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Reputation Management and Other Rental Myths

reputation management myth
November 2019

Panelists at the session Reputation Management and Other Rental Housing Myths at NAA’s Apartmentalize shared their thoughts on three common myths that are debunked by data.

Myth 1: Reputation management is the key to a positive online presence

Reputation management actually is a product of the service levels delivered onsite. Managing your online reputation is a necessary reaction to a deeper, more important activity: Proactive customer service.

“The way that you lose control with online reviews is you take a back seat and let reviews happen to you,” said Heather Palmer, Director of Sales and Training at Continental Realty Corp. “When you do that, it’s going to be the resident who hasn’t had the most pleasant experience at your community posting a review.” The narrative can be controlled upfront with the right programs and activities.

“We have 100 percent control of the narrative of reputation management at our communities,” said Jeremy Lawson, Reputation Manager at Fogelman. “Reputation management is not an approval rating. We have to get out of that mindset.”

Myth 2: Social media is a traffic generator

It’s the holy grail that rental housing operators have been chasing since the dawn of Facebook. Unfortunately, social media simply doesn’t generate traffic.

“Trying to lease apartments with social media would be a lot like using your holiday card list to try to do a lease-up,” said Claire Collins, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Education at Princeton Properties. “When someone is looking for an apartment, they may or may not make it to social media. Where we have an opportunity with social media is to engage and serve our residents.”

Myth 3: Drive-by is still a top source

The catch-all lead bucket, also known as drive-by, continues to make the list of common myths in the industry. But the data is clear85 percent of prospective residents research a community online before taking a tour, and they don’t tell the truth when asked where they heard about your community.

“There’s no such thing as a drive-by and it’s been that way since the time we were leasing apartments with avocado-colored appliances,” Collins said. “Today’s prospective renters come in to just validate everything they’ve read online.”