What are people saying about your business?
Millions of reviews – sometimes referred to as 'business impressions' – are posted everyday as consumers embrace the opportunity to declare their love and distaste for products and services.
Consumer reviews fall into two large categories based on who sees them – public and private.
Private reviews are those that are posted on sites such as Facebook where (depending on users’ privacy settings) only approved friends and family members can see them.
The value of private business impressions is quite high, as people are more likely to be influenced by the opinion of someone they know and trust.
It is the online equivalent of telling your friend about a cafe they might like, because you know their individual tastes and having experienced the product yourself, you're confident that you have the authority to make a valuable recommendation.
The other category is public impressions, where the audience is anybody and everybody who comes in contact with the platform the comment is being made on.
This includes Twitter and other social media marketing platforms, review sites, business listing hubs and web forums and has the effect of standing on the roof yelling out an opinion to all who happen to walk by.
Every day millions upon millions of user experiences and opinions are broadcast online, meaning businesses can keep an eye on their public image beyond the point of sale.
You may notice that reviews generally come in two types: overly positive or overly negative.
The reason for this stems from the motivation people have to post a review.
If the experience is amazing, they're likely buzzing with positive enthusiasm and will want other people to share in it.
However, if it is terrible, they're likely upset and want people to avoid the same feeling by voicing their disappointment.
As for those middle-of-the-road experiences, we largely forget things that are merely OK and so there is less eagerness to tell the world about them.
Businesses should keep this in mind – if only the most memorable experiences are posted online, it is up to them to give customers only the very best.