As a customer, I used to be guilty of neglecting to leave reviews or share my experiences with businesses. However, now that I am a small business owner myself, I understand just how crucial positive reviews and user-generated content (UGC) are for building a strong reputation, developing a brand image and creating a community.
Build a Strong Reputation
Think about it we are more likely to do business with companies that have social proof through reviews and UGC then with those that do not. I know I read almost all the reviews on Amazon and watch TikTok for products that I am interested in. This social proof is important for small businesses because it helps to build trust for we do not have thousands of dollars to pour into a marketing plan like bigger companies do. Social proof also makes it easier for current customers and their friends to recommend your favorite small business...like mine. Word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the most effective ways of building trust with customers and constructing a brand image.
Developing a Brand Image
This is when you know your hobby or side hustle is evolving into something more. Building a brand helps to shape a business' reputation. Reviews and UGC on social media shows how as a business owner I value and appreciate my customers' experiences and opinions. As always this leads to increased customer loyalty and positive recommendations. We all have those brands that we love and trust because of our use and experiences with the product. Raise your hand if you follow those brands on social media!
Community over Competition
Positive reviews can convince potential customers to choose a business over competitors and yes that helps with sales and engagement. However I rather know that I am providing a service that gives a great customer experience and value then trying to be like my competitors. Happy customers help build a business and create a great community.
That's why I encourage all of my customers to take a few minutes to leave a review or share their experiences, as it can make all the difference not only for my shop but all small businesses. Thank you so much.