Every business wants a good reputation with consumers, having them believe that they are reliable and trustworthy. The known ways to create an online reputation are countless, but some of the main ones today are reviews and Likes. The Like button isn’t only a form of conversion, but the number of likes a certain brand, product, or service has can tell consumers a lot about their reputation with other consumers. Also, online reviews are written and read by a large number of consumers, and the opinions of other consumers seem more trustworthy to most people. Both of these are said to be the best ways to create a reputation on the web, among other ways.
The reason I mention these in particular is not only that they are the most popular forms of reputation management, but also because of About.com’s recent report entitled The Trust Factor. The two aforementioned methods of reputation management are compared in the report, as About.com tries to clear up some confusing aspects of managing a name on the web. The report covers all aspects of consumer trust in brands, how trust can be developed with consumers, and then what the best methods are statistically.
A survey was performed by About.com on the subject of reviews and Likes. 50% of those surveyed said that more trust is added if something, “has lots of positive user reviews,” and if the company does not try to hide the negative ones. With a much lower 26%, a lot of Likes on a brand or product will create less trust from consumers. The report quotes Qual Phase, one of the many respondents as saying, “It’s hard to tell how current a like is, or why people were liking them.” Phase also says, “I wish likes would just go away. What’s the value?” So, clearly from these results we can gather that Likes are good for many things, but reputation management may not be one of them.
Basically, what About.com is saying is that social integration significantly boosts trust in consumers. There is another graph provided in the report that describes the specific ways that social integration can improve trust. 41% of those asked said that when allowed to see reviews by people in their own social networks, they put more trust into that brand. Among others specifics, only 33% said that seeing a Like by a friend made them instill more trust into a business.
It’s common knowledge in advertising that the Like button was a gigantic innovation in performance marketing. What About.com is telling us is that the Like button can not do everything. In reputation management, reviews are the big ticket item, even though they can also hurt businesses. Consumers always tend to trust other consumers, which is the way it has always been. Since the internet came to be, word of mouth has nearly disappeared, and it’s replacement is online reviews. The difficult thing is that often times reviews can not be controlled, but there are some effective ways to manage them. Regardless, they are the way that people decide good from bad today.