Reputation Management Drives Revenue for Small Businesses
Sites such as Yelp, YP.com, Citysearch, Frommers, TripAdvisor, Google+Local, Foursquare, Angie’s List and others (some of which are industry-focued like Edmunds.com for car dealers) are based on user-generated reviews for local businesses. They have mechanisms in place to stop spammers from posting false reports and business owners from falsifying high ratings. For example, reviews from new Yelp users or those without connections or photos are likely to be filtered out.
These sites are important because:
- 92.5% of adults regularly or occasionally research products online before buying them in a store (BIGresearch).
- 83% of consumers say online reviews influence their purchase decisions (Opinion Research Corporation).
- 20-50% of all purchasing decisions rely on word of mouth recommendations as a primary factor (McKinsey Quarterly).
- 4 out of 5 consumers reverse their purchase decisions based on negative online reviews (Online Influence Trend Tracker survey).
- A one-star difference in reviews on Yelp may result in five to nine percent in business gained or lost (Harvard University).
Do It Yourself
You should also conduct simple searches on Google, Yahoo and MSN for all of these that apply: your name, company, brand(s), product(s), high-profile employees and handles/user names. Results will vary based on your location and search history so you should log out of your account on the search engines first. If you are searching on Google, use a shortcut for disabled personalized search. Once you’ve done these searches, you can use a basic spreadsheet or list to decide whether you need to take additional steps. Record the number of negative and indifferent comments, in addition to those that are not about you. This is a sample reputation management worksheet from Outspoken Media.