What We’ve Learned From Top Multi-Location Marketers Excelling in Reputation Management
When you’re considering how to prioritize your multi-location marketing activities, it’s helpful sometimes to think of your own habits as a consumer. If you’re like most U.S. consumers, when you shop on digital platforms for some kind of local need, ratings and reviews are some of the most important tools you use to evaluate the results. In fact, research consistently shows that a very high proportion — as high as 98% — of consumers read reviews before choosing a local business.
So reviews matter to consumers, and authentic responses to reviews from businesses matter to them as well. Whether the review is positive or negative, consumers appreciate it when a business takes the time to respond; it shows the business cares about fostering good customer relationships. In a recent Yelp/Material survey, 86% of consumers said they’d be more likely to look past a negative review if the business responds constructively.
Our own research backs up the importance of reviews and review engagement. SOCi’s State of Google Reviews report found that conversion — measured as the rate of actions like website clicks, calls, and directions requests as a proportion of search impressions — improved by 4.4% when a business’s average rating goes up by just one tenth of a star; by 2.8% for every 10 new reviews; and by 16% when a business responds to most of its reviews.
The Challenge of Localized Reputation Management
Despite the benefits of managing online reviews, many multi-location brands fall short of the performance required for these benefits to be realized. The results of our 2023 Local Visibility Index show that the average brand ignores 54% of its reviews, leading to an estimated $5.3M loss in potential revenue every year. For more on this topic, check out our whitepaper The High Cost of Invisibility for Multi-Location Enterprises.
Multi-Location Marketers Who Dominate in Reputation Management
In SOCi’s 2023 Local Visibility Index, the top five brands in the reputation category cover a range of industries including recreation, restaurants, sporting goods, and pet supplies. To achieve top status in our analysis, these brands needed strong star ratings, robust review counts, and a steady stream of new reviews on local platforms (Google, Yelp, and Facebook). They also needed to demonstrate high rates of overall review response in the last 12 months, as well as consistently speedy responses.
Topgolf, a well-loved brand, enjoys an average Google rating of 4.4 stars with an enviable average of 2,276 reviews per location. But the brand doesn’t rest on its laurels when it comes to reputation management. Instead, Topgolf responds to 86% of its Google reviews, with comparable performance on other platforms. Even more impressively, the company takes just 0.4 days on average to respond to each review.
Topgolf is a company that has internalized the best practices for reputation management at the local level. The company is no doubt aware of research such as the finding from Yelp that consumers are 33% more likely to upgrade the star rating of a review if the brand provides a personalized response within 24 hours.
Another company in our list of top reputation brands deserves special mention. Pet Supplies Plus, as outlined in a case study presented at this year’s SOCi Summit, was onboarded as a SOCi client in 2023 and underwent a rapid cycle of improvement in localized marketing that resulted in their becoming the most improved brand in the Local Visibility Index for 2023.
Amongst their many achievements, Pet Supplies Plus was able to improve their rate and speed of response to reviews such that in 2023, they responded to 96% of Google reviews, 87% of Yelp reviews, and 83% of Facebook recommendations.
Pet Supplies Plus and the other companies at the top of our list recognize that the best localized marketing strategy is an omnichannel strategy, with balanced effort on all the channels and platforms consumers use to find and discover local businesses.
How Brands Can Evolve Their Reputation Strategies
Why aren’t more brands managing their reviews? Lack of awareness may be partially to blame, but the more significant factors are lack of time, resources, and expertise. That’s where a company like SOCi comes in. Our SOCi Reviews offering lets brands monitor and respond to all reviews from all brand locations across a multitude of digital platforms, with flexible options to match the needs of your brand.
The launch of Genius Reviews in 2023 has enhanced these capabilities with an automation layer, powered by AI, that generates personalized responses to reviews at scale. SOCi Reviews brings the benefits of reputation management in reach for B2C brands of all sizes and industries.
To learn more about SOCi’s reputation management solution and how we can help you improve your brand’s online reputation, request a demo today!