We’ve all heard that consumers trust online reviews almost as much as they do a referral from a friend or family but many agents still don’t know where to even start with online reviews or all the different platforms that they need to set up. I’ve written this to try to help out in that process.
My company has worked very hard in gathering reviews and it takes a long time, using multiple platforms to gather reviews.
The first thing you need to know is that getting a great online reputation is a marathon rather than a sprint. It takes a lot of time to gather reviews so if you’re going to do it right, have a list of places that you want to target and then put a process together to try to get clients to review you.
Yelp - This is the hardest platform to get and keep reviews. Yelp has the toughest algorithm in the industry to “filter” reviews. Not only do you need to get a client to review you, but that client needs to have a Yelp account and be an active user in order for that review to not be filtered. Also, once you get past 15 reviews, the Yelp Algorithm doesn’t filter the reviews as much. Update your profile on Yelp from time to time. Change out the video and add some “Just Sold” canvas to optimize your profile.
Google My Business - formerly Google Places. Like Yelp, they writer of the review needs to have an active gmail account. But unlike Yelp, there is no hard filter. A reviewer can even put a 5 star review from Google without any comments. Obviously comments are better, but getting a LOT of reviews is the most important thing. I’ve even sent a URL link to my Google My Business to some of my Facebook friends and said “do me a favor and just click 5 star, it will take you 5 seconds. Google has recently started filtering reviews so my recommendation is to get some 5 star reviews without comments. I think those will not filter as easily but I’m not sure.
Zillow - Reviews on Zillow are extremely important for a lot of reasons. Not only can you brag about them on your site and social media, but if you are EVER planning on using Zillow for leads or advertising, then you are going to want a very strong profile.
Facebook - This is another easy one to get from friends, clients or whomever. And now Google is pulling reviews from Facebook into their reveiw feed on Google My Business.
Realtor.com - although not as important as the rest, you're going to want to collect some of these, especially if you do any advertisements with them. They only publish reviews for consumers that closed properties (Zillow has the option “showed me lots and homes”). I would go after these reviews but only with people who are good friends and family who you can physically make them do the review, along with the others.
Tips on Getting Reviews
When you (or your admin) are about to ask for a review from someone, check on Yelp to see if they are an active Yelper. If they are, absolutely go for that review. If not, push the client to Zillow and Google My Business and Facebook
Talk about reviews during the process- If someone gives you a compliment on how you’re doing during a transaction, tell them at that point that you’d would LOVE it if they would write a review for you once the deal is finished. It’s better if you set it up. For some reason, people are extremely lazy when it comes to reviews, so the more you prep them that it's coming and that it’s it’s important to your business, the more likely they are to review you.
Have a series of templates for whatever platform the consumer is on (Yelper or Gmail user or both). Send them the links for the platform you want the review on the most and put that front and center and then say “and if you’re feeling especially generous, copy and paste that platform to this link and this one”.
Follow up with your clients after the sale. Set a task to check in on clients about 2 to 4 weeks after the sale and ask them how they are doing. If they haven’t filled out a review, ask them to at the end of that conversation.
When you are asking for reviews from past clients or even friends that know you are successful, make it easy on them. I’ve seen agents post links on Facebook to their review site and the link doesn’t have the exact page with the review. For example, when you google Spyglass Realty Austin, my company will show up and you can see the Google My Business profile on the right. Go FURTHER than that. Click the review button (as if you were going to write a review) and THEN copy the URL at the top. Remember that people get distracted easily in this day and age and you want them to be able to accomplish the task with the least amount of effort.
Track your Reviews - Google My Business has been an important part of my business lately and I want to know who called off of what platform. I used CallRail to see who came from Yelp or who came from Google. I would necessarily recommend this just for reviews, but if you are using Adwords, paying Yelp or anything else that would require tracking, I highly recommend CallRail and assigning different numbers to each platform so you can see who came from which platform.
Go after your good friends and family for reviews on all platforms- most of us have sold a home to very good friends and family. Make an appointment for dinner or coffee or lunch and ask them to do the review on all sites in front of you as a “special favor”. Remember, you can’t “make” anyone do a review but we all have at least a handful of good friends that are customers that you can get to do stuff for you when you push. Use those relationships to publish reviews on all sites when you can.
And finally, make sure you have a reviews page on your site that you can show off to potential clients without having them leave your site.