Reviews, love them or hate them, if your business has a digital presence, it likely has an opinion about it somewhere on the vast oceans of the world-wide-web.
They have become a crucial tool for consumers to gauge the trustworthiness, ability and quality of products, services and brands, and if you’ve been getting them right, then online reviews can be the best thing to have ever happened to your marketing campaign.
They can be tricky, however. The adage of no publicity being bad publicity doesn’t quite apply to the concept of reviews.
Positive ones can do wonders for your reputation, your morale and your ever-growing list of loyal consumers; bad ones can cause untold damage to your brand.
Both need to be responded to appropriately.
How do Reviews affect Your Reputation?
Reviews are primarily concerned with how your customers see your business. Its company culture, the way it handles its customers and the level of satisfaction they get from your products and services, are all aspects reported on in reviews of your business.
Consumers are, by and large, creatures of habit and are remarkably distrustful. We look to our fellows for cues on what is worth our time, effort and money, and also see each other as the canaries in the capitalism coal-mine. That is to say, if we see a review that reports on a bad experience, we are likely to give that brand a wide birth.
If you have a five-star rating on Google My Business, for example, you are far more likely to get conversions from visitors to your website than a business without any reviews, or those that reflect a poor score.
This is the primary area of focus for reviews of your business, but it isn’t the only way in which they can affect you; being the digital age, however, that should come as no surprise.
How do Reviews affect SEO?
Reviews, when managed correctly, are an excellent route for your business to take when building onto its online presence. Positive reviews have a direct impact on your SEO efforts by making your brand more present online, while also giving your website more authority.
Think about how keywords are used in SEO, and how links that go back to your site enhance its visibility.
A review acts in the exact same way and can be beneficial when they are positive; if they are negative, however, all that link juice and keyword prowess will be going towards an image of your brand that isn’t exactly favourable, so there is something to bear in mind there.
Popular Review Sites You can Use
Review sites number in the thousands, but there are a few particularly popular platforms that hold a little more weight than others:
Almost everybody on the planet uses Facebook, from people and organisations, right through to celebrities and businesses. It is a place where people are encouraged to share their experiences, and more importantly, their opinions of those experiences, with others.
These opinions, when related to brands, products or services, can then be tagged directly to the businesses they speak about via their Facebook Business Pages, allowing other prospective customers to make a decision on whether or not they want to engage with them.
TripAdviser is a little more niche, catering only for hotels and restaurant reviews. It also allows users to make bookings directly on the platform.
If you have a business, then you have likely had some kind of experience on Hello Peter. While it is meant to be used for all kinds of reviews, it tends to be the home of negative ones.
If you haven’t heard of Hello Peter and have been doing business for some time, now is a good time to Google your company name alongside the phrase, ‘Hello Peter’ if you want to work through a little bit of anxiety.
Yelp is another excellent and widely used business review platform. Reviews on this site are crowdfunded, meaning they come from clients and users themselves.
Unlike Hello Peter, however, Yelp is a great place to feature positive reviews in abundance, so it’s worth trying to populate it with experiences of your business.
How do You Get More Reviews?
Clients tend to post negative reviews more readily than positive ones, but that doesn’t mean that positive reviews don’t occur. So to get an impressive collection of positive mentions on sites like those listed above, you may need to give your clients a little nudge in the right direction.
Here are a few effective ways that your business can do that now:
Provide Review Cards
When a job is finished, consider giving your clients a review card that compels them to leave a review of your business on some of the sites mentioned above.
It can be electronic or not, as long as it gives them some direction, as well as instructions on how to go about doing it.
A Link to Google My Business
Let your clients talk about their experience of your business on Google My Business. You do, of course, need to have Google My Business set up for this to happen, but it’s fairly easy to do and is well worth your time.
Offer Staff Incentives
How do you generate positive reviews naturally? Offer a service worth talking about. Reviews therefore offer an excellent way for you to incentivise your staff. Whenever one of their customers leaves a good review of your business thanks to their efforts, why not reward your staff as a result?
This will drive them to offer the best possible customer service that they can.
Contact Right Click Media for Assistance with Your Online Presence
Reviews play a substantial role in both your business’s reputation, as well as how present it is online. A basic understanding of how they work and what they can do for you can do a lot for your marketing efforts.
Next week we will take a closer look at how your business can leverage online reviews for this purpose.
We will talk about how best to respond to positive ones, what to do about negative and fake ones, as well as the viability and ethical concerns related to writing them for your own business.
For further details about how we here at Right Click Media can help you with your online marketing efforts, visit our website or contact one of our sales representatives for details.