Social media is today’s word-of-mouth for property managers

Linda Day Harrison
Linda Day Harrison | 5 min. read

Published on February 5, 2014

Think about your own life and how you use social media. How many times do you really go on Facebook or Twitter to complain? If you do go on Twitter or Facebook to complain, is there a valid reason? I find it highly unlikely that anybody would do that on a regular basis, but I’m sure there are a few mean-spirited who will. But I am not going to run my business or property in fear of the minority of folks who think that way.

Fighting the Fear of Social Media

What is all of the madness about? Why is everybody scrambling to either use or bash social media? Why is it so puzzling, and why are some property management companies hesitant to embrace it?

My take is that it comes down to fear. However, social media is really nothing more than today’s ‘word-of-mouth.’ Are you afraid of word-of-mouth too? If so, you might as well close your doors and crawl under a rock because that is what business is about.

Word-of-mouth is and should be your best friend! Word-of-mouth is and always has been the top banana of free PR or advertising. It is completely organic: A happy customer tells a friend, they tell another friend, and so on. So it is the dream of most companies, not a fear.

Before social media, negative word-of-mouth was done through a phone call, a face-to-face conversation, or however you would share news of a bad experience or inferior product. In the old days, you would write a letter to a newspaper or report someone to the Better Business Bureau. In any case, negative word-of-mouth could be devastating to a property owner or management company. If you were doing a lousy job of managing a property, the customers would tell friends, family, community members, or anybody who would listen.

Now, negative word-of-mouth happens at a faster pace, but it is still damaging, with or without social media—so don’t blame social media.

Why You Should Embrace Social Media

On the flip side, if you are excellent at what you do and you love your job, your residents, your clients, and your properties, you have so much power with social media! Why fear it? Embrace it. (If you need help getting started with social media, read our guide: A Property Manager’s Guide to Social Media)

If someone says you did a great job, remind them to tweet it or post it on Facebook. Also, Yelp and other online review sites are forms of social media as well. Be sure your property is featured where people will look and see your glowing reviews or kind words from customers. You no longer have to wait months or weeks to learn that someone used word-of-mouth methods to say something great about your property or your company. You can hear about it instantly now!

Here are some examples:

Customer #1: I just need to rant about my experience at XYZ Property. Hey, wait a minute, social media will listen!

Property Manager Solution #1: Dot your I’s, cross your T’s, and drop the fear of receiving negative reviews on social media by doing your job to the best of your ability.

Customer #2: I just want to rave about this awesome customer service I received because I cannot believe how nice these folks were and how quickly they delivered on their promise. I have to tell all of my followers on social media!

Property Manager Solution #2: Rock your customer service to make things go right with your properties! Deliver quality service and dynamic leasing experiences that make people want to talk about your properties. Again, drop the fear of social media.

Customer #3: I am so proud of myself that I found this fantastic location, apartment, condominium, etc., and I am so darn proud, I have to tell everybody on the planet. I will use social media to do that!

Property Manager Solution #3: Look for everything good that you and your team do for your clients. Encourage your team to educate your customers on how to tell the world about it. Reward your team and customers by offering incentives for those who post on Yelp, Facebook, or Twitter about you.

Tips for Using Social Media to Your Advantage

  1. Always take the high road and have a plan of action or a positive rebuttal to anyone who complains publicly.
  2. If someone posts something negative, always offer a public response that is well-crafted and with a very positive tone.
  3. Never fight fire with fire. It does not pay to fuel negative word-of-mouth with more negativity.
  4. Always thank people for their feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive.
  5. Do not ignore comments or feedback from the general public. Always answer each customer.

Always Accentuate the Positive

So, the moral of the story is that if you take the high road and do a good job, you will experience positive word-of-mouth—on social media or otherwise. If you take the low road, you can expect negative word-of-mouth. No one can protect you from unfair criticism or false accusations, but if you follow these simple rules, you will have a better chance of looking professional and fair in the public eye.

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Linda Day Harrison

Linda Day Harrison works for The Broker List in Chicago, Illinois, an online platform for finding brokers, deals, services, and vendors.

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