It used to be that when someone had a bad experience they told one person. With today’s use of search engines, social media and more, they are sure to share with millions.

Small businesses’ success heavily relies on word-of-mouth marketing, and that is exactly what online customer reviews are and why it is so important for small business owners to be active participants in the process.

Collecting and promoting customer reviews is critical for the success of managing your reputation and being found online. Marketing with content is a surefire way to continue to stay top of mind with your customers, while staying top of mind in search engines.

Content is the name of the game when trying to get noticed online. You can leverage content in many forms – including articles, newsletters, video, eBooks, blog posts, as well as customer testimonials and reviews.

Search engines rate fresh content higher and, therefore, it generally shows up early in search results. With RatePoint’s automated social sharing, small businesses have the benefit of increased searchable content, which makes it easier for potential customers to find them when they’re ready to purchase.

Here are just a few things to keep in mind about customer testimonials and reviews:

  1.  Consumers generally trust online reviews for finding more information on a local business.
  2. Reviews are the only means of comparing businesses at a glance
  3. If Google has a single review associated with the business, then the text changes to show the number of reviews
  4. The review count is the last part of the listing that users seeand the reviews are surrounded by white space.

By having customer testimonials and reviews on your Website and in search engines your business will rank better in searches, as well as provide an opportunity for you to improve your business practices based on the customer feedback.

Reviews are such a vital part of local search and they will continue to gain importance as time goes on. Businesses that monitor what is being said about them will be able to learn from their customers and feel confident about and have a good understanding of what the outside perspective of their business is.

With RatePoint’s one-click social sharing feature, you’ll find Facebook and Twitter icons above all reviews that come into your RatePoint Business Center page. The Sharebar is always on top of web-based campaigns – allowing your customers, followers and fans to easily share your message to their social connections.

Simply click those icons to post each review to those networks.   You also can schedule reviews to be posted to Twitter and Facebook automatically, once they are received.

The time has come for small businesses to manage their online review reputation, or they may find themselves with an online reputation being managed by others.

By: Tom Serani, VP of Worldwide Sales, RatePoint, Inc.

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