The Year of Trust – Building Solid Foundations for Successful Reputation Management

As we move into 2021, it is evident that consumers’ trust in companies is becoming more influenced by what they see online. How you represent your company online could have a dramatic impact on consumer evaluations of your business. These key strategies can help you avoid potential unforeseen pitfalls while catapulting you ahead of the competition.

Getting Ahead of the Trends

Every year the marketplace shifts in all sorts of directions. Consumer habits change, and stock markets fluctuate. Something of most importance last year is suddenly the most important consideration for a company. Things progress; it’s all about evolution and positive forward movement.

In this series of blog posts, we’ve begun looking at the forward motion of online reputations and consumer research habits. Using information from last year’s trends, we’ve taken a peek into the future to help you get ahead of the curve and ahead of the game.

Last week, we used results from an extensive survey conducted by Bright Local (an online SEO strategy company) to analyze the most telling trends of online searches and the online marketplace throughout 2017. Our focus was on search trends and how online reputation influences your positioning and appearance in search results. This week, we’d like to change course to focus on trust.

Trends in Consumer Trust of Companies

  • What can you do to help consumers trust your business?
  • Which Bright Local’s study reveals the most influential factors for gaining consumer trust?
  • How are consumers evaluating a business online?

Now let’s learn how to harness all the information and put it to good use in 2018. Start with the results.

Consumers Trust Online Reviews

Here are Bright Local’s findings:

  • 93% of consumers read online reviews for purchasing decisions.
  • 83% of consumers trust online reviews as much as the opinions of their family and friends.

Whether those reviews are good or bad, consumers place their faith in what they read online about your business, especially when it’s from other consumers.

Positive Reviews Improve Trust and Overpower Negative Reviews

If consumers trust online reviews, they should be highly influenced by positive reviews. The survey reveals the positives have the most significant impact over the negative.

  • Positive reviews influence 73% of consumers
  • Negative reviews influence 50% of consumers

Let’s take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. It’s much easier to encourage positive reviews than trying to put out the fires of a negative review. We’ve written an entire blog post about dealing with negative reviews while maintaining a company reputation.

Tips for encouraging and improving positive online reviews will be detailed in the third part of this article.

Harnessing Trends to Improve the Trust Consumers Have in Your Company

What good is all this information without putting it into action?

Getting More Reviews

If reviews have been steadily growing in importance over the past six years, your company should focus on getting more reviews in 2018.

The more reviews you have, the more people see your company. Not only will you pop up in search engines, but your consumers will also see brand popularity. Often, consumers will read up to 6 or more reviews gaining trust. As a result, the more positive reviews, the better.

Here are a few ways you can get more reviews from consumers without breaking ethical guidelines:

  • Include information about how to leave a review with physical purchases (in the form of an advertisement card).
  • Email consumers after they’ve made a purchase asking about their satisfaction.
  • Ask for permission to post the reviews consumers have sent you on their behalf.
  • Encourage anonymous reviews so consumers don’t feel intimidated to leave positive ones (it may seem counter-productive, but there is no better way to improve your company than to hear about its shortcomings).
  • Navigate consumers to popular online review websites.
  • Set up your business on Google, so people who physically visit your business will be prompted by their cell phones to leave a review. 

Improving Positive Online Reviews

It’s not just about getting online reviews; it’s about securing quality reviews. Think about it, which would you trust more: a review that states “I was satisfied” or one that goes into detail about quality, customer service, and more? The quality of your positive online reviews defines how convincing they will be for the reader.

Here are a couple of tips for improving the overall quality of consumer reviews:

  • Encourage consumers to write about details by listing the types of things they could write in their review (this is most useful when prompting a review with an advertisement card or email).
  • Create an online form that consumers can fill out in a question and answer format (to improve trust further, leave a space on this form for them to suggest improvements).