What is online review management?
These days, customer opinions matter more than ever before, especially for small businesses. Every time a customer has a negative or positive experience with your products and services, they can share their thoughts on it across a multitude of online review platforms — on social media channels like Facebook, local directories such as Google My Business, or specialized review platforms like Yelp. Reviews have a real impact on your business’s chances of success. Online review management is all about maximizing the number of customers who share their positive experiences and minimizing issues that can lead to reviews and comments that will harm your brand, being shared online.
Why managing positive online reviews is important?
Word of mouth and professional reviews have always had a lot of influence on customer purchasing habits, but online reviews impact a business’s sales and online visibility in many unique ways that go far beyond this. This is why online review management is an essential marketing activity for all businesses in the digital age. Before trying a business for the first time, many customers check its online reviews and compare them with the competition. In this situation, the business with the best online review profile gets the customers.
Establishing a great review profile for your business will encourage customers, who compare reviews, to pick your business over its competitors. It will also help more new customers find your business, as many customers use review platforms to discover new businesses — especially restaurants. Managing reviews is also a great way for bricks-and-mortar businesses to attract more new customers passing through their area. These days we all use our smartphones along with online maps and reviews to find stores, restaurants, and services. Often, when on the go, review scores and a company profile are the only info customers have to inform their choice of business. This is why a well-managed review profile is a great thing for local businesses.
Having the best review profile doesn’t just mean having the highest rating. In fact, many marketing studies show that a score slightly below 5 stars is seen as more trustworthy by customers, and an overall rating average on review platforms of 4.5 stars+ is a powerful draw for new customers to your business. Especially if your review profile contains appealing pictures of your business and is well-written. The ultimate aim of online review management is to establish this type of positive online presence across all key review platforms and local directories that impact your business.
Setting up business listings and tracking all your reviews across the internet takes a lot of time if you do it manually. Fortunately automated solution rankingCoach 360 makes it possible to track your reviews across the internet and synchronize your business listings across all top review platforms and local directories with one click.
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How to manage and encourage positive reviews
Businesses that manage to achieve a positive review profile gain an edge over their competition. They don't achieve this by accident. Positive reviews can and should be actively sought out. For instance, using digital marketing channels such as social media to build a rapport with customers, and, when appropriate, encouraging satisfied customers to post reviews on the platforms that can benefit your business and its digital marketing strategy in many different ways. You may be looking to boost your visibility on Google Maps and attract more customers, getting more positive reviews on your Google My Business page will help with this. Or perhaps your business targets tourists who often look up tourist attractions so you want to work on your TripAdvisor profile. You need to ensure that your business has a well-managed review profile in all the review platforms and local directories that count. This will make a strong impression on potential customers and attract more of them to your business by presenting it in the best possible light.
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Making sure that positive reviews of your business are posted across the most important platforms will also help to balance out the impact of any other less positive reviews. Timing plays an important role in getting this right. Reaching out to customers who are sharing positive experiences on social media as quickly as possible will increase your likelihood of securing positive reviews because the positive experience and association will still be fresh in the customer's mind. A Harvard Business Review study found that businesses who responded to all reviews — good or bad — saw a substantial improvement in their overall ratings. Managing positive reviews is the best way of ensuring that customers' positive feelings towards your business are expressed online and that other potential customers can see this feedback, which will encourage them to use your products and services and help them to find your business.
Don’t waste precious time monitoring all your reviews and local directory profiles manually by logging in and out of all the different platforms. Digital marketing solutions like rankingCoach FREE and rankingCoach 360 monitor these channels for you and inform you when key developments occur with in-feed updates and real-time notifications all in one place.
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How to manage fake reviews
When you find negative reviews, you first need to read them carefully to take in any useful feedback and check for any fake or unfair feedback. For instance, if a customer writes their name on the review or many reviews of your business have been posted in quick succession, you may be able to report these fake or unfair reviews to the review platform. If the customer's complaint is genuine, you need to respond professionally and appropriately to find a mutually satisfactory solution to their problem.
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The impact of online reviews on SEO
Online review management can improve your online review profile and can also improve your rankings on search engines. Search engines like Google use the ratings from trusted review sites such as Google My Business (GMB) as a rankings factor. This is especially true for small businesses that appear in the Google Maps results. Having a more appealing profile on GMB will also improve your site’s visibility. This is especially true for local shops and restaurants that many customers find on Google Maps. Having a good review rating will also lead to more clicks on your profile, which in turn will lead to better rankings and more visibility on search engines.