In the age of social media, growing your business’s online reputation can be a daunting yet essential task. Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to meet and build customer trust online. By planning a customer-first digital marketing strategy, your company has the opportunity to create more authentic relationships and grow your business.
Small businesses are now navigating the new normal and had to learn different ways to operate. From starting online shops to creating entirely new marketing plans (if any), they are competing with large retail players like Amazon or Target. So, the question stands: How do small business owners know where to start or where to engage online?
First off, start assessing your business’s online reputation by answering these questions:
- How are you building your online reputation?
- How many social media and customer review channels are you listed in?
- What are customers saying about your competitors?
- Are negative reviews hurting your business?
If you’re able to answer only a couple of these questions or none at all, don’t worry. This blog walks you through why customer reviews matter and why an immersive social media experience is important for building customer trust online. Read on to learn more and find tools to help your business grow a strong online reputation.
Why does your business need more customer reviews?
As you start to assess your online presence, look at your social media channels and online listings like Google or Yelp. How are people commenting? Customer reviews not only allows people to speak highly about your business, but they may hold important feedback to help you improve a variety of issues from specific product features to your customer experience. Here’s how collecting more customer reviews can help grow your business:
- Converts and increases sales. Fresh and relevant reviews are essential for healthy business results. According to Qualtrics, 90% of consumers make a purchasing decision based on social reviews. Also, online reviews can drive sales by supplying consumers with pertinent information about products and services. On average, customer ratings increase sales by 18%.
- Influences customers. Every day, millions of consumers are conducting local searches and reading up on what others are saying about businesses. This is a prime opportunity to leverage reviews and spread them across the web.
- Boosts local SEO rank. Boost online visibility and SEO with social sharing and link-building. Reviews have huge value in local search rankings and according to Moz, reviews are rated as one of the most important SEO ranking factors. The more reviews a business has, the higher it will climb in local search listings.
- Establishes relationships with customers. Online reviews provide an opportunity for businesses to join the conversation and engage the customer. A personal response can build a relationship for future transactions. When others see an exchange of positive dialogue, it goes a long way in gaining trust and turning them into customers.
- Provides better products and services. Reviews are a great way of evaluating what a business is doing well and what they’re doing poorly. Seeing how customers react to an offer provides valuable insight into how to ratchet-up strengths and play-down weaknesses.
Does social media really matter?
While understanding the importance of customer reviews, social media is also a helpful tool to add to your digital marketing mix. Social media gives your business an easy advantage to meet customers and build a community around a product, brand or service.
During the current climate, HEC says social posts should be more customer focused versus promotion based. Also, any businesses that engage in conversations or provide helpful and entertaining information to their customers will fair stronger through this economic crisis. Start to look at your social engagement across platforms and consider the many benefits of social media provides to your online reputation.
- Builds awareness and encourages engagement. Social media boosts your visibility among potential customers and lets you reach a wider audience. You can encourage engagement by actively posting on social media.
- Communicates authority. Customers are increasingly savvier and more discerning about which businesses they support. Before making a decision, they’ll do a quick search to browse your website and social media. Posting with frequent, relevant content will build your brand’s authority and make a positive first impression. This start to establish your business as trustworthy, knowledgeable and approachable.
- Shows authenticity. Let your brand’s personality shine in everything you share. By showing what your business offers and values, you will establish confidence in potential customers. Followers want to see real people behind your social profiles whether it’s casual and funny or a formal and friendly tone.
- Provides support. Social platforms have successfully removed the barriers between companies and their customers. Instead of calling a customer service line, many people turn to Facebook or Twitter to solve problems or find information.
A solution that builds customer trust
Learning why customer reviews and social media engagement is beneficial to your business is just the start to building an online reputation. Most small businesses don’t have the luxury to hire in-house talent or outside agencies to stay on top of reviews or comments. As you consider why each marketing tool is integral to business growth, it is important to find a solution that enables your business to build online engagement and trust.
When looking for a digital marketing platform that fits your budget and saves precious time, it is beneficial to find a tool that manages both customer reviews and social media engagement. As a small business owner, start to consider which marketing goals you want to achieve. Using an all-in-one engagement platform that enables you to build an online reputation should meet the following criteria:
- Helps feature and share reviews on your website and connected social channels
- Gathers customer reviews and increases the number of your online reviews by sending requests to customers via text messages or emails
- Manages your reputation and tracks what's being said about your business, builds trust and grows your business on
- Automatically starts building a following on your social media channels using an Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE)
- Tracks competition and keeps an eye on what people are saying about your top competitors and what your competitors are posting online
- Integrates with review and social platforms like Google, Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram and more
As a small business, mapping out your social review strategy with one integrated tool will help you manage your business’s online reputation. Start planning how your business shows up online and continue to build customer trust here.
For more information, watch this webinar to learn more about increasing your sales with online reviews.
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