Without creating social media presence, it is hard to run your small business for the longer in new niche markets. In the age of social inter-connectivity, based on social media or online reviews more and more people make their purchase decisions.
For business owners who haven’t become well-known yet in their locale niche, then creating online business pages over different social media platforms can help build their brand awareness. Along with that, it is also very useful to drive traffic both to your native website and your business itself.
There is one study which shows that 92% of consumers depend on online research before making any buying decision. It is also increasingly essential to ensure that your store is well-presented online. And even if you have a good website, which is no longer enough – your consumers are looking for other users to learn from their experience.
Yelp, Google, and Facebook are three of the most famous review sites, but it is confusing to know that where to start directing your consumers? Following is an overview of Yelp, Google and Facebook reviews with few of the tips for optimizing each platform for your local business.
So here I am going to break down all these three platforms, and then discuss differences and information that can help you make the decision on where to focus your marketing efforts.
Yelp, Google & Facebook Reviews
Let’s first start with the difficult one of the three sites in my opinion.
Yelp is an online business review site, which lets users write their reviews of different local businesses. Rather than quantity, this platform rates businesses based on the quality of reviews individual business receives.
This platform was established in the year of 2004 and currently over the years old, it doubles as a social network. However, Yelp recently discourages its business users from asking their consumers for reviews. In one article by Practical Ecommerce, Yelp was quoted as:
“Let’s face it; most business owners are only going to ask for reviews from their happy customers, not the unhappy ones. Over time, these self-selected reviews create bias in the business listing – a bias that savvy consumers can smell from a mile away.”
There is also another downside of Yelp; its review algorithm seems rather wonky. Some reviews don’t post at all, while others will show up immediately. Few times a review will only stay visible for a short period. Few new reviewers also claim that their reviews don’t come at all.
Apart from this, there is also the terms of services that point out that Yelp can terminate your listing at any time for any reason. This typically leaves you at their mercy.
Additionally, according to Yelp, you shouldn’t be “asking” to your clients for their reviews. At this stage, building up an online presence and legitimate SEO for your local business becomes challenging task. But there are still few of the way that you can use to get customers to review without asking them for their reviews.
- Add Yelp button to your site; this will quickly return customers to review.
- Post something in your storefront and let your customers know you are on Yelp.
- Add the Yelp review button to your email signature too.
Yelp’s definition of reviews offers a challenge, but for some good reason. Yelp is primarily a review site for people out there, and this place holds that they only require quality and honest reviews and that consumers can sense when reviews have been forced.
It is being said that it can be difficult to build-up reviews. However, Google still counts Yelp reviews into account in search rankings. The amount of Yelp reviews, comments, and rating can make a difference in the optimization of your search ranking.
Google business reviews are a somewhat recent innovation and provide lots of benefits because of its direct link to the search engine platform.
In today’s SEO world, reviews and ratings help optimize search ranking and offer an amount of other benefits like brand awareness, increased user traffic, and social media presence.
People can write their reviews on Google Business Page as soon as they type your brand or company name in the search engine. It is also very easy to send a link to your Google review page to people. For that just click on Write a review yourself and copy and paste that link into the body of an email.
Google don’t tolerate fake reviews. However, they don’t seem to have enough of the terms and conditions that Yelp has as far as who make the cut. In fact, Google has even better engine than Yelp for predicting “fake” reviews.
Since the customers of small and local businesses put their lots of time and efforts into writing their reviews, this benefit saves businesses lots of frustration.
As the Google is the king of online presence, it eventually overtakes the Yelp reviews. As I have mentioned before that Yelp has been around since 2004, Google is relatively new to the game because it was only launching Google Local Search in 2012.
Still, over the past few year the Google have enhanced their review features and mixed reviews from other sites like Facebook, and NearBuy as well. Google also adds critic reviews on restaurant and other industry-specific businesses.
Even there is no restriction that you can’t ask your customers for their reviews. You can even respond to the navigate reviews you get; this is an excellent way to enhance your brand’s image.
As per the study of Vocus, 68% of consumers go to social networking site to read product reviews. It does make sense that the number one social media site, regarding customers, would be one of the social media leaders in online business reviews.
Facebook is very easy to use the site for people that follow you and write their review. Facebook also utilizes star rating system for reviews, which allows them to rate as well as post their reviews to an individual Facebook business page.
As mentioned before that Google also counts Facebook reviews for ranking. And Facebook reviews are also is an excellent way to increase brand awareness, branding support, and pre/post-purchase exploration.
As the Facebook is a worldwide platform, people prefer to leave reviews and like to read reviews from others. Survey by Review Trackers says that Facebook beat both the platforms Yelp and Google as well in user preference.
So which one is best?
Well, all those three platforms offer their unique review perspectives, which are good for SEO too. It is quite difficult to say which one is better.
However, if you are a small business owner, then no one can beat Facebook at this level. With Facebook, it is easy to drive your followers. And ultimately, those reviews will easily be going to Google as well.
Give a try to each one to collect reviews from your customers. Make sure to provide links to your Google, Yelp and Facebook review page on your site.
Ask here, and I will get back to it very soon.