Online Reviews Are Today’s Word-Of-Mouth And Your Company Is Paying For It

Let’s be real: social media is the word-of-mouth of the digital age. Reviews are essential to building your brand and reputation and they should be a key element in your online marketing strategy. The reality is that the majority of consumers research a company’s reviews when determining whether to use a particular business for their needs. The proof is in the pudding and if your business does not have a foundation of positive reviews from customers, you may be getting passed over for your competitors and missing out on potential revenue and new customers.

Nurturing your business with more reviews can be especially important in times like now (with economic uncertainty and political unrest). The reputation of your company during a crisis can sometimes make or break your business’ future. For example, brands like Coca-Cola and Ford have been widely commended for redirecting their marketing efforts from product-promotion to helping pandemic response. Likewise, brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Etsy are receiving glowing reception on social media for taking action during the Black Lives Matter protests.

While some customers will leave reviews on their own, many may need a friendly nudge, especially with their focus divided with our rapidly changing cultural climate. So how can you get more reviews for your business without seeming pushy or desperate? Here are some tips from our team to develop a strategy to build your business’ online reviews.

Be Accessible On Multiple Review Platforms

It would be too good to be true if there was a one-stop review shop for online reviews. However, there are still some powerhouses that are definitely more likely to catch a customer’s attention.

Google

If your customers are going to Google a company, the first place they will likely see that company’s reviews is their Google Business page. This is often the first glimpse a customer will get about your business. Zero reviews or majority negative reviews will likely turn them away from researching your company further.

Facebook

Turning off your review feature on Facebook or having no reviews at all may give rise to skepticism for new customers. Ensure you not only allow reviews in your Page settings, but that you are encouraging your customers to rate and review your company through this medium.

Yelp

While some people will use Yelp to research a company, some may just end up there after running your business name through a search engine. Not everyone will use Yelp but it is still important to have a positive presence on this platform because its reviews are linked to many other smaller review platforms.

Social Media Hashtags

Another way reviewers may be commenting on your business is on their social media feeds, hashtagging or tagging your company in their post. Monitor your Mentions and follow #YourBusinessName in the settings of each of your business’s social media platforms. This way you can be on the pulse of casual discussion surrounding your company and can engage with your customer reviews on a more personal level.

Other Platforms

Depending on your industry or location, there may be a number of other platforms that customers may post reviews on. While it is impossible to ask your customers to review your business on every possible platform, it is important to track where your customers are leaving feedback about your business. It would be wise to run a search for your company periodically to see what comes up. Consumers often use platforms such as NextDoor, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, etc. to leave reviews about companies to make sure you are not only finding these reviews but also that you are responding to them.

Encourage Your Customers To Review

When it comes to reviews, you will need to make it as simple as possible to encourage customers to leave your company feedback. Providing links in messages or emails directly to your preferred platform is essential.

Time Your Review Request — Don’t just send a random email asking for reviews. Try to time your reviews with a recent online customer purchase or positive in-person experience. Whenever you do send email correspondence with customers like newsletters and event updates, make sure to include a short call to action for a review at the bottom or within your message.

Incentives — Customers love discounts and freebies. Offer them an incentive to leave you a review. Whether it’s a few bucks off their next purchase or a free promotional item, give them a reason to leave a review sooner rather than later.

Change It Up — You want to build your reviews on different mediums, but you can’t go asking your customers to leave you reviews on every single platform at once. Instead, focus on a different medium at a time. Maybe this month you ask customers to rate you on Facebook and next month you will link them to your Google Business page. Try to build a uniform base of reviews across the three main platforms.

Engage User-Generated Content — Create a win-win situation by encouraging your customers to review your business on social media with encouraged hashtags and perhaps photos of your product, event, or service, then share that content yourself. Show your customers that you’re willing and enthused to promote them back when they review and tag you. Share their review and content on your Instagram and Facebook Stories, Retweet them on Twitter to your audience, and shout them out in your next YouTube video or podcast episode.

What To Do About Negative Reviews

You of course want your customers to love you all the time, but inevitably you can’t satisfy absolutely everyone. The most important thing you can do with a negative review is not to ignore it. Make sure you respond to the review professionally and apologetically in the public forum and ask your customers to contact you privately to resolve the matter. If they follow up with you and you are able to accommodate their needs, they may even be willing to remove the negative review and replace it with a more positive one. Make sure to stay tuned for our 10 Minute Marketing podcast on the matter with more pro tips on how to handle negative reviews!

Our team understands how difficult it may be to navigate your business’s reputation, particularly during such a divisive cultural climate. Listen to your customers and you’ll always steer in the right direction. Reviews are just another form of feedback, so keep doing what’s being received well and repurpose negative comments as constructive feedback. Give your customers every opportunity to provide you with all review types so that you can ever improve your business operations and marketing efforts for the better! If you’d like a free discovery meeting with us to assess your digital marketing to coach-up your review encouragement strategies, then please contact us!

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