Are your customers reviewing you on the most important online review sites for your business? Let's look at these sites... and learn how to get more reviews on them.
Reading awesome online reviews of your business is great for your ego (5-stars, woo-hoo!), but these positive reviews are important for much bigger reasons.
Research has proven that customers give online reviews a lot of weight when making buying decisions and that most customers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their own friends.
So you know that reviews can make or break your business.
But the internet's a big place. How can you be sure you're getting the most out of your customers' reviews?
By focusing on the review sites that matter most to those customers.
Review Sites: By the Numbers
Not all popular review sites publicize their visitor stats, but we still know quite a bit about the number of visitors these sites attract.
- Yelp reports that an estimated 73 million people visited its desktop site each month in the fourth quarter of 2016. An estimated 63 million people visited the site via mobile devices each month, and an estimated 24 million people used the mobile app per month in that same quarter. Yelp users had written a total of 121 million reviews between the site's launch in 2004 and the end of 2016.
- Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users as of the fourth quarter of 2016. Anyone with a Facebook account can view reviews posted on the site, and nearly a quarter of the world's population actively uses Facebook. That's a lot of attention!
- Google doesn't provide any public information about the number of reviews that are posted by its users. But keep two things in mind: anyone with access to Google can read reviews posted on an organization's Google Business page, and Google had an estimated 246 million unique visitors in the U.S. alone during November 2016. Translation: almost everyone in your customer base probably has access to Google reviews written about your business.
Reviewer Habits: By the Numbers
While the "big three" review sites (Google, Facebook and Yelp) provide a bit of information about their user stats, a recent survey tells us a lot about how these sites rank against one another...
The survey asked respondents: "In the last 12 months, have you reviewed a local business online?"
- 47 percent of people surveyed had written Facebook reviews in the previous 12 months, up from 30 percent in 2015.
- 25 percent of people surveyed had written Google reviews in the previous 12 months, up from 16 percent in 2015.
- 16 percent of people surveyed had written Yelp reviews in the previous 12 months, the same percentage as in 2015.
Note that Facebook reviews jumped by 17 percent between 2015 and 2016, and Google reviews jumped nine percent.
When it comes to posting reviews, Google and Facebook are growing in popularity while Yelp's popularity is holding steady and still remains incredibly powerful.
How to Focus in on Review Sites
Some businesses make the mistake of thinking online reviews are totally out of their control.
It's true that you shouldn't buy online reviews or try to manipulate your customers into writing false reviews about their experiences.
However, you can influence where your customers write reviews, so it's important to focus in on the sites that are most important to your business.
For most organizations, the big three review sites are important. Many businesses only focus on those three sites, but if your industry has niche review sites then add them to your list.
A few examples of niche review sites:
- For attorneys: Avvo, Lawyers.com
- For Medical professionals: Healthgrades, RealSelf, ZocDoc
- For restaurants: Zomato, TripAdvisor
- For service providers (contractors, roofers, cleaners, etc.): AngiesList, HomeAdvisor
Keep in mind that more isn't always better when it comes to review sites.
Say that 30 satisfied customers write reviews about you in a given month. Would you rather have a few reviews posted on each of a dozen sites, or would you rather have five or six reviews posted on the most popular sites?
Of course you want to get reviews concentrated on the most important online review sites.
That's why we recommend you focus on no more than five review sites total.
Don't water down your reviews by scattering them too far and too wide.
The best thing you can do for your online reputation is to ensure that you're receiving a steady stream of positive reviews on a limited number of the most important online review sites for your business.
Once you've identified the most important review sites for your business, you can focus on getting customers to write those reviews. It's often as simple as asking your customers to review you.
But that's not a perfect system. Customers will forget to write reviews, or you'll forget to ask.
That's where using an automated system like ReputationStacker is so helpful. All you have to do is enter an email address or phone number for your customers, and ReputationStacker will contact them with a one-question survey. Unhappy customers are directed back to you, while happy customers are directed to the review site of your choice.
This makes it incredibly easy to consistently rack up positive reviews on the most important online review sites for your business.
In Review(s) (see what we did there?)
With so many review sites operating online, it can be hard for a business to know which ones matter.
The big three - Yelp, Facebook and Google - are the most popular and therefore influential sites, but it's important not to ignore any niche sites that cater to your industry.
Once you've figured out where you want your customers writing reviews, get them working for you using an automated system like ReputationStacker, and take the work out of getting good reviews from your satisfied customers.