The Importance Of Online Reviews For Businesses

Online reviews of businesses are the new word of mouth. Your brand is your reputation. And, the consumer is the one who defines your brand—not you.

The Importance Of Online Reviews For Businesses
a girl writing online reviews on her mobile

Online reviews of businesses are the new word of mouth. Your brand is your reputation. And, the consumer is the one who defines your brand—not you. Moreover, online reviews influence 67% of consumers, according to Moz. 

By understanding the way online reviews influence your business, as well as their importance, you’ll be able to optimize your customer experience. Positive online reviews can prove to be an invaluable asset to your business.

Social Proof: Understanding the Importance of Online Reviews for Businesses

Social proof is essentially the phenomenon in which people copy the behavior of others. Ask yourself, have you even bought something just because a friend, or even a stranger, recommended it? This is informational social influence aka social proof. It’s why online reviews can make or break your business.

Visibility

When people want to buy something, they usually turn to Google or Facebook for advice. Each search engine and social media platform has its way or surfacing and indexing content. While the way they do that differs from one search engine to another, all of them value fresh and original content.

And, online reviews can give you a steady stream of organic and positive content that’s related to your business. When search engines see this, your site will rank higher. Online reviews can help you establish yourself as an authority website in the search engine world, and that is pure marketing gold. So, social media and search engines are your doors to success.

Trustworthiness

Positive reviews help you build trust and cred among consumers. But, if you have a rating below 4 stars, only 53% of consumers would consider using your products or services. A business with a better average rating can expect a much better conversion rate. Having an average rating between 4 and 5 stars will rate you as a trustworthy business.

The Importance of Online Reviews Written by Experts

Not all reviews are made equal. Some reviews have much more value than others. Reviews written by experts can tell us much more about a business than reviews written by average consumers. Now, that doesn’t mean that reviews written by regular people are not important—they are. But, you may need something more if you want to leverage the power of online reviews.

Consumers value opinions that are backed by authority. Think of reviews and ratings provided by experts as opinions provided by professional film critics. Let’s take IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes for an example.

On IMDB, anyone can rate movies. But, on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews written by professional firm critics matter the most. Now, if you are a true cinema connoisseur, you’ll go to Rotten Tomatoes to see whether a certain movie is worthwhile.

However, reviews written by experts matter more in some industries than in others. When something serious is at stake, like sensitive financial and personal information, you’d want to make sure the company you’re doing business with is legit, reliable, and great.

So, if you already have an established taste in cinema, you may not need a critic to tell you what to watch, but if you want to see what a new online casino is like before you sign up, you’d probably want to read trusted online casino reviews that are rated and reviewed by iGaming industry experts.

In industries like that (in fact, in every industry where there’s lots of money involved) some companies may write fake reviews to build social proof. Moreover, consumers that don’t have the competency to properly assess certain services may review services they are not that familiar with.

But, the modern consumer is savvier than ever. Genuine customer reviews are important, but you also need expert reviews for the savvy consumer.

Customer Engagement

Online reviews are a great chance for your business to build and maintain a relationship with your clients or customers. According to Gallup, businesses that successfully engage their B2B customers realize 50% higher productivity, 55% higher share of wallet, and 50% lower customer attrition.

To establish trust among customers, you can develop after-sales customer services. And, one of the best ways to do that is by replying to online reviews. This means mingling with your customers on your Instagram and Facebook profiles and replying to their inquiries there, as well as engaging them publicly after they leave a review—good or bad.

Expanding the Conversation About Your Business

Reviews can spread quickly if they are very good (or bad). Hubs like Foursquare and Yelp are vital to your online presence. Positive reviews breed further reviews. This is why it’s key to encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews.

Someone needs to get the ball rolling. Positive reviews on review platforms like Yelp will snowball and lead to more positive reviews on Facebook, Amazon, Healthgrades, etc. This happens because positive online reviews increase organic website traffic.

Conclusion

You can’t develop brand values and a good business reputation without the help of your customers. If you want your business to grow, you need to recruit your customers to your cause. Customer engagement and satisfaction can help your business thrive, and online reviews are key to these two elements.