We care what people think. We care about the opinions of our fellow consumers, about their experiences. Before we spend our valuable time or money, we want to hear about others’ experiences with the service contractors, retail stores, and physicians. We look for this information in two ways: we ask friends and family and we search the internet for glimmers of truth among reviews. Online reviews provide us with the vital information we need to make an educated purchasing decision.

Online reviews matter because they influence our opinions and behaviors, and since they are created by people who were not compensated by the organization, they seem more reliable than ads. Reviews provide buyers with reassurance that their hard-earned money is going to the best possible goods and services.

This means reviewers have an immense power, and it is up to them to wield it responsibly, since online reviews have the power to boost a new business or crush an existing one.

What it really boils down to is trust. Online reviews are built off mutual trust; consumers trust that what the other consumers in the online community are saying is true and based off true, real-life experiences. When a review platform violates this bond of trust, the consumer experience is tainted.

But what about the power of online review platforms? Here are a few examples of powerful online review platforms:

Google Places:

Google Places is a front-runner in the online review arena, considering Google is so very integrated into the average internet user’s life. Millions of people use Google to perform internet searches via both mobile and desktop interfaces. Google Places is one avenue a business can take to take advantage of the power of online reviews.

When your business is listed on Google Places, it will be easier to find online. An optimized Google Places listing will help with a hyper-local campaign, increase your SEO ranking and showcase positive customer reviews, attracting new business. 


When it comes to online reviews, most internet users are familiar with Yelp. In the 13 years since Yelp’s creation, its dedicated community has created a comprehensive review database with over 77 million reviews. However, problems with Yelp arise when trust and authenticity are factored into the equation. We have already discussed the importance of trust to the consumer when turning to an online review. 

Yelp is facing lawsuits and backlash from business owners. Not only has Yelp been slow to remove false reviews that damage small businesses’ brand image and profit potential, but Yelp’s algorithm forces business owners to use Yelp’s advertisements or else negative reviews will show up on their page, bringing down their ratings.


UpDog is a new video-based review platform that utilizes video and social media integration to keep reviews honest. The folks over at UpDog have put the power of the review back in the hands of the consumer.

Online reviews really are a powerful thing. They can make or break a consumer’s decision to cross your threshold or cause her to turn to another business. Having positive consumer reviews on trustworthy review platforms will drive traffic to your business and help to create a positive brand image. It’s worth noting that once something is online, it’s there forever; if multiple consumers post bad reviews to a company’s social media platform and the company does nothing to remedy the situation, this can and will hurt the company’s brand image. On the other hand, multiple positive reviews can draw attention to a new or existing product.

For a business, it’s important to harness the power of online reviews and all the credibility-building, profit-earning, traffic-generating potential that comes with it.   


I’ve heard that experienced celebs advise newbies to remember the people who your real friends are. There’s a similar feeling among business owners. Remember your first customer and those who helped you get to where you are. Foster the relationship with your fans and show them that you appreciate them, for without them, you might be in a very different position.

Below are four ways to show your fans that you value them.

Social Media Interaction

Devote a few minutes to answer the common questions from your fans.  This makes the fans you talk with feel important and heard. Use a hashtag to welcome others to the conversation. Hold an AMA (Ask Me Anything) so your fans can get to know you and hear your story. Give them a shout out on Facebook or Instagram to show them appreciation and show others they use your products and services.

Appreciate their efforts

Honor your fans by sharing pictures, recognizing their birthdays and knowing their names. Customer of the Month and similarly-styled campaigns are simple low-cost ways to show appreciation and keep your fans engaged.

Meet and Greet

If you have a free time, and you want to personally show how much you appreciate your fans, conduct a simple meet and greet where your fans can come see you. Let them see that you are a normal human like them who enjoy a time with the friends.  If you want to make this event more meaningful to you and your fans, conduct a meet and greet on a charity event.

If you don’t want to get that personal with them, you can always do a Google hangout or another virtual meet and greet.

Make Them Feel Like Family

A simple code for a presale of your special item will give your fans a reason to pay attention to you.  A simple mention of their name on your social media accounts will make them feel special.  Treat your fan base as a huge community and make them feel like they are a part of this family.  It is the least that you can do for all their support throughout your journey.

Say the Three Meaningful Words Your Fans Want to Hear

I appreciate you. By telling and showing your fans that you appreciate them, you can almost guarantee their return business. Plus, they’ll likely tell their friends about your company.

You’ve worked hard to build your follower base and create engaging posts, emotionally charged videos and funny memes to keep them coming back. Now it’s time for your hard work to pay off, literally. It’s time to become an influencer and get compensated for sharing products and discussing your experiences.

The two biggest questions are how much can I make? and where do I sign up? I’ll save how much you can make for another post. Here’s how you get paid for being an influencer.

  • Build your follower base on social media. More opinions are formed on social media than anywhere else. It’s where people find news (and fake news), see products, fill their bucket list and find others to follow. Whether it’s the cute boy from class or the woman at work, you’re bound to follow some of your contacts, as well as celebrities, athletes, politicians and others who are powerful because of their network. Keep your followers and fans engaged through content.
  • Build relationships and provide value. People follow you because they connect with the content you post. They like your memes, appreciate your quotes, and engage with your images and articles. Be sure to provide your fans and followers something of value to continue to build the connection and their devotion. Make them feel like they have a relationship with you.
  • Create focused quality content. People follow you for a reason. Figure out what sets you apart from others and build on it. Capitalize on your uniqueness and create content to mirror it. The higher the quality of content the better. See what receives the most engagement and use it as a model for future posts.
  • Repost other influencer’s content. Be generous in reposting other influencers content and it would only show that you are confident in your own right. Plus, you may pick up some of their fans. Don’t worry about losing follows, focus on the phrase “the more the merrier” and grow your network!
  • Be approachable and genuine. The best approach an influencer can take is to be genuine and approachable. Be open with your fans, answer their queries and give them a decent amount of access to your life. They want to know you’re human and not just a feed of memes, photos and short videos.
  • Blog, write a book, or establish your channel on Youtube. You’ll be surprised that how quickly your followers find you on various platforms! Give them more chances to hear from you. Create a blog where you post thought provoking and discussion oriented content. Create a video channel to post some interesting multimedia related to your influencer marketing and when you are done with all this, write a book which may contain a sum of all which you want the following to know about you.


There’s a new-ish phenomenon in marketing and it’s taking the digital world by storm. No longer are brands relying on their own merits to sell themselves, now they are relying on celebrities and people with numerous followers on social media.  It’s called ‘influencer marketing’, and it means just that: using someone influential to sway others to behave in a specific way. The behavior may be to purchase certain products, use apps, go to new restaurants or join a trend.

It works like this

The influencer is contacted by a company that wants them to promote their product or service. The influencer names his/her price and the company describes what they want the influencer to do, such as post a photo of him/her using the product to his/her social media accounts or write a blog post vouching for the company’s service. The influencer may give his/her followers a special code or URL to use so the company can track the ROI.

Influencers with a greater following often use marketing agencies, and if they do, you will want to go through their agency.

Influencers are required to indicate that they are being compensated for their efforts by including #ad, #sponsored or a similar moniker by their post.

What you can expect

If you have a scarf company, ABC Scarfs, and you want a celebrity such as Kim Kardashian, Ashton Kutcher, or even a YouTube star, you can expect to contact them through their PR/ Marketing agency.

Tell them about your company and what you want: an image of the star wearing your scarf and an accompanying comment describing it that includes your brand name (eg: I love my new ABC Scarf! It’s soft and warm and so light weight! #newfavoriteaccessory”).

Although you already know who you’re targeting, be open to other suggestions. The agency might represent other influencers who reach your target demographic and cost less.

The agency will charge you a fee for their service and a fee for the influencer, which could range between $1,500 to $250,000 per engagement.

It will be your responsibility to provide the product, service or experience to the agency and they will pass it along to the influencer.

Although is it really that new? How is this different from product placements in movies and brand sponsors for athletes?