Did you know that 91 per cent of people read online reviews? Not only that, but 84 per cent of people actually trust online reviews as much as they trust a recommendation from a friend.
This means that no business can afford to ignore review sites. With increasing numbers of shoppers turning to them as sources of reliable, useful information, it's important to monitor what people are saying about your brand online. And when possible, you need to steer those reviews toward the positive.
However, with so many third party review sites out there, it's hard to know where to look first. We can help — keep reading to learn the best review websites to focus on now!
What Is a Third Party Review Site?
Your site may or may not give people the option to leave a review. But even if it doesn't, third party review sites provide a place for customers to rate and discuss many different businesses.
Those sites often include a combination of ads, recommendations, and search features, so people can choose where to shop based on what other people say. Some, like Yelp, focus on brick and mortar stores. Others, like MakeupAlley, focus on a specific kind of product.
Depending on your type of store, you might find reviews of your products or services on certain niche sites. But the largest third party review sites are the places to look for your brand first, since that's where customers are likely to start looking.
Why Use Third Party Review Sites?
Depending on your product, location, or target audience, you might think that third party review sites aren't important. But there are many different reasons customers use these sites — and many reasons you should monitor them, too.
People have used recommendations to guide shopping decisions for perhaps as long as businesses have existed. For most of that time, those were in-person, word-of-mouth recommendations. Review sites simply provide a faster way to share recommendations with a larger pool of people.
Although not all reviews come from accurate or trustworthy sources, the quick access to lots of reviews is still valuable to customers. And if your customers are using those sites, that means you need to be, too.
Brands can benefit from using third party review sites to watch what people are saying, and respond to comments. Thanking customers for positive comments, and publicly responding to negative ones by showing how you'll fix the situation, boosts your appeal in readers' eyes.
These review sites can show you what's working for your brand, and what's not. While not every review will have the same level of value, overall, they'll give you a way to keep an eye on what people think of your brand.
The Top Third Party Review Sites to Watch
With that in mind, which review sites should you focus on first? In addition to any industry-specific niche sites, make sure to keep an eye on these large, popular sites.
Yelp remains one of the first places people think of when they think of reviews, so you might want to check out this top site first — especially if your store has a physical location.
Yelp is location-oriented, so it's less useful for ecommerce brands. However, since it's free for brands to create a Yelp profile, why not make one? This allows you to keep an eye on reviews, and respond to negative comments about your business.
“Yelpers,” as these reviewers are called, are known for being a powerful force in the world of reviewers. You'll want to take care with how you respond to them, since this site can make or break your reputation. But polite, helpful responses are a good way to make negative reviews look better.
The importance of social media for businesses can't be denied, and Facebook remains the most popular social media site in the world. But did you know that it's also one of the top third party review sites?
Your Facebook business page gives a valuable place for users to learn more about your brand, share reviews, ask questions, and more. You can respond to the reviews you get, creating a public place where you can show how you connect with past and potential customers.
Although it's up to you how much or how little you use Facebook, businesses that engage more tend to do better. Facebook reviews give you a great place to keep that engagement lively.
When it comes to ecommerce, Amazon pretty much dominates the landscape. It also pioneered the concept of online reviews well before they were popular.
Today, Amazon reviews can number in the thousands for popular products. If you sell things on Amazon, you'll absolutely need to keep an eye on the reviews for those products. It also easily groups reviews by positive and negative, giving a quick way to sort through the long list of comments.
This nonprofit, independent product testing company has won the trust of many consumers — since long before the internet existed. Consumer Reports actually got started as a magazine in 1936.
Today, though, many people choose to get that same information online. The organization tests products and comes up with ratings and recommendations based on the test results.
While you can't respond to or influence their reviews, it's still valuable to check and see if Consumer Reports has something to say about your product. Any criticism there might give you good ideas for how to make improvements.
Google My Business
Google My Business provides a lot more options than just reviews, but your reviews there offer a great way to attract new customers to your business.
If you've ever thought about SEO, you know just how important Google is for business success. Google My Business allows you to get a verified business account so searchers can find out your hours, location, and more — as well as read reviews.
The more reviews you can get, the more appealing your brand will look to the many people who use Google to decide where to shop.
How to Get Customer Feedback
Now that you know which third party review sites to watch, there's only one thing left to do: work on gathering great reviews on those sites.
Getting reviews isn't easy. It helps to be active on a number of review sites, and to remind customers to leave a review about your product or service after purchase. But if you're still struggling to get the reviews you need, we can help! Find out more here.