You already know your local business should be on social media sites, but with some of the crazy reviews we’ve all seen on Facebook, Yelp, and other sites, your reluctance to have a presence on social media at all is understandable. It’s enough to make a business owner nervous – scared, even – of all those negative reviews out there just waiting to sneak up and ruin your page. Is not participating at all really the best strategy? Today is the day you discover that every review – yes, even the bad ones – are a good thing for your bottom line.
The Good News
You’ll be happy to know that most of your fears are unjustified. The bulk of people who will “Like” or “Follow” you on social media sites aren’t doing it because they want to trash a local business. In fact, most people who follow a business won’t say anything at all. Statistics show that the huge majority of a company’s followers on social media sites won’t engage publicly with the business at all. Of the 17% who do, they interact in a positive way by sharing, commenting, or liking your content. Another thing to keep in mind here is that even though people may not be “engaging publicly” with your content, they could be taking other actions not viewable by the general public like clicking a link or sending you a private message.
The Bad Reviews
I’d be lying if I said you were only going to get rave reviews. That old saying, “you can’t please everyone,” rings true, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up when the time comes when you do get a negative mark.
Not only are bad reviews your chance to change the conversation about your company, but did you know negative reviews could boost sales and improve the way a customer views your products and services? People even named a business more honest, down-to-earth, cheerful, and wholesome when there was a customer complaint, compared to no complaint at all. Studies also show that the total quantity of reviews has a significant impact on a potential client’s willingness to buy. Meaning, if Company A has two reviews that are both 5-star marks, and Company B has five reviews with an average star rating of 3-stars, people are more likely to bring their business to Company B. Why? People like to see companies being human. It also shows that more people are doing business that warrants feedback.
Bad reviews are your moments to shine!
Use these opportunities to showcase your awesome brand personality and all-star customer service. Dazzle the nay-sayer (and all who read it) with your commitment to quality, client satisfaction, and to show the world the humans behind the company. This is your chance to set your business up to be perceived as humorous, humble, sincere, reasonable… whatever angle you’re going for. So do it!
People who leave reviews are doing so because they want to reach out to your business in a public forum for a chance to be heard. Let them know you hear them. Even though keyboards can sometimes bring out the darker side of people, remember that these are, in fact, people. They are your customers. Treat them the same way you would treat a client who was lodging a complaint over the phone or face-to-face with you.
Give these negative marks a fair consideration. Be wise and take your customers’ advice and feedback seriously. Maybe it was an isolated incident. Maybe it wasn’t. Whatever the case may be, something did not go as planned for this customer and it’s your job to dig in and find out what happened. While we may not like criticism, it can help us grow and improve.
Remember: be courteous no matter what. Do NOT make a fool out of yourself on social media by being defensive or taking a bad review personally. If they go berserk, and there is no calming them, don’t join them. How they act online is their business, and how you conduct yourself in response is yours. If you’re ever keyed up from an unfair review, it’s best to take a breath and walk away from the keyboard to give yourself a chance to cool down before responding.
Above all, look at these comments as an opportunity to improve your business in some way and show your customers that you really do care what they think. Your response could win over the bad reviewer and anyone else who reads it.
Everyone may not always love you, but if you are upfront and honest about your mistakes and show that you are doing what you can to make it right, your followers will respect you. Check out this post about how to respond to a negative Facebook reviews for more tips you can take to change the conversation and turn complainers into advocates for your company.
The Ugly Reviews
Let’s talk about haters and trolls. These are folks you will never satisfy no matter how hard you try. But never fear! Remarks like these are typically a blatant attack that are clearly rude and outrageous—and anyone who reads it can see the critic has either an ulterior motive or a personal problem. Sometimes, as hard as it can be, it’s best just to move on.
On occasion, you can sway someone who comes across as a troll who actually just lacks the ability to lodge a complaint without breathing fire – again, keyboards for some reason tend to bring out the brazen anger in some folks. It’s good to rule to always to try and bridge the divide by making a peace offering to see if it sticks.
At the very least, say this:
“Hi <first name>, my name is ____ and I want you to know that I hear you. I’m going to look into this now, and I’ll follow up with you right here as soon as possible. If you have any questions, contact me directly at _____.”
A message like this does two things:
- The ranter knows he or she is being heard which means there is now less incentive to keep spreading the anger.
- It gives them the name and contact info for a real person. If the person is still angry, you’ve at least given them a place to vent other than online.
Just do it! Your business is likely already on social media – you’re just not involved in the conversation. Think of it this way: when people want to tell the world about their experience (good or bad), they will. If you aren’t around to respond, who knows how many potential customers will read that and decide to take their business elsewhere? If you aren’t monitoring these sites and what your customers are saying about you then you will miss it when a complaint or problem comes up.
If you need some help setting up your social profiles, click here to get started on your free digital marketing consultation and at no cost to you, we can review your goals for social media and learn exactly what to do to get your accounts set up, optimized, and ready for your first post (and review).