Insights: Community Awareness and Reputation
I’ll never forget one of my first memories of a senior living community. It was filled with fun, playfulness, laughter … mystery and fear. I was a youngster watching scenes from the Twilight Zone’s “Kick the Can” episode that portrayed “fountain of youth” moments for a group of seniors at Sunnyvale Retirement Home.
What I remember most isn’t the retirement stereotype and screen thrills, but rather the vitality of life and human spirit at Sunnyvale. I recall thinking, “Those people remind me of Grandpa and Grandma Wujek.”
Yes, Sunnyvale is a fictional place. But, through a personal experience, it created a positive memory that leads me to my point.
What positive impression are you portraying with your audience that will have them asking …
“Do you know anything about ____________________ Community?”
An experienced marketing and sales professional understands there isn’t a golden nugget or magic bullet that leads a person to make a purchase decision. Ultimately, it’s a culmination of need, desire, emotion, ability, price, knowledge and influence that motivates the action to buy.
Regardless of the situation – purchasing a new car, selecting a vacation destination, choosing a financial advisor, determining where to live, etc. – human behavior has proven people will do any combination of the following:
- Ask a family member, friend or neighbor.
- Search online and browse your website.
- Review marketing and media resources.
- Assess online ratings and comments.
- Engage social channels like Facebook, Yelp, etc.
An underlying thread that connects and impacts all these actions is how the consumer ultimately perceives your company/brand. The opinion, or judgment, they form from these experiences is crucial to improving the efficacy of your marketing and sales efforts.
Building and maintaining a positive reputation of your community helps ensure a more effective sales engagement with your prospects, leads and their family members. When a prospective buyer is better informed on what you believe and how your services will benefit them, you can improve and accelerate their sales journey experience.
In an effort to build awareness and credibility of your community, two strategies to consider are earned media relations and online reputation management. Media coverage is an effective method to capture third-party acknowledgement of the culture and experience of living at your community. An effective media relations strategy helps build organic, word-of-mouth influence (both online and offline), and supports differentiation from the competition. How your community is positioned through ratings/reviews is equally important, because it reflects the customer’s point of view. Plus, ongoing review management demonstrates you’re listening and engaged with your audiences, and it positively impacts search rankings.
In measuring the effectiveness of earned media coverage and rating/review management, GlynnDevins uses a comprehensive approach to evaluate the following elements:
- Impressions: How many eyes and minds did we attract?
- Website Traffic: How much did the media coverage improve traffic to the website?
- Social Amplification: How many times did readers/viewers share those media stories through their social channels?
- Share of Voice: How is your media coverage performing against your top two competitors?
- Key Messages: Does the media coverage portray the key messages you want to deliver to your audiences?
- Star Rating: How does it compare to industry average and is it improving?
- Accuracy: Are the online profiles claimed and is the information current?
- Frequency: How many reviews is the community receiving and how does it compare to the industry average?
- Engagement: Is the community responding to all reviews?
- Sentiment: What is the ratio of positive-neutral-negative reviews, and is it improving?
- Channel Performance: Are reviews being received across multiple platforms (e.g., Google, Facebook, Yelp, Caring.com)?
Capturing the attention of your target audiences with a positive perception requires a consistent and dedicated effort. It doesn’t happen overnight and can be damaged in a matter of seconds. But with proper management that remains focused on your community’s purpose, a positive reputation will have your audience asking questions about your community rather than “kicking the can.”