Landlords, Are you Ready for a Social Media Smack-Down?

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on November 8, 2011 under Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenant screening, tenant background checkThese days, tenants have more ways to complain, more publicly, than ever before. Instead of calling you or your property manager, dropping by your office to talk, or sending an actual letter through the U.S. Postal Service, tenants with issues are more likely to tell anyone who will listen through Facebook or Twitter.

On the surface, this might not make sense, since as the landlord, you may never even see their complaint – unless you are “friends” with your tenants on Facebook.

So why do tenants complain on social media networks if landlords have little chance of hearing them? Some do it for attention; others have hopes of getting some results.

In some cities, groups of disgruntled tenants are banding together to create mini bad-publicity campaigns against their rental property owners. In other cases, a single tenant may send out a tweet or post to see if anyone else has a similar complaint.

Their motives are the same: they seek strength in numbers in hopes of getting attention or coming to a resolution. Before social media, there was no quick way for people to find each other and create a mini-movement. Now, it only takes a minute of their time and 140 characters to find dozens of others with similar problems.

How can a landlord handle a negative Facebook or Twitter campaign? The first rule of social networking is to respond, so if you do come across a tenant complaint on Facebook or Twitter, be proactive. Create an action plan, starting with a calm and neutral response. Acknowledge that you hear the complaint. You don’t necessarily need to admit to fault or take responsibility, but do let the tenant know they are being heard.

Next, ask the complainer to “take it offline,” with a private conversation or email exchange. Follow up by publicly thanking your tenant for their business and share how you resolved the issue. Remember, your tenants are your customers and deserve your respect and quick action.

A social media backlash by your tenants may be uncomfortable, but handling it badly will only make it worse. So be nice, and remember that everything you write can and will be held against you! Most important, try hard to be the better person. You’ll resolve the situation much faster by taking the high road – and you may even create more “fans.”

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