Managing your online reputation isn’t just nice, it’s necessary.
Before the days of the internet and online marketing, many small businesses may have relied on word-of-mouth for new customers. While referrals are still a great (and free) way to earn more business, there is also a more imminent way nowadays that many consumers use to decide who they want to do business with: online reviews.
Our New Friend, the Internet
A survey from BrightLocal discovered that 84% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as personal recommendations and 85% of them read up to 10 reviews for a local business in order to trust the review and feel satisfied with their buying decision.
People no longer need to ask those closest to them for advice on businesses when choosing a plumber, car dealership, or doctor. Consumers can hop online to read reviews and recommendations at their fingertips in a matter of minutes.
This is why managing your online reputation is vital. It isn’t enough to only be known in your local circle anymore if you want your business to grow. Having an online presence, and managing it, has increasingly become a vital responsibility for businesses.
Don’t Make Your Friend Your Foe
A study by Woodbury University about consumer studies found online reviews have the most impact on business selection. This survey showed that reviews were not yet top of mind for business owners and executives. Businesses need to shift how they manage online reviews.
In that same BrightLocal survey, it was also found that 87% of people need to see a rating of 3-5 stars for a business before they will use them. How can you ensure that your business has this if your online reputation isn’t a priority?
It is time to turn to the new word-of-mouth, and get successful at it. While many consumers will still recommend your business if they have a positive experience, it is becoming more and more likely that they will also read or post something online depending on their experience as well.