Social Media is on the Uprise in 2015
Online Reputation Reviews

Online Reviews of companies is on the rise and depending on your age group, studies show that those between the ages of 18-34 are more likely to review local businesses on social media. So, what does that mean to you? As a business owner, you want to have positive online reviews on your business on the web. As an individual consumer, you want to find the business you are looking for having positive online reviews so you know you are getting the best for your money.

As a Business Owner

Online reviews can make or break a business. As a business owner, you want your customers to have a great experience so they will leave positive feedback on your business. You have to go out of your way to make the customer happy with their experience and make them want to be a return customer. For any customer that does not have a great experience, as the business owner, you need to find out why they were not satisfied and see if there is anything you can do to make their experience positive. A bad experience can leave a bad impression on a customer, and bad news travels faster than good news. You want to turn that bad experience into a positive one. You can not please everyone all the time, but you need to try to turn every customer experience into a good one for the benefit of your business.

As an Individual Consumer

Online reviews can make or break a business. As an individual consumer, you expect your experience with local businesses to be positive. How do you find a reputable business in your area? Do you ask a friend, neighbor, relative or co-worker? Do you go to the phone book and see who is closest to you? Or are you one of the millions that get on line, either lap-top computer, desk-top computer, tablet or mobile phone and search for whatever business you are looking for? How often do you search for a business? You would be surprised at how frequently different age groups search for local businesses and rely on the online reviews to make a decision on where to go and who to do business with.

Does the Age of the Consumer Play a Role in Online Reviews

There are several studies out there that show a breakdown by age groups as to how often the different age groups read or post online reviews of local businesses. The age groups were divided into 18-34, 35-54 and 55+. Since all age groups have reviewed local businesses on social media, let’s take a look at what the studies say about each of the different age groups and which is the preferred method to search, review and interact with others about their findings.

The 18 – 34 Age Group

Most of those polled in the 18-34 age group have searched online reviews on a laptop, tablet, desktop computer as well as mobile phone. This age group is the most tech savvy so naturally they use the internet every day. Over half of those polled indicated that they search for local businesses online at least once a month. Almost a quarter of those polled search online daily. Almost 100% of those polled read the online reviews and make their decision to use the business based on them. This age group uses and recommends businesses using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ as well as other forms of social media more often than word of mouth.

The 35 – 54 Age Group

This is the age group that is sandwiched between the tech savvy and the older generation that oftentimes relies on phonebooks, word of mouth and lastly the internet for finding a business. They search as little as once a year to perhaps once a month. About one-third search online weekly. Of those that searched online, over 90% of them read online reviews. Three-quarters of this age group read 10 or fewer reviews before making up their mind about a business. About half of those polled in this age group have actually reviewed a business online.

The 55+ Age Group

The 55+ age group encompasses a large range of ages and therefore may have some abnormalities to their numbers for the studies. According to the studies, this is the age group that mostly uses desktop, laptop computers or tablets for their online searches. Over three-quarters of those polled said they base a decision on a business after reading six or less reviews. Just over one-quarter of those polled in this age group search online once a month. One half of those polled search online less than five times per year. Eighty-six percent of this age group actually read online reviews. Less than 15% of this age group use mobile devises to review businesses. Given a choice of mobile phone or table, this group chooses a tablet over the phone, if nothing else, for the larger screen thus making it easier to read. This age group prefers personal recommendations over online reviews. Just about two-thirds of this age group have recommended a local business using word of mouth, rather than online reviews.   This group has some in it that have never used a computer, nor have they ever read or made an online review. That being said, those that have computers and use them, do use them to research local businesses, read the reviews and make an educated decision about that business based on the reviews. What does all this mean for businesses?

Analysis of Data as it refers to Businesses

Online Reviews are a great way for any business to make a name for themselves. As the research shows, all age groups research businesses online and read the reviews to form an opinion about a business and whether they are going to use them or not. The younger the consumer, the more likely they are to base their decision on social media reviews rather than word of mouth. The older the consumer, the more likely they are to read the online reviews and make an educated decision after further research of a business. Whatever the age of the consumer, it is in the best interest of all businesses to make a good impression on the consumer, treat them fairly, and give the best that you can. Whether it is the auto mechanic doing an oil change, the beautician cutting and styling hair, or the dog groomer taking care of the family pet, the consumer needs to be your best friend and ally if you want to succeed in business. Provide them with the most positive business experience that you can so they will want to leave a positive online review thus making you a go to place for whatever service you provide.

Analysis of Data as it refers to Consumers

Whatever your age, you owe it to the businesses you deal with to leave a positive online review for the good experience you have with a business. A business is built on trust, knowledge, professionalism and positive experience between the business and the consumer. You can help or hurt a business with your review. If you have had a not so enjoyable experience, let the manager or owner know. Perhaps it is a miscommunication or misunderstanding issue. You owe it to yourself as well as the business the benefit of the doubt and maybe even a second chance to make your experience positive.   If you cannot come to a positive understanding with the business, or better your experience with them, it is better not to say anything negative about the business in your review. The business would appreciate you not leaving a review at all. If on the other hand, the business has not treated you right on more than one occasion, perhaps you need to talk with the owner to see what the problem is. If after speaking with the owner you still can not get any satisfaction and the owner indicates this is the way they run their business, maybe you need to consider leaving a not so positive review to let others know of your experience. Do not write an online review when you are upset, in a bad mood or when you are having a bad day. You may write something that you will regret later. As my late father used to say, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.”

Ways to leave an Online Review

The easiest way to leave an online review is to “like” someone on Facebook. Leave a nice comment and you have posted your review. Often a business will have a web page that you can leave a review on. Sometimes you can blog about a business. However you choose to leave an online review, make it positive and help keep good businesses in business.

What’s in it for the Business?

Good online reviews help build good businesses. Word of mouth may help refer one or two people to a business, but posting a positive review online reaches the masses. If you have had a good experience, let others know by leaving a positive review. That way, they can also have a great experience. Likewise, if a business is not treating its customers with respect and appreciation and this is their normal practice, leave a not so positive review so others can avoid a bad experience. If a business doesn’t appreciate its customers, they won’t have customers very long and won’t remain in business. Good service and honest practices are rewarded with good customers, repeat business and a long lasting relationship between the consumer and the business and a business that stays in business.

What’s in it for the Consumer?

As a consumer, when you read online reviews, you appreciate the honesty of others letting you know what you can expect from a business. You want the positive experience that they had so you go to the same business they did. Leaving a positive online review helps send others to good businesses and enables that business to keep its doors open. A good review is good for everyone.

Online Reviews on Social Media Make a Difference

With the uprise in online reviews, make the review you leave positive so everyone that sees it will have a positive, upbeat view of that business and the business will stay in business.