Good online review management can be the deciding factor between a sale or an exit. Whatever industry you work in, you’ll be subject to reviews online across multiple platforms. One of the first things that internet searchers come across is Google’s starred reviews and ratings.
Brands like Google, Facebook, Yelp, Grubhub, and Amazon have a well-maintained review system that empowers buyers with the power to make informed purchases.
Good online review management can increase lead generation and sales for your business. If you’re not sure where to start, worry not! This article has got you covered.
Why Do You Need Online Review Management?
Online review management can take up a lot of your time. It may even require a separate hire or a contractor to work as an online reputation manager.
These are the reasons why online review management is a mandatory must-have for any business:
1. People Trust Reviews (A Lot)
79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations and word of mouth. While the stats may vary, the consensus on word of mouth remains the same: it is one of the most effective forms of promotion in the world.
Getting good word of mouth will make your offerings more enticing, and who doesn’t want that?
2. Honest Reviews Are Good For Business
Your business doesn’t need exceedingly positive reviews; it needs honest ones.
Most sellers try to incentivize positive reviews, and some even cross the line of ethics by offering discounts for positive feedback. This decision is flawed both from a moral and business perspective. The companies that try to suppress negative reviews have it all wrong.
Honest reviews — positive and negative ones — lead to more purchases because consumers know that your offering isn’t perfection sent from above! Just like no business can be perfect, no business has perfect ratings. And if they do, there may be some foul play involved. You don’t want to be a part of that.
Consumers want to make informed decisions, which includes knowing the flaws of a particular purchase. Good online review management incentivizes posting truthful reviews that you can use as feedback to improve your products and services.
3. Consumers Appreciate Brands That Reply To Reviews
People like it when you reply to their reviews and social media tags. This act of engagement humanizes the brand and shows customers a level of appreciation that will likely motivate them to come back.
Take Netflix, for instance. Their online review and reputation management is so interactive that social media users want to proactively chat with them.
Good online review management brings out your brand personality when responding to feedback, requests, or complaints. It isn’t just about getting reviews but also using those reviews to engage with your stakeholders in your style.
4. It Promotes Transparency And Clarity
Well-managed reviews give people the pros and cons of your products. A collection of reviews is reminiscent of a makeshift FAQs section, so your future consumers have a clear idea before asking questions themselves. The moral of the story (or the point, in this case) is simple: the clearer the reviews, the faster the sale.
4 Essential Steps To Managing Your Reviews Online
You can and should start your online review management as soon as possible. You, the owner, understand the tone of voice, offerings, and goals of your business better than anyone else.
With this experience, you can set up a long-term system that makes online review management as smooth as possible. These four steps should help with that!
Step 1: Do Everything Yourself First
This step is especially easy if you have the luxury of being a small business owner. You’ll have fewer total sales and reviews compared to larger companies, so managing those should be relatively easier at the start.
Trial and error can seem uninspired, but it will give you an idea of what works for your business and what doesn’t. When you eventually decide to hire someone and have them take care of your online review management, you’ll have a set of rules they can already look at.
Step 2: Build A Culture Of Reviews
Writing reviews can seem like a chore because it takes physical effort and mental capacity. Consumers won’t feel inclined to write a review unless they feel strongly about your product, service, or brand.
The problem with strong feelings is that they lead to biased reviews in both positive and negative comments. While they play a role in your review management, you also need accurate recollections of your products and services. So, incentivize everyone to review your products. You can do this in the following ways:
Talking to your customers about their experience is an outstanding way to get reviews. The conversation will improve their perception of the purchase if your offerings are of good quality.
Even if they don’t feel strongly about your product or service, they’ll feel good knowing that you care for your customers. It is a great way to make your customers’ experiences even better.
Notes With Packaging
Personal letters asking for reviews can help remind people to share their opinions online. To make them more effective, you can show your appreciation for the buyer, write a story about your company, or mention how their purchase helps a specific cause that your firm is involved with.
You can even go up a notch by writing a personal note to each buyer. Creating the perfect personalized message will take time, but it shows that your business goes the extra mile for its customers.
Discounts & Offers
Offering monetary incentives for online reviews can be tricky. It could insinuate that you’re strictly asking for positive reviews. However, you can change that by the language you use while offering the discount.
Add context in the beginning and mention that you’re only looking for truthful reviews, whether they’re positive, negative, or even somewhere in the middle. Emphasize that the purpose of this is to improve as a business and serve customers better.
Step 3: Create Content With A Tone Of Voice
A tone of voice is useful not just for online review management but also for all facets of your company.
From the colors and fonts on your packaging to advertisement copy, it’s important that you stick to a uniform tone of voice that adds a sense of cohesiveness to everything your company sends out to the world.
Once you’ve laid the foundation for your brand voice, you can implement it in your online review management strategy by creating the following content:
Social Media Videos
Videos may not seem related to online review management, but creating engaging social media videos motivates people to comment and write reviews for your products. Reviews can happen anywhere, and a lot of them occur on social media channels.
You can make your brand more approachable by adding a friendly face to your videos, whether from an influencer collaboration or even a member of your team. Make sure you create videos with calls to action (CTAs) that ask people to write reviews and interact with your company.
Blogs can be informative and entertaining if your topics resonate with your audience. You’ll have to research your target market to learn about their specific interests in your business. Like with other forms of content, your final message should have a CTA to encourage people to write reviews.
Step 4: Reply To Reviews
Once you have enough reviews, make sure you reply to them, the good and the bad. It shows consumers you care and want to improve your products and services for the better.
Employ these helpful tips to reply to reviews:
You don’t need to reply to a 2 AM review at 2:01 AM; reasonable working hours should do just fine! When you’re on the clock, make sure you respond within the same day or even a few hours.
Don’t Be Defensive
A negative review is not the end of the world, and it is only a problem until you make it one.
If someone has something poor to say about your products, apologize for their unpleasant experience and let them know how you are going to do better moving forward.
It will show your customers that you’re here to help them and not to defend your supposedly infallible product or service.
Surprise Your Customers
Who doesn’t love a fun surprise? You can always offer discounts and offers while responding to positive and negative reviews. Have a quota and surprise some reviewers every now and then.
These tips can get you to the top of your online review management game. See what works best for your business and organize your tactics.
Online review management is more than just getting excellent reviews for your products and services. Like human resources builds company culture, an online review management team builds a space for consumers to share and be a part of your brand story.
Honest reviews are crucial to your success as a business. Getting customers to feel strongly about your products and services and write reviews is a never-ending job, but it makes sure that your business is always improving.
If you’re consistent with this management, eventually they may just leave positive reviews without any prodding.