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Reviews of products or services can be crucial to the success of a business. 74% of consumers rely on Social Media for more information or reviews about the products/services they want to purchase and it is reported that 90% of American consumers read reviews before making a purchase.

Customers want to leave reviews and potential customers want to see reviews. It is crucial for your business to ask for online reviews and make them accessible to your audience. Whether you like it or not customers may not purchase from your business if you do not have reviews.

There are several sites across the internet that provide reviews, including Yelp, Google, Facebook, TrustPilot, etc. Consumers are searching for reviews on these sites, they are visiting these sites and they want to see information about your products or services on these sites.

You may think that having these reviews are just part of an online presence and that you do not need to do much with them. However, there are real opportunities to leveraging these reviews to your business’ advantage.

Online reviews are the new word-of-mouth.”

Here are 6 ways you can make your reviews count.

The more reviews you have the more your business will stand out. These reviews aren’t just an opportunity to highlight your excellent products or services, reviews can also influence your search rank and help with SEO.

2. Use positive reviews in marketing efforts.

71% of consumers have an improved perception of brands when they see positive reviews on Social Media. Sharing positive reviews with your audience is a great way to improve your reputation and generate more interest in what you are selling. Post a positive review from Yelp on your Facebook page or share a TrustPilot review on your Twitter account. Use good reviews as “social proof” that your company is great at what it does. It’s OK to brag!

3. Improve your products or services.

Customer feedback can be beneficial to improving your products and enhancing your services. Reviews can help you find and solve any bugs in your website, ordering processes, shipping, etc.; analyze any patterns and see if there are any common issues; learn more about what you should be offering; etc.

50% of consumers made a purchase based on a recommendation made on Social Media.

4. Use reviews to increase sales.

A study of consumer reviews related to the hotel industry found that demand and pricing was significant affected by ratings. According to the study, when ratings rose by just one star the demand increased 25%, which led to a 9% increase in prices.

5. Improve customer experience with engagement.

Monitoring your reviews and responding can help build a relationship with your customers, which then encourages customer loyalty. Happy customers will also share their positive experiences with their friends and networks, providing you great word-of-mouth opportunities. Responding to negative reviews lets people know there is a human behind the computer screen and it lets potential customers know you are accessible if they should have an issue. It also allows others to see how your business actively solves problems to make your services even better for them.

Bonus: Customer questions and issues can be used effectively in an FAQ section on your website.

6. Spy on the competition.

Look at your competitors’ online reviews, you can learn a lot about what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong and then make necessary adjustments to your own business. Find out what works and do that, and avoid what doesn’t work.

71% of consumers who have had a good Social Media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.

So, harness the power of your online reviews. Take this opportunity to make your business better and grow your customer base.