What do you do when someone tells you about a fantastic new product?
If you’re like most people, you immediately pull out your phone and check online reviews to see what the hype is all about. The internet has dramatically increased the role social proof plays in consumer decisions.
Your business’s overall reputation is largely based on how reviews portray your products and services.
This guide will help you understand the importance of online reviews and how you can leverage positive reviews to boost your business’s reputation.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- The different kinds of reputation management
- Why reviews impact your business’s reputation
- How to make the most of reviews
- Strategies for getting more reviews
Business Reputation Management
Business reputation management is the process of monitoring and influencing the public perception of your company. This job has been around for a long time, but the information-dense and decentralized nature of the internet has increased the importance of business reputation management.
Social Media Reputation Management
Social media reputation management involves tracking what users say about your brand across various social media platforms and engaging when necessary to maintain a positive image.
This process is a component of business reputation management. But, social media platforms are becoming increasingly influential in the public perception of a company; over 240 million people use social media in the U.S. alone
Why Reviews Matter For Your Business’s Reputation
All business owners intuitively understand the importance of online reviews. However, you might be surprised by how much they can influence the purchasing behavior of potential customers.
Take a look at these revealing statistics regarding online reviews:
- 90% of customers read reviews online before even visiting a business.
- 88% of consumers put the same amount of trust in online reviews as personal recommendations.
- 72% of customers will take action after reading a positive testimonial.
Online reviews have a significant influence on how your business is perceived.
Instead of leaving your reputation up to the good graces of strangers, you should have a reputation management strategy in place. By collecting, tracking, and managing your business’s online reviews, you have much more control over how the public views it.
How To Make The Most of Your Reviews
If you’re running a successful business, you probably already have plenty of customer reviews. Managing your online reputation is about finding ways of using those reviews to your advantage.
While you can’t control everything that people write about your business, you don’t have to relinquish control completely.
Following these tips can help you make the most of your online reviews no matter what they are.
Add Good Reviews to Your Website
Your business’s website should wear positive reviews like badges of honor.
Displaying them clearly on your website accomplishes a few things:
- Shoppers can share reviews, vote as to whether they’re helpful or not, and ask previous customers specific questions.
- Using review schema markup can improve your website’s rankings and click-through rate on Google and other search engines.
- Positive comments about your products act as social proof to encourage others to make the same purchase.
Reviews that put your products in a significantly positive light can be featured in a slider on your homepage so that every new visitor can see what others are saying.
Most of your product reviews should go on a specific product page to limit confusion. Take a look at Beardbrand’s product page as an example.
The average star review is clearly indicated for each item right beneath the product name.
Users are then met with specific product reviews further down on the page.
Having these customer testimonials accessible makes it easier for potential customers to develop an informed opinion and feel confident about buying about your products.
Use Multiple Review Sources
You should source your product reviews from a variety of locations, including:
- Your website
- Social media
- Dedicated review sites like Yelp
If you have a WordPress website for your business, then certain plugins or widgets can make it easier to gather and display reviews on your website.
To get reviews on social media, you’ll need a business profile on each relevant platform. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are some of the most review-friendly platforms.
Despite the rising popularity of social media, customers are also actively posting on dedicated review websites such as:
Creating accounts on these websites makes it easier to track comments and gives you an opportunity to directly interact with customers.
Interact With All Your Reviews
You should make an effort to respond to every product review. Yes — even the negative ones. Your response shows anyone looking at the review that you genuinely care about your clients.
While a simple “thank you” and “hope to serve you again” will suffice for positive reviews, your responses will require more tact for the not-so-positive feedback you receive.
The key is to remain calm and professional no matter how untrue or downright rude the review is.
Start by acknowledging the problem and follow up with a sincere apology — even if it’s something you don’t feel responsible for.
If there’s an explanation, provide it. If not, offer appropriate compensation for the issue if it’s legitimate.
Either way, at this point, you want to encourage the user to continue the conversation privately. You can communicate via email, over the phone, or via direct message. Whatever method, it’s best to avoid filling your public review page with this back and forth — move the dialog to a private channel as soon as possible.
How To Get Reviews for Your Business
Knowing how to use product reviews effectively is critical. However, if your business is new, you’re probably more concerned with how to get reviews in the first place.
Here are some strategies you can use to get more reviews:
- Make It Easy to Write a Review
When setting up an eCommerce website, make it easy for users to leave reviews. It might sound obvious, but many businesses fail to optimize their website for accepting testimonials.
The average user won’t spend time navigating through your website to figure out how to leave a review, no matter how happy they were with your service.
Take a page out of Beardbrand’s book — er, website. Beneath each product is a clear and intuitive box for leaving feedback.
And, as you can see, it’s resulted in a considerable number of customer reviews.
- Send a Follow-Up Email After Purchase
With an active response rate of over 8%, post-purchase emails are an effective way to request product reviews.
This prompt is a great way to remind recent customers they can leave a review if they’re pleased with your product — and even if they’re not.
Sending a message about a week after their purchase (assuming they’ve received it) is ideal. It gives your customer sufficient time to develop a real opinion about the product without so much time passing that they forget all about it.
- Offer an Incentive
Offering customers a free gift is a great way to persuade them to leave product reviews. A free gift might lead to more favorable reviews, but your rewards should apply to any kind of feedback.
If you use discount codes, coupons, and other deals customers can use toward your other products, you have the added advantage of encouraging repeat sales.
Businesses with a strong social media presence could even use a shoutout as a unique gift in exchange for customer feedback.
Contests and giveaways are other great strategies for collecting reviews. Just the chance of winning something is enough to convince many customers to give up a few minutes of their time.
Don’t forget to advertise these incentives so people know you’re offering them. You can mention it in receipts, follow-up emails, and payment confirmation pages.
- Use Reputation Management Software
Online reviews have such an impact on a business’s reputation that there are multiple software services dedicated to reputation management services.
Reputation management software makes it easy to handle your business’s product reviews by giving you a central hub to oversee, organize, and manage all of them.
What to Look For in Reputation Management Software
Here are some important features to look out for when choosing a reputation management software solution:
This function constantly monitors dozens of websites and sends you alerts when any review mentions your website, allowing you to respond quickly.
You can create advertising and email campaigns designed to encourage customers to leave positive reviews about your products after using them.
Social Media Management
With this capability, you’ll be able to monitor mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media websites. Remain an active part of the online conversation about your business and ensure it continues in a positive direction.
Easy-to-read reports explain how your business is being discussed online, giving you a better idea of its reputation overall.
Product reviews strongly influence your business’s online reputation.
Without brand reputation management, your business’s image is left to the whims of random reviewers.
Gathering positive feedback, responding to negative reviews, and leveraging them effectively can give you more control over the perception of your company online.
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