Online Reputation Management: The Power of Customer Reviews

Online reputation management is a large part of managing your brand’s perception in today’s digital world. Review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews create an open forum for criticisms and critiques that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  The International Journal of Organizational Innovation reported that 75% of consumers read at least three consumer reviews before completing a purchase decision. 

Here are 4 reasons why consumers post reviews on social sites:

1. Value
Social factors are very motivating for consumers’ participation in most online engagement due to the popularity of social networks. Therefore, most consumers view a social network reviews site (such as Yelp or TripAdvisor) as a social outlet. Value is driving this social outlet – if the consumer feels as though the opinions she is sharing about a product or service is not valuable to other consumers or the company, she will not want to share her experience with the community.

2. Social Reassurance
It is also important for consumers to gain social reassurance for their purchase decision in order to reduce the risk of a bad experience. If they see reviews that support their decision to buy a product or visit a restaurant, they will be more inclined to make that purchase decision and contribute to the pool of reviews that reflect their experience.

3. Social Interaction
Consumers also need to be able to interact with each other within the review network. A study by Flanigan and Metzger in 2013 found data to suggest the more engaged a consumer is with other consumers on review social networking sites, the more likely that consumer’s purchase decision will be influenced by the reviews.

4. Trust in Fellow Consumers
With the rise of Web 2.0, and the ability to contribute and take the Internet with you wherever you go, every day consumers are able to become experts based on their experience and activity online. The personal stories that are recounted by consumers in the form of a review creates a connection with other consumers.

Whether the review is positive or negative, it’s important to hear from your consumers to get the best kind of feedback for your business. We’ve all seen the bad side of online reputation management; Amy’s Bakery Company is a prime example of one of the most epic brand meltdowns in history. The moral of the story? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what people are saying about your brand online, even if it’s bad. This can help to create a buzz around your product or service, especially if you handle the negative feedback with grace.

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