Never before have Facebook and Google reviews played such an important role in how customers buy things.
Even before the pandemic hit, local businesses that didn’t have an online presence were struggling to get customers through the door.
But COVID-19 has accelerated the need for small and medium businesses (SMB) to invest in their digital strategy, a key component of which is online reputation management and reviews.
Online reputation is emerging as a big opportunity
The data underscores not only are more people buying products online, but they need to be happy with a local business’s online reputation and see fresh Facebook and Google reviews before making a purchase.
Google and Facebook: The ‘kings’ of review platforms
Online reviews are officially a big business. So much so that beyond Google, Facebook and Yelp, there are dozens of industry-specific review websites for nearly every industry (more on this later).
Google and Facebook are the kings of review platforms. They’re the most important, and that’s purely based on their popularity and the daily traffic they receive.
The proof is in the data; ReviewTrackers found 76 percent of online reviews are submitted on either Google or Facebook, which rank among the top four review websites globally.
While Yelp and TripAdvisor are also popular, ranking as the second and third-most popular review platforms, they are known to be oriented towards the tourism and hospitality industries.
Overview of Google reviews
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google. Businesses must create a GMB profile and verify their information to complete registration.
Once a business has created a GMB profile, visitors can post reviews. Google reviews will show up in two prominent places:
- Google Search – If a business has a GMB listing, customers searching online by their name or by local search can see their listing, star ratings and any reviews directly in search results.
- Google Maps – Since Google My Business listings are connected to Google Maps, whenever someone searches for a place, clicks on a location or types “food near me” or “doctors in my area” as an example, they can see Google reviews for one or multiple local businesses along with the address and location.
Overview of Facebook reviews
For years, Facebook business pages featured traditional online reviews and ratings.
This changed in 2018 when the social network rolled out a series of visual changes and features that included “Facebook Recommendations”. Now, a query field appears on a business page’s “Recommendations and Reviews” section with the question: “Do you recommend (business name)?”.
Users can answer by pressing the “Yes” or “No” button (you will still be able to see ratings on older Facebook Business pages) and can add further context to their recommendations with tags, photos, and comments in the text.
Strategies to get more online reviews on Google and Facebook
Now that you understand the impact of reviews on your clients’ online reputation, search engine optimization (SEO) performance and, subsequently, their bottom line, it’s time to work with them on getting more Facebook and Google reviews.
The strategies below, provided by experts, will help you do just that.
- Consider an email or text automation strategy to source reviews
- Ask happy customers for a review
- Don’t ask for five stars or a recommendation, just ask for feedback
- Get employees involved
- Make it easy for your customers to provide reviews
- Link out to your Google reviews on your website
- Create a dedicated web page for reviews
- Ask for reviews on social media
In a post-pandemic world, it is imperative that you make online reviews an essential part of your overall business strategy.
- The evidence is clear: the number, quality, and recency of a local business’s online reviews dictate whether or not you provide a quality service.
- Online reviews not only help with customers’ purchase decisions, but they benefit your company’s SEO performance.
- Ensure that your business is listed on Facebook and Google at the very minimum and pick at least one industry-specific review website.
- Take the time to understand how to get more reviews on Google, Facebook, and other websites.
- Make the process as easy as possible with direct links, and don’t be scared of asking for honest feedback via a review.