How to Market an Apartment Community With Bad Reviews

June 24, 2013 in Apartment Marketing Ideas

 

Apartment Marketing and ReviewsSocial media—a best friend or an apartment community’s foe?  Positive reviews attract new residents and builds solid reputations, but when an apartment community’s errors are recorded in time—either deservedly or unjustly—the repercussions can be long-lasting.

Most prospects will overlook the occasional bad review if enough positive reviews exist, but when sites such as Google list multiple complaints and photos of broken doors and leaky ceilings, the majority of would-be residents stay as far away as possible. The transparency that results from openly shared reviews forces an apartment community to deliver upon their marketing promises and can cause an apartment community with negative reviews to see the Internet like an enemy. So the question is, what’s an apartment community to do that wants to attract positive reviews and/or recover from poor reviews?  The amazing thing about social media is that it also has the power to change the consequences since it is a reflection of truth—but as such, the reviews of unhappy residents must be warranted.  Here are some of the techniques I use in the initial steps of apartment marketing to recover from negative reviews:

Proactively monitor social media sites to monitor what your residents are saying about you. Their reviews are actually a treasure as they will alert you to unforeseen issues that, if caught early, can be remedied before causing further damage. In addition, these negative reviews or comments will help you turn a resident from a potential move-out to a potential renewal. Make certain you’re community itself matches your web site by addressing the issues raised and following-up to see that they don’t reoccur. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have visited a website and then the community to discover that they looked and felt like two different places. The secret is to make certain your website clearly reflects the community and sells the community as if the Leasing Professional was talking to them and showing them around.

Ask residents who have had an enjoyable residency to leave feedback either on a social media site or provide an option for doing so on the main apartment community’s site.  Offer an incentive for residents who leave feedback good or bad. There are many systems out there that ask for this feedback and allow you to post the positive reviews and fix the bad reviews without them being public. I prefer this of type system when I first implement a feedback program so that I can “fix” the issues before going public.

Gain the advantage.  Make certain your community website and all your posts and comments on social networks uses accurate and well-researched content with keywords that reflect your target demographic desires without misleading them. When working with clients I build a micro-site for promotion of the community’s neighborhood. This is our focus rather than the old school marketing calls. Make certain you are adding businesses near the apartment community on Four Square, City Search, Local Places and Yelp. Your Neighborhood ratings are important to the success of apartment marketing.

Monitor your competition and be different. Where are the community’s competitors having success and what could be improved?  Be a fierce competitor, put a different spin on their marketing efforts for your community. Determine the competitor’s weakness and offer something that fills the void.

Look at neighborhood business successes outside of the apartment community. Establish cross-promotions with partners that are relevant to your target market. Use Google Trends to see what’s important to the community’s residents and integrate these ideas into your overall apartment marketing strategies.  Remember, the community is whom they’re linked to according to Google.

These are just a few ideas for improving an apartment community’s image while targeting the community to a more specific set of residents. Every apartment community has room for innovation in order to remain competitive. The Future of Apartment Marketing is here is your community on board?