Jill McNiesh and Bill Szczytko on the Digital Doomsday panel at AIM 2014.

Jill McNiesh and Bill Szczytko on the Digital Doomsday panel at AIM 2014.

You are your own best antivirus. With 82,000 new malware threats every day, no computer is ever completely “up to date” on security, and protecting apartment Internet marketing from digital threats requires a proactive stance, according to the Digital Doomsday: Marketing Out of Your Control panel at the 2014 Apartment Internet Marketing panel.

“Hackers succeed because of one thing: complacency,” explains Maryland Management director of IT Bill Szczytko, who joined property management consultant Heather Blume and FPI Management social media and reputation manager Jill McNiesh on the panel that addressed net neutrality, anonymous ratings and reviews, typosquatting, domain hijacking, and denial of service attacks among a host of real threats to apartment marketers.

“We all work really hard at our job, and despite our best efforts, consumers will still tell us that we suck,” says McNiesh, who addressed reputation management in a world of anonymous ratings and reviews. “But even when people hate us, they still may have a point about our service or brand.”

In a survey conducted exclusively for the AIM session, attendees reported broad-based adoption of advanced reputation management strategies, says McNiesh, including:

–       85 percent of those surveyed said there was a reputation management plan in place at their firm

–       100 percent said they try to respond to all reviews.

–       70 percent said the corporate office or marketing is responsible for responding to reviews

“Corporate ownership is great because that is where the messaging and the brand is clear,” McNiesh says. “However, they are less likely to know the resident and be less able to add a personal touch like an onsite manager who has the relationship with the customer, but may not understand the corporate brand as well.”

Indeed, securitizing and strengthening online marketing is a team effort across platforms, disciplines, and systems. “Computers are required in everything that you, and the burden is on you to be smart about it,” Szczytko sais. “But you’re not alone. 97 percent of all Fortune 500 businesses have been hacked, and the other 3 percent got hacked too. They just don’t know it yet.”

Download the AIM 2104 Digital Doomsday presentation here.

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