Yelp, Google+, Facebook User Reviews

In years gone by, private opinions and personal experiences in regards to local businesses were simply shared among friends or in the lunchroom at the office. These days, business review sites for local businesses are what it’s all about.

user-reviewsThis means that any one of your customers at any time can hop online and start spreading some very powerful opinions about the way you do business. For that reason, it’s increasingly important for serious business owners to stay on top what’s being said about their services, products, or establishments on popular user review sites and social networks. It’s also important that you, the business owner, know how to make this phenomenon work for you.

1. Claim and curate your business profile.

Popular user review sites like Yelp and Google Plus Local provide businesses with incredibly useful tools for managing their image and drumming up publicity. Claim control of the official page attached to your establishment and keep it up to date with images, coupons, special offers, and news. Not only is it a great way to stay on top of your reputation, but it’s an easy way to connect with your clientele as well.

2. Always respond to reviews.

Don’t just make it a point to read reviews of your business. Get in the habit of responding to them as well. Do this whether the reviews are positive or negative. Personally thank people who talk your business up and invite them to network with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. Apologize to people who leave negative reviews and/or correct any erroneous information you see going around. This shows people that you’re serious about doing good business and that you care about your customers.

3. Listen to constructive feedback.

Take a moment to actually listen to and learn from customer opinions you stumble across on user review sites. This is by far one of the most effective ways to learn where you can improve and what you should do differently.

4. Encourage customers to leave reviews.

Last but not least, you should get in the habit of encouraging people to visit business review sites for small businesses and say a few words about your establishment, especially if they express gratitude for what you offer and ask how they can thank you. Many business owners also find it beneficial to add badges or links on their website to invite visitors to write reviews. A little effort really does go a long way.