Two Thumbs Up: Blacks Are Sharing Their Opinions Online, And It Can Make — Or Break — A Business

November 26, 2012  |  


Patone Lobo was elated to get great online reviews for his small but charming hotel in Cape Verde, Hotel Odjo d’Agua. Why? Because it led to his getting the Trip Advisor award for the second-best hotel on the island of Sal, beating out mega, all-inclusive resorts. This he hopes will drive more guests to stay at the hotel.

Online reviews matter—they can make or break your business.

These days consumers often turn to the Internet to check online reviews before they buy a product, see a movie, book a hotel room. Says, “89% of consumers viewed online sources of product and service reviews as trustworthy–and another 80% have changed their minds about a purchase based solely on the negative reviews they read.”

And it seems African Americans may be offering more reviews than others—or at least paying attention to them. According to data from Google, GlobalHue and OTX, “African-American consumers are more likely than the general population (45% vs. 38%) to use search at the beginning of the purchase process, and more likely overall to buy clothing and health and beauty products online.” The Google research also found that black consumers give their opinions often. “African Americans are vocal – digital is their microphone,” reports Google. “African Americans are avid searchers and are more thorough in their pre-purchase research.”

All the more reason you need to check out what people are saying about your company or product on the Web. Lukewarm and negative reviews can be hard to take, but they could be the most helpful. Mediocre comments will tell you that your company need to work on delivering a better product. They are usually very specific in what the reviewer disliked — bad service, poor quality products, slow delivery, etc., but these are all things you can improve on. If there are many more negative reviews than there are lukewarm or positive ones, then perhaps it is time for you to rethink your marketing strategy. Negative reviews should be taken seriously because even though they are virtual, they are quite real and can cause your sales to decrease.

Some people may be tempted to purchase fake reviews that trumpet their business. Don’t. Not only is it dishonest, it can totally backfire if discovered.

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