Before starting any marketing campaign, an important first step is to find out where consumers are. This will save many marketing dollars, and of course, time. This is no different with online reviews. The obvious reason is because you want to make sure those online reviews don’t go to waste. Potential customers need to easily come across them, and the best way to do this is to put online reviews where your customers are the most active. The less obvious reason to know what review sites your customers use the most, is that your customers must have profiles on those pages to leave you reviews. If you focus all your energy trying to get online reviews on a site that you want people to see them on, but your customers don’t have profiles on that site, then it will be more than difficult to build those online reviews. Because of fraud prevention efforts, to leave an online review, a user must have a profile for that site. Google’s opinion on the matter:
We believe that sharing reviews publicly creates a strong foundation for high quality and trustworthy reviews in Google+. Publishing reviews under your Google+ profile name is also a benefit for businesses, who commonly receive spammy/critical reviews written by competitors who don’t identify themselves. For businesses and users alike, we’re committed to surfacing high-quality and accurate information. We believe that when reviews are associated with the person who’s writing the review, we’ll see a better experience for all. [Search Engine Land, 2013]
Based on my experience of coming across many online reviews that are clearly vindictive in nature and/or not relating to the actual business, I fully support this effort. The downfall is it can also prevent many customers from leaving online reviews as it will be a rare occurrence for a customer to create a profile just to leave an online review.
Review sites with the most active users:
Facebook: 1.49 billion users [Statista, 2015]
Google: 900 million users [Tech Crunch, 2015]
Yelp: 162 million unique monthly visitors [Expanded Ramblings, 2015]
By setting up pages on these sites and directing customers there to leave online reviews and engage with the company, you can assume your customer will have a profile on at least one, if not all of these three sites.
Another thing to factor in about online review sites is your industry. The wedding industry has plenty of unique review sites as does the home service industry. The key is to be present on the sites your customers are, and the sites where your potential customers are looking for you.