Resident Advocates And Reputation Management

by Katie Sloan

Residents who have positive comments about your brand are never far away.

John HinckleyJust like Britney Spears and Will.I.AM implore their fans to bring the action, the time has arrived for apartment managers to redirect their marketing initiatives by encouraging residents to bring the action to their apartment communities.

Now, considering the fact that residents are always ready to “let it all out” whenever they have a negative experience, I realize that this may make some of you nervous. But I would like to challenge you with this question: What happens when you focus on capturing the voice of praise from your residents who love you?

In a recent study of more than 20 different communities in eight of the largest student housing markets nationwide, Modern Message’s resident advocacy platform, Community Rewards, found a direct and powerful correlation between resident advocates and positive ratings. The program’s intent was to both reveal which residents were happy with their apartment living experience as well as those who would be willing to share about their positive experience online.

The study revealed that when residents were invited to leave a 1-5 star rating for their community and a 140-character review, 38 percent of engaged residents opted to participate. Even more exciting, the final results from the 90-day study revealed that that 80 percent of reviews from brand advocates were positive!

Of the 800+ reviews submitted via Community Rewards, the average star rating was nearly 2x that of every major reviews site on the Web. Over the past five years, third-party review sites such as Apartment Ratings, Google + and Yelp had a 1-2 average star rating, while resident advocates from these same communities gave an average rating of 3.98 stars in just 120 days.

It turns out that resident advocates are more than excited to scream and shout how much they love living in their apartment. For some communities, advocate ratings and reviews potentially drowned out five years of bad reviews in just a couple months. The secret was finding those advocates who love their apartment and getting them to take action.

Resident advocates can have a massive impact on your online reputation. Statistics are saying 50 percent of Millennials are willing to share content about brands they love. Moreover, 96 percent of Millennials say that their peers are the most credible source of product information. Advocates are proving to have a major impact on the leasing decisions of future residents, and with this realization comes an entirely new mandate for apartment managers: discover your resident advocates and invest in them. Don’t leave your online reviews up to chance.

Dallas-based Modern Message is the creator of Community Rewards, a cross-platform advocacy marketing solution built specifically for the multifamily and student housing industries that enables property managers to increase the ROI of their social media presence. Launched nationally in 2012, Modern Message works with several large student housing management companies.

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