facebook thumbs down

facebook thumbs downSocial media, specifically Facebook, has become one of the most popular means for businesses to market to current and prospective customers.  Did you know that 757 million people use Facebook on a daily basis? While Facebook has become an invaluable marketing resource for many builders, there may be situations where a friend or follower of your page posts negative comments about your company or an employee on your Facebook page.  If this happens to you, don’t panic.  Below are steps you can consider taking to resolve the situation.

Respond Calmly and Reasonably – and Publicly

As a builder, you may have encountered the sales training maxim that “an objection unanswered is thought to be true.” That applies to Facebook comments. Answering promptly and politely can solve (or at least start to resolve) many issues. Not replying can cause other social media users who see a public complaint to assume the comment is true, or to assume that you don’t monitor your social media, or that you are unwilling to reply.

Start by taking an honest look at the comment or complaint. In many cases, a calm, courteous, reasonable and prompt public reply will resolve matters – and it reassures others on Facebook that you’re committed to great customer service. If you or your firm has fallen short of your typical customer care and service, consider acknowledging that and asking for the opportunity to make things right. You can reach out to the person who commented and ask them to contact you privately by sending you a direct message.  By doing so, you take the search for a solution off-line, out of the public’s view. Most of your social media fans will be glad to see your prompt, courteous reply and not feel the need to take part in the resolution.

Hide the Post

After you review the comment or complaint honestly and calmly, you may decide it is so inaccurate (or, in rare cases, so inflammatory) that even the prompt public reply outlined above may not be enough. In that case, Facebook allows you some options. When someone comments on your posts, you can elect to hide their comment.  The person who made the comment and their friends can still see the comment. However, no one else can, which greatly limits the reach of the negative comment. We recommend that you still respond as outlined above – calmly, courteously, and promptly – so the person who made the comments feels heard and so their friends can see your response and your sincere attempt to set things right.

Another advantage of hiding a post as opposed to deleting it entirely (see below) is that the person who commented does not feel censored. Deleting a comment can anger the person who made it and it can simply lead to a game of “whack a mole.” The person adds a new negative comment on Facebook, which you delete, etc. The original complaint (which may have been possible to resolve) can get forgotten and a now-aggrieved social media follower can spiral to a new level of anger or frustration. The person who complained on Facebook may also show up with the original or new complaints on your other social media accounts. They may even post something like this, “Avoid Builder X. They delete my requests for help, can’t take criticism, and won’t take responsibility or try to fix my problem.”

Delete the Post – Where Warranted, and Where Responding and Hiding the Post Won’t Solve the Situation

Are some comments so over the top that simply hiding them isn’t sufficient? The answer is definitely yes, but thankfully this is rare. Let your conscience and your firm’s values be your guide. We recommend a zero-tolerance policy for comments that are racist, sexist, violent or extreme in their profanity. It should be pretty clear when important lines have been crossed. When that happens, deleting the comment entirely – and immediately – is often the best solution. In such situations, any of your other fans who briefly saw a comment that most would agree is unacceptable will not be surprised if it is removed. Many fans may think that step was needed. It also signals to fans that you pay attention to your social media, which is reassuring to prospective homebuyers.

As a Last Resort, You Can Ban a Facebook User From Commenting on Your Facebook page – But You Can’t Stop Them from Commenting About You on Their Facebook Page or Other Social Media

If the person is not open to reason and continues to post negative or inappropriate comments to your page, then you can ban them.  They will no longer be able to post a comment to your Facebook page. However, this is definitely a tool of last resort. You should be aware the banned user still can tag your company and post negative comments on their own Facebook page or on their other social media accounts.

It can be frustrating when someone posts a comment about your firm that you feel is one-sided, unfair or untrue. Today, social media is a key stage, a public platform on which a company’s reputation is earned and made. Drawing a deep breath and responding courteously, promptly and professionally is usually your best response, followed by concrete action where appropriate to fix valid complaints. If someone posts a negative comment about your company or employee on Facebook, following these suggestions will help you gain more control over the presence of your company on social media.

If you’d like to learn more about BDX’s social media solutions for builders, please contact us at Info@thebdx.com. Are you connected with BDX on Facebook?   If not, we hope you’ll Like us here.  

homeoftheweek3

homeoftheweek3By Jay McKenzie, Director of Content and Social Media, BDX

It started as a simple, but powerful, idea – designed to help builders and home shoppers.

On April 24, 2012, New Home Source (NHS) selected our first Home of the Day, which we showcased across our social media accounts for consumers, home shoppers and Realtors across the nation.

The Home of the Day program has grown mightily over the last 1,000 days. However, the heart of the program remains the same: Showcase an inspiring and beautifully designed and furnished new home that consumers can find on NewHomeSource.com. Then share it across our social media.

The goal is to benefit each builder selected and to create excitement around all new homes and builders. Each Home of the Day links to the listing for that home on NewHomeSource.com. Every day, we encourage our army of loyal social media fans to visit NewHomeSource.com to see more photos, floor plans and details for The Home of the Day.

Sharing a stunning, state-of-the-art new home each day has fired the imagination of consumers, home shoppers, Realtors, mortgage lenders and others. The nearly 40,000 people who follow New Home Source and BDX on our many social media accounts repeatedly show their enthusiastic support.

The Home of the Day has earned nearly 70,000 Likes and more than 5,900 shares. These expand the reach of each builder featured. That reflects only fan response on the main NHS Facebook page; it doesn’t include additional reach and response on other BDX social media accounts.

Seven days a week (except on major holidays) we select a different Home of the Day that reflects the best new homes listed on New Home Source. Each home is showcased on multiple BDX social media accounts, reaching consumers and Realtors nationally and in each builder’s local market.

Each day, The Home of the Day showcases a different builder and type of home (single-family, townhome, condo) in a different city and state. We target many buyer types (first-time, move-up, empty nester, custom, etc.) and select homes across many price ranges and architectural styles. A variety of rooms in the home, elevations or outdoor spaces are also featured to keep the program fresh.

By now, I hope you’re wondering how your new home can be selected as The Home of the Day:

  1. Build beautiful, fully-furnished and inspiring model homes or spec homes
  2. Take great photos that are crystal clear, beautifully staged and well lit.
  3. Include your inspiring photos in your new home listings on BDX.
  4. Let us know your home is ready for Prime Time! There’s no fee to be the Home of the Day and we actively seek homes that meet the criteria. Send your nominations to info@thebdx.com.

Even better? Studies consistently show that including great images in your listings on BDX can improve the number of phone reveals, driving directions, appointment requests, leads and clicks that you earn.

Great photos, renderings, floor plans and videos can also improve the performance of your new home listings on the hundreds of carefully selected BDX partner websites that display our new home listings.home of the week newsletter

Still not interested? Keep in mind the best Homes of the Day are considered for The Home of the Week. These truly awe-inspiring homes are showcased in a stunning slideshow and a weekly New Home Source e-Newsletter with thousands of subscribers nationally. You can see our Home of the Week slideshows at: http://www.newhomesource.com/resourcecenter/home-of-the-week.

If you’re curious to see our 1,000th Home of the Day, drop by our Facebook page on Sunday, February 22, 2015 after 4 pm central time. You can find us at https://www.facebook.com/NewHomeSource.

Selection as The Home of the day or The Home of the Week is earned by including inspiring images of stunning new homes in your listings on New Home Source. There is no fee for either program, but there is fame and glory to be won! We hope to see your nominated homes cross our desk soon!

For more information on how to get your homes featured in The Home of the Week Newsletters, contact us at info@thebdx.com.

 

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thumbs downBy Blair Kuhnen, BDX

This is the third of four blogs in our online reputation management series.

We previously covered online reputation management and steps in auditing and monitoring your online reputation. Now we will address responding to bad reviews.

Home building is a very human business and we, as humans, all make mistakes. The Internet amplifies those mistakes making them more visible. Gone are the days when you would address an issue that made it into print media and then quietly went away. Online reviews don’t go away. They have to be handled differently than other potentially negative public relations issues.

Don’t let negative brand or employment reviews cause further damage by going unanswered. Delays allow the current situation to escalate leading to lost sales or potential employees. That said, we believe there are right and wrong ways to respond.

It is uncomfortable to admit mistakes and takes courage to publically acknowledge them. Online, that is exactly what you have to do. This is important for two reasons: (1) When done right, it keeps the PR issue from escalating, and (2) it minimizes the ongoing damage of negative information that remains visible. This second point is what differentiates handling online vs. offline reviews. Potential customers and employees are going to see your response or lack thereof. Reviews handled with care will both prevent additional negative reviews and reduce the impact of the bad reviews.

We believe a builder should respond to a negative review in a timely, authentic, and humble manner. A personal and conversational tone is generally preferred. Here are some guidelines:

  • Show empathy: Apologize and express that you understand the pain/inconvenience caused. It does not matter if what they are saying is 100% accurate, you don’t want to debate or seem defensive. Try to understand their point of view and how the situation made them feel.
  • Demonstrate your contrition: Empathy alone is not enough. Express how your actions were wrong and what you are doing to fix it. Show that you are taking steps to make amends and prevent similar issues.
  • Without making excuses or sounding defensive, stress the positive: This is the tricky part, but an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. Let’s assume something positive (e.g., company growth) contributed to unintended employment related results. In this case, you should point out the jobs and advancements made possible through your growth, but admit to the negative consequences.
  • Ask for feedback: Ask the poster to come back and comment on how you did with resolving the issue.

When a prospective customer or employee reads your response, they should be thinking: “Some of the reviews I see here are bad but at least the company has acknowledged the issues and are seeking to find a resolution.” If someone wants to come to work for your company, they want to believe your story. If they don’t, you probably don’t need them.

Is this easy? No, but you can do it. I ran across this blog post from SEER Interactive that gives a good critique of several reviews on Yelp. It is worth a read before you draft your first response to a negative review.

When You Should Respond to a Poor Online Review

In general, faster is better. However, do not write a response while you are still angry as that could cause even more damage. Additionally, you don’t want to seem like you are in denial about the allegation even if the complaint is unfair.

There are times when you will not want to respond and maybe should not. When a negative review is pure slander, you might not respond. You might try to have the review deleted from the site or even consider legal action. These cases are few and far between.

Who Should Respond to a Negative Online Review

Unless you are Amazon, you probably don’t want your reply to come from someone with customer service in their title. In many cases, you should consider your president or a regional department head, but most importantly make sure someone is responding. You may want to consider providing a direct dial phone number that you can be reached at. Sometimes talking it out is better than corresponding through the web or email. While we are talking about negative reviews, responding to positive reviews humanizes the business and is a lot more fun for your CEO.

A colleague recently shared Glassdoor reviews of Zillow, a massive online real estate site with more than 500 employees. Their CEO, Spencer Rascoff, directly responds to many of the Zillow reviews with humility and a style that probably helps their recruiting effort.

An Example of How to Respond to a Poor Glass Door Review

This builder used in this example is growing quickly. Strong revenue growth creates huge opportunities for all employees if they seize them. Start by thanking the poster for their feedback. Read the review carefully and make sure you directly address specific issues.

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This company needs to support its current strong employees while only recruiting the best. This response is crucial:

  • You want to communicate to prospective posters that you recognize your growing pains and are taking action. We believe employees will be less likely to post negative reviews if they see a solid response followed up with action.
  • A solid response allows prospective employees to see the opportunities your company has to offer while minimizing their hesitations.

A Hypothetical Recommended Response to this Review:

“Thank you for pointing out some of the problems related to our recent growth. We did not do well. Our team is the backbone of our success. Our rapid growth has created tremendous opportunities for career advancement, but it stretched our systems. We are sorry that we have left some employees feeling they are not supported and in some cases we asked for more than what was fair. That is a terrible feeling especially when you work as hard as our employees do.

This has been an area of concern for executive management. We left employees far too stretched and failed to delegate authority that would have made your lives easier.

In response we are implementing our company-wide leadership training and development program in January and are speeding our recruitment efforts to handle our continued growth. We need to get new employees up to speed faster with our processes and procedures so they can serve customers better. We will not grow revenue and profits at the rate we desire without a well-trained, motivated, and loyal team leading the charge.

Finally, we need to push authority down further and are currently experimenting with ways to give additional decision making and spending authority to our field personnel.

Please return later and re-post or reply anonymously to tell us how we have done.”

Over the top? Maybe, but this type of response can make an immediate impact. This may be difficult the first time, but it gets easier. You will feel better having responded and may have more clearly identified how to improve your business.

This blog series has given you a good understanding of how online reputation management works, from how to complete a reputation audit to providing recommendations for responding to negative reviews. Do you still have bad reviews out there on page one or page two of Google search results? Stay tuned for the final post in this series where we will show you how to get your positive reviews ranking higher in Google search results.