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3 Tips to Make User Reviews Work for You

Posted on 9.09.2013

Good and bad experiences with businesses used to be discussed over the water cooler or a meal, but those conversations have now moved online. 

Now consumers can spread very powerful messages about companies by simply writing posts on Facebook or reviews on Yelp (not to mention Twitter, Google+ Local, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.). 

“Monitoring these sites is crucial, as it allows business owners to see what’s being said about their business online,” said Main Street Hub Co-Founder and Co-CEO Andrew Allison. “Savvy business owners can use this information to improve their product or service, but the effort doesn’t stop with just monitoring.  

“Business owners need to engage in the online conversation about their business. Engaging allows owners to thank customers for their feedback and set the record straight when inaccurate information is being posted about their business; ultimately spreading more positive word of mouth through their feedback than monitoring alone provides.”   

Allison provides three simple, yet effective ways that brands can leverage user-review sites to grow their businesses. 

1. Claim and optimize their profiles: Take advantage of the free tools that websites like Yelp and Google+ provide to make a great looking profile.  Add images, write detailed descriptions of products or services and keep the sites up-to-date with special offers and new product offerings.  These simple tips can not only improve company’s ranking in search results, but they can also allow a business to shine and stand out in relation to their competitors while standing out to potential new customers the moment they are ready to buy.

2. Respond to all reviews: Whether the review is positive or negative, it deserves a response. Say thank you to positive reviewers and invite them to follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.  For negative reviews, apologize, but don’t admit fault, and set the record straight when something untrue is being said about the business. Doing this not only impact those leaving the reviews, but it shows potential customers the business’ dedication to providing excellent customer service.

3. Listen: Constructive feedback can be very useful for a local business owner.  Owners should take the time to read customers’ reviews and consider what they can do better to grow their business.  

Allison’s company, Main Street Hub, combines monitoring with a full-service approach. In addition to having technology to monitor customer reviews and social media websites 24/7 (see image), Main Street Hub also provides clients with a team of social media experts who help craft responses to customer reviews and create original content to spread word of mouth to as many people as possible.

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