You may be feeling the heat to seek and collect positive reviews on sites like Google+, Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook, but it's never a good idea to write fake reviews or falsify information—no matter how much your fake glowing feedback would help the marketing strategy.
According to the latest reports, a company recently posted incorrect Google+ Local company information and fake positive reviews on the social networking site to bring in more business. This resulted in Google pulling the business' reviews and marking the page as spam. The catch is that the company used real people's Google+ identities to make the deceitful reviews more credible—this would be akin to property operators using real residents' identities on reviews or even posting actual names on false testimonials.
Don't Buy Reviews, Either
But rental property marketers need to worry about more than the trouble associated with writing fake reviews—companies may also get hit for buying them, too. A recent Yelp sting busted eight businesses for trying to buy positive reviews. According to a New York Times article, a Yelp employee posed as an "Elite" reviewer on the site.
As a result, the companies that sought to obtain false reviews now have accounts showing consumer alerts, which will warn prospects for three months about the business' phony dealings.
Fake Reviews Can Harm Your Business
Other than the obvious reasons—the risk of getting caught, losing renters' and prospects' trust, etc.—property operators and marketers are putting themselves at a disadvantage if they seek or use made-up reviews.
Not only are reviews a helpful tool in the property's arsenal as a means of learning what can be improved to increase residents' happiness, they also ensure that future renters know exactly what they're getting to decrease the chances of future negative reviews if things don't quite match up with their expectations.
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