Did you know that 80% of customers trust online customer reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations? In fact, the only recommendation they will trust more is one from friends and family. Are you considering Facebook Reviews vs LinkedIn Reviews vs Google My Business Reviews? Here's how to know which platform is best for your business.
In 2019, online reviews and recommendations are the modern reincarnation of the trusted word-of-mouth endorsement for a product or service. These endorsements don’t have to be constrained to a formal review, either. Often they come by way of a friends’ social media posts.
Friends’ social media posts often let us know about that new film with a twist ending you must see or about a great meal friends have enjoyed at a newly opened café.
As we scroll through our social feeds we may see excited friends sharing about an online purchase that has rocked their world, or asking for recommendations about a product or service. Likewise, we actively seek out online five-star reviews when we are looking to make a purchase.
Small business online reviews are valuable and encouraging your happy customers to leave one is well worth the investment of your time and effort. Importantly, if your customers are happy to leave you a review, where should you encourage them to leave it?
Facebook Reviews vs LinkedIn Reviews vs Google My Business Reviews: Three key ways your business can get reviews
There are three primary ways your customers can review your business: Facebook, LinkedIn and Google My Business. Which platform you focus on will depend on the key differences between the platforms and which best suits your business.
While Facebook and LinkedIn are two of the largest social media platforms, Google My Business is a service operated by search engine, Google, designed as a tool to help businesses grow their online presence.
To determine which platform you should focus on when it comes to customer reviews, let’s take a closer look at each one:
While Facebook is known as an online social media networking website mainly used for sharing information and photos, Facebook can also be a vital tool for promoting your business website and boosting your traffic.
Leaving a review for a small business on Facebook could not be easier. As an upside, people leaving your business reviews on Facebook will have probably already ‘liked’ your page and are more likely to be loyal and happy customers. Another plus? When someone leaves your business a rating on Facebook, Google will also show this review in their search results.
If Facebook has a downside it would be that your business page sits on a site with over 40 million active small business pages. Google, being a search engine, means Google My Business trumps Facebook when it comes to potential new customers searching online for a local solution your business provides. Google can narrow the search results to find solutions near your location when you add the words ‘near me’ to your search, eg. when looking for a local plumber, you can search “plumber near me” or “plumber <insert your suburb name>”.
LinkedIn is a social media platform mainly used by professionals as a networking site. Employers often utilise LinkedIn when searching for potential job candidates.
As an individual, your LinkedIn profile requires recommendations to verify your accomplishments and profile information, without them there is no way for viewers to confirm the information you have entered is accurate or not.
If you are a sole proprietor or independent service provider selling your services, such as a business consultant or freelance writer, having several positive LinkedIn reviews will be a valuable arrow in your quiver. Your LinkedIn recommendations will appear in search results and contribute to your LinkedIn search ranking. A great LinkedIn review or recommendation can be the point of difference you may need to win a project or get a position over another person or firm.
LinkedIn recommendations work in the same way for B2B sellers, and allow customers to assess the quality of your work and your knowledge in the field before they hire you.
Google My Business Reviews
There is likely no greater search engine than Google, and one of the leading positives about Google My Business reviews is that they are intricately tied to local SEO. In addition, the more reviews you have on your Google My Business listing, the better your SEO listing becomes.
Another plus? Google My Business is free and simple to set up, allowing businesses to manage and improve their online presence across Google, which includes Maps and Search. You can learn more about Google My Business here.
Small, local businesses can really shine when their Google reviews work for them. For example, should someone search “good food near me”, the cafés and/or restaurants with loads of great reviews will likely show up near the top of those search results.
If Google reviews have a downside, it would be that anyone can write a review. Given that most people are prompted to write reviews when they have had a negative experience, over and above a positive one, this can sometimes work against you. Be prepared to manage the situation and launch into damage control if your business receives a sour review.
Keep in mind that bad reviews are an opportunity for your business to respond promptly to your customer’s issues and to publicly demonstrate your high levels of customer service by turning the situation around as best you can. Loyal customers can (and should) be encouraged to leave positive reviews.
What reviews platform matters most to your business?
Customer reviews can go a long way toward building your brand and have truly become the modern day world-of-mouth. In fact, very few of us make a big purchase decision without seeking out product (or service) reviews first. Reviews sit above the advertising guff and represent authentic customer experiences with your business from your actual customer base.
If a customer is going to leave you a review – which platform would suit your business best? To help determine this, you will need to ask yourself what matters most to your business.
If your business is a brick-and-mortar small business that thrives on local traffic, you will probably consider Google My Business a no-brainer.
If your business does not already have a Google My Business listing, you will probably want to set up your verified business account, connecting your website and detailed contact information, hours and location as soon as possible. From there, you will want to focus your energies on encouraging your satisfied customers to leave you a review on Google My Business.
If you are a professional service provider (such as a property valuer, photographer, freelance IT professional or business consultant) you will probably find you can get rave reviews quite quickly by simply inviting those in your LinkedIn network to give you a recommendation.
With a stockpile of great reviews, you can then set about promoting your LinkedIn profile on your site and via email - you can view a list of great LinkedIn plugins here.
If your business already has a verified Google My Business account, an active Facebook page and/or a presence on LinkedIn, you may like to check your Google Analytics to determine which platform is sending the most traffic your way, and focus on getting customer reviews on that platform as a priority.
Whichever platform you choose to focus on when it comes to your customer reviews, make sure you interact with the reviews you receive. By interacting with your customer reviews – both positive and negative – you will be on your way to utilising them as part of your brand’s marketing strategy. In turn, this will help you to generate even more reviews, while demonstrating to potential (and actual) customers that your business values customer feedback.
Encouraging your customers to leave them on the right platform is an investment of your time and effort that will certainly pay off in the longer term - you’ve just got to get started! If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you. Why not get in touch with us to have a chat about how we can help improve your business’ online presence?