Many companies looking to increase their online marketing efforts are rightly turning their efforts to social media tools like Twitter and Facebook, but there is still nothing like word-of-mouth – or in the internet age, the online review.

In a recent article, Advertising Age notes that while many companies are putting time and effort into the newest marketing efforts, it’s the product review that often gives them the most accurate feedback for companies big and small.

And while there is a dearth of websites devoted to reviews, many companies choose to allow consumers to review products on their own site – something that allows them to not only get positive feedback, but to quickly change course if a product is getting poor reviews.

"We’re not just guessing, we know exactly which products have issues and what exactly the issue is," Oriental Trading CEO Sam Taylor told the magazine. "We put together a cross-functional team that cuts across product development, merchandising, sourcing, inventory, e-commerce, creative and quality. The team reads every single one- and two-star review."

Allowing customers to comment on products on their own website is another way companies can increase the amount of content on their site and potentially increase search engine optimization (SEO). This is especially true now that Google has added an option to narrow searches to reviews.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.