The Importance of Social Recommendations & Online Reviews
With the proliferation of review sites on the web, consumers are given a forum to weigh in on pretty much every product or service out there. The increasing rise and popularity of sites like Yelp, Facebook Reviews, Google Reviews and then of course the niche review sites like RateMDs (for doctors) and Zamato (for food) means that people are actively seeking out the opinion of others.
Numerous surveys have been conducted in an effort to understand how it is potential buyers are affected by the opinions of their peers during their path to purchase. I myself know that if a friend gives a nod in favour of a product, I am more likely to research it and purchase it.
I conduct my research on the web, like most people, reading reviews written by people I don’t necessarily know but come to trust. What’s interesting is that according to a survey conducted by Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers share this sentiment with me, basically stating that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Our collective reliance on the internet to feed us the information that we seek probably accounts for this.
Not only do online social recommendations reach a far greater audience by being accessible via the web, they also help to market your business (when reviews are good) and gain your own website some traction when it comes to SEO.
The folks at Social Media Link have created a great infographic that illustrates how exactly consumers interact with online reviews during their path to purchase. Check it out: