The saying “what other people think about you is none of your business” is absolutely untrue when it comes to online marketing. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Everything that other people say about your business is your business. You should make it your duty to keep track of each and every online review posted regarding your business, products, services, and brand.
Online reviews have a major impact on a business’ local SEO. Google reviews, Facebook reviews, and Yelp reviews typically rank well because they are considered important to the consumer’s search engine experience. 9 out of 10 consumers indicate that they trust online business reviews as much as personal recommendations.
The Importance of Social Media Reviews for Businesses
Online reviews affect consumers in a number of ways. While the statistics out there are varying, they all lean towards saying the same thing. Here’s what you need to know:
- Most online shoppers read business reviews before visiting the business or its website.
- As much as 92% of consumers will use one local business over another if it has a 4-star review rating online.
- Consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- When a business has excellent reviews, customers are likely to spend more as they trust the source and quality.
- According to Yelp, 1 negative review can lose your business as many as 30 customers whereas a 1-star increase on Yelp can increase sales by 5 to 9%. 26 380 Yelp reviews are posted every minute!
Google Alerts is a great help if you want to keep track of your online reviews.
How Online Reviews Affect Your SEO
Too many business owners overlook the importance of Google reviews. In fact, the importance of Facebook reviews and other social media reviews are overlooked all too often. The simple fact of the matter is that local search engines love to rank online reviews, because online shoppers are constantly searching for them. The main function of a search engine is to ensure that accurate, relevant and helpful information is presented to the browser quickly.
A review is a quick and easy way to provide the truth to a consumer in a matter of seconds. 10% of how search engines, including Google, rank search results involve online reviews.
Why Search Engines Find Local Online Reviews Important for Local SEO
The importance of reviews for businesses may be fairly obvious in terms of customer satisfaction, but why do search engines find reviews so important? Here’s why:
- Google trusts what consumers have to say about a product/service more than they trust the business selling them.
- Google and other search engines use review star ratings to determine whether content is considered useful to the consumer or not.
- Online reviews can be used to fill gaps in your content. If a consumer describes your products and services, Google may use those descriptions when browsers search for such information that cannot be found on your website.
Online Reviews Management
Interested in implementing an online reviews management strategy, but don’t know where to start? Let’s take a look at some of the best practices and techniques to acquire good online reviews and manage your online reputation. It’s important to do this in such a way that it helps your business, even if you receive negative Google reviews and other online reviews along the way.
How to Ensure Online Reviews Work for Your Business
Creating a fine-tuned review acquisition strategy is the best way to ensure that online reviews work for your business. While there are probably hundreds of review websites out there, your business may not appear on many of them. Some of the most popular online review search engine results include Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews, and other popular social media platform reviews. A quick Google search for reviews in your industry will uncover which platforms you should focus on.
4 Tips for Good Online Reviews Acquisition
Employ and train staff to provide the type of service that only earns good reviews. Have a customer service policy in place that demands the highest level of customer care.
Set platforms and options in place for consumers to lodge a complaint and get quick response from your business. If there’s a process for a consumer to complain and get help quickly, directly from your company, they won’t feel inspired to write a negative review. In fact, they might write a positive review regarding how effectively you handled their complaint.
Claim your business profile on major review websites. Sign up for a profile on review platforms so that when a consumer leaves a review, you will be notified and given opportunity to respond. It’s important to respond to both good and bad reviews. Consider using the “owner response” option so that customers can see that you are taking their reviews seriously.
Encourage consumers to leave reviews. Make it easy for them. Include links to leave reviews in your emails, have a section on your website where customers can leave reviews, and even make mention of leaving reviews on your invoices. The more transparent you are about the process, the more positive reviews you can expect to receive.
How to Deal with Negative Online Reviews
Realising online reviews importance is not all that is required to get ahead online (and in the good books of your customers). You have to learn to take the good with the bad. How you deal with negative online reviews is vitally important. Consumers will be reading your responses and judging your business based on this. If you receive a negative online review, do not delete or ignore the review. Simply respond in the correct/strategic manner and your reputation will remain in-tact. Below are a few steps to dealing with negative online reviews:
Don’t keep the reviewer waiting. Respond quickly to all online reviews and be sure to thank consumers for positing them.
Be open, understand and admit your errors. The customer is always right – to some degree.
Highlight your strengths in your response to counteract the weaknesses brought to light.
Be real. Some companies make the fatal mistake of responding to complaints in a professional corporation-like tone. Respond like a real person, show some understanding and you will win your audience over.
Make things right with the customer. You can provide a heartfelt apology, but perhaps throw in a refund, a free gift, or even a discount on their next purchase. This shows that you care about their business and are willing to put yourself out to keep it.
Encourage customers to write new reviews after the issue has been resolved.
It’s important to remain calm when confronted with negative reviews. Remember that you can use the negative review and how you manage it to boost your online reputation. As such, online review management is essential to your online marketing campaign. Be proactive about your online review management and soon your reviews, both good and bad, will be working for your business and brand.