Authentic Reviews Rule

In spite what you may have heard, it’s actually the quality of your reviews that matters most. Quantity is less important. A quality review is one that comes from a real customer and speaks to a specific experience. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include reviews from friends and even family members, because they are people that support your business. Just don’t fill up your reviews with them. And don’t be tempted to use fake reviews or paid reviews. These stick out like a sore thumb, and they undermine the credibility of all your legitimate reviews. A quick Google search for “Fake Reviews” offers a ton of resources for spotting a fake. It’s become a big issue because it is so widespread. It even has a name: “Astroturfing”

How important are Five-Star reviews?

Many review sites include a rating system, and many viewers pay more attention to the number of stars than they do to the written commentary. I admit that I sometimes scan reviews, choosing to read the occasional one and two star comments. We can’t help ourselves – everyone wants to know the “dirt” – the bad news experiences. Most of us also realize that you can’t please all the people all the time, so a bad review isn’t going to be a deal-breaker for most consumers, especially if the majority of the reviews are positive. Every company wants five star reviews. I have heard it said that “one five star review is worth ten four star reviews”. From personal experience I know that if I only see five star reviews I tend to suspect they may not be authentic. Four-star reviews look believable and realistic.

Where should you be looking?

It depends on your industry and type of business, but here are some of the biggies. They offer a great way to give your business a quick online reputation audit, and serve as a great place to start. You can set up your company profiles if you haven’t already done so. I recommend “claiming” your listing on these sites – registering that you are the owner of the business. You will be able to respond quickly to reviews and posts about you.

Google Reviews

Yelp! (in Canada)

Angie’s List

Yahoo Local Listings

LinkedIn

Breaking news: Read about the Facebook Recommendations Bar. Changes are taking place as of November 5th, 2014 (For Developers only)

Specialty sites such as HomeStars are important to monitor if you are in the home renovation industry. They offer a platform to review every category homeowners could possibly require, and attract high readership with decision-makers and detailed reviews from actual customers.

I’ll leave the final word to Canadian rapper, songwriter, and actor Drake.

“Reviews condition people. At the end of the day, a lot of human minds are malleable. They can be easily shaped with strong words.”

The journey to greatness starts here.

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