According to a recent Nielsen study, as many as 92% of consumers trust “earned” media such as word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. But not far behind are online reviews, garnering as much as 70% of trust amongst average consumers.1 With the exponential growth of the digital world, consumers are gaining increasing power to voice their rants and raves to local and interconnected audiences. It is critical to not only pay attention to, but take an active role in managing and nurturing your business’ online reputation.
Focusing on feedback and listening to your customer’s needs will create a virtuous cycle of addressing negative reviews and improving products and services. However, failure to heed your negative reviews will create a vicious cycle of decreased consumer trust and lower sales. While no company is immune to negative consumer reviews, true leaders are the ones who tackle them head on. Read on to find out the top three places you must absolutely be paying attention to when it comes to online reviews.
The stalwart of the online review world, Yelp is the first place that any business should check out for online reputation management. It is a free review site that aggregates business reviews from its users on a five star scale. Any business can make a profile, and any user can leave reviews. Currently, Yelp utilizes its own algorithm to help manage fake, unverified, and unrecommended reviews; all reviews are still shown on a business’ profile, however, and only the overall rating is affected. What’s especially great about Yelp is its ability to highlight important information such as hours and location and the opportunity it gives business owners to directly respond to positive or negative reviews. 2
Google Reviews (a.k.a Google+ /Google+ Local / Google+ Places)
Affiliated with the search stalwart that is Google, Google+ Local is the consumer review arm of the online giant. Whenever you use their search engine to find a business, most of the time you’ll find a few Google+ Local ratings listed with it. This is because the number of Google+ reviews and followers as well as the average customer score influences their search engine algorithms, ranking businesses who are more popular on Google+ higher in Google search results.
Compared to other review sites out there, posting reviews to Google+ is more strenuous because reviews will be affiliated with one’s personal Google+ profile—erasing some user anonymity and necessitating the possession of a Google + profile. However, the effect of positive Google + Local reviews is much greater since they circulate to users’ circles, are location based, and become linked to other similar businesses nearby.3
One of the very best things about Facebook reviews is that your business can create and control the actual page people visit. This allows you to post content, track audience engagement, and interact with customers from one simple dashboard. Unlike other review sites that do not offer as much oversight, having a business Facebook page puts you firmly in the driver’s seat. Your timeline and review sections allow users to leave their feedback—which you can edit, delete, or respond to feedback, either publicly on your wall or privately in a direct message. In addition, just having a presence on Facebook offers one more way to be present in the social lives of your customers, whether they are liking your page or sharing the updates, photos, or videos you've posted. Whether you are a tech-savvy start-up or a traditional mom and pop store, managing your business’ online footprint is an integral factor to succeeding in today’s marketplace. That’s why xAmplifier has created digital reputation software allowing you to track your online ratings, discover your customers’ posting preferences, and automatically post positive content to third party review sites. If you’re interested in learning more about xAmplifier’s expertise in customer segmentation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866.363.6434! And stay tuned for our next newsletter on niche and industry specific review sites.