Internet review culture – controlling the narrative

by | Business Growth, How can we help

There are a hundred places where potential clients can look up a business and see reviews about the experience of dealing with that company. It is right there under the business name on Google and Facebook for all to see.

For business owners, this can be a daunting prospect! In the old days, the only sort of reviews you had to worry about was word of mouth, which can be harmful enough, now you have people broadcasting their thoughts to the masses! The internet in a lot of ways has become a megaphone for bad experiences.

Now a lot of people that get online and do reviews are providing positive feedback. For example, I am a regular user of review site Tripadvisor, I have completed 83 reviews, 79% of which are 4 or 5 stars and only 3 of those 83 reviews are 1-star reviews. People do want to leave positive reviews however negative reviews definitely stand out more.

Negative reviews can draw customers away from your business and to your competition if not handled correctly. So the question becomes, how do you deal with the new way of doing business in an internet review culture?

The first thing every business owner needs to understand is that not everyone will love your business as you do. Different people are going to have different experiences, that’s just how life goes. But how you respond to reviews is important, the first thing you need to understand is to never delete a negative review. Do not run from criticism, a lot of the time by simply reaching out to the person who wrote a negative review and discussing their experience with them you can turn them around. Have them come back into the business and make sure they have a great experience, this is a way to turn a negative reviewer into a fan of your business.

So how do we get in front of the word and promote positive reviews? The first way may seem daunting and obvious at the same time but it is quite simple. Ask for them! When people compliment you or you see they are having a positive experience with your business ask them if they would mind giving you a Google or Facebook review. Don’t be afraid to ask regular customers what they like about your business and if they wouldn’t mind putting up a review for you. This is no way devalues your reviews, a lot of people are not inclined to write reviews unless they have a negative experience so by asking for the reviews you can in some way control the narrative.

There are two main ways to do this, the first being reputation management. There are professional firms that handle this but you can also do it yourself if you have extra time. I am fully against some of these firms that provide fake reviews and go out of their way to remove negative reviews however the best of these firms and the best reputation managers focus on cultivating positive reviews from your already engaged customer based. Along with a whole other range of services good reputation management can be one of the most important sources of competitive edge is a fiercely competitive marketplace. The benefits of sound relationship management practices are how much they reinforce and aid corporations branding objectives.

The second is through your advertising, especially advertising yourself for what you actually are. For example, if you are a quick service kebab shop don’t market yourself as fine dining. Be honest in your advertising, be honest with your customers. This is who we are, this is what we do and this is why you should come to check us out. By over embellishing what you do you open yourself up for unnecessary criticism. People love integrity and honesty, one of my favourite restaurants in the world is terrible from a decor standpoint but their food is incredible, so they don’t advertise themselves as a fancy upmarket location. They talk about how great the food is!

You can’t control the narrative with today’s review culture but you can control it through your own advertising and messaging. Do not be scared about online reviews, own your space and encourage your regular customers to sing your praises a little bit.

If you need help with crafting messaging to suit your business contact us here at Rebel Media today. Our team of highly qualified marketing specialists will help craft a campaign that is tailor-made for your business to thrive within the current business marketplace.

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