The Value of Social Proof and Online Reviews

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You need to have your house painted. How do you find a good local painter you can trust? Word of mouth from friends and associates has always been a standard, but today’s tech-savvy consumer is likely to be looking for a different type of word of mouth: online reviews. You probably already Googled “painters near me” to check out top listings and ratings.

Let’s look at some of the key benefits of online reviews:

Enhanced trust and credibility. Your business’s online reviews tell a critical story about your credibility, quality, and customer service. Authentic reviews (and responses) give you a competitive advantage, by building confidence in potential customers. In fact, most consumers (88%, according to Hubspot) place as much trust in user reviews as they do in recommendations from friends. 

Additional conversions and sales. In today’s research-oriented marketplace, consumers are likely to spend time reading testimonials and comparing options for products and services. These reviews provide information and validation to move the consumer to the purchasing stage. Hubspot reports that 57% of us will only convert to buyers if a business has at least a 4-star rating.

Improved search engine rankings. Online reviews contribute to Google rankings and organic search results. Content management and SEO efforts drive rankings, but a healthy selection of Google reviews is a helpful supplement. They’re easily found by local searchers and again, add a level of influence. 

Vital insight to customer thoughts and experiences. All types of reviews, positive and negative, provide insight to your customers’ reactions to and expectations for your product or service. They’ll tell you what they liked and didn’t like, and your response is important. Positive reviews offer opportunities for gratitude and follow-up engagement, as well as for staff reward and motivation. More than one negative review about the same issue could signal a problem needing your attention. Your genuine responses indicate your concern for your customers’ experience and satisfaction.

How customers feel they’ve been treated can make or break a business. Consumers have choices, and they expect a certain level of service and value or they’ll find a different provider. When they express their dissatisfaction, you have an opportunity to regain their trust by responding appropriately. Just like you don’t get angry and ignore a customer who complains in person, it’s unwise to respond angrily or to ignore negative online reviews. Not only are you likely to lose that customer, you also may turn off potential customers who are following along. Take a deep breath and respond politely to the comments. If you can make the situation right by offering a refund or other compensation, consider doing so. And again, use the feedback to address issues with your employees. 

Loyal customers are worth the time and effort you put into providing great customer experiences. They tend to be repeat customers, refer your company to others, and leave positive reviews and social media comments. Their kind words deliver social proof of your business’s quality and credibility. 

Using an objective social media manager like Metta Digital Marketing will not only enhance your digital visibility, but we will also assist in monitoring and responding to online reviews. Give me a call at (863) 669-8218 or drop me a line at to talk about boosting your digital presence.