We live in a world where reviews count.

Gone are the days when businesses could operate in isolation without anyone ever talking about them, or having an opportunity to tell them what they think. In most cases, before anybody decides about whether to buy a product or visit a restaurant, they’ll take a peek at some online reviews before they make their decision. People now have the ability to do their pre-purchase homework before deciding what to buy – and they do. It’s so easy to check out what people have to say, especially with numerous verified review systems like Trustpilot and TripAdvisor available. In fact, it’s been suggested that 85% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations…

So for every business, it’s become a case of “ignore review gathering at your peril!”

But how do you go about generating reviews for your business?

This is where social media comes into play, and can be your greatest ally.

  1. Get set up – take a look at all your social media platforms and make sure people can leave reviews. Make sure that reviews are enabled on Facebook. You need to take action to activate your reviews (it’s not a default setting), so visit your page settings & make sure the review setting is on. Do the same for your Google reviews – you need to begin by verifying your business. On LinkedIn you can go through an exercise of asking your connections to review you. Then make sure you share your social media platform links in your email signature which can have a positive effect in driving people to the various platforms.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask – like we said, people expect to be asked for reviews these days, and asking for reviews is really the only way to get them as organic growth is very small (unless the service has been poor, in which case people tend to shout out about it more – and you don’t want a raft of negative reviews). If you’ve sold a product or provided a service, then people won’t be shocked if you ask them to provide feedback. You can either email them with a link to where you’d like them to leave the review, or have the facility where you’re based for them to to do it at the time (for example a tablet at a clinic or shop).
  3. Make the process as simple as possible – we all expect things to move quickly and be simple, so any process that’s convoluted will put people off. You need to make your review gathering process as simple as possible by providing easy to follow instructions and not including too many steps. Don’t risk people becoming disengaged.
  4. Don’t be afraid to shout out about your reviews – it’s not about boasting, it’s about marketing yourself, and you need to do it. Making your reviews part of your marketing strategy by promoting them will increase their impact. Tell people how positive your customers are about your service. Post about your existing reviews on social media. Other people are then much more likely to do the same.
  5. Don’t leave reviewers hanging – if people have taken the time to tell you what they think of you, acknowledge them. Tell them you thank them for their comments, you appreciate them and, if necessary, will be passing comments on or using them to improve your service further. It means you’re engaging with your customers and shows you care about them.
  6. Run a competition – let’s face it, we live in a “what’s in it for me?” world. Use this to your advantage. A great way to boost the number of reviews you’ve got is to run an incentive. Run a monthly prize draw for anyone who leaves a review. Just remember that this may not be suitable across all social media platforms – for example, you can run a competition on Facebook but Google and Yelp both don’t allow any incentivising of potential reviewers.
  7. Beware of the right time to ask – depending on the service you provide, there might be an optimum time to ask for a review. There’s a balance to strike. You don’t want to appear too desperate or eager by asking too soon, but if you leave it too late then it’s much more likely that your request will be ignored as you and your brand will no longer be front of mind. There is a small window for asking for a review when people are most likely to act. This is generally shortly after you’ve provided the service, the timing of which can vary depending on the industry or product provided. Test out timings and go with what you find is most effective for your particular service or product.
  8. Don’t hide negative feedback – whilst hearing negative comments about your business may initially seem disheartening, you need to turn the negatives into a positive. We’ve touched on dealing with negative feedback before in our previous blog “Negative reviews: it’s not what you’ve done, it’s how you deal with them that counts!” but the key point to remember is that you should always respond to the feedback, and instigate change as a result. Nothing is perfect and mistakes do happen. How you deal with them to put things right is key.

Social media can play a huge role in supporting your efforts to gather reviews for your business. If you’re unsure of how to make this work, or you need help with your social media strategy to achieve the best results, speak to SocialBee Social Media. It’s the perfect way to start creating a buzz for your business.