Few things are more powerful than collecting positive social media reviews on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. However, if you’re just sitting back and admiring these reviews, you’re missing out on the chance to create value.
Reviews play a significant role in the buying process for customers. This much has been proven over and over again. According to one study, 90 percent of respondents say positive reviews influence buying decisions, while 86 percent believe negative online reviews influence the decision of whether or not to buy a particular product or service.
A more recent study from ReviewTrackers, a customer feedback software company, also provides some interesting takeaways on the role and utility of reviews. According to its research, 50 percent of consumers actively seek out online reviews when looking for a product online, compared with just 34 percent who look for discounts. This shows that, at least for a large percentage of customers, reviews are more valuable than discounts.
Other interesting takeaways from the ReviewTrackers study include:
- 70 percent of online shoppers read reviews at the beginning and during the research phase. (Just 4 percent read reviews after they’ve already made an initial selection.)
- 63 percent of customers trust businesses that have overall ratings of four or 4.5 stars out of five.
- 63 percent of online consumers feel that online reviews are “important” or “very important” when choosing local businesses.
Clearly, there’s tremendous value packed inside reviews. Social media reviews are especially valuable, as they tend to get more direct exposure and (in the case of Facebook) can even elevate a brand’s visibility on the respective platform.
But merely having a strategy for collecting reviews isn’t enough. Once you get social media reviews, you need to extract as much value from them as you possibly can. Here are some tangible ways you can do this:
Put them on your website
Local service businesses really rely on reviews to improve their visibility and trust with customers. Take a dentist’s office, for example. People are often nervous to go to the dentist because they aren’t sure what to expect. As a result, one of the biggest challenges dentists have is building trust and humanizing their services in a manner that makes customers feel at ease. Integrating social media reviews into a website can facilitate positive associations.
You can see a great example on this website from Definition Dental of Beaverton, Ore. Notice how, in the middle of the homepage, it places emblems that show positive reviews from sites like Google and Facebook. This is a small touch, but it’s strategically placed above the call to action to make that sure visitors take notice.
Respond to customers
Social media reviews are unique in the sense that they give you the opportunity to directly respond to customers. You should be doing this both in positive and negative situations.
With positive reviews, you can thank customers for their business and encourage them to continue doing business with your brand in the future. With negative reviews, you can respond and attempt to rectify the issue.
Not only does this hopefully help the customer who is leaving the review, but the public nature of your two-way conversation allows others to make note of your attempts to resolve the issue. This creates goodwill and shows that you stand behind your products.
Turn customers into ambassadors
If you notice that a particular customer is extremely excited about your products and leaves rave reviews, they may be a good ambassador of sorts for your brand. Because sites like Facebook give you their details, you can easily send them a direct message and ask for more feedback regarding their experience. If they’re particularly engaged, try offering them a role as an ambassador and encourage them to continue positively representing your brand online.
Use feedback for improvement
Practically speaking, social media reviews serve as checks for your business. If your reviews are largely positive and consistently point out the same one or two things you do well, then this shows you what to focus on moving forward. However, if you continue to get lots of negative feedback regarding certain issues, then you know that there are specific things to clean up.
Try to remember that feedback doesn’t just exist to serve as social proof for other customers. It’s just as much about helping you get a pulse on how you’re doing.
Collecting reviews from your customers is only one-half of the battle. It’s an important part of the process, but it’s not everything. Make sure you’re getting the most out of your reviews by utilizing them in as many different ways as possible. You’ll soon discover that a single review can serve multiple purposes.