84% of millennials say consumer-written content on brand sites influences what they buy (Social Trends Report 2013). As you have probably experienced, reviews play a huge role in the apartment search process. Prospects don’t choose an apartment without reading apartment reviews. And in some cases, they prioritize strong reviews over everything else, including price. This means you should be using your reviews as a marketing tool.
Reviews are the new form of advertising. Traditional advertising now has a much smaller role in customer influence. Why? Because the customer experience is no longer our story to package up and present. It’s our residents’ story to organically share.
As a result, prospects rely on reviews to understand the customer experience before they make the decision to visit a property or do additional research.
But reviews are also a very valuable tool for you. There is almost always information you can learn from if you read them with the right mindset. You have to learn to look for opportunities. This means finding areas where you can improve and grow, but it also means you should monitor your competitors.
Read your competitor’s apartment reviews to find their weaknesses and their strengths. This will give you a better understanding of their customer experience, and it also helps you understand some of your differences.
When you monitor your competitors, also compare yourself to them. Look at everything from their value proposition to the quality of their mobile site to how they engage on social media sites. Are you doing those things better? How are they handling negative reviews? Can you learn from their mistakes? If you do this consistently, it will help you develop a strategic edge. You will have a better understanding of what residents really care about. And, you will know what makes you special.
Speaking of being special, it is easy to get caught up in what others are doing and to lose sight of who you are. When you are monitoring and comparing, don’t forget what makes you unique. Be yourself. You have your own customer experience for residents to share. Just do it better than everyone else.
Social Insight Thought Leader