Reviews matter. According to Invespcro, 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business and 88% of consumers trust reviews over personal recommendations. Even before walking in your door and buying whatever you are selling, you can count on the fact that customers will probably have checked you out online. It is for this reason that having an online presence on at least one trustworthy review site is really important. It gives you credibility and is the very best way of guaranteeing new and old customers come back.
But, if you are unfamiliar with the review site landscape, navigating through it can be overwhelming. There are many sites out there and knowing which ones are the most significant can save you time and effort. With that in mind, here’s a shortlist of the ones that count and details about each:
If you are a small business, you should be very familiar with Google. Why? Because Google has 90.46% of the search engine market share worldwide and because an average person conducts 3–4 Google searches every single day. That all means there is an excellent chance they will be searching for your business via Google. Moreover, it is simple and free. The reason it is probably the best place to list your business is simply because so many people see it.
- Google works for any business with a physical address. Google My Business allows you to register on Google Maps, Google+ and Google Search with just one click, so you won’t have to visit each site. Also, know that all these different sites are integrated.
- Be aware that Google reviews will be right next to other useful info like opening times, your website, and location so make sure all your info that is visible online is accurate.
- If your business is already registered on Google, you can update your business information with just one click.
- If you’re already on TripAdvisor or Yelp, Google will show those reviews too.
- Know that Google’s local ranking factors like relevance and distance aren’t impacted by reviews, but more reviews do suggest to Google’s algorithm that the business is better known, and this can in turn improve a business’ all important local ranking.
- Data and analytics are included.
- The scoring is out of 5. Google takes an average.
- Be aware that when it comes to reviews, they are often impossible to verify, so in theory someone could write whatever they want.
Trustpilot is one of the fastest-growing online consumer review sites. Totally community driven, it is based in Denmark, but covers Europe and is currently in over 65 countries. It attracts over 56 million reviews and over 265,000 businesses. It operates as a “freemium” business model and earns the majority of its revenue from companies that subscribe to its services.
The essential review checking features for this site give you a basic version for free that lets you create a profile page and collect customer reviews. Note that their paid versions allow you to create customizable review invitations, share ratings and reviews on social media, and link review data to your internal business systems.Operating as a means to help companies proactively collect customer reviews, it's the customers (and not anyone else) who write both product and seller reviews, keeping it third-party verified.Customers trust this site.
But do note: Trustpilot has been accused of allowing fraudulent reviews in the past. For instance, one criticism argued that their negative reviews were more difficult to find (because they were visible solely on the Trustpilot website) than the positive ones (visible on the Trustpilot website and Facebook page).
It’s a great way to stand out in Google search.
- The more 5-star reviews you get, the closer you’ll be to getting 10/10 on their scoring chart.
If you have ever traveled, stayed in a hotel, flown on airline, sought out entertainment, or checked out a restaurant anywhere in the world, chances are you are already familiar with the ever popular TripAdvisor site. TripAdvisor boasts being the largest "social travel website" in the world, with about 315 million reviewers (active and inactive) and about 500 million reviews.
- It is internationally trusted.
- They have extensive content on most things travel related (to include low airfares, travel guides, rental listings, and advice forums).
- Their scoring system is based on having a successful profile and making it as close to the top of their popularity index as possible, so that people searching for information in a specific place see your listing.
- According to TripAdvisor, the popularity ranking algorithm is based on three key components: quantity, quality, and how recent the reviews are.
- The scoring is out of 5. TripAdvisor calculates your average score and ranks you with other similar local businesses.
- Be mindful that anyone can write a review of your business, whether they've visited you or not.
Online giant Amazon was one of the first online stores to allow consumers to post reviews of products in 1995, and it remains one of the most important resources for consumers looking to make informed purchase decisions. Indeed, the Amazon marketplace available on Amazon.com is present throughout the US, Europe and is looking to expand worldwide. Even if people can and do buy a product elsewhere, if it's sold on Amazon.com, consumers will often look up its Amazon reviews before they decide to buy.
- The Amazon scoring system is based on good customer reviews. Products are rated on a five-star rating scale, which is broken down by percentage of reviews per star, followed by most helpful customer reviews and most recent customer reviews.
- It is easy to find on any Google search.
- Amazon offers some of the most competitive prices out there.
- The sheer volume of products means it is a good place to market your product, but it does also mean, it is just as easy for the same consumer to find your competition.
- Amazon is sensitive to fraudulent reviews; however, they are not full-proof and a negative review of your product has the capacity to massively damage a business. As such, it is important to employ review checker tools (some are free and some you pay for) and to investigate the reviewer profile.
- Also, be mindful that products that are “fulfilled by Amazon” may have the “Prime” logo that makes them look like they're sold by Amazon, but in fact, they aren't. You're still buying a product from a third-party seller. Moreover, Amazon doesn't necessarily confirm that the product is legitimate before shipping it to you.
Facebook and Twitter are well known social media forums in their own right, but when it comes to reviews, they give consumers a platform to leave ratings and reviews of your business. On Facebook, it's straightforward. If you have a business, list it for free as one on Facebook and look for Facebook Ratings & Reviews. On Twitter, it’s a little less obvious. While users might not always search for reviews directly on Twitter (unless you started some kind of review hashtag), tweets are still indexed in search results. That means a user's tweet, whether complimentary or less-than, could pop up in the SERPs when someone's searching for reviews on your business. It currently has 321 million active users and according to eMarketer, nearly 66% of the businesses who have 100 or more employees have a Twitter account. For these reasons, it is a good idea to get on this bandwagon.
Be mindful that Facebook Ratings & Reviews appears on the left-hand side of your Facebook Page and you can't move or remove it like you can other parts of your Page.
Anyone logged into Facebook can post a rating or review of a business. All they have to do is go to the Reviews section of your Page, click the grey stars to choose a rating, and then write an optional review.
Reviewers can make that review public, visible to friends, or visible only to them.
On Twitter, be mindful of the power of positive tweets. First off, they are easier to earmark as "Favorite" to find them when you want to use them in your marketing.
- Use Twitter as a marketing platform. 75% of B2B businesses and 65% of B2C businesses market on Twitter. That means Twitter outranks Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat for these purposes.
- Both platforms are totally free.
- Be mindful, that anyone can leave a review and write whatever they like.
TestFreaks helps businesses proactively collect customer reviews and write seller reviews to complement them. The Swedish-based company operates as a product review aggregator, meaning that both expert and professional as well as user reviews are aggregated from thousands of sources.
- Every product on TestFreaks is calculated with an algorithm that factors such things as the age of the product and when each review was written.
- TestFreaks runs a badge product allowing retailers to include product scores, pros and cons and, review snippets directly onto their product and category listings page.
- It also runs a post-purchase review collection and moderation service where service reviews can also be collected to gather feedback about the customer experience.
- It offers an added “question and answer” feature, which lets prospective customers post questions and receive answers directly from your customer service team.
Now that you have a general idea about a few of the major review sites at your fingertips, don’t be afraid to check them out and use them! They all offer something a little bit different, so as you go about receiving and managing incoming reviews, be aware of the differences between them and use them accordingly. If there is a paid service associated with any of these review platforms, know it may be worth it. As you can see, managing reviews the right way is important because they do have the ability to either hurt or help your business. With all this in mind, it is time to generate and sort through those ever-important reviews to get you well on your way to a 5 star scoring.