Social proof is a concept that is often used in business and commerce.
Would you rather have a product marketed to you in a way that you can interact with or one that is recommended to you by people you know? The answer is quite simple.
Reviews and recommendations are important when it comes to the reputation of a real estate agent or agency. Social media has become one of the strongest marketing tools available to businesses today. With the ability to reach a large audience quickly, businesses can either find great success or face complete failure.
A single negative review by an influencer can discourage existing customers and eliminate the chances of attracting new ones.
The value of customer reviews
Here are some statistics from Invesp that show the potential power of customer reviews: These figures are listed below:
- 90% of your customers will read reviews before they purchase a product or service.
- Websites with excellent reviews will probably see an increase of 31% in the amount of time customers spend on them compared to sites with average reviews.
- If a product has a positive review, 72% of people will add it to their shopping cart, according to a survey.
- Additionally, most people are unwilling to purchase products or services from a website that includes negative reviews.
In other words, good reviews will keep customers and also help you make more money. In addition to these benefits, online reviews can also help improve relationships between your business and its customers by building trust.
This is evident by the numbers BrightLocal’s survey provides:
- The majority of millennials would rather read reviews before making a purchase, rather than rely on recommendations from friends or family.
- Positive reviews from other customers can help a business seem more trustworthy to new customers. This is because 73% of people say that they find reviews from other customers to be more trustworthy than other information about a business.
Additionally, by taking your customers’ reviews into consideration, you will gain a better understanding of their experience. This will help improve your product by identifying what consumers don’t like.
1. Maintaining reputation via reviews
The most important thing you can do to maintain your business’s reputation via reviews is to be honest and not try to hide from any negative reviews. Since most websites delete negative reviews and only display positive ones, it’s difficult to know what people really think about a product or service.
If you try to fool Google’s algorithms, it will negatively impact your SEO strategy. The algorithms have been designed to detect websites who only display positive reviews and rank them lower than websites with a mix of positive and negative reviews.
People will be suspicious of a website if they see only positive reviews. The branding for a company needs to be cohesive and easily understood by everyone.
If a review site has a mix of good and bad reviews, customers will find the reviews more legitimate.
2. Remaining honest
Some business owners create fake reviews for their own services or products.
The reviews will be written by the company’s own team and displayed on the company website. People who use the internet are aware of the practices of fake reviews and can easily tell when one is fabricated.
If even one person speaks up about their doubts concerning the reviews, it could cause the entire system to collapse. If users begin to mistrust the company, they will not invest any money in their products or services.
In addition, by posting false reviews, you are contradicting the entire purpose of letting your consumers learn more about your brand.
TheBrightLocal reports that over one-third of the surveyed individuals have spotted fake reviews this year, suggesting that it is not difficult to find them.
3. Handling complaints
When something like this happens, it’s important for both sides to communicate. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
Listen to the customer’s complaint and try to address it or resolve it quickly. If possible, take steps to make up for the issue. A simple apology and assuring the person that you will take special care in the future is often times effective.
Consumers value feedback on their complaints, with 30% saying this is important to them. The majority of people (89%) look for reviews and responses from businesses.
Additionally, businesses should be cautious when choosing how to respond to negative reviews.
The way this content is written will determine how the consumer sees it, and if it’s not done well, it could have terrible consequences. It is important for your content development team to be effective when handling negative reviews.
If a review is not helpful or relevant, and is just meant to upset people or damage your brand’s reputation without a good reason, you can flag it and report it to Google. They will look at the post and decide what to do, especially if it has bad language.
4. Utilizing different spaces
In order to reach potential customers, your business will have to use a variety of different channels.
Merely posting positive reviews on your website will not suffice, you will have to promote these posts through more significant channels.
Based on BrightLocal’s research, 50% of consumers will only visit a website if they have read positive reviews about it elsewhere. It is essential to register your brand on Google Maps, Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook or other local profile listings, so that people can get a general idea and impression of your business.
This is just a small sample of the many different channels you can use to market your reviews effectively.
5. Make you more visible
If you want to be a successful brand, you need to be visible.
The majority of shoppers use search engines such as Google and Bing or even Facebook to help them decide what to buy.
Each of these search engines has a different way of organizing and displaying information, but they all prioritize original and new content. Furthermore, customer reviews can play a role in supplying new content, which keeps your brand in the good graces of the algorithms that power these sites.
Online customer reviews provide positive content that search engines use to determine which results to return. When your site is ranked higher by search engines, it is generally seen as more authoritative by both users and other sites in your industry, leading to more exposure for your site.
6. They make you look trustworthy
If you want your brand to be trusted and have credibility, you need to have a lot of positive reviews. Online reviews are very powerful in building your company’s identity.
Many people only trust businesses that have ratings of four stars or above. Ratings are significantly likely to be converted to views, traffic, and sales for companies that have better average ratings.
What customers are saying about you is just as important as the fact that they are talking about you. If you have a good reputation, it will help you attract new customers.
7. Expand the conversation about you
Great reviews or bad ones tend to travel fast.
Asking customers to leave reviews of your company is a good way to help your brand become more well-known.
People tend to share reviews on more sites when they have positive things to say. This includes external websites such as Yelp, FourSquare, and TripAdvisor.
Google uses data from other websites when creating its own ranking system for search results. These other websites are important for your online presence. If you have positive reviews, this can help encourage more people to leave reviews.
For example, the Search Influence agency recently teamed up with GetFiveStars to reach out to patients of Houston-based orthopedic surgeon Dr. K. Mathew Warnock generated 100 five-star reviews over five months.
When Warnock’s reviews were published, it increased his organic search traffic by 23%. This also led to more reviews on sites like Google+, Facebook, and Healthgrades, which is especially important to his business.
Negative reviews can damage your reputation, so it’s important to encourage customers to leave feedback on as many platforms as possible.
8. Increasingly essential to decision making
A proactively cultivated brand is one that is actively promoted online to increase visibility. This can be done by encouraging people to talk about the brand in several ways. While social media is a great way to connect with customers and promote your business, it’s also important to have a strong presence on other channels that your customers use to talk about you.
Two-thirds of shoppers think that online reviews are an essential part of the decision-making process. When people want to know the best places to go, they are more likely to use the internet to find reviews on Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor than they are to ask a newspaper or their friends and family.
If you want your brand to be seen by customers when they are making their next shopping decision, you should focus on creating a steady stream of reviews.
9. They have a clear impact on sales
Case studies and theory can be misleading. Not everything always happens logically and sometimes there are exceptions. Studies have shown that customer reviews can lead to an increase in revenue.
The Harvard Business School found that online reviews have a significant impact on your business. positively-viewed brands have increased sales, and even a small improvement to your star rating can positively affect sales
A study found that an improvement of one star on Yelp.com leads to a 5-9% boost in sales in the short term. Even a small improvement can have a massive impact.
A 2016 study found that online reviews drive an average of 18% sales uplift, with benefits including increased conversion rates, order sizes and repeat order rates.
A 2012 Berkeley study found that a 0.5 star improvement for a restaurant made it 30-49% more likely to fill up during peak hours. If people like what they are reading, they will express it by buying the book.
10. They give an open line to consumers
Companies today are expected to do more than just post reviews; consumers expect them to respond to their comments as well.
The reviews also provide an opportunity for you to be honest with customers and to respond to positive reviews with gratitude or promotions. More importantly, they also give you a way to quickly improve a poor review and show that you care.
By responding quickly to both positive and negative reviews, MedQuest was able to improve its ratings and the volume of reviews. The company’s review volume on Facebook increased significantly by 163%, while it also got 23% more reviews on Google. This is most likely due to the company’s recent focus on social media marketing.
MedQuest is focusing on creating a better experience for patients, and is monitoring online reviews to see how they can improve. According to Dave Hidding, this is a priority for the company.
The quickness of these reviews and the tailored responses also mean that they give your brand a persona. Appearing friendly and open to feedback can be very beneficial for your brand.
Reviews help to improve customer relationships while also contributing to a better reputation for the brand and increased ranking on search engines.
The challenge with dealing with negative reviews is that you have to appreciate the positive ones and be honest about the reviews, regardless of how they contribute to your business’ success.