Online Reputation: What Is It, and Why Should Senior Living Providers Care?
Online reviews. Social media. Search engine optimization. Web presence.
You’ve probably heard these phrases come up in conversation. You may already know what many of them mean, and how to utilize them. These are all elements of a brand’s online reputation. But, what does that mean, exactly? And why should you care, as a senior living marketer?
Before the internet age, a business’s reputation relied primarily on traditional marketing channels, which included print and television advertising in news and directory outlets, press releases and articles in regional and national newspapers, and of course, local word of mouth. Today, these channels are all still an important part of brand marketing, but they also have their online counterparts, which, due to the global nature of the internet, have much wider-reaching implications and impact on a brand name.
Advertising has expanded to include online and web advertising, such as the paid ads you see in Google search and banner ads on websites. Press now includes releases submitted via web and company blog posts. Word of mouth has undergone the most significant change, as it now encapsulates the world wide web – people are sharing their opinions of your brand in online reviews, on their social media accounts, and on their own personal blogs. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to stay in the loop about your online word of mouth, and most of them are free. This post will focus on some of these free ways you can manage online word of mouth about your brand.
Read and Respond to Online Reviews
Why? Online reviews are a great way to see what others are saying about your brand. Online reviews have increasingly become part of a consumer’s buying process – people are looking to hear about other people’s experiences with a brand before they make a purchase decision. In many ways, online reviews act as free advertising or free recommendations for your brand – people will write about the various amenities and services they like about your community, and many satisfied customers will encourage others to check out your company.
How to Get Started: Go online and claim your community profiles on review sites like SeniorAdvisor.com and Google+ Local. Your Google+ Local listing will show up in search results when people search for your community name on Google, and it will often include a link to your reviews on other sites like SeniorAdvisor.com, so it is important that you are getting a lot of positive reviews on both sites.
To claim your Google+ Local listing, follow the instructions located here. To claim your page on SeniorAdvisor.com, follow the instructions located here. Once you claim your page on SeniorAdvisor.com, you will be instantly notified via email every time a new review is published about your community. Then you will have the ability to respond to reviews, giving you a chance to further engage current and potential happy customers and to resolve issues with unhappy customers.
Connect With Customers on Social Media
Why? It seems everyone is on social media these days. Families, and even residents themselves, are going online to talk about your brand on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
How to Get Started: Seniors are the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook, so if you haven’t started a social media presence yet, Facebook is a good place to start. Chances are there is already a page created for your business, so you can claim your page following the instructions here. YouTube is also a very popular social channel for seniors, and can be a great way to share video tours of your community, and fun videos you’ve made with your residents and staff. Once you’ve set up your Google+ Local listing, you can link your YouTube page to it using the instructions here.
Monitor Your Brand Mentions Using Google Alerts
Why? A great way to stay on top of what people are saying about you on the web, in blogs or in the news, is by allowing Google to bring the content to you.
How to Get Started: Go to the Google alerts page here and enter your brand name in quotes in the “Search query” box. You can modify your alert based on your preferences by selecting how often you want to receive it, and what types of content you want to be alerted about. To get the most inclusive set of results, keep Everything as the “Result type” and select All Results for “How many.” Bonus tip: you can also use these alerts to monitor brand mentions of your competitors, allowing you to see what they’re up to.
We hope these tips help you get started managing your online reputation. Do you have success stories of how managing your online reputation allowed you to capture new leads, or to engage with your happy families? Let us know in the comments!