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According to the 2010 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, for the last three years, about 90% of home buyers used the Internet in their home search. And while the survey suggests that buyers may begin their home search independently, many turn to the Internet to find a qualified agent to help them with the process. It makes sense then, that agents that are finding the most success in today’s market are those that are taking a proactive approach to managing their reputation online.

From understanding rating systems to maximizing your reach, there are countless things to consider when it comes to managing your online reputation. Here are just a few:

Establish a Presence
Some review sites pull public data to build their platform. Locating and updating your profile on the most prominent review sites is the first step in establishing a positive online presence. And while it may not make sense to have a full profile on every site, knowing where your information is listed and periodically monitoring client feedback can help you focus on the ones that may affect your business.

Stick with Third-party Sites
Posting client feedback on your site is fine, but encouraging reviews through dependable third-party sites may make a stronger impression on a prospective customer. Plus, services are also available that aggregate your reviews and make it easier for you to share them through social media.

Keep Reviews Timely
Consumers put more weight on new reviews than older ones. To keep your reviews up-to-date, consider setting up a follow-up process that involves requesting testimonials immediately after the transaction is complete. After all, this is when the experience is still fresh in a client’s mind and he or she may be more inclined to offer a positive review.

Consider Video
In today’s digital era, video testimonials can mean more to a potential client than a quote at the bottom of your website. Just be sure to keep them short. Personal reviews that are less than two minutes are ideal.

Return the Favor
Don’t underestimate the power of your community. Sharing positive comments on Yelp or “liking” local business pages on Facebook not only helps promote reputable businesses in your area, but increases your visibility among those businesses’ customers as well.

The simplest way for today’s agents to reach more buyers is to interact with them where they are already communicating—online. And fortunately, there are a variety of free or low-cost resources available to help you along the way. Agents who have earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation enjoy access to a wealth of resources related to online reputation management with their membership in REBAC. From an interactive online community featuring forums, groups and blogs to share expert advice and best practices, to informational Webinars discussing the latest trends in online marketing, REBAC strives to provide the tools to help agents maintain a positive reputation and connect to an ever-evolving consumer.

Marc Gould is the executive director of The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). A wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients. To learn more visit