We have written a lot about the power of social media — both good and bad. For example, see these recent posts: 1, 2, 3. So, what more can we do to capitalize on the power of social media review sites?
According to Paula Andruss, writing for Entrepreneur, there are six things to consider doing:
- Develop a detail-loaded presence. “Whether you’re initiating a new profile or ‘claiming’ one that’s already on the Web, it’s important to fill out your listing as fully and accurately as possible. To optimize your SEO, it is important to have one standard and accurate listing on every site that mentions your company; if your listing varies among sites, it may be pushed down in search results.”
- Read the fine print. “Michael Dash, president of New York-based CarPartKings.com, relies heavily on review sites to validate his company and let users know what to expect from his service. But after purchasing a yearly program with an industry-specific ratings site, he found that as traffic to his E-commerce business increased, so did the charges to keep the reviews coming — rising from $50 per month to $1,000. Within a day of refusing to pay the increased rate, all of his positive reviews disappeared, while the negative ones remained. ‘We learned our lesson the hard way,’ Dash says.”
- Accrue reviews and keep them fresh. “Establishing a listing is not enough; you need to solidify your presence by gathering as many reviews as possible. While the algorithms used to determine your company’s placement on these sites is mysterious at best, having a greater number of reviews can improve your landing results over competitors on the results page of a local search.”
- Avoid filter triggers. “One of the biggest frustrations with review sites is that they can (and do) filter legitimate reviews so that they may be hard to find — or even removed — based on individual site parameters. Yelp’s policy states that it will filter reviews it believes have been solicited. Yelp and other sites also commonly filter comments from people who have written only a single review; those that are too glowing, which may appear fake; and even those that are too negative, because they may have been written by a competitor.”
- Respond carefully to bad or false reviews. “Poor reviews can hurt, but it’s important to respond in a calm and professional manner. Factually incorrect reviews are another problem, but the complaint system to have them removed is difficult and often unsuccessful. So it may be preferable to simply continue to collect reviews so that the questionable ones are outweighed.”
- Invest wisely. “As long as your business is operating smoothly, consider enlisting the help of services that might make these sites work better for you. For example, Bazaarvoice Express automatically requests reviews from customers that can be posted on your site, and Moz has a tool that will standardize local listings on major aggregators for about $50 per year.”