A few years ago, advertising determined the value of a brand. Companies spent millions on leveraging traditional marketing channels such as TV, radio, billboards, and the print media to attract consumers.
There was a reason for this.
In those days, the latent ‘branding potential’ of the World Wide Web still remained hidden from view. That’s not the case today.
Marketing has undergone a powerful transformation; marketers have started tapping into the tremendous reach and strategic opportunities provided by the internet to target and attract customers.
Again there is a reason for this.
Most customers today don’t just rely on ads when making a purchasing decision.
As a customer what is the first thing you do when you are thinking of buying some product or subscribing to a service?
Research the product/service/business on Google, right?
What you also do is go through the reviews of the products or services you are planning to buy/hire. More than product information, it is these reviews that help determine whether the product/service you are thinking of choosing is actually worth it.
Most people today research about the product and company on review sites before even opening the company’s actual business website. As per reports, 79% of people trust consumer reviews as much as personal recommendations. Today, a brand’s online reputation can make or break the company.
Online customer reviews validate a company’s claim and instill trust in prospective customers, hence, proving to be a great way for businesses to reach out to new customers and also retain old ones.
A smart company can leverage customer reviews to boost online reputation.
Here are a few ways you can use online customer reviews to nurture and promote your brand:
1. Featuring Reviews on Website and Social Media Business Pages
Reviews are a kind of referrals or word of mouth marketing for your business. Sharing them with your customers and prospects will earn you their trust and boost your brand name. However, the platform you select to share reviews with consumers is the key.
Ensure you feature unedited reviews at a prominent location on your website so that visitors can come across them easily. When posting reviews on your website, you can even include the customer’s name and photo to ensure it looks authentic. If you have reviews for specific products, publish them on their respective product pages.
Apart from websites, you can leverage online reviews by sharing them on your company’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Since social networks are transparent, positive reviews about your brand will add credibility to your business. Consider adding the source of reviews when posting on social networks. For instance, if the review is written on some niche review site related to your industry, add the link to this review site when posting on Facebook or Twitter.
2. Handling Negative Reviews Effectively
Negative reviews are inevitable. If not handled correctly, a single negative review can spread like wildfire causing unbearable loss to your reputation and business. This is one of the main reasons many businesses are skeptical of having a presence on review sites or social networks.
But what these businesses don’t realize is if negative reviews are handled effectively, irate customers will not only turn into happy loyal customers, but have the potential to become brand evangelists who inform their friends and followers about the ‘awesomeness’ of your service. This encourages them to buy from you.
Think of negative feedback as a golden opportunity for your business to earn customer trust and boost your online brand reputation.
Ensure you respond to negative reviews in a proactive and polite manner. If possible, respond publicly to disgruntled customers to show everyone that you try to keep your customers satisfied. Apologize for the mistake and back your apology with some action to solve their issues.
3. Leveraging Reviews on Review Sites
Review sites can be considered the home of your business reputation. These sites allow people to post their opinions about products, services or any brand. They even let users search for types of service and then list companies based on star ratings and number of reviews.
There are many review sites like Yelp, Google Local, Yahoo Local, LinkedIn, etc. that businesses can look towards to maximize the potential of reviews. Apart from these sites, every industry has its own collection of niche sites as well.
It is vital for business to have an active and healthy presence on all these review sites. Businesses should ensure profiles on these review sites include a link to their website.
4. Showcase Brand Evangelist
Brand advocates are your company’s best marketers. According to reports, brand advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a good source of information by people around them. This shows it’s vital for a business to turn happy influential customers into an army of brand marketers.
Get your brand advocates to rate and review your company. Let them tell the world why they love your product or service. The next step is to share the story of these influential advocates with your audience on your blog, website and social media profiles. This will help you earn instant trust of potential clients and improve your brand reputation.
5. Posting Video Reviews on Website
A written review is undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool, but a video review is more powerful than text when it comes to enhancing your online reputation. With videos, you can convey a lot more than what words can, to convince and influence shoppers. Video reviews build trust in your prospective clients by showing how happy and satisfied your customers are using your product or subscribing to your services.
Rogaine, for instance, includes video reviews that let visitors see what customers who have used Rogaine have to say about the product.
Just like Rogaine review videos, ensure the videos you include on your website feel authentic, are interesting and deliver a relevant message. This will help convince the viewers, increase your online reputation and boost sales.
Irrespective of your company’s industry and size, listening to your customers will pay rich dividends. A single positive review from your satisfied customer will build a great reputation for your brand and is worth much more than those thousands of advertising dollars you might spend to capture a lead!
Moreover, consumers are more likely to view a company as trustworthy if it has a large number of customer reviews – which encourages repeat purchases and attracts new potential customers for the business.