The next step toward succeeding online is generating quality, genuine and honest reviews from current customers on major websites online. These sites include (but are not limited to) Google+, Yelp and Facebook.
As potential customers begin their research process online towards purchase, reviews will play a key part in helping your company or organization be considered and getting noticed. Many companies have hundreds of satisfied and happy customers and may even get thank you notes and appreciation letters in the mail but have nothing online to show for it. That can and needs to change, as fast as possible.
Here are a few things you can do immediately to get this process started:
For starters, you need to make sure your company or organization has an account set up with each of the three sites I mentioned to start. Most companies by now have a Facebook account. Google recently changed how they are servicing small businesses and are now directing businesses and non-profits to set up a Google My Business account.
Ask for reviews. When your customers mention their satisfaction with your product and service, ask them to leave a review online. Most people are absolutely willing to help you out, so ask and tell them where to go or send a link to your page. Make it easy for them to find and they are likely to respond. Additionally you could include a link in your email signature and periodically remind people via social media to leave a review.
Set up a Yelp page. Yelp is a big when it comes to small businesses. You need a presence on here and I encourage you to actively engage with reviews and mentions of your business. Yelp is offers business owners a free account which includes:
- A two way conversation between your customers and the business owner online
The ability to respond to a review with a private message or public comment.
- Photos and business information
Upload photos, add a link to your website, and ensure that your hours are up to date so consumers searching for your business can easily find it.
- Business analytics
Track visitor engagement and customer leads from your Yelp Business Page.
There are also paid features and advertising options on Yelp that may be a benefit to you.
4) There are a number of other sites that you want to consider having a presence on. You want to make sure your listings and information is correct on your local chamber of commerce pages, Superpages and other online directories. Major search engines look to these data mines for updated information about your business. The more sites lining up as correct information the better and more likely your listing will appear. The more sites you build a presence on the greater links you will generate back to your site. The more links back to your site, the higher authority your site will have with search engines. So if you sell products on Amazon, obviously this is a no-brainer to encourage customers to give you a review. Same thing with music or books on iTunes.
5) Yahoo! Local Listings is another resource for locally owned and operated businesses. Through Yahoo! Local Listings your customers can rate you on a system of 1 star to 5 stars.