Your online reputation is critical to your success as a real estate agent today.
We all know in our own experience when searching for a restaurant, a hotel or vacation or home services like a plumber or contractor. One of our first steps is often to “Google it” followed closely, depending on the need, by asking your social media sphere. As a business then, it’s imperative that you show up in a positive and accurate light online when those people find you.
- Make sure you show up on Google when they search for you
- Have a Facebook business page, and other social media accounts as long as you keep content updated and current
- Ask past clients to review you on all these platforms and offer a thank you to them for doing so
- Ensure you have current contact information, and ideally a welcome or about you video hosted on all of these platforms too
“I don’t need all this online stuff, my business is all from word of mouth”
If you’ve ever said the above, but are also noticing your income dropping year over year, there’s a reason for that. Word of mouth is still the BEST form of advertising, but in our digital world, that word of mouth has actually expanded online. When previously you may have asked your close friends and family if they knew a good REALTOR®, now they will ask on Facebook or other social networks to a much wider audience.
Secondly, most of us will get a few names from those we trust for that type of referral and then go to Google or our preferred social media platform to check them out before contacting them. When searching for a REALTOR®, studies show most people are looking for:
- Listings you currently have, including how well they are promoted with quality photos, video and types/location
- About You – they want to know who you are, see if they have anything in common, your background, experience and any specialities or education you have. Keep it professional, but let people get to know you. If you love dogs, cars, travel, have photos of those parts of who you are too. A picture says a thousand words as they say, and video must be a million then!
- Reviews & Testimonials – what do your past clients think and feel about their experience working with you?
Bonus points for video on all of the above.
Below helps you with part 3, on how to get reviews and where to focus getting them.
5 Main Review Platforms for REALTORS®
Google is still #1 when it comes to online reviews.
As the primary search engine for the vast majority of North America and the world, being in the top 3 results is the goal of many businesses. There are two ways to accomplish this:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Organic Rank
- PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising
One of the most powerful ways to rank organically (SEO) is through having high-quality reviews, and lots of them. For real estate agents, in many markets, this isn’t that competitive YET. Having even 10 reviews can have you rank quite high. To do this, you will need a Google My Business account and a physical location that can be verified.
Example Reviews Platform: REMAX River City (Old Strathcona)
To setup a Google My Business, here are the basics steps:
- Have a Gmail email is best, or a Google My Business account
- Setup your listing
- Verify your listing by either phone or snail mail with a code – www.google.com/verifymybusiness
- Contact past clients and ask them for reviews. Send them an email with a link to your reviews page
Facebook still has the best “social credibility rank”. Meaning friends trust their friends, and Facebook empowers that by using their technology to show anyone of your friends who has liked a company page you’re looking at and anyone you’re friends with that has reviewed that page.
See an example here of REMAX River City’s Facebook Reviews
The below video walks you through setup. Advance to 9:50 of the video for how to add the reviews tab to your Facebook Business page.
Rankmyagent is one of the best third-party review platforms available in Canada today.
The primary issue they helped solve is the random 1 star review on Google or Facebook from someone you have no idea who they are. Rankmyagent requires the reviewer to put in much more detail, including a transaction address of the property they bought or sold with you as their REALTOR®.
Rankmyagent profile example: www.rankmyagent.com/brokerage/remax-river-city/
They also offer various widgets and integrations. The most important ones for agents to setup are:
- embed on your website – Example here: www.rivercityrealestate.ca/testimonials.html
- REALTOR.ca profile – ensure you have your ID code entered on your profile to activate displaying the reviews.
- Facebook tab – Example here: Facebook Page Tab
- important note though is Facebook has now started limited the ability to add these type of widgets if you have less than a certain number of likes/followers, typically starting around 1000 minimum, or as high as 10,000 minimum.
Realsatisfied is a very similar platform to Rankmyagent, having grown more popular in Eastern Canada, it’s less used in the West. So if you’re looking for lead traffic coming from their site, it’s likely not your best choice as primary review platform but is a good option. They are slightly cheaper per year than Rankmyagent and offer similar integrations with REALTOR.ca and widgets or embed code to have them display automatically on your website or other profiles online.
Visit www.realsatisfied.ca for more
Pricing is $99/year for Agent PRO.
Yelp has been very popular in the past for restaurants and other entertainment establishments. “Yelpers” can review a business and provide public feedback, which Yelp then has it’s own algorithm to display the businesses with the higher overall ratings.
See example of “Best Real Estate Agents” in Edmonton, AB HERE…
The biggest challenge with Yelp we’ve found from the experience of several agents is that Yelp has too much control over the user and business.
- They typically only let “yelpers” which are “verified” accounts in their mind to place reviews. This makes it tough to get reviews from past clients unless they already have a “reputable” yelp account.
- Yelp will constantly try to sell you quite expensive advertising and ad promotions
- Same issue as with Google and Facebook, a user who you don’t know and have never done business with can leave a negative 1 star review and you can’t delete it. Yelp has some content guidelines but won’t allow you to remove a false or inaccurate post or review, meanwhile there is no issue for the user to remain anonymous and post whatever they like.
Here’s a quick video that explains some of the issues why we DON’T RECOMMEND real estate agents use Yelp. But some do find success with it, so make your mind up for yourself.