Ninety-seven percent of consumers (BIA Kelsey) find local business info on the web, and 70% make decisions based on what online reviews say. So whether your clients know it or not, their business and reputation is on trial every single day.
Review sites like Yelp! and TripAdvisor host over a combined 270 million reviews (Yelp! and TripAdvisor) and if you consider the billion+ users on Facebook and Twitter, there's a good chance your clients' are the subject of many online reviews. In other words, their review management better be up to snuff or their reputation (and their business) could be in trouble.
What is online review management?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s managing online reviews to protect and strengthen the reputation of businesses. As cited above, online reviews go a long way in shaping consumers' buying decisions, and therein, your clients' bottom lines. One bad review has the potential to cripple a business, but one good review can provide a ton of marketing power, when leveraged effectively.
6 ways to manage online reviews effectively
1. Know how to respond
The right tone and the right words are everything. When responding to a bad review, making it a public war is a recipe for reputation disaster. The worst thing you can do for your brand is to trade blows with an angry reviewer. You've seen it, I've seen it, we've all seen it—there's never anything good that comes out of it.
But a polite response with the right spin and solution—an offer, refund or plain ol' acknowledgement—can turn a disgruntled customer into a happy one.
2. Respond quickly
It's critical to respond to reviews as fast as you can. Bad reviews can spread like a disease; responding to it quickly—whether it be through awesome customer service or handling the comment behind closed doors—goes a long way in preventing further damage.
Plus, responding promptly to reviews, negative or positive, shows customers you're attentive and lets others know you care about their experience with your business.
3. Get to know social marketing
93% of shoppers' buying decisions are influenced by social media (#SocialNomics 2014). Knowing how to connect with reviewers and followers on social is a huge business driver and is proven to increase sales by 18% (Bazaar Voice).
Another cool thing some companies are doing to rev their marketing efforts is reaching out to followers and making them brand ambassadors on their social sites. The primary function of these ambassadors are to test and review products and services in a good but honest light.
4. Keep reviews up to date
Fresh and relevant reviews are essential for healthy business results. Not only do they strengthen online presence but they directly impact sales conversions—63% of consumers are more likely to buy from a site with current product ratings (iPerceptions).
5. Call for back up
Not every local business has the experience, tools, or resources to manage their own reviews. Offering DIFM or DIWM services is great way to expand your suite of services and tap into a new revenue stream.
6. Use review management tools
Many agencies and media companies are turning to reputation management solutions to help their clients manage their reviews—from monitoring them to even generating them.
Offer these tips to your local business clients as a way for them to manage their reviews, or build your services around doing it for them. We’ve created Review Generation to help you get them reviews, and amplify positive ones on social channels. Check out Vendasta's rebrandable Reputation Management solution that'll do wonders for your clients' reviews and business.