SMX West session: Harnessing the power of online reviews
Columnist Greg Gifford recaps a session by Thomas Ballantyne about the value of online reviews, showing why businesses need to start thinking about them if they aren't already.
Closing out the excellent first time slot in the Local track at SMX West this year was Thomas Ballantyne’s session about online reviews. Far too many business owners either ignore or don’t care about reviews, so Ballantyne — the director of marketing at Bulwark Pest Control — built his presentation as a tool to help marketers get buy-in from their clients.
Reviews are vital for success
Ballantyne began by citing a recent BrightLocal survey that showed that 92 percent of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of local businesses. Whether a business owner wants to pay attention to reviews or not, potential customers are seeking out and reading reviews of the business.
Even more important — 51 percent of people trust user-generated content over info on a company website or in news articles. Ballantyne explained that people trust reviews written by other people much more than anything written on your website, which is why it’s so important for business owners to focus on their online reviews.
According to Ballantyne, Millennials actually trust user-generated content MORE than what they hear from friends or family, so online reviews are clearly becoming more and more important to younger generations.
Reviews are the crossroads of social media and transactions. They simply can’t be ignored.