ONLINE REVIEWS: RISE OF THE OMNI-CRITIC

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The prevalence of online review sites has grown exponentially in recent years, both in terms of quantity and importance.

Everyone is a critic nowadays and websites like Yelp as well as social media platforms like Facebook make their opinion matter in a very real way. If you run a small business, word of mouth is important – and online reviews are the 21st Century version of word of mouth.

While good reviews will obviously help your business’ reputation and word-of-mouth relevance, negative reviews can cause serious harm to your brand and, if you aren’t proactive in remedying the situation, can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line.

A recent poll showed that almost 90% of consumers trust the reviews they find online as much as they trust recommendations from friends/family, which means they’re seen as a valuable internet commodity that can also impact your business’s SEO, making attracting new customers either easier or harder depending on your ratings.

There are several things to consider in your quest to be seen positively in the increasingly-important cybersphere.

While encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews seems like a good idea, Yelp recently launched a crackdown on review solicitation, threatening businesses with lowering their ratings for being too aggressive in their quest for positive feedback.

Online “trolls” – internet users who intentionally sow discord throughout the cybersphere – are also an issue business have to contend with when cultivating an online reputation. If the wrong person has a bone to pick or a vendetta against you, they can single-handedly cause your online ratings to plummet.

Even major corporations like Disney aren’t immune to trolls wreaking havoc on their products. A single hacker was able to create online algorithm-surging bots that lowered the audience score for the new Star Wars movie on a popular review site, potentially costing Disney millions of dollars.

While this is an extreme example, it still shows the power individuals can have on a product or business’ reputation in this day and age.

ALSO READ: THE THREE TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO LEAVE REVIEWS

With sites like Yelp changing their rules and the detection of troll reviews more important than ever, the spectrum of online reputation management is getting increasingly-complex. As such, more and more small businesses are seeking professional help in managing their online presence.

Marketing agencies like AMG are able to provide deft and strategic guidance in cultivating your online presence, including reputation management. Click HERE to contact our marketing team and request a FREE assessment of your online presence!

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