Through the course of starting or running a company, you will be presented with numerous shortcuts that guarantee the online success of your business. We are here to dispel these promises by saying review schemes do not work. When it comes to online reviews, taking the easy way out is certainly not the best way. Using risky review schemes can negatively impact your business by sinking the quality and value of your online reputation.
One popular scheme to avoid is review contests. Businesses hold review contests to prompt customers into leaving a review in exchange for entry into a giveaway contest. Not only are these contests unprofessional, they are extremely illegal. Google monitors all reviews to ensure they are honest and unbiased, so if they find a company running these contests, Google will negate the contest and report the user for violating policy.
In addition to giveaways, companies should also steer clear of offering discounted or free services to their customers in exchange for reviews. It is easy to see the appeal of this potential win-win situation, but Google is still cracking down on this review scheme. If companies are found guilty of breaching policy, Google will delete all reviews that mention the discounted or free services, and then some. Then those companies will have the same, or even worse, online presence as before, as well as having wasted valuable time and money.
When owners begin their business venture, it is easy to assume that asking friends and family members to give reviews would be a great way to up the ante. But this could not be further from the truth. A rush of new positive reviews in the beginning, followed by lack of feedback, leaves your company looking stale and irrelevant. It may be nerve-wracking, but the wait for authentic reviews will be worth it.
New business owners also will be tempted to review swap as their business connections network grows. Review swapping is centered on the basic principle of “if you review me, I’ll review you.” However potential customers do not want to read generic reviews left by an insignificant acquaintance, customers want real opinions and experiences from prior customers to know if your business is right for them.
One-way companies can ensure customers they are right fit for them is by allowing the customers to be heard. Review-gating is a common mistake companies make by posting positive reviews online while suppressing the negative feedback. Censoring reviews typically results in Google deleting the company’s entire record of online reviews, which essentially destroys online visibility. In addition, the company will be hit by a storm of angry silenced customers. A company should never be afraid of negative feedback, it gives them a chance to step back and evaluate what aspects the company can improve on.
So, instead of using reviews schemes to improve your company’s online reputation, owners should pursue positive reviews the old-fashioned way: asking for them. When staff is correctly trained to listen and communicate it should be easy for them to ask customers to relay their positive feedback online.
If you have any questions concerning online reputation management, or help building a stronger online presence, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 410.696.3305. Pink Dog Digital can be found on the web at www.pinkdogdigital.com.