Facebook’s algorithm is consistently changing to showcase more human vs. brand updates, Google’s endorsements feature recommendations from friends and there’s nothing stopping customers from increasing or decreasing your online reputation.

We are constantly surrounded by advertisements, posts and updates from brands. How do consumers filter through the noise and find what they really want to know?

A new study from Nielsen states 84% of global consumers say recommendations from “people I know.” This rates higher than other sources of advertising.

48%  of holiday shoppers said online rating and reviews frequently or always influenced their purchases. That’s 3 times more than the influence of ads.

Negative online reviews:

  • Send consumers elsewhere with their dollar
  • Decrease sales
  • Damage your brand’s valuable reputation
  • Encourage consumers to spread negative word of mouth about your brand: “I wouldn’t eat at that restaurant, I read terrible reviews about it on Yelp.”

What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, it ends up on TripAdvisor.com

A popular hotel in Las Vegas, and Zuberance client’s, number one marketing priority is to move their rankings and reviews up on TripAdvisor.com, the honest way. The Vegas hotel asked their Advocates who had recently written a review to publish it to TripAdvisor.com.

In just a couple of weeks, a 67% email open rate with a 35% click-through rate yielded the hotel moving up 5 spots with 44 new reviews. Imagine the positive and authentic results they will have when they ask their Advocates, who have not written a review, to write and publish one?

This hotel could write social media posts and emails about how awesome they are, but I’m not going to believe it unless my friend says it. Your customers are your most powerful marketing force.

Ask your Advocates to write a review or recommendation, and make it easy for them to create and publish.

Your brand’s online reputation matters now more than ever because consumers are listening to their friends, family and personal networks — not your ad or tweet.