“A” Is for “Are You Seriously Writing That”?

“The Scarlet Letter” taught us all a thing or two. Namely, that members of the clergy also have desires. That, and the important lesson that one’s reputation can be quickly and irrevocably tarnished.

If you’ve ever taken a gander at a high-school bathroom stall, you know as much to be true. Bless you, janitors.

 According to Apartments.com’s James Watters, presenter of Feb. 26th’s Webinar Wednesday, “Reputation Overload,” apartment communities have to monitor their reputation on a daily basis. If you wait too long to long to clean the Sharpie rants off the metaphorical stall door, it’s going to become nearly impossible to do it later.

Internet trolls wait for no man.

Watters says in order to keep tabs on your company reputation, apartment management professionals must monitor social mentions, blog posts, employee chatter, directory listings, reviews, competitor data, ratings and tweets. Sound like a lot? It is.

Dealing with your reputation on the Internet alone can seem daunting. Anyone who’s ever read the comments section under a newspaper article, Facebook page or blog knows that there are an insane amount of people lurking on the Internet and writing the most ignorant things you can think of from behind the veil of their phone or laptop screen.

And I mean ignorant.

In this day and age, Watters says it’s important to understand that when it comes to the Internet, it’s more about content management. Your reputation is established onsite at the community itself, through your team’s daily interactions with residents.

That isn’t to say your online reputation isn’t important, or that it’s completely out of your hands. Although Internet word-of-mouse is a lot like the telephone game—the story inevitably gets changed and misinterpreted from person to person and you don’t have a lot of control over it—it’s important to follow the four phases of multifamily reputation management.

1. Proactive prevention. You hold the cards to make sure your residents are happy. Sometimes prevention is impossible, but if you’re a stellar company on the front-end, the comments you receive on the back-end will hopefully follow suit.

Unless of course people decide to speak out of their, well, back-end.

2. Recovery. Watters suggests making lemonade by turning a negative into a positive. Making actual lemonade also sounds like a good way to win some people over.

3. Solicitation. Don’t be afraid to ask your vocal, happy and positive residents to write an online review for the community. Sure, it’s a little begging someone to tell the world they’re in love with you, but if Taylor Swift can pull it off so beautifully, so can you.

4. Rejoice. Be grateful for the good reviews and positive ratings you do receive, and remember to say thank you—it goes a long way. 

So, too, does a thick skin.

Learn more about Webinar Wednesdays (hosted by NAAEI, Apartment All Stars and Multifamily Insiders), and register for March 12th’s “Stop the Pain of Hiring the Wrong Person” today.

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager of Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).