Reputation management: online reviews are vital social proof for all businesses
Imagine you’re on vacation, and you need to decide where to eat in an unfamiliar city. How would you choose where to eat? Maybe you’d look around your hotel – what looks good? What restaurants seem busy? Or you might look online. What has the best review? What do people say is good? When you’re looking to see whether a restaurant is busy, or how it has been reviewed, you’re looking for social proof. Maintaining your reputation management is key to being successful online.
What is reputation management
Reputation management is an absolute essential for your business. 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a website if it has ratings and reviews.
Online reviews and testimonials are one of the most basic, and vital forms of reputation management. And unlike word-of-mouth, they’re a form of social proof that you can actively generate more of.
We’re going to look at how you can best feature testimonials and reviews on both your site and on third party websites.
Social proof on your website: testimonials and reviews
Depending on your business or organization, there are many different ways to feature a review or testimonial. If you sell products, you can have customer reviews. If you have a service, you can feature testimonials. If you offer both products and services you can have a combination.
Invite your customers, past and present, to give you a testimony or review.
Focus on stories. A life coach sharing the testimonial of a client who’s life has been turned around dramatically is very powerful. Or a plumber’s customer talking about how their house was flooded and they were saved at the last minute is an excellent thing to have.
It is important to include a photo, even a generic one if you must, with your testimonials and reviews. This will increase trust amongst your website’s visitors.
Include information about your clients in their testimonials, where appropriate. The success, or expertise, of your clients can “rub off” on you. This is why celebrity endorsements work.
Social proof on third-party Websites: Google, Yelp, Facebook
Every business can be reviewed online on many websites including Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Perhaps your business is already being reviewed – check!
Social proof on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Better Business Bureau, and other sites like them is much like a garden. There are some great things growing, but also a lot of weeds. Everything needs to be taken care of.
Whether you receive a good or a bad review, you need to reply. Replying to a positive review shows anyone looking for your site that you’re an active, conscientious business owner. Replying to a negative review gives you an opportunity to convert a “weed” into a “flower.”
If you are able to work things out well, your complaining customer may replace their one-star review with a five-star review.
Setting up social proof: The logistics
Using both social proof on your website and on third-party websites and social media can be a time-consuming process.
Depending on the format and style of your testimonials, you may need to make some big changes to your website. This is where a relationship with a web designer is paramount. What good is a testimonial if it is no one can read it? Or sticks out like a sore thumb?
You will also need to set up your Facebook page, and gain ownership of your Yelp and Google pages. It’s important that these pages look professional and represent the brand of your business.
We’ve set up many businesses, and can help you gain control of your entire web presence.
We’ve only scraped the surface of using social proof as part of your web presence. Entire posts could be written about replying to reviews, gaining more reviews and testimonials, as well as the further different forms of reputation management.
No matter where your business or organization is on its journey – now is the time to begin using social proof. Put testimonials on your website. Reply to the reviews online!