Digital Marketing Agency | Integrated Marketing Agency Michigan, North Carolina

What Are Social Media Reviews & How To Get More

What’s the first thing you do when deciding to try a new local restaurant or service? For nearly 90 percent of consumers, the answer is the same: look up their online reviews! When prospective patients look your practice up on Google, Facebook or Yelp, the first impression they get comes from customer reviews.

Maintaining a steady flow of positive reviews and learning from the feedback is one of the best ways to attract new patients and retain the ones you have. By getting a solid strategy in place, you can regularly obtain reviews that build your practice through word-of-mouth marketing—the type of marketing that people trust the most.

This post will help you answer three questions vital to a small business’ reviews strategy:

  • Where should I focus my efforts to acquire reviews?
  • How can I obtain positive reviews from existing customers?
  • How can I use reviews to grow my business?

And remember, your business’ online reviews situation is in your control. With a plan and a consistent effort from your whole team, you can make reviews one of your most valuable marketing assets.

WHERE SHOULD I FOCUS MY EFFORTS TO ACQUIRE REVIEWS?

To answer this question, let’s go back to the bottom line: you want new customers, and many of the people that will become those new customers have had no interaction with your business before. So where is that first point of contact going to be and what part will reviews play?

It most likely won’t be your website. Visitors to your website are probably already customers or have been referred by a friend. Accumulating reviews only visible on your website really only serves to validate the quality of your business to people already familiar with you.

How do your potential customers start researching for your products or services? The increasingly common answer is “with smartphone apps!” In 2015, Google reported that the percentage of mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches, and with this shift, reviews have an even more prominent role. This is because the most popular apps for searching local businesses—Google, Facebook, and Yelp—integrate reviews into search results. Reviews are also embedded into business locations in navigation apps—Google reviews on Android, and Yelp reviews on iOS.

These three key services—Google, Facebook, and Yelp—are where having a strong reviews presence is most likely to bring in a new customer. The strengths of these platforms and the best ways to approach them vary, so let’s talk about each one in a little more detail.

Google

This is the big one. People read and believe Google reviews when searching for a business, and they’re the first thing they see when your company appears in search results. Also, Google reviews are featured with your business location on the Android Maps app.

Google is the perfect place to focus your reviews strategy because it’s by far the most familiar, accessible online service in people’s lives. While other services may offer a place for more specialized reviews of your specific products and services, they’re not the first place people go when gathering information. When the average person wants to see what other people think of a dental practice in simple, relatable terms, they go to Google. Having more Google reviews boosts your local search ranking.

Google continually tailors search results to a user’s local area, meaning when someone searches “X ( the type of business) near me,” Google will return with practices in that user’s city or town. The order in which these businesses appear in search results is called local search ranking. By having more positive Google reviews, your business is more likely to be listed prominently in the top results.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media network in the world. It’s the most common place online for people to share their experiences with friends and family. Because of this, reviews of a business on Facebook carry a lot of weight—people trust the opinions of their friends. If a user’s friend has left a review of your practice, Facebook will display that review to them first.

Reviews increase your visibility on Facebook by making you more relevant. Facebook sorts information on user’s news feeds based on how likely it thinks a user will be to interact with it. This means that the more Facebook reviews you obtain, the more relevant you will appear to those reviewers’ friends, making it possible for your social media content to appear on more news feeds.

Yelp

You may have thought Yelp was just for restaurants, but it’s also one of the top places people check for and post reviews of local businesses. As mentioned before, acquiring Yelp reviews is also important because they are displayed with your business’ iOS Maps location.

If your company is not yet on Yelp, create or claim your business page today and start building your reputation on one of the web’s most popular reviews sites.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

In order to increase credibility, Yelp’s policy discourages businesses from actively soliciting reviews. So instead of asking for reviews, give patients a “heads-up” that your practice is now on Yelp. Place small signs or stickers on your doors and around the office encouraging visitors to check out what people are saying about you on Yelp.

HOW CAN I OBTAIN POSITIVE REVIEWS FROM EXISTING CUSTOMERS?

While the online platform may vary, the source of any review is the same: your valued customers. Once you have built a foundation of trust with a customer, how can you selectively and comfortably invite them to become an advocate for your business by leaving a review? It all starts in your business.

Follow these five tried and true guidelines:

  • DON’T ask every customer for a review! In your team huddle each morning, pull up the schedule and see who is coming in. Identify one or two of your customers who love your business and you suspect would be happy to leave you a review.
  • Train your whole team but make specific assignments. Don’t set your team up to fail by saying “OK everyone, we need to get out there today and ask for lots of reviews!” Instead, decide together who will be asking for reviews that day and have them report on how it goes. You know which team members have the closest relationships with each customer. Set them up for successes.
  • Set a goal and frame your request for reviews around it. Instead of asking for a review, ask your customers for “help in reaching your business’ reviews goal.” Context matters! Just this small change makes it easier for team members to bring it up. Let customers know that you value their feedback and that this will help you serve them better.
  • Offer an incentive—not to customers, but to your team. We’ve found, in hundreds of cases, that customers don’t need a reward to give a review. Offering an incentive to your team members, however, will help them remember to group asking for reviews in with all the other things they have to do. Consider giving out individual prizes per review and team rewards as your business reaches reviews milestones!
  • Launch a social reviews campaign. Instead of just mentioning off-hand to your team that you’re looking to get more reviews, create an environment for success by making it a full company-wide initiative! Devote team meeting time specifically to talking about reviews progress and brainstorming ideas. Announce your reviews goal in your business with posters, cards, buttons, and handouts. You know how much reviews can make your business better—so make it a big deal!

HOW CAN I USE REVIEWS TO GROW MY BUSINESS?

Customers saying good things about your business online naturally brings in more new customers. Obvious, of course! But there are a few simple things you can do to get even more out of positive reviews. Here are a few easy ideas:

  • Sending info in your newsletter email, make sure to include links to each of your reviews pages. Not only will this boost retention by allowing customers to see the good things people are saying about your business, but it will also remind them to leave a review as well.
  • Feature reviews in a sidebar on your website or blog. A recent positive review on your front page will greatly enhance a visitor’s first impression of your business. This social proof will help them see they are making a good buying decision.
  • Thank customers that leave particularly good reviews by sharing a social media post about it. Include a photo of the customer with your team and a link to the review if possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a little pride in your high rating on Google, Facebook, or Yelp! If you are at or near a 5-star rating on any of these services, incorporate it into all your marketing materials. Thank your customers in person and online for making you one of the best-rated business of your type in your community!

Additional Ways We Can Help You Get More Reviews:

ENABLE REVIEWS

We can ensure reviews are enabled on all your social media sites. We can leave comments on reviews and thank customers for their feedback. If a review is unfavorable, we can apologize and privately arrange to make it up to them. Ask if the customer would be willing to update the review afterward.

VERIFY ALL SOCIAL ACCOUNTS

We can look through all social accounts and have all your properties verified to ensure maximum exposure. 

CREATE AND CLAIM YOUR GOOGLE BUSINESS PAGE

We can create and claim your Google business page so that all reviews are and your business information is up to date.

YELP

We can see if any reviews have been caught in the spam filter and reach out to the customer’s who left it. And encourage them to legitimize their account so Yelp will mark their review as valid.

We can:

  • Follow the Customer’s account
  • Invite them to add a profile picture to their account
  • Invite them to check in at a couple other local businesses and leave reviews

To help all positive reviews show and not be hidden.

CONCLUSION

Reviews are critical in today’s internet and digital age. This social proof legitimizes your business and helps them feel good about buying from you! Building trust before they meet you or walk through your door! Don’t miss out on this key marketing tactic, or you will miss out on additional sales people helping you spread the word about your product or service.

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