The Internet has gone bonkers, you can find out anything about anyone, you can do this in virtual anonymity and from the comfort of your sofa, but how do you know that the product you’re thinking about buying, or the cottage you want to stay in, or the business service you wish to employ is any good? Well many of us would head straight over to social media and ask our ‘friends’. I say ‘friends’ because if you are anything like me, with the exception of Facebook, I have ‘friends’ on Instagram or Twitter who I’ve never met. However, I am more likely to listen to a recommendation from one of them than I am to believe the blurb on the companies website I’m looking at.
So what does this mean to you as both a business owner and as a consumer? Google in particular is trying to sway search results to be more relevant, more ‘in the moment’, more up to date based on what real people are saying about the business. So, don’t you want your business to be seen by Google as relevant and up to date? Don’t you want to read reviews from people who have used a product recently and are saying it’s a good buy? Exactly, so 2019 is the year of the review… getting them and giving them.
Seeking reviews of your business. Depending on you business sector you may find that the only places available to you are Google and Facebook for people to review you. If you are an accommodation provider, the likelihood the dreaded Trip Advisor, Booking.com or Expedia are in the mix too. Regardless of where people are reviewing you, you MUST respond. Take the time to identify areas that you need to improve on it if is not a 5 star review, if you feel able, contact them directly and ask them about their experience and if you feel you’ve managed to smooth the waters, politely ask them to adjust their review. It could be that you fell short on this particular occasion, be honest and say that if that’s the case. Hopefully all your reviews will be glowing but still make sure to thank every one of them.
Leaving reviews of other people’s businesses. We are all in the same boat, we are all using small businesses in our daily lives, especially if you are up here in the Highlands, it’s a small place! Firstly, if you have had a bad experience, try not to be all British about it and keep quiet, try to quietly explain what your issue is and give the business the opportunity to deal with the situation. Still not sorted? By all means give an honest less than 5 star review, but remember that the people behind these businesses are humans too, with feelings and you are damaging their business reputation. I’m not for a minute saying don’t be truthful, I’m just advising caution that you don’t need to be rude or abusive. The fear of the keyboard warrior sitting in a darkened room thinking they are safe because they are behind a screen is all too real.
Giving and receiving informative, helpful, pleasant reviews is definitely the way forward for 2019 and beyond. Recommending something great to a friend or relative makes the world go round doesn’t it?