We’re long past the days when newspaper and television critics were the primary source of business reviews and recommendations. Now, 88% of consumers online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business.
Every business needs to cultivate a positive online review history and work hard to resolve any critical reviews/complaints that may appear. It only takes one bad review to drive customers away from your business. But with so many review platforms, how do you know which to focus on? Here’s how to know which platform to target in 2017.
Yelp Reviews: The Good, The Bad, And The Confusing
Yelp has tried to combat bias and presents itself as a fair, balanced, and objective reviewing platform. In order to maintain this image, Yelp has taken steps to actively discourage brands and business owners from manipulating or curating their reviews- making your job harder.
Yelp has also implemented a review filter algorithm that scans your reviews and chooses to hide some and display others. Many owners are baffled by how the filter selects reviews, and if you want to better understand the system you’ll need to read a research paper’s worth of analysis.
Despite these drawbacks, Yelp is one of the oldest and most trusted review sites online. Yelp is many people’s go-to website when they want to find reviews that they can trust. Ignoring Yelp and allowing negative reviews to pile up comes with significant risk.
If you don’t have the time to properly acquaint yourself with Yelp’s more complicated functions, you can still create an account and monitor your business’s reviews to address any complaints that may arise. If someone posts a negative review, you or your PR team can quickly swoop in, apologize to the customer, and offer a way to make up for the unpleasant experience.
Quick responses and proper compensation can make your business look stellar on Yelp. Most consumers realize that we’re all human, and mishaps will happen. If you show responsibility for mistakes, people will come to trust and respect your brand.
Google Reviews: Huge Potential, Both Positive & Negative
Hello Google my old friend, I’ve come to market with you again. If you thought Google couldn’t get any bigger or couldn’t do any more for digital marketing, you’ll almost always be wrong. Google has jumped on the review bandwagon, and marketers and businesses have to take notice.
Despite being much younger than Yelp (est. 2004 versus est. 2012), Google Reviews has huge benefits and perks that make it attractive to businesses, such as:
- Integration into Google’s search engine
- Exposure to the huge Google user base
- Fewer barriers for users to write reviews
- Quick response to fake or misleading reviews
- No stigma against asking for reviews
However, some of these strengths can also be weaknesses. Anyone can write a review, so you may have to deal with low-effort or disingenuous reviewers from time to time. Furthermore, negative experiences are more likely to motivate customers to write reviews, and with an audience the size of Google’s, you could have a lot of damage control on your hands.
The last review platform on the scene, Facebook Reviews emerged in 2013 and has since grown into a one of the most important consumer review hubs on the internet. Since most people are logged into their Facebook 24/7, leaving a review has rarely been so easy and accessible.
Consumers are 80% more likely to patronize local businesses with positive Facebook reviews. Furthermore, it’s much easier to chat with your customers over Facebook than it is Yelp or Google Reviews since the site is built around communication.Facebook is also closely integrated with Google, so when people search for your company through Google, they’ll still see your Facebook star rating.
In an ideal world, you could focus on all three big review platforms simultaneously, but your time is limited and valuable. Due to it’s ease of use, close connection to consumers, and integration with Google, we have to go with Facebook for small business owners.