As every businessperson knows, establishing a positive brand reputation is not something that comes easily. It takes time and effort to nurture loyalty among customers who prefer your brand over the competition. While promoting your products or services may come more naturally, your customers are there to lend a helping hand. Your business’s best marketers and sales team are not your actual employees; they’re your customers. Recommendations and word of mouth marketing have always been effective ways to increase sales because consumers trust the opinions of other consumers. Online reviews work in the same way. Reviews show off the popularity of your business, answer questions about your product or service, and give your brand authenticity. When hundreds of customers have taken the time to leave their thoughts about your business, it builds trust and credibility with prospective customers.
So, how do you get your customers to write honest, glowing reviews that will bring in more customers? Use these strategies to gain positive customer reviews using your digital channels.
1. Enable a rating, recommendation, or review feature on all possible platforms
Though Google and Yelp have historically been the review sites of choice, Facebook has become the popular new kid on the block, with about 2.5 billion monthly users. This is why it’s a treasure house for customer reviews once you nail down a good communication plan.
As the largest social platform, Facebook has always been an easy way for business owners to connect with their customers. However, many businesses wrongly disable feedback on their Facebook page out of fear of promoting negative feedback. If no reviews, recommendations, or comments and responses are visible to a potential customer, they may wonder what you are hiding and search for another business that meets their needs. Customer recommendations and ratings help improve trust, transparency, and honesty—the more Facebook recommendations your business gets, the more likely you are to impress potential customers.
Which brings us to point #2:
2. Engage with your followers
At its core, social media is about engagement. With that in mind, you should make it a priority to interact with anyone who posts, comments, or reviews your business on any of your social platforms. Replying lets your followers know that you’re listening and encourages them to interact with your posts in the future. People prefer having a conversation to shouting into the void; that’s what makes social media social.
When it comes to customer reviews, social media gives you a chance to revel in positive feedback and address any concerns customers may have. Don’t just respond to reviews; think critically about them and make changes if necessary. Communicate those customer-driven improvements to your social media followers. Any time a prospective customer lands on your social media page and sees that your business consistently interacts with your audience, they’ll see a dedicated company that values customer service in any and all settings. And because 89% of consumers read businesses’ replies to reviews, this can ultimately drive them to leave their own feedback in the future, leading you to even more social media-published reviews.
3. Encourage customer reviews
When you request a customer review, it generally results in a higher rating than an unprompted review. This is mostly because a customer who was happy with your services will leave a positive comment upon being asked, but an unhappy customer is more likely to comment on their own.
There are many way to request reviews from happy customers. The simplest way (and the easiest to overlook) is to just ask! When a customer expresses satisfaction with your products or services, that’s a natural segue into asking for a review on Google, Facebook, or one of your other digital channels. If you want to take review solicitation to the next level, here’s how to leverage your digital channels:
- Add a “share your feedback” prompt to your website.
- Send customers to a review site using a QR code on in-store signage or at the bottom of your receipts.
- If you’re collecting customer contact information, use an automated review solicitation platform to send requests via email or text. (If you don’t have time to track, manage, and respond to reviews and feedback, learn more about our reputation management services.)
Got a review? This is your next step.
It’s important to have a strategy for how to promptly respond to online reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Customers rarely take the time to leave feedback after a good experience, so if they do, it’s a cause for celebration. Be sure to express your gratitude and let them know how much you appreciate their kind words. Negative feedback should be addressed even more conscientiously; a thoughtful response to a negative review can build trust. Even if the initial reviewer isn’t satisfied, seeing a business try to “make things right” may turn a hesitant visitor into a customer. Responding to all types of feedback shows your brand’s commitment to customer satisfaction. This simple act of responding to reviews on your social media pages will draw customers to your website where they can learn more about your exceptional service.
Customer reviews add social proof to your marketing efforts, making your brand more trustworthy to consumers and improving the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. Your prospective customers will know that you’re a genuine brand that’s invested in the customer experience. In addition, the feedback will give you insight into how to improve your business and customer experience. That’s an opportunity too good to pass up.
Have questions about your online reputation and the benefits of social media? Contact TrustWorkz today!