An increasing number of potential customers are turning to online review sites as trusted sources when they are considering a new business or service. As a result, businesses are now having to take online review sites much more seriously than in the past.
For some businesses, this is an alarming trend. Customers who leave negative reviews about your company can have a devastating effect on your business and its reputation. But for other businesses, it’s an opportunity to build trust with potential customers. Read on to know some of the most popular online review sites and learn how you can use these sites to your advantage.
Most Popular Online Review Sites
There are several websites where customers can leave reviews about the businesses they’ve used. They are increasingly used by consumers to find products and services. Some of the most popular are probably Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and Amazon.
Yelp is a very well-known online review site. It has been around the longest, having been founded in 2004. It’s available in most countries and is used by just about every type of business imaginable. It’s also one of the most popular sites for businesses that are looking for positive reviews.
There are also sites for health care professionals and home services (such as plumbers and electricians), although most of the online reviews are for restaurants, spas, and other services. Yelp has an algorithm that helps to sort reviews, so those that are likely to be useful are at the top.
Yelp also has a business owner’s “dashboard” where you can see how many reviews you have, how many are “filtered” (i.e., not counted), and how many are positive, negative, or neutral.
TripAdvisor is mostly used by travelers and is frequently used by hotels and resorts. More than 500 million people visit the site each month looking for travel advice, including information about hotels and attractions. It’s also used by people who are planning vacations to get feedback from others who have visited the same places.
TripAdvisor has a similar business owner’s dashboard where you can see how many reviews you have, how many are “filtered” (i.e., not counted), and how many are positive, negative, or neutral.
Google is a broad-reaching site that’s used by many different kinds of customers.
It’s possible to get a Google review, either from people who have used your business, or those who have a Google account and “+1” your business (by clicking a button at the bottom of your listing).
Some businesses are also offering incentives for customers to leave a review (such as discounts or free products). Even if you’ve gotten positive reviews through traditional online review sites, you should make sure your business listing shows them up on Google.
Amazon is only for online shoppers, but it’s a huge platform with a large number of reviews. The online retailer is one of the most popular sites for customers who are looking for products. Although there aren’t explicit reviews of companies like there are on other sites, there are customer “stars” to indicate how satisfied they are with the products they’ve purchased from each seller.
There’s an Amazon review site for almost every product category and you have the opportunity to respond to reviews and even leave your reviews for competitive products.
Differences Between Online Review Sites
It’s also worth noting that not every review site is the same, so you should familiarize yourself with the guidelines and expectations of each platform before you start building your presence.
Some of these are related to the stickiness of the platform. For example, how often customers return to the site, how long they spend on the site, and what they do when they’re on the site. Other differences include the rules for writing reviews, the visibility of reviews, and how easy it is to leave reviews.
One of the most important differences to keep in mind is the fact that every review site has its unique audience. It’s possible that a positive review on one site could affect your reputation negatively on another site. It’s important to be aware of this so you can respond appropriately if your business receives positive or negative reviews on these sites.
How To Use Online Review Sites to Your Advantage
Build A Solid Reputation
One of the best ways to use online review sites to your advantage is to build a positive reputation on these sites. This can be a challenge because your customers are rating you out of five stars for everyone to see.
Be sure to respond accordingly to the review, either thanking the customer for their feedback or making a correction when necessary. You can also ask for clarification if the review is vague. Do this for both negative and positive reviews, as your response to a negative review can help to downplay the review’s impact.
If you don’t respond to reviews, you leave the impression that you’re not interested in customer feedback. This can hurt your reputation and make it harder for you to find new customers through online review sites.
Create Content That Engages And Informs
Another way to use online review sites to your advantage is to create content on those sites that informs and engages customers. This can take the form of product reviews, how-to guides, or information about your staff and company.
Providing this type of content can help you to stand out among the competition by giving customers an inside look at your business. It can also help to build trust, as customers will feel like they know more about your company.
Offer Exceptional Customer Service
When customers leave negative reviews for your business, one of the first things that you can do is apologize for their experience. If the complaint is legitimate, you can offer to correct the problem.
If the review is unfair, you can ask the customer to remove the review, especially if it’s defamatory. You can also reach out to the reviewer privately to try and correct the problem. If you’re able to offer exceptional customer service, it can often help to defuse a negative review, even if you’re not able to remove it.
Provide Value Through Free Offerings
Finally, you can use online review sites to your advantage by providing value through free offerings. This could take the form of a membership site, a blog, or something else that offers customers a bit of value.
It’s important to be sure that the content of your offerings is high quality, as low-quality content can hurt your reputation. Providing value through free offerings shows that your business is focused on the customers and their needs. This can help to build trust and make your business stand out from the crowd.
Consider Customer Feedback During Product Development
If you’re creating a new product or service, you should consider getting feedback from customers as you get closer to launch. You can do this through online review sites, or by offering to beta test your product.
Getting customer feedback before launch can help to ensure that your product meets their needs and expectations. It can also help to head off potential negative reviews, as upset customers are more likely to leave reviews than satisfied customers.
There are many benefits to using online review sites to improve your business’ reputation and build your brand. From increased customer engagement and better ranking on search engine results pages to more conversions, there’s a reason why businesses are investing more and more in online reviews.
But making the most of these benefits will require a substantial investment of time and effort. You can’t just post anything and hope that people will like it. The key is to make sure that your online reviews are authentic and genuine. If a potential customer reads your reviews and sees that you have a couple or a few negative ones, they might wonder what’s wrong with your business.
It’s also important to remember that online reviews are only as good as the content you include. Make sure to provide useful, specific, and engaging content that is helpful to your potential customers.
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