The World Wide Web has left no place to hide, and with a level of transparency akin to that of a toddler blurting out mortifying statements in the grocery line — the truth and observation settings are at 100%.
Such is the world of online reviews — brutal and instant with a lingering effect. The difference is, your four-year-old won’t be paid much attention, but your online audience have a loudspeaker to shout through.
Whether you’re a company or a customer, you may have come across this statistic somewhere along the line: approximately 90% of consumers read online reviews. That’s basically everybody, because we’re all consumers, whether we’re searching for products, services or reviewing an employer.
Let’s get some perspective on why online ratings and reviews deserve centre stage:
- Reviews on your products or social pages will increase your SEO rating because they generate fresh content organically, driving traffic in your direction without you doing anything. Google sees that as a instant win and bumps you up.
- Even a few bad reviews that have been positively resolved (among many more good ones, hopefully) are better than no reviews at all.
- Brands and companies are held accountable to walk the talk and deliver on the products or services they offer, and customers have the power to challenge them.
- Customer service has made it to the top of the priority list for businesses and a 24-hour (if not instant) response rate has evolved in the service industry, which makes your community manager the new sales representative.
- A platform like Glassdoor mentioned in this article about online reviews, empowers employees and future candidates to make informed decisions about where they will spend the majority of daily life. Fun fact: standard work hours make up roughly 30% of your lifetime, so you wouldn’t want to unknowingly end up in a sexist environment, for instance. We’re looking at you Uber!
- The digital barrier has removed the human element and made us ruthless — it’s really easy to blame the scratch on your hotel door for ruining your holiday. Luckily most people who would read a review like that won’t take it to heart and will push on to more realistic experiences.
- ‘Dr Google’ can impact the importance that people place on scientific data when it comes to digital word-of-mouth reviews of miracle cures or medication carefully tested with warning labels, as advised by ScienceNews.
- Online reviews live forever, like the photos of that 80's hairdo. There’s no closet big enough to hold the skeletons of the Internet.
- There’s no control over fake, anonymous reviews to boost ratings (this indicates a larger problem of not having a life, but it happens).
The list of reasons to pay attention to the message you get back from your audience is undeniable. You can’t escape the online world, so use the information it offers to your advantage to improve your brand reputation, customer service and ultimately your conversion rate.
Earn your gold stars
There are many review sites on which you can build a presence and benefit from increased conversions. HubSpot has become the go-to-guide of online review sites for B2C and B2B business, but if you’re just starting your five-star journey, you should start with the basics:
- Facebook ratings & reviews: This section on your business page is a permanent feature that can’t be removed and it appears at the top of your page before a visitor even reaches your feed. So pay close attention to any activity, plus encourage your existing happy customers to review your business through promoted ads or even an email campaign.
- Twitter: So, there isn’t a review section on Twitter, but it’s the most likely platform to receive shout-outs and complaints from consumers, so make use of them in your marketing wherever you can. Your community managers should pay special attention to engage and favourite any positive tweets about your brand to leverage them as much as possible.
- Your website: Cherry-pick the most industry-relevant platforms from HubSpot’s list to connect with, but also speak to your website developer and create a space on your site for visitors to leave reviews in real time. This will keep you content dynamic and make your audience feel heard and important.
So, how highly do you rate your customer reviews? Hopefully a little more now that you know how important they are. Chat to us for help deciding which review platforms are right for your business or to build strong inbound campaigns to increase your conversions.