If you are wondering what to give your favorite small business this holiday season (or anytime!), give the gift of a review on Yelp, Facebook, Google, Open Table, or even a second-tier site like Yellow Pages or the Better Business Bureau.
There is no better gift you can give your favorite small business than a well-written review. Positive reviews can generate business all year long. And a few positive reviews can make quite a difference — both to encourage others to check them out, and to provide insulation against poor reviews.
According to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2016:
“A positive reputation is one of the most powerful marketing assets a business has to convince new customers to contact them. The social proof contained within reviews and star ratings helps consumers short cut their research and make decisions faster and with greater confidence than ever before.”
Some important findings include:
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
Small businesses may not have the resources to buy online advertising like the big guys. They may not be able to afford top-notch websites or media ads. Your five minutes reviewing your local businesses will help them make 2017 more prosperous, and help ensure that they are there the next time you need them.
Can you imagine a more positive and valuable gift you could give to the car repair place, the air conditioning repair guy, the dog boarding place, the great local restaurant, or even your local church or nonprofit service center?
What makes a great review?
Google recommends that their local guides:
- Be informative and insightful
- Keep it real
- Be respectful
- Write with style
- Add relevant photos and videos
I’ve found that other users on Yelp like the reviews I write when I make the review specifically about a single experience, provide both a summary and specifics supporting my rating, and support my rating with specifics about my particular demographic (for example “great for families with small kids,” “respectful of budgets,” etc). And if you are new to Yelp, make sure your reviews don’t get filtered.
Give A New Year Gift ~ Delete or Revise A Bad Review
One last thought for the season ~ if you’re an active reviewer like me, you may have written some one-star reviews. Everyone deserves a fresh opportunity in the New Year. I’m looking back over some of the bad reviews I’ve handed out over the past few years. I’ve already revised or deleted a few for the New Year.
A New Year’s Resolution ~ Support Other Small Businesses By Sharing
Most of my clients are small businesses, and my wife’s photography studio is a small business that depends on happy customers and referrals. Writing reviews is, for us, more than just a good deed. Our examples hopefully encourage others to review our businesses, share referrals on-line, and influence friends and neighbors.
So add your voice to the growing online reviewing community, and help make a real difference to the businesses that matter to you. Including your own.