Online reviews are one of the many reasons social media took off.
And now, more than ever, digital reviews of your business will be the difference maker.
Here’s why your marketing team should be chasing reviews, and why they’ll dominate smart marketing in 2017.
Why Online Reviews Matter
Social proof, provided by peer-to-peer recommendations of products and services, is a powerful way to persuade your potential customers.
In BrightLocal’s most recent consumer survey report, they found:
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important
The report goes on to underscore the importance of reputation marketing, and why businesses need to look to reviews for continued growth.
“The growing quantity of online reviews and review sites covering more industries and services, provides huge benefits to both consumers and the businesses that fully embrace reputation marketing.”
On top of the jaw-dropping stats above, online reviews and ratings are on the rise, with 53% of consumers searching for local businesses at least one time per month (vs. 43% in 2015).
Still asking why online reviews matter? How about, “because Google says so”?
If the above statistics don’t sway you, just look Google’s most recent stance on local ranking factors.
“Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”
The three major local ranking factors will be relevance, distance, and prominence:
- Relevance: Relevance refers to how well a local listing matches what someone is searching for.
- Distance: How far is each potential search result from the location term used in a search? If a user doesn’t specify a location in their search, Google will calculate distance based on what’s known about their location.
- Prominence: Prominence refers to how well-known a business is. It is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business’s local ranking.
3 Ways To Refine Your Reputation Management
1) Ratings & Reviews
Request online reviews soon after the transaction for products. For services, strike while the iron is hot, like after a particularly good coaching session, or once the deliverables have been met with glee by your client.
Client testimonials are often found in conjunction with online reviews. Use them on your website, highlight them in organic social media posts, and favorite or pin especially good ones. We recently got a review from marketing expert Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group, and you can bet we got that up on our site ASAP!
3) Badges & Logos Social Proof
Belong to an association? Have a certification? Use those badges to gain trust and show credibility on your website.
Additionally, you can use banners on your website to showcase top websites that have mentioned your business or highlight reputable clients and recognizable company logos you’ve worked with.Use these three types of social proof to up your reputation management game.Click To Tweet
2017: The Year Of The Reviewer
If there’s one area I feel like most of the “top trends” posts missed for 2017, it’s the power of the online review.
It’s proven that more stars drive more clicks:
- 154% — increase in clicks for a 2nd position organic search result when it features stars
- 55% — increase in clicks for a 2nd position organic search result when it features a greater quantity of reviews
- 87% — of consumers won’t consider a local business with low ratings
We believe in the power of online reviews so much, that we’re investing in Reputation Management in 2017 to monitor, generate, distribute, respond to, and analyze reviews for our clients.
What about you? What are you doing to boost your visibility, gain more online reviews, and keep your reputation in check in 2017? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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