Positive online reviews are powerful weapons in the war of online competition.

Positive online reviews are powerful weapons in the war of online competition.

I’ve written several articles on the importance of improving your online search rankings, of addressing negative online complaints and of the importance of soliciting positive online comments, because I have seen and experienced the direct impact of such investments.  I am a believer. I’ve also run into the mindset that says, for our business, this isn’t a critical issue; that our consumer base isn’t all that tech savvy nor interested in finding information on the web.  So, the prioritization of an effective online marketing strategy, inclusive of soliciting positive reviews remains as cast aside as a lonely tennis shoe sadly forgotten and resting on the shoulder of the information super highway.   This is not only short sighted – it is dangerously incorrect.

Getting Tons of Reviews

I recently spoke to Ashley Lam, Community Manager for The Independence of Charlottesville, an upscale, independent senior living community located in Charlottesville, VA.  I wanted to understand how they were able to catapult their community’s positive online reviews on a number of senior housing websites – as evidence of this, look here: https://www.senioradvisor.com/community_properties/89303-the-independence-of-charlottesville Ashley shared with me the formula they employed for upgrading their community’s online presence, which included the active solicitation of positive reviews from The Independence’s residents and family members.  Their approach was multifaceted, but began with garnering staff buy-in and engagement.  In fact, they turned the project into a bit of a contest between staff members.  Initially, senior housing sites were identified and accounts established; then a standard questionnaire was developed which made obtaining the information as easy as engaging in a comfortable and casual conversation with a resident or family member. Once the forms were completed they were collected, formatted for the websites, approved by the resident and/or family member and ultimately posted on these sites.  The Independence went even further, by engaging the residents who participated in the surveys to post their own reviews online.  Turning this marketing and sales tool into a community activity which not only served the intended purpose, but helped to draw residents into the world of technology and social media.

The Benefits

While the direct results of this project are admittedly anecdotal, the overall project reaped several positive benefits including:

  • Employee Engagement in the Sales and Marketing
  • Demonstration of Value and Validation of Resident and Family Opinions
  • Resident Social and Internet Awareness/Activity
  • Enhanced online reputation and search engine optimization

While there are many variations to accomplishing this worthwhile goal, the staff of The Independence approached the project uniquely.  I found it encouraging and unusual that during my conversation with Ashley, she was very matter of fact in her perception of what she’d accomplished.  I surmised that she felt the value of the exercise itself was worth the small investment of time and effort; and the impact on her community’s online presence, benefiting her marketing and sales efforts, was icing on the cake.   That’s some delicious icing.  And after all, a cake without icing is…well, just a muffin. A great place to start is to identify community review sites; the very places consumers search when shopping for a loved one.  Many of these sites make it easy to get started.  One such site is SeniorAdvisor.com.  Simply go there, find and then claim your community page.   Then share the review URL page or a community review form with your staff, residents and/or family members. The form is available for download below. 

Simply print it out, distribute and send completed forms either via scan/email to: [email protected] or by mailing them to SeniorAdvisor.com, 5405 Shoalwood Ave, Austin, TX 78756

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