“The concept of online reviews is still fairly new to most business owners and most of the time, they just don't know how to respond to the negative comments. We see ourselves as the middleman between the business owner and the review sites
Marina Del Rey, California (PRWEB) January 17, 2013
There is a new form of influence at the forefront of online consumerism that is shaping the way customers view business. Online social profiles such as Yelp, Google Places, Yahoo Local, City Search, and others have evolved to be immensely influential in the past half-decade when consumers are making purchasing decisions. Yelp alone boasts 84 million reviewers monthly and over 33 million reviews since its inception. These social profiles have managed to launch businesses from obscurity into local superstardom with 5 star reviews from enthusiastic clients.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum it has managed to tarnish a plethora of small business owners with negative reviews and commentary from disgruntled consumers. As one business owner divulges her own personal experience she says “Yelp reviews have ruined my business, everybody makes mistakes, but Yelp seems to post every complaint and filter out all my positive reviews. I had a booming tanning business for 3 years and at this rate I will be going out of business before the summer is here” – Sandra Larson (San Diego, CA)
Today, businesses have to be proactive about their online profiles, or word of mouth spreads quickly through various social mediums about their business be it good or bad. Customers are now in control of how your business is being perceived making it that much more vital to address their concerns immediately and in the correct context.
Social media expert, and strategist Mark Sanchez describes how indefinite these reviews can be as he explains that, “Online reviews are forever, so of course they matter, not only do they impact your search engine placement but also how clients perceive your business. How you manage negative reviews is critical, and I don’t advise that business’s take a jab at it alone, often times seeking professional help from experts that understand the inner working of online social media is best.”
In the past two years there has been an explosion of companies that hire people to leave bad reviews, often times on competitor’s social profiles and positive reviews on their own. Recently, Yelp has developed a sting to uncover companies that are trying to purchase reviews which can lead to having the company’s profile flagged down.
One Los Angeles based marketing firm has taken a different approach to improving online reviews of their clients. ESIOH Internet Marketing is a search engine optimization and reputation management consulting firm that helps businesses manage their review profiles without violating Yelp and other social profiles terms and services. ESIOH Internet Marketing is against purchasing reviews and instead, they have developed other strategic methods to improve their client's review profiles and ratings.
CEO and founder of ESIOH Internet Marketing Erik Devash, clarifies why there is so much ambiguity about online reviews when he explains that “The concept of online reviews is still fairly new to most business owners and most of the time, they just don't know how to respond to the negative comments. We see ourselves as the middleman between the business owner and the review sites, helping the business improve their overall ratings while keeping their profiles honest and accurate. ”
Due to the ongoing recession, small business owners are feeling the effects of how negative reviews are jeopardizing their livelihood, often feeling victimized, but ESIOH Internet Marketing maintains that it is important to not take the negative reviews personally. Ultimately, "Any type of negative feedback should be seen as an opportunity for the business owners to both uncover potential problems within the business as well as publicly showing that the business does care, and is working on improving the situation."- Erik Devash
Online social profiles have become an important channel through which consumers can share their opinions and voice. As the internet continues to evolve more and more business owners will continue to realize the great value or harm social media can have on their business.