Handling negative reviews is certainly a talent, and very necessary for most small businesses… we all make mistakes. You have to get on top of them right away, and while that is essential, the way to your customer’s heart (well maybe not to their heart, but into their phone and navigation system), is more reviews. A great way to way to counter negative feedback on social media is to get as much positive feedback and as many positive reviews as possible. Try to inundate your customer base with first hand testimonials of how great you really are; You are probably saying, “sounds simple but not so easy in reality.” You aren’t wrong. It can be difficult if you don’t consciously think about doing it, but once it is in your wheelhouse, easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Idea 1: Just ask
Your mom probably told you that it never hurts to ask… or what is the worst they can say… right? The simplest and easiest way to elicit positive reviews from loyal customers is to just ask. And if the word “ask” feels too 60’s polyester car salesmanish, invite your customers to share their good experiences with the world. Tell them how much you appreciate your customers and their experience with your business and invite them to please share their thoughts.
Also, you have to make eliciting reviews part of the culture with your employees. Everyone who is part of the organization needs to be aware that generating reviews drives the business. Incentives for your employees can be a good way to encourage and demonstrate the importance of promoting positive reviews for your business. (How about a prize or some comp time for the most positive reviews in a month?)
Idea 2: Incentives
We hear that a lot of businesses offer their customers incentives if they leave positive reviews on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. Well, we’ve got some bad news. Most review sites are very against incentivizing for reviews. Let’s take a look at Yelp, Google, and Facebook.
Yelp: “Don’t ever offer freebies, discounts, or payment in exchange for reviews — it will turn off savvy consumers, and may also be illegal. Yelp has a Consumer Alerts Program to let people know about businesses that engage in this sort of activity.” Read more about Yelp’s review policy here and about their Consumer Alerts penalty here.
Google: “Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer. Don’t offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. If you’re a business owner, don’t set up review stations or kiosks at your place of business just to ask for reviews written at your place of business.” Read more about Google’s review policy here.
Facebook: Facebook’s policy is not nearly as strict as the others. It simply states “When recording a business, you Should focus on the product or service offered by the business, Should base it on personal experience, and Shouldn’t manage the Page for that business.” Read more about Facebook’s review guidelines and Community Standards.
Idea 3: Make it Tangible
Print out business cards with your social media sites, including any review sites that you are on. Make sure that the links are direct and easy to access. Many customers want to promote their favorite businesses, but it has to be easy. Once you have the cards and the links, give the cards out to customers so that they have a concrete reminder when they clean out their wallet or car--“Oh ya, I loved that place! I need to go review them.” (I do it all the time). If you are an online business, make sure to provide hyperlinks that take your customers directly to the spot where they can input your awesomeness.
You can’t do away with the negative. It is a risk you take with social media. The trick is to tip the scales with positive reviews. Google Analytics claims that positive reviews can boost your business by 30-40%. If that isn’t a cool enough reason to get on the review bandwagon, according to Review Trackers (a company focused on how social media drives business) 96% of people surveyed have used reviews to drive their decision-making process on purchases. So, get your positive review groove on; it’s easy and it’s good for you… like vegetables, but better.
Need help with reputation management? Let us know, we can help.