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What’s Reputation Management and Why Real Estate Agents Need It

Reputation ManagementRemember the old days when if someone or something pissed you off you would tell everyone? When I say everyone I mean all of your friends. Those that cared to listen anyway. “So and so did this and then I said this and then they said this and then I was like whaaaaaaaaaat?” “And then. . . .” you know what I mean. Those were the old days. Fast forward 8 years and people are still saying negative things about each other, “talking smack” as we called it in New York, only now – they are doing it online. Its called Reputation Management. “Reputation Management” refers to exactly what you say, others say about you and putting your best foot forward in the digital world.

Back in the old days it took a lot to anger someone enough to where they would want to tell everyone what you did or rather, what they THINK you did or said. Not anymore though, a perceived slight or undelivered expectation by one person to another could be heading straight to Facebook, Twitter, a forum and eventually to the big daddy – Google. While having 8 or 10 people hear you are a scumbag isn’t such a bad thing, [consider the source right], having 8,000 or even 8,000,000 people read it can be devastating for your business and your personal life - [If I was single I would Google everyone before I even went to a movie with them] Today we are influenced by consumer reviews. Here’s the kicker – We don’t even have to know the people or person reviewing a product or service, peer to peer recommendations of what others like or dislike about a product or service is often good enough for many of us to buy or not. It’s called social influence.

Of course not all reputations are bad, some are quite good. Having a good reputation on the Internet when a consumer finds you online is very important, especially in the real estate space where more and more consumers are not only asking Google for “homes for sale” but also asking Google about YOU. Much like not having a credit history is a bad thing, not having a reputation online is also a bad thing, especially when your business involves marketing. If someone Google’s you before they invite you over for a listing consultation or buyer consultation and they cant find you – what does it say about you, your business, your marketing skills?

3 types of reputation management

 

Building A Reputation Online

This type of management is exactly as it sounds, building a positive reputation for a person or business that is just starting. A good reputation not only needs to be built but maintained.

Maintenance

This is management of a reputation to keep a person or company’s image good in the public eye. Maintenance starts after a reputation is built.

Reputation Re-establishment

This is what you will need if you or your company has gotten a negative or bad reputation online – for any reason. While nothing can be erased from Google’s index, it can be pushed off of the 1st page and on to the 2nd, 3rd or 4th to hide the bad reputation while the good reputation is re-established.

If getting found online is a challenge, getting “hidden” as I say is even harder and expensive and time consuming. It is imperative that people and companies have a good reputation in the public’s eyes or rather in Google’s eyes. This is especially true when you are in a service industry like real estate. One bad comment from a client can tank your ability to grow your real estate business.

How To Grow, Maintain or Re-establish your reputation online


Blogging

You can grow and maintain your positive reputation and hence, push off any negative comments in Google’s index about you by blogging every day. As the index fills up with great content about you, the bad or negative content and comments will be pushed off the 1st page to another page. How often do you go to the 2nd page of Google?

Social Media

Social Media tools like facebook fan pages [yes they are indexed] Twitter, YouTube and Google + are also great vehicles to help you build your positive reputation.

Positive Reviews

Positive reviews on consumer review or rating sites like Yelp, foursquare, ratemyagent, angieslist, incredibleagents,etc. can also help you build or maintain a positive reputation. Even Zillow now encourages consumer reviews of real estate agents

If you think SEO or Search Engine Optimization is expensive you don’t want to meet it’s ugly sister – reputation re-establishment. Surprisingly, many of the things real estate agents would want removed from Google’s index are their own doing. The web is filled with blog posts and facebook updates someone wishes they could have back. Many of the things a real estate agent would want removed are not necessarily a consumer talking bad about them but the real estate agent themselves writing a rant on a real estate forum about a client. While the client will most likely never see it, a quick google search of your name could reveal a great deal of your activity across the web – good and bad.

We all get mad from time to time. In New York you can not buy a firearm without a mandatory “cooling off period” of two weeks. Before you out someone  or speak poorly about someone on the net [even if you don’t mention a name], that would be facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Your website, blog or a real estate forum – take a breath, step away and evaluate if this is a good idea. It’s been my experience that it’s hard to make Google forget.

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Stephen

Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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