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Beyond the Stars: How Agencies Can Help Clients Build Consumer Trust


As an agency, you understand the importance of ensuring your clients maintain a positive online reputation. While a client’s star rating is a good indicator of how consumers perceive your client, there are other ways to build trust. That’s where this blog comes in! 


We’ll recap an on-demand webinar, “Beyond the Stars: Top Trust Factors in Listings and Reviews,” with SOCi’s own Damian Rollison, Director of Market Insights, and Emily Washcovick, a Local Business Expert at Yelp. During this conversation, Washcovick and Rollison explain how brands can build consumer trust beyond their star rating. 


These tips can help ensure your clients do what it takes to stand out from competitors and win more customers. Let’s get started! 



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A Look Into Yelp’s Study


When kicking off the webinar, Rollison and Washcovick dive into findings from a Yelp study on consumer trust. The data found in this blog comes from this study. 


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While consumers are putting more trust into reviews, they care about the written copy in the reviews just as much as the overall star rating. These reviews are also helpful for businesses and give them insight into the minds of consumers. 


So, what does this mean for your agency? You understand that reviews are essential for your clients, but now what? An important first step is ensuring your clients have a local presence on review platforms like Yelp and Google, which we’ll get into next! 


Optimizing Local Listings Comes First


Throughout this piece we’re focusing on Yelp, but know that you can apply the same tactics to other review platforms. Yelp has more than 73 million unique monthly visitors, with consumers searching in every category — from shopping to restaurants, health, home, financial services, and more. 


If your multi-location clients haven’t already, ensuring each business location has a local Yelp profile is essential. Once your clients have local Yelp profiles, there are ways to optimize them that will help build consumer trust. Let’s dive into how you can help improve your client’s local Yelp profiles, which will help them win more clients. 


1. Include Photos 


The same Yelp survey mentioned above found that photos of business’s storefronts or service offerings are one of the most influential factors when it comes to consumer trust. Rollison and Washcovick explain that customers want to picture themselves at a business and know what to expect before they arrive, and photos provide this. 


Regardless of the industry, photos are an excellent way for businesses to build customer trust.


2. Ensure Business Information is Updated and Accurate 


While it may seem obvious, your clients must ensure that all the information in local Yelp profiles is updated and correct. 


This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Hours of operation 
  • Business address
  • Phone number
  • Attributes listed — if you take a to-go order, have Wi-Fi, etc. 


Many customers will come to a Yelp profile to find these details, and if a client needs correct information, it may deter a customer from doing business with them. 


3. Consider Pricing Transparency 


Yelp found that 41 percent of customers visit their profiles to find a business’s pricing. Including pricing for products and services in your clients’ local listings is another great tactic to build consumer trust. 


For instance, if your client is a restaurant brand, Yelp can include the restaurant’s menu with pricing information within the platform. Similarly, if you have a client with hair salons, encourage them to include basic pricing information within their local listings. 


While some clients may feel uncomfortable sharing their prices publicly, and others may not be able to based on the industry such as a doctor’s office or mortgage company, doing so can differentiate your client from competitors. Customers crave transparency, and including prices provides it. 


Learn how to further build and optimize your local listings with The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Local Listings


Building Consumer Trust With Reviews 


After your clients have their local listings optimized on Yelp, it’s time to further improve customer trust with their reviews. You and your clients can do so by developing a strategy for handling customer feedback. 



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Implementing the tactics mentioned above will show customers that your clients care about their feedback and help develop trust between them. After discussing these tactics, Rollison and Washcovick spent a little more time discussing the need to respond to reviews, especially the negative ones. 


Fifty-six percent of survey respondents say an owner replying to a review makes them trust the business more, further emphasizing the importance of review response. Similarly, 87 percent of review readers say they’re more likely to look past a critical review if they see the business has responded. 


Responses to reviews matter. They reflect your client’s customer service practices to future customers and directly connect them to the reviewer. For additional information on helping your clients manage their online reputation at scale, check out The Online Reputation Management Guide for Agencies



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How SOCi Supports Agencies and Boosts Consumer Trust for Their Clients


As an agency, you understand that happy clients are critical. Now that you understand how to help your clients build consumer trust through reputation management and beyond, how do you get started? 


Finding a solution that can help you manage your client’s listings and reputation management efforts across multiple locations is critical. That’s where SOCi comes in! 


SOCi allows you to scale your clients’ localized marketing efforts on one platform. For instance, with SOCi Reviews, agencies can automate intelligent, on-brand review responses at scale, track review sentiment, and monitor competitive insights to transform your clients’ reputations.





Additionally, SOCi Listings empowers you to manage clients’ business listings at scale and effectively optimize their online presence and local search rankings. As the webinar mentioned, SOCi has partnerships with numerous listings directories, including Yelp, Google, Facebook, and more! 


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Ready to get started improving consumer trust for your clients? Learn how SOCi supports agencies, today! 



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Darcy Bickham

As SOCi’s Content Marketing Manager, Darcy Bickham specializes in creating the strategy and developing the content around both localized and digital marketing trends for the SOCi brand. Through her content writing, Darcy has helped to position SOCi as the marketing platform for multi-location brands.

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