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A Quick Guide to Managing Your Online Reviews

Whether it’s making an online purchase or checking out a local cafe, consumers will now check the Internet to find out the online reputation of a business before asking their friends for recommendations. Approximately 88 percent or 9 out of 10 people will check a review online to determine the quality of a business. This speaks to the importance of online reviews, but you might be wondering how to garner more reviews (and sales) for your business and.

Gain Social Media Reviews

  •  Target the right social media platforms for your business.
  •  Find the best local search directories.
  •  Use niche directories and the company’s website for reviews.
  •  5 actionable steps to gathering more reviews.

Whether you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube, customers can leave reviews on your social media pages or profiles. You’ll have to make sure that you have a profile on these social media platforms. While you might not want to join all of them, pick one to be your main focus depending on your industry or niche.

For freelancers, doctors, lawyers or dentists, you’ll have a professional, individual page where customers or clients can leave reviews. LinkedIn doesn’t allow reviews on company profiles. Be sure that you’re choosing the right platform to house your reviews.

Local Search Directories

Customers will search Google Places, Yelp, Local Google Guides and CitySearch to find reviews on local businesses before they’ll attempt to visit your location. For reputation management, you’ll want to have great reviews on these directories to make use of the platform for gaining traffic and business.

You can link to great directory reviews from your own testimonial page too. Google gives more weight to businesses with good reviews. This means you’ll want to steer customers to the directories for leaving reviews.

Review Sites Based on Your Niche

If you have a business based on travel, you can have your business on sites like Travelocity or Trip Advisor. For local businesses, you can do a search to find the best directories for listing your business.

Testimonials for Your Business Website

Another good way to garner customer reviews is on your website. Create a testimonial page that links to other directories like Google Places or Yelp. Along with linking to other sites, any testimonials you receive from clients in email can be added to the website.

Actionable Steps for Getting the Reviews

  1. Claim Your Business

Once you’ve decided on some niche review sites and places like Yelp, you’ll need to claim your business listing. Make sure you’re claiming your business on all the relevant sites that you expect customers to leave reviews. In search results, review sites will often be at the top of the listing ahead of the company website. You can also use automated tools like Moz Local to help with the listings.

  1. Never Offer Money in Exchange for a Review

It’s unethical to offer money to customers in exchange for reviews. It’s considered to be a bribe since most customers will feel obligated to leave good reviews because they’re being paid. You could also be charged with a crime depending on where you live. There are better ways to get reviews to build your online reputation.

  1. Offer a Free Sample or Product

While you shouldn’t offer money for a review, you can offer a free product or sample in exchange for an honest review. It’s suggested that reviewers disclose the fact that they were given a product for a review. This is an accepted practice, and one that can result in some reviews if you don’t have any to start. However, this does only applies to product review sites. Most local business review sites frown on this practice.

  1. Ask for Reviews

After you’ve completed your interaction with the customer, ask them for a review. If they thank you at the end of the interaction, mention that you’re always happy to receive online reviews and steer them to the platform you’d like them to use.

If they buy a product from you online or in the store, try to get their email address to ask for a review later. This is easier when they’ve signed up for your email list. You can also have it printed on the receipt if you have a local shop.

  1. Respond to Those Reviews

This has the benefit of continuing a conversation with your customers. They’ll know that you’re actively listening to feedback. Rather than manually checking every review site, utilizing online reputation management software like RenegadeWorks to actively monitor your reviews can save you a lot of time.

In some cases, you only have to say thank you to those who left glowing reviews. Be sure to invite them back as well.

For negative or less than glowing reviews, you should respond in a way that’s respectful and addresses the customer’s concerns. Others will see your responses, and it might not have the negative impact you’d expect. It shows that you’re an attentive, respectful business owner who cares about his or her customers.

Customers trust online reviews, so search engines are giving them more weight. This means that those companies with more reviews will rank higher than those who don’t have any reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask customers to leave reviews, and let them know where you’d like them to talk about their experience.

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