As real estate agents, your online reputation goes a long way in attracting and securing leads. Testimonials and online reviews are powerful marketing tools that provide prospective clients a degree of assurance with regards to your ability to get the job done. If someone is on the fence between two agents they’re researching online, the reviews they see can often be the deciding factor. Real estate is still primarily a referral business – never underestimate the power of a glowing review from a former client.
But where should you have your clients leave you a review? Between Realtor.com, Bing, Google, Yelp, Facebook (and countless others) – there are so many places where clients have an opportunity to express how awesome you are as an agent. In an ideal world, you’d have them leave reviews on as many different platforms as possible. The reality is that you as an agent don’t want to become too dependent on any single platform. The internet changes rapidly – putting all your eggs in one basket may result in a situation where you get all your reviews on a website that gets bought out and shut down by a competitor. Having your client leave reviews on multiple sites, however, can sometimes be asking a bit much (especially considering most of these websites require the client to go through the process of creating an account, setting a password, verifying their e-mail, etc – which can get annoying pretty fast). So if we had to pick one platform that your clients should leave a review for – which would be it be? Here’s our rankings:
Google is king. A huge portion of people looking for an agent start their search here. While we can’t guarantee that more reviews on your Google Places page will result in moving up in the rankings, Google does have a history of rewarding people who actively participate in their services. With all the changes that happen all across the internet, it’s safe to say we can count on Google being here for the long run. The good thing about Google Places is that users only need a gmail email address in order to leave a review. While this isn’t an easy choice, if we had our clients leave a review on only ONE platform, we would choose Google.
Buyers gravitate towards Zillow which means it’s a hotbed for leads. While many agents have an aversion towards the site, ignoring it completely can cost you market share. With Zillow having purchased Trulia, the site is here to stay. Period. It would be in every agent’s best interest to make sure their Zillow profiles are kept active and up to date. The hard part is that your client’s will likely have to go out of their way to create an account in order to leave a review.
As we said earlier, the real estate industry is still a people-based industry that relies heavily on referrals and relationships. A lot of clients send your info to their friends via Facebook so you want to make sure your business page isn’t a ghost town. The easy part is that mostly everyone already has a Facebook account so liking and reviewing your business page can take as little as 5 seconds!
Think of Realtor.com as Zillow-lite. Their recent marketing campaigns have signaled they’re attempting to pivot and attract more buyers and sellers.
Simple and easy: Endorsements can get you leads. Truly. The nifty thing about LinkedIn is that you can initiate the whole process by endorsing skills of your client first – at that point they may simply reciprocate without you having to ask!
Google-lite. The default search engine for Windows machines has shown that it racks in a good 20% of the search market. Having reviews on here will likely result in your standing out from the crowd simply by default (a lot of businesses and real estate agents neglect to put their company info on Bing). Clients who have @outlook.com or @live.com email addresses don’t have to sign up to leave reviews!
We really don’t like Yelp. We’re sorry but it’s true. They feel… slimy. We advise you do your research before spending money with them. But here’s how it works: If you don’t create a Yelp page and at least have your closest friends/clients leave a review – your account will be automatically created by that crazy client looking to leave that one nasty review. It’s best to be in control of the ship and give yourself some breathing room in the off-chance you have a nightmare buyer or seller that goes on a digital rampage.
Bing-lite. We have no idea how or why, but Yahoo still does attract a sizable user base. Much like Bing, having reviews on here will likely result in you standing out from the crowd simply by default (a lot of businesses and real estate agents neglect to put their company info on Yahoo).