In a digital world where everything is online, agent reviews can sometimes be an under-rated, under-appreciated lead generation resource. When someone runs a search for “good real estate agents in [city name],” often times Yelp will be a top search result. So when users click on Yelp to find a local agent, wouldn’t it be nice if a link to your contact information was the first thing they see?
Over 25 million people access Yelp’s website each month to find local businesses and services; so believe it or not, gaining new clients because of Yelp reviews is actually more common than you may think. But in order to take advantage of this free, and sometimes lucrative, resource, real estate agents need to treat their Yelp account just as they would their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
So If you don’t already have a Yelp Business account, start one for free and follow these simple rules to help grow your business today:
1) Be Specific & Provide Details
If your Yelp profile isn’t comprehensive and complete, the chances of it being beneficial are slim to none. The objective here is to attract home buyers and sellers by explaining your skills and expertise as an agent. So under the “Business Information” tab, write a minimum of four paragraphs of quality content that explains your history as an agent, specialties, qualifications, and background.
2) Don’t Forget Photos!
You don’t go a day without adding photos to Facebook, so don’t forget to add these pictures on Yelp as well. Along with a professional headshot as your profile picture, add some images of your office, favorite listings, and even of your past clients (as long as you have their consent). Pictures can go a long way in potential clients feeling comfortable contacting you, so don’t hold back here.
3) Promote Your Yelp Account
You’ve spent all this time bulking up your Yelp account and dozens of your clients have taken the time to write positive reviews about your real estate business. Now what? Add some Yelp badges on your website or hyperlink your Yelp account within your web content. Just some of the Yelp buttons web developers can use to post on your real estate website can be found here.
4) Respond & Communicate
Yelp Business accounts allow users to respond and communicate with clients who have reviewed your business. As each review comes in, positive or negative, always thank those who took time out to leave a response. And in the case of a negative review, be polite and simply engage this person with questions relating to what you could have done better to serve them during their new home search.
5) DON’T SPAM
Perhaps the most important factor when building your Yelp profile is to avoid the temptation of creating false reviews just to fill out your profile. More often than not, consumers can easily tell the difference between a bogus review and a legitimate one—so don’t waste your time creating something fake. In the long run, creating false Yelp reviews will only hurt your business and likely turn off potential new clients instead of attracting them. Don’t believe me? Check out the following example and tell me how likely you are to use this company during your next apartment search after it’s clear they’ve manufactured their own reviews.
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and also holds a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working as a Market Research Associate and writing published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence in Chicago, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and is a managing partner at Real Estate Web Creation, LLC.