Online Review Sites: Critical to Your Brand, Reputation and Business
By Lisa Merriam
Member, Board of Directors
Online review sites are a critical part of brand management. Brand ratings and reviews drive traffic to your site–search engines like Google give top ranking to sites like Yelp.com. Done well, they can either drive new business or drive customers away.
Managing your online reputation and interacting with customers and potential customers on these sites always pays off. Here is what to do:
- Claim your company page on every relevant review site. At the bottom of this article, we list some 20 of the most important sites. If you don’t have a page on these sites, create one.
- Build out your listing. The more content you provide, the better. Be sure to be consistent in how you describe your company. Add product details, pictures, tools, checklists, video, helpful hints—more is better. And keep it fresh. Add content regularly
- Seek testimonials. Review sites know when you are trying to game the system, so don’t hope to flood Yelp with dozens of five star reviews all at once. Encourage positive reviews organically. When a customer is happy, tell them how important review sites are to your business and invite them to engage. It will take time, but slowly, positive reviews will build up.
- Respond! Many sites will notify you when a new review is posted, but be proactive and visit them from time to time. Thank positive reviewers and highlight your commitment to excellent. Address the negative ones, but avoid debate. The customer is always right is a truism that is all the truer online. Your engagement should focus on problem solving, not rebuttal. You might not be able to please the negative reviewer, but visitors will see how you tried and that will help. The absolutely worst thing to do is to leave a negative comment unaddressed.
Below are some of the biggest and most influential review sites. Some specialize in a certain industry and some are general. The list is not comprehensive, however. Be sure to look for sites and media reviewers that are specific to your business and take the time to reach out. It’s good for your brand and your business.
Better Business Bureau