Unless you have been lost and wondering in the Australian outback for the last few years without any mobile signal or broadband, you will know about Google Plus. What I want to look at today is not Google plus but rather the effect that this nifty social network can have on your business. Further to this, I will not be discussing how to use it to further your business, but rather as something that you as a business owner should be aware of.
There has never been a time when business is more accountable to their customers. The balance of power has shifted. In order to get in the local listings you need a Google plus page (for Google places). People who use the platform can now leave reviews about your products and services. They are there for other people to read – plain and clear to anyone who comes across it. Studies have shown that people will be far more trusting of reviews that are given by their peers then the ones you have on your site.
Unless you have an old and trusted site, the reviews on your site will not make much impact on someone’s choice. Reviews on Google Plus and other social media sites will have a big impact – fact.
If you provide a good service or product you will stand to win, if you don’t you will lose and lose horribly. Most people will only take the time to write a review if they feel passionate about something. Good products and service will attract it share of positive reviews if the business pushed for this. A bad product or service will need no encouraging – we all know that people are quick to complain and slow to praise.
So the good news is that if you get reviews on social media sites these are gold for your business, If you have reviews on your Google Plus then this will show up in your Local listings if your business is there (have a look at this post to give you an idea on what I am talking about); these will boost business one way or another.
The bad news is that bad reviews will work in the opposite way and people finding your local listings (or reviews on other Social media platforms). It is a well-known fact that reviews from other customers tend to hold more sway with potential customers for your business (just think about how you might buy something online). This process has put the boot firmly on the consumer’s foot.
If you are willing to work a little you can change the situation around, responding to these reviews can turn the situation around, (offering returns etc.) these public conversations will help you build you trust as well. We all know companies make mistakes – it is how they respond to these mistakes that will make the difference.
What does this mean for you? It means that you as a business owner are more accountable for what you do. You have a greater responsibility to your community and your actions (both positive and negative) will have an impact on this community and on your business. If you are willing you can grab this new opportunity and make it work for you then the world (well your community at least). If you choose to ignore this, you might be like the dinosaurs – unable to adapt and no longer here. Knowledge is power and this sits firmly with the consumer now. The only question is – how is your company dealing with this new challenge?