the internet, companies don’t have as much control over the narrative that’s created about them — a lot of it is in the hands of consumers now who can review a business or service and have the power to change what the public may think of it.
While you may think of online reputation management and reviews as being something that businesses like restaurants or retail stores deal with, you’d only be partially right. It’s true that a lot of people check reviews on Yelp before ordering food, or look at reviews for stores in the area or online if they’re looking for a good deal and experience in buying a particular product.
But other service areas should be thinking about the reputation they have on the internet as well.
One industry where leaders should be thinking about their online reputation is real estate. Gone are the days when a realtor’s smiling face on a sign and a good reputation around town were the center of a strong reputation.
91 percent of REALTORS® use social media “to some extent,” according to the National Association of Realtors. 51 percent of homebuyers, meanwhile, found the home they purchased on the internet. Clearly, the internet is a large part of the way realtors sell homes, and the way buyers find them.
The same NAR survey found that 89 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling a home. With sellers using the internet as well, it’s extremely important that leaders in the real estate industry protect their business brand and personal brand online.
Here are three all-important guidance points that realtors can use to improve and maintain their online reputations:
- Have a professional website and make sure it is optimized properly for your name.
If you are a realtor, especially an independent realtor running your own business, you understand how important it is to having a professional website when it comes to attracting new business. But, in addition to this requirement, it’s important to make sure that your website is optimized properly for your name and ranks at the top of your Google search results. If this is not happening, then the optimization of your website should be reviewed.
- Keep accurate and up-to-date profiles on powerful real estate directory sites.
There are a range of online real estate directory sites. Make sure you are aware of these and include yourself in these listings where you can. These can provide both a marketing and reputation advantage for your real estate business.
- Check your Google presence and respond to online reviews on a timely basis. Make a habit of regularly checking your Google presence.
One of the keys to having a strong online reputation is to be proactive in checking the Google presence for yourself and your business and, at the same time, to respond to online reviews in prominent locations, like Google reviews. Use tools like Google Alerts to help you know when new content about you or your business makes it to Google.