Word-of-mouth, the first social media platform, has become immediate and universal in the digital age. It also now carries more weight and directly impacts your bottom line. One negative review on an online review site drives away 30 new customers. Online reviews are one of the fastest and most trusted ways for customers to decide how and where to spend their time and money.

Online reviews are not a one-way street, and reputation management doesn’t just take care of itself. As the impact of online reviews increases, you need to be proactive and engaged in responding to the feedback you receive online. When a brand’s reputation is left in the hands of consumers, it can have a devastating impact on a business’ bottom line.

While you can’t control what is said about you online, you can control how it impacts your business. Your influence starts with understanding how digital marketing works, and where to focus your energy.

Three Pillars of Digital Marketing

Let’s start with the three pillars of digital marketing — earned, owned, and paid media. Each of these are essential to a well-structured and balanced marketing strategy. In a nutshell, the three break down in the following way:

  • Earned: What people say about you online such as mentions, shares, reviews, and reposts.
  • Owned: Branded properties you control, including your website, social media channels, and blog.
  • Paid: Advertising and promotions that you pay for, such as PPC, display ads, and retargeting.

Earned media is the most trusted form of advertising, and is the most difficult to master because you have less control over it. In the past, if someone recommended your community to a friend, you may have earned a new resident. Now, one positive review could be seen by hundreds of potential renters. The same is true, of course, with the impact of a negative review.

Four Benefits of Earned Media

Customers Trust Each Other
Potential customers trust reviews over branded or paid content. When they have questions about your staff, community, and services, they turn to reviews to get a real-life experience. Studies have revealed that online reviews impact more than 67 percent of purchasing decisions.

Reviews Can Validate Your Trust-Worthiness
Reviews don’t just impact purchasing decisions. Positive online reviews make 74 percent of consumers trust a local business more. In the age of social media, online opinions have been shown to be 84 percent as influential and trustworthy as personal recommendations.

Increase Your Online Visibility
People don’t have to go far to see your reviews and star ratings. Often, your Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews and ratings show up on a search engine results page (SERP). Searchers are more likely to engage online with businesses that have high-quality review signals, such as review quantity, quality, and business owner response rates. This engagement improves your business’ relevancy in your local search landscape. If you are on top of your reviews and reputation management, your reviews and rating can increase your SERP space, making you more noticeable.

Social media activity, online accuracy, and specialized SEO all increase your online visibility. You also have more opportunities to gain a customer’s trust. Google recognizes trusted brands that have an established online presence with coveted SERP visibility. Google’s Local Map Pack and Knowledge Panel showcase the top search choices in a specific area, and they are both determined by a brand’s online presence.

Gain Operational Insights
Optimize your earned media strategy with artificial intelligence-powered technologies. These emerging technologies analyze vast amounts of data, produce highly personalized audience insights, and predict changes in channel landscape.

One such powerful AI-based tool is sentiment analysis. It uses AI to read reviews across all of your social media platforms. Then, it breaks them down to identify positive, negative, or neutral statements, key topics, and audience reach.

Make Reviews Increase Your Bottom Line

Make the transparency and immediacy of social media work for you by engaging your reviewers and responding to practical requests. Think of review sites as a rotating focus group that gives you key insights into how to best reach them, what needs improving, and what’s working.

Online reviews are a powerful asset that can be used by everyone in your business. Share AI-backed operational insights with upper management to improve company-wide business practices and better understand industry trends. Your leasing team can use reviews to make specific changes, prioritize features and amenities that have been noticed, and know your target audience better.

Get Proactive with G5 Reputation and Social

G5 Reputation and Social Management offers a scalable solution. We bring all of your social media accounts and channels into one easy-to-use dashboard. You’ll receive a daily email with a brief recap of social media activity, reviews, and online mentions. G5 Reputation and Social will also analyze billions of online conversations to identify key topics that will drive better customer experiences for your property.

Be more informed and take control over how reviews impact your bottom line. To see how smarter marketing leads to increased NOI, download our One-Pager.