As a local business, you’re probably already on two handfuls of local review sites that were registered for once and haven’t been shown much TLC since.
There are too many of these websites, so many in fact that they are close to needing a directory of local review site directories.
Here are some of the top picks 👇
||# Monthly Search Traffic
||Buyer Intent (out of 10)
While you should be on all of them, they are not all worth focussing on. You must strategically pick your review sites based on how consumers are finding local businesses in your area, then you must put the effort in to build momentum on the sites.
Once you do, you’ll create an engine that inputs existing customer reviews and spits out new business.
Here’s why less is more
Imagine a pie 🥧, this pie contains all of the attention that you can afford to apply to your reputation. You need to cut this pie into slices for each review site that you want your business to shine on.
Cut this attention-filled pie into 10 slices (10 review sites, in case you weren’t following). Those are some pretty small slices, nowhere near enough to satisfy the review site’s appetite. Now, cut the pie into 3 slices instead. That’s more like it.
Pie analogies aside, focussing on fewer review sites will enable you to build momentum that translates into more business impact over time. The more review sites you divide your focus across, the less momentum you build on each site.
What is momentum? When you align the 3 signals we talked about earlier (volume, quality, consistency) you improve your rankings within the sites search results.
Rankings aren’t fair, with the strong majority of impressions being driven to the top results. Often, hundreds of local venues will simply not be seen on review sites.
To conclude: It’s better to be at the top of 3 review sites, rather than being on the second page of 100 review sites.
So which ones should you pick?
#1 - Google
Let’s start with Google. The biggest search engine and discovery platform in the world, people make over 2 trillion searches per year to find just about anything, including your business.
If a potential customer searches “restaurants near me”, Google will respond with a list of prospective venues. It’s in Google’s interest to provide the best possible recommendation, so a selection of signals are used to determine which venue deserves the limelight. The volume, quality and consistency of reviews being some of the most important signals.
Here’s the shocker, 56% of local venues have not claimed their Google listing. The consequence is that the venue will not rank competitively against those who have put even a modicum of effort into their Google business page.
For such a huge channel of local business discovery, most businesses make the damaging oversight of not setting up their Google business profile correctly.
For you, however, this is an opportunity to capture the exposure Google can offer in your local market. Before we start getting more Google reviews, step one is to make sure you have completed your profile so that you can reap the rewards of this instantaneous advantage.
📌 Haven’t set your Google profile up yet? Set it up here.
#2 - Facebook
Social reviews aren’t like the rest. Your Facebook reviews aren’t typically going to be seen by people searching for “restaurants near me” and people don’t head over to Facebook pages to plan their trips.
Yet, social reviews can be incredibly powerful, because they’re social after all. Reviews left by a joyous customer will be seen by their network of friends. Typically, prospective customers within the local proximity of your business.
This is a great way to raise brand awareness on the largest social platform. If you get 10 positive reviews and each reviewer has an average of 200 Facebook friends, that’s potential exposure to 2,000 people. That’s a lot of potential new customers.
The viral potential of Facebook reviews shouldn’t be underestimated, as it can move the needle in a very positive direction through the cultivation of brand loyalty and the exposure that can bring.
📌 Not on Facebook yet? Take the first step and create your page.
#3 - TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor is synonymous with holiday planning and consumers on the move. It’s like a big net just ready to capture a flock of fish. Maybe best not to think of your customers as fish but you get the point.
I would label TripAdvisor the most high-intent review site on the market. People that use TripAdvisor know what they want and when they want it, now they are just figuring out the where.
It is also the most sensitive to the 3 signals (Volume, Quality, Consistency) and can become a highly competitive space. Consumers recognise the quality of results, so it often has the best chance at swaying a potential customers attention.
The amount of traffic it gets, combined with the high-intent nature of TripAdvisor, equals a review site that deserves your focus.
📌 Haven’t got a TripAdvisor profile? Create yours now.
Picking review sites for your venue
To clarify, this isn’t about picking which review sites to put your venue on, as you should have complete listings on all of them.
This is about selecting which review sites you want to focus on, to get the highest return on your investment of time.
For most venues, the TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook combination will be the best fit. aligned with your target market. Although, for some venues, the decision isn’t so simple.
There are some scenarios where TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook might not be clear winners for your brand.
If you’re running a hotel, for example, the local effects of Facebook reviews won’t be as beneficial because most of your customer base is through tourism. It likely makes more sense to swap Facebook out for Booking.com or another hotel discovery site.
What if you’re running a salon? Unless you’re giving blow drys with a side of fries, it’s unlikely that TripAdvisor is the best option for you to be discovered by local consumers. In this case, it makes sense to replace TripAdvisor with Yelp for example.
Stuck on which sites to pick? Here’s a mental exercise for you. Imagine 5 different types of customers that your brand attracts. Try to visualise the approach from each customer type, how are they finding your venue? Are they searching on Google? Looking for recommendations on Facebook?
Use these sites and simulate the search that you would expect your customers to make. This is a great way to find opportunities and prioritise the review sites that are a fit for your customer base. They want to find you after all.