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Leveraging Yelp for Your Apartment Community

· Palo Alto California,Scott Safadi,housingforgoogle,San Jose,sunnyvale

Yelp has become something of a four-letter word in the property management world. Too often, we live in fear of what a negative review might do for our online reputation. While bad reviews can indeed stain an otherwise flawless rep, they're just one aspect of Yelp. If you're not proactive, those negative reviews might be all that people see when navigating to your Yelp page. Scott Safadi of Cal Bay Property Management recommends getting in front of negative reviews and make Yelp work for you.

Do so by adding content to your Yelp page. There are a number of free tools Yelp offers business owners to add content and customize the page. Upload photos, fill out the "About This Business" section and be as detail-oriented as possible. Be clear about why people should choose your rental over another.

While you might be worried about negative reviews, there are a few ways to handle the inevitable annoyed tenant. Step one is obvious: provide consistently great customer service. That means answering the phone every time it rings, keeping tenants in the loop on community updates and maintenance, and being there when something inevitably goes wrong. Allow reviews to build organically.

Yelp can also help you better understand your role in the market. Do a search for property management companies in your area and sort the results by the highest rated. Read the reviews on these pages to better understand what your competitors are doing right and how you can up your game to mirror their offerings. By using the information you learn from Yelp, you can spot your weak points and make adjustments as needed.

Your ultimate goal for Yelp is to foster a platform where tenants feel comfortable sharing their honest experiences with your company. Consider Cal Bay Property Management's Yelp page. It's full of positive reviews that make specific mention of helpful employees. There are photos of the company's various offerings and contact information. From the perspective of someone considering renting through the company, it's an overwhelmingly positive snapshot of what renting from Cal Bay Property Management is like.

Good reviews don't show up over night. Any time you receive a compliment from a tenant, ask them to share their experience on your Yelp page. Resist the urge to solicit reviews from every tenant you encounter. Instead, use any good will you might build from handling a tricky maintenance request or late rent payment to channel towards your online reputation.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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