Why Online Reviews are Important
When trying out a new business, how often have you looked at reviews? Most people want to make sure that they are in good hands before they start doing business with a new company and it is particularly important for small business owners. In fact, almost 70% of customers are influenced by online reviews. So where are your efforts best put?
I highly recommend you search your business name, and see how many stars you have on Google. There may be reviews for your business that you are not even aware of.
The good news is Google is not as strict as Yelp when asking for reviews, so you can ask for reviews from your most loyal customers. In addition, using Google’s reviews helps you improve your search ranking! Google will not tolerate fake reviews. If for some reason Google determines that the review is fake or spam it will not be posted. On the other hand, if you have negative reviews, you can respond to them and offer the other side of the story. Keep in mind these are public so everyone can see them!
Moving from the most popular search engine to the most popular social media platform, Facebook. For consumers, it is easy to review a business, comment on someone’s post and “like” what they said, and the only qualification is to be on Facebook! Similar to Google you can ask happy customers for reviews and offer responses to negative reviews. Also, since your business page itself may have some “likes” those people are more likely to leave a positive review.
Did you know that Facebook reviews can integrate with Google? If your business name and information (address, phone number, etc.) are identical on both Facebook and Google you can link the two together! This offers 2-for-1 for your reviews with less effort.
Every Union Street Media website comes with a dedicated Testimonials page, and many of our clients even promote this page through widgets on their homepages. This is the best place to keep longer, more in-depth reviews of your services from clients you’ve worked with. Send out an email, or ask in person whether a client would be willing to write a review on your site. You can then go into the backend of Accelerator and copy/paste these reviews. Although these reviews won’t have a direct impact on your Google or Facebook rankings it is a great resource for users coming to your site who are interested in hearing what your past clients have to say. Questions about the Testimonials page on your site? Contact your Customer Success Manager!
Yelp’s primary focus are reviews and they are arguably the most trusted source for reviews. Since that is the case, the first thought of getting reviews is to find your most loyal and happiest customers and have them give you five stars, but Yelp won’t allow it.
Using their algorithm, Yelp wants to give a fair balance of positive, negative, and neutral reviews. If you do decide to have your most loyal customers fill out reviews, some of the reviews will not appear because of Yelp’s review filter! Very active users on Yelp are usually promoted in reviews, so if this client reviewed many other businesses and has a profile on Yelp, his/her reviews will be more likely to show.
So, all platforms offer some type of advantage and all strengthen your online presence. As a business owner, maintaining your reputation online is important but you will have to pick-and-choose your battles. If you can focus your efforts on all 4 platforms that’s great! If not, Facebook, Google, and Testimonials on your own site should be your primary focus due to the benefits they can bring to your search ranking efforts. For some tips on how to get more and better reviews, check out our past blog post on the topic!