Over the past few weeks, we've been looking at the numbers presented in Bright Local's online consumer habits survey. We've been looking at what is most important for growing your business's positive online reputation and driving more consumers to your door (or website, as it may be).
Last week, we looked at the importance of building trust with consumers. Before that, we looked at the current trends in the world of online reviews. This week, we home in on one very important factor that a lot of the other articles analyzing the results have ignored: which websites you should encourage consumers to post reviews on.
It's not enough, anymore, to slap a few good consumer reviews and testimonials on your website. People got wise to the fact that you weren't going to post the negative ones. Plus, there are often times that people come across your company (or any company in particular) by searching in general terms directly on a review site.
Consumers are not necessarily looking for information about your company, they are looking for information about companies in your field. If you are lucky and have received enough positive reviews on their websites of choice, you will come up in their search results.
Which Websites Are the Most Popular for Reviews?
The survey by Bright Local revealed that Facebook and Yelp are both tied in terms of popularity for online review readers. Though they didn't really get much information regarding where people are happiest and most likely to write reviews, it was clear that, with 20% each of the total share, these two sites were the preferred places to read reviews.
Coming in close behind with 16% of the total share, Google was the third choice among surveyed consumers as a place to read reviews. It should be noted that, on good authority, Bright Local suspects Google's share will increase in future years as they begin adding more and more review options to their search and maps platforms.
Why Does it Matter Which Review Sites Are the Most Popular?
Great question! It's important because you want to be visible. The more visible you are on the internet the more likely it is that consumers will find your company. The more visible your positive reviews are the more likely it is that consumers will trust your company.
And let's face it, with Yelp reporting 84 million visitors per month (on desktops alone) and Facebook boasting about a possible 2.07 billion visitors a month, you are much more likely to be seen on these popular websites.
Therefore, having positive reviews for your company on these three most popular review websites is an essential part of your company's overall marketing efforts.
How To Drive More Reviews on Popular Website
The first step is to create a profile on these websites. It is with a profile on these sites that you can collect all of the reviews about your company in one place. It is also with this profile that you can respond to negative and positive reviews, alike - showing the personal side of your business.
A profile on these websites is also a great way to encourage more reviews. By linking to these profiles on your website, social media pages, and in your mailing list emails you can encourage consumers to visit the review websites.
After a customer makes a purchase you can specifically ask them for a review on any of these platforms and link directly to your profile instead of simply sending them to go to Google, or Yelp, or Facebook and expect them to do all the work themselves. Unless they are very upset with you, few of them will go to the trouble of finding your profile on those platforms.
How to Set Up a Profile on Popular Review Websites
Google profiles can be made using Google+ and Google's webmaster tools. Facebook business pages are simple and easy to set up as long as you already have a personal Facebook account they can be linked to (don't worry, you won't make your personal profile visible if you are set to private). A Yelp profile is a little bit more tricky. When you get to Yelp's website navigate to the bottom area where the footer is and click "Claim Your Business Page."
What About Industry-Specific Review Sites?
It's important not to get too caught up in the big names and forget about the small, industry and niche-specific websites. There will be many occasions where consumers search for review sites for specific things like "Review Websites for Car Rental Stores."
We recommend doing research on the other possible review websites that are geared to your specific type of industry and focusing some effort there. This is especially important if you are in an industry related to hospitality or travel. For example, Trip Advisor took a top spot in the rankings on Bright Local's survey, snagging 11% of consumers who look for online reviews.