Online reviews are the latest iteration of the oldest marketing practice in the world: the word of mouth. Today, instead of sharing our experiences with various companies on the village green, we do it on Internet forums. The most important forums are social media and sharing customers reviews on your company’s accounts can be a huge boost to your brand awareness and trust. These reviews are incredibly important, as demonstrated by various researches. Some 40% of consumers always use social media to research any new brand that may interest them. 92% of customers say that customer reviews influence their decisions when it comes to making a purchase and 53% say that reviews are the most important factor in their online shopping, more important than price or delivery times. This should tell you that customer reviews are critical for the company’s success and ignoring them is not an option.
Sharing customer reviews on social media is one of the best ways to increase your brand awareness, build your brand online, and use reviews to your advantage. A well-placed review on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook can be far more effective than any number of other marketing tools, including advertising, promotional content, or traditional sales pitches.
We depend on customer reviews so much that there are several sites solely dedicated to collecting and publishing them. Some are general, like Yelp, while other focus on a specific industry. Sites like AskGamblers have managed to become industry leaders in highly competitive fields by making a successful business model out of aggregating reviews. You can replicate this for your brand with the help of a few tools and best practices.
Best Tools: ReviewTrackers
ReviewTrackers is an online reputation management software platform that lets you monitor customer reviews, reply to them and highlight the ones worth sharing on your brand’s account. It will help you wade through multiple social media accounts by filtering data and finding the reviews that need your attention. It also comes with a feature called Ask Tool that allows you to quickly set up and execute an email or SMS campaign, asking your customers to leave reviews. It makes a whole process fairly easy for your customers, enabling them to leave a review with just a few clicks.
Best Tools: GMB Marketing Kit
Short for Google My Business, GMB Marketing Kit is designed for creating personalized advertising materials, which can turn your customer reviews into social posts which you can use immediately. The best thing about this tool is that it is very easy to use and it only takes seconds to create a post for your social media accounts. One downside is that you import reviews for other sites, limiting your sources to Google My Business.
Best Tools: Canva
Canva is a great tool that lets you create professional-looking graphics for social media without having to resort to expensive graphic agencies or having a graphic designer on a payroll. It is packed with features, making it easy to use even for people with little or no experience in graphic design. There are tons of templates to choose from and new ones are added regularly.
Best Tools: Hootsuite
Social media listening software have been around for some time, but they became mainstream with the arrival of Hootsuite. It will provide you with advanced metrics and analytics about your social media accounts, allowing you to quickly canvas for reviews and select the best ones. You can then post them directly from Hootsuite, either immediately or by scheduling them to coincide with the activity timeframe for your target audience.
Best Practice: Claim Your Business
Reaching as many social media and review sites can be a tremendous boost to your business. It may sound like a hustle, creating and maintaining all those accounts, but it will be worth your time in the long run. The most obvious benefit is increased brand visibility across all platforms. Claiming your business on various review sites also increases your ability to communicate and respond to your customers. Finally, it makes it easier for them to leave a review and send you feedback on your product or service. The more reviews you get, the easier it is to select the best ones and share them on social media.
Best Practice: Respond to Bad Reviews
Responding to good reviews is an easy task and something most people enjoy doing. However, bad reviews can be tricky. Despite that, responding to them is critical for building trust with your customers. People leave bad reviews for various reasons, and often they can be uncalled for. Calmly explaining why they are wrong will help boost your image and convince people reading both the review and your response that your brand can be trusted. Even when you or your employees have made a mistake and a bad review is justified, don’t shy away from responding. Apologize and do your best to compensate the customer in question. People appreciate it when someone owns their mistakes. We all make them and the only thing we can do is to try and make things right.
Best Practice: Ask for Reviews
People usually love to express their opinions, but sometimes they don’t think it is worth their time. By specifically asking them to leave a review, you will demonstrate your confidence in the quality of your brand and encourage people to take the time out of their day to write a review. Provide them with a link to the site where you want them to leave a review, to reduce the effort and many people will respond positively.
Best Practice: Use Reviews as Feedback
Reading reviews left by your customers is a great way to get some feedback on your products and learn how they feel about your brand. Often, you can glean some nugget that went unnoticed in testing that can help you improve your product. Also, many customers will happily offer suggestions on how to improve your brand. Not all of them will be viable or practicable, but some will.