Reviews are the lifeblood of any organization, but even more so in a facility that provides care to the elderly and chronically ill. Your very reputation depends on how clients and their families feel about you. Consistent negative reviews can spell the end for your facility, so it behooves you to stay on top of reviews and respond in a timely manner. According to Search Engine Journal, 82 percent of consumers read online reviews before patronizing any local business, and 76 percent trust online reviews as much as recommendations from their family and friends. It’s all part of your online reviews and reputation management strategy.
Google reviews are the most important to get, because they can significantly influence search results rankings as well as consumers choices (reviews are sometimes called “social proof”).
So, we all know Google is a great place to get positive feedback, but where else can you seek favorable reviews? The answer? Yelp and Facebook. You can’t ignore these two critical pieces of the puzzle when it comes to getting, managing, and maintaining reviews for your residential care facility. Here, we will go over the pros and cons of both.
With 35 million monthly mobile app users, Yelp is an online business directory service that helps local businesses by publishing reviews. You may associate Yelp strictly with restaurants but that’s not true: you can find reviews on virtually any kind of business here, including residential care facilities. It’s an important platform to be on because it connects people with your business, expanding your reach, and establishing rapport. Your listing features your contact information, a summary of your type of business, photos, and review content. Essentially, it’s a one-stop local platform for clients, patients, and their families to discover, learn about, and connect with your brand.
- You are reaching people who are ready to invest in your services: One of the last steps people take when preparing to commit to something is to view other customer experiences. When reviews are positive overall, Yelp can help to close the deal for your company.
- You don’t have to advertise in order to have a Yelp listing.
- Paid advertising may work for you (or not): Yelp displays just one or two ads per search for any given consumer. This is a highly targeted way of getting noticed at a local level that you can’t get through other online paid marketing options.
- You can get rid of competitive profiles: One of the biggest hurdles businesses on Yelp face is the placement of competitive ads popping up on their own profiles. You can have these ads removed if you join the paid ads program.
- Yelp gets a ton of traffic: With 150 million unique visitors per month, your business can receive untold amounts of exposure.
- You have to pay for an enhanced listing to run ads: Enhanced listings on Yelp are not cheap for small businesses.
- You can’t control the reviews that are listed: You may respond to any reviews that are left about you on Yelp, but you can’t remove any that you don’t like unless a review violates the terms of service. Even with many active positive responses, the negative ones can influence potential clients due to the 5-star rating system. All it takes is one negative 1-star review to erase all those other good ones in a potential client’s mind. When it comes to the care of their loved one, no one wants to take any chances!
- Businesses gather reviews even when not claimed on Yelp: You don’t have to have an paid advertising presence on Yelp for people to leave reviews, which means that many negative reviews online can be left without you realizing it unless you check often.
As you can see, there are many pros and cons to Yelp, but overall, we believe the pros far outweigh the cons and believe any residential facility should maintain an active presence.
Next up is Facebook, another great place to be for reviews. On this platform, star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, so it becomes eligible to pop up in the news feed. This helps readers find new businesses, while on the other side of the coin, businesses can foster greater brand awareness.
Facebook, just like Google, has an algorithm that can determine where your posts will show up in the news feed. That algorithm is called EdgeRank, and it’s calculated with factors such as “affinity” and “weight.” Affinity will measure the interaction between a Facebook user and a brand; weight is how important that action is. Star ratings factor into both of these.
- Brand Development & Awareness: You can expose your business to a global audience and develop your brand development.
- Increase Website Traffic: A Facebook business page with reviews allows you to share backlinks and drive visitors back to your residential facility website.
- Targeted advertising: You can easily reach an audience of your choice through filters of location, age, sex, and demographics.
- Establish A Social Conversation With Clients: Use this platform to establish two-way communication with your clients and potential clients.
- Get Business Insights: Monitor metrics from your performance so you can plan for a better strategy.
- Increased engagements: When you start building an audience and collecting reviews, you can bet those engagements will follow suit.
- Search Engine Recognition: Google wants credible sources for SERP rankings, and data that is shared on Facebook fits the bill.
- Build a Community: Build a community of individuals who are facing the same challenges so they can enjoy access to insights and ideas of how to benefit from your business.
- Negative Reviews in Public: This same two-way conversation that is a benefit to you in certain situations can be a detriment when a client posts negative reviews or comments publicly.
- Considerable Investment: The process of managing your reviews on Facebook takes a lot of time and attention to make sure you don’t miss anything.
- Limited Organic Reach: Facebook has algorithms that limit the organic reach of your posts to only a certain number of users. With Facebook business pages, you have to boost your posts to get this number to go up.
Again, there are many pros and cons to using Facebook for reviews. But again, we think the positives outweigh the negatives due to the far reach and influence of this most popular social platform.
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