With social media being a new form of word-of-mouth communication, nothing can possibly beat being in the top Google spots for your businesses’ competitive search terms in conjunction with several positive reviews. Having an authentic basis of positive reviews with visible star ratings is the best organic lead generator. Social-proof bias is a huge factor in this form of lead generation. Customers will pay more, with more speed, and with a higher sense of safety, than in comparison to your competitors. Your service or product thus becomes the only logical choice as these social signals are incredibly persuasive and give your business more recognition. It’s only natural that people tend to trust regular people more than internet marketers and SEO experts. They would much rather take shopping advice from random strangers who have already engaged with your product than you.
In 2014, Search Engine Land reported that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. The study also reported that 85% of consumers read up to ten online reviews before making a final decision to book an appointment or buy something. Online referrals should be looked at and considered by business owners as the new way for shoppers and buyers to validate their decision to buy their service or product.
It’s imperative that all businesses have an online strategy that integrates a steady stream of online reviews. An unmonitored stream or one that doesn’t even exist is costing some businesses a fortune right now. Consumers expect to know and trust that they can get great products and services at a great price, so they are automatically less inclined to go out of there way to leave a positive review than a negative one. But, screw up and give your consumer a bad experience and they will be glad to spend all sorts of extra time making sure that they get in a bad review on several sites. Good new is boring, bad news is the real news, at least to the internet. What this means is that not only is it important to cultivate an online review strategy, it is imperative to be vigilant and manage it so that it does not manage you.