Ratings & Reviews

Reputation management is essential on review sites

Consumers are talking about a business whether that business is aware of it or not (and whether businesses have claimed their business profile or not). As a result, we all know that ratings and reviews can make or break a business. Consistently poor reviews can put a company out of business, while consistently great reviews can help create exponential growth. One or two bad reviews can be overcome with lots of great reviews, but just one or two great reviews will not overcome lots of bad reviews. The fact is, you need lots of good reviews about your business to remain competitive in today’s online world. That means you need to provide not just a good product or service, but a great product or service that people want to talk about.

Incentivized reviews (you offer something in exchange for a review) are frowned upon, and can even get you banned from some platforms. So, how do you go about getting lots of great reviews? And what platform or platforms should you concentrate on? For example, are Facebook reviews as important as Yelp reviews? The answer is that it depends upon your business. Let’s explore your options.

Are Facebook reviews as important as Yelp reviews? It depends upon your business Click To Tweet

Google

Google is probably the number one place people look for reviews on your business, if for no other reason than that is where they are searching for your business. Your “Google My Business” listing is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It displays information about your business, including reviews that people leave directly on Google.

There is a button on your Google My business listing that allows people to click on it and write a review. You should do this yourself, then copy the link and share it with your customers. You may want to shorten the link with a url shortner like bit.ly to make it easier to share and more memorable, such as bit.ly/reviewwebstores.

You’ll notice that there are also places to add social media profiles and to even post blog type articles directly on your google My Business listing. This helps with search engine results, so I recommend taking advantage of this, even though the articles your your Google My business listing are temporary.

Note: Businesses must verify their information to complete their Google My Business registration.

Facebook

After Google, Facebook is probably the most common place for customers to leave reviews about your business. If you have a business Facebook page (which you should), customers simply find your page, and leave a review about their experience with your company.

As of last year, Facebook no longer allows customers to leave a 5 star rating, but instead has simply gone to “recommendations” for businesses, similar to LinkedIn endorsements (except that they all show up, you don’t get to choose). This means you are much less likely to get a negative review on Facebook, which is a huge benefit as removing negative reviews on Facebook once they were posted was almost impossible.

Facebook is so popular that getting recommendations on this platform makes sense for most B2C (business to consumer) types of businesses.

Yelp

Yelp has become a name synonymous with business reviews, as the site has over 102 million reviews and counting. It is the original site that focused on customer reviews above all else.

At first, Yelp focused on restaurants. But its incredible popularity allowed it to expand into other industries, and now it’s the most popular destination for consumer reviews on just about everything.

Sadly, no one is reviewing Yelp itself, which has become a bully and allegedly uses extortion in it’s business practices to get you to pay. A documentary film about the subject was released in May of this year. The movie asks the question, “Does Yelp genuinely have an interest in helping people support the best local businesses, or are they a pay-to-play advertising platform?”

Still, Yelp has more traffic than just about every other directory site out there, and it’s hyper-focused on local business. Customers ARE reviewing your business on Yelp, so it is best to pay attention.

You can’t change their reviews, but you can at least learn from them. You can even respond to them to show other customers that you’re dedicated to providing a positive customer experience.

My recommendation: watch your Yelp reviews carefully, but do not actively seek reviews on Yelp.

TripAdvisor

If you have a business where people travel to visit you, whether you are a hotel, restaurant, or destination shop, reviews on TripAdvisor are extremely important. You certainly don’t want to stay at a place that is rated as 1 or 2 stars, anymore than you want to eat at a place with this type of rating. The same is true for destination shops once people arrive, so if you are in a tourist area, pay attention to your reviews on TripAdvisor.

LinkedIn

We often look to Yelp and other review-focused sources for information about businesses, but many neglect to do the same for themselves professionally. If you are a solopreneur, or even a small business of just a few employees where you are in charge, LinkedIn endorsements can be a powerhouse. After all, it is considered the “business network” as opposed to Facebook being the “social network.” LinkedIn calls them recommendations, not reviews, but the functionality and outcome is the same: getting others to day nice things about you in a public forum that you can then re-purpose elsewhere.

We often look to review-focused sources for information about businesses, but many neglect to do the same for themselves professionally. Click To Tweet

Personally, I have concentrated my efforts on my LinkedIn recommendations, which you can see at https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregjameson/. The beautiful thing about LinkedIn endorsements is that they are all positive and you get to determine if they appear on your profile or not.

Amazon

It should not be a surprise that Amazon is a popular go-to business review site for e-commerce products. Even if you don’t purchase from Amazon, many consumers use it as a research tool because of their popular 5-star review system. Many customers start their shopping experience on Amazon for the sole purpose of reading the reviews about a product. This site is the king of product reviews. And if you happen to sell products on Amazon, consumers can rate their experience with your business as well.

For companies who do any amount of e-commerce, Amazon is a key source of information. While Amazon as a business review website is targeted for Amazon marketplace partners, it is worthy for any retailer to note what customers like about certain products and how the service aspect of transactions were handled.

Others

Angies List, Home Advisor, BBB (Better Business Bureau), Manta, FourSquare, Superpages, YellowPages, GlassDoor, Epinions, Bing Places, Merchant Circle, Open Table, and more all offer different capabilities for consumers to leave reviews. All positive reviews are good, especially if they are posted publicly and you can re-purpose them on your own website or social media posts. Some of these may even be important to your specific business, such as Angies List or Home Advisor if you are offer home improvement services. But as a general rule, these reviews will not impact your business as much as concentrating on the primary ones listed previously.

How Many?

How many reviews do you need? I’ve heard numbers from 25 to at least 100 depending upon the platform. But the truth is, it depends. It dpends on how big your company is for one – imagine a large public company only having 10 reviews, whereas for a small solopreneur, 10 reviews might be huge. It also depend upon how frequently you are getting positive reviews – if you last review was from 3 years ago, it might be time to seriously consider increasing the frequency on which you receive review.

So, back to the question, how do you get reviews? Aside from providing outstanding quality that makes the customer go “WOW!”, the best way is to simply ask for them. Include a note when you ship a product. Leave a note when you preform a service. Email your customers. You’ll notice that I even do this at the end of my blog posts.

But what is important is to pick one or two platforms, stick with them, and try to get as many positive reviews as possible on the sites that make the most sense for your business.

Did you find this article useful or learn anything? If so, I’d love some feedback about what you thought.

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