Your Fortunes Are Written in the Stars (Your Facebook Star Reviews, That Is)

July 24th, 2015 by Search Influence Alumni

In a time when smartphones can do everything from tracking down our car keys to acting as a 3D mobile scanner, the modern American consumer is more connected than ever. The Internet lets us share photos with people across the world or down the street, but in addition to sending Snapchats and Facebook messages, people are increasingly looking for opinions and suggestions from their community of savvy fellow consumers, who are often ready and willing to share their thoughts on everything from the best place to eat on date night to the new laptop they just bought on sale.

Wading through this sea of advice and opinions can be intimidating for a small business—but it’s also necessary. If you’ve ever diligently scoured sites like Yelp or Amazon for information before making a major purchasing decision, you already know that reviews can be powerful. Not only do they give you great feedback about how well your business is doing, but they also share valuable information about the quality of your products and services. And today—now that we’re far from flipping through hard copies of Consumer Reports when researching a purchase—modern Internet users tend to rely on the insights and second opinions provided by their existing online network.

While online reviews tend to hold more sway among younger generations, a June 2015 study found that 70% of Americans look to review sites before making a major purchase, and another 57% of respondents say that they also seek out recommendations on social media.

To that end, it’s more important than ever for businesses to elicit positive reviews across the board. Google has always made it patently simple for Internet users to see the verdict of public opinion on any given product or service at a glance, thanks to a display of five-star reviews that act as a visual guide in the search engine results pages. Without even clicking on a link, searchers have the opportunity to learn how well a product or service has been received by the online community.

In the past, major review sites like Google+, TripAdvisor, and Yelp have all been prominent sources for this type of information, and the most recent site to join their ranks is Facebook.

Facebook Star Reviews Image Search Influence

These five-star reviews show up near the top of the search engine results for brand-name searches, but they also occasionally turn up in broader searches as well.

This is good news for businesses. Internet users tend to prefer leaving reviews on Facebook over other review sites, showing a preference for giving feedback on Google+, Facebook, and Yelp—in that order. Facebook has the added benefit of a strong user base, since most of your customers are likely to already have Facebook logins and reviews are quick and easy to post. In addition, Facebook reviews don’t get filtered like Yelp reviews do.

In the past, we’ve recommended building up your business’s credibility by getting reviews in multiple places, and it’s worth restating: Google+, Yelp, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites are all essential when it comes to showing off the quality of your products and services to as many potential customers as possible. And Google’s new update means that if you haven’t yet gotten a toehold in the Facebook review arena, it’s probably a good idea to work it into your long-term reviews strategy for a dose of extra visibility on search engine results pages.

If your review game is not strong or you’re worried about your online reputation, don’t fret. Check out our tips for handling reviews, and let us know how we can help!