Categories: Brand Management

The Essential Guide to Online Review Management for Small Businesses

Used the right way, reviews are a powerful form of social proof that convinces potential customers to give your business a try. That’s why effective online review management is also key to business success.  Continue reading →

Published by
Shakti Mataya

If you’re an online marketer, you’d know how crucial online review management is to build brand trust, retention, and visibility to boost your sales. With effective online review management, you can enhance your brand reputation.

Mind you, that holds true, whether you receive positive or negative reviews.

Ready to reap the benefits of good online review management? Here are tips to manage your reviews from customers:

1. Choose a review management system

Choose the review site/s to focus on to implement your review management strategy. When you know the review platforms to focus on, you’ll know what review management systems are compatible with such channels, and can pick the best to incorporate into your tech stack

For instance, ReviewTrackers supports reviews made on Google, so you can respond to customer feedback made there using the tool. With ReputationStacker, on the other hand, you can monitor reviews from sites such as Facebook and Yelp.

But what’s the best review site to focus on in the first place?

The best review site to monitor is the one where your customers leave their reviews, of course. Consider the best review network to use per industry as well. TripAdvisor, for instance, is great for travel and hospitality companies, and restaurants. Google My Business is used across different industries, but most especially for smaller local businesses.

For a more efficient implementation of your review management strategy, choose only a few review sites to focus on. Then do your research and make a list of review management software that can cover these review networks. Choose the one that fits your budget and addresses your specific business needs.

2. Encourage customers to leave reviews

Your review management strategy should also include encouraging customers to leave feedback and share their customer experience. Positive reviews will benefit your business’s search ranking and contribute to your brand’s SEO. Negative reviews can also help. They’re key to effective B2C and B2B strategies because you can use them to improve your products and services.

Ask your customers to give you their feedback after they make a purchase. The rule of thumb is to do this within one to seven days. This way, you give customers time to experience your product while ensuring accurate feedback at the same time. Within this timeframe, their product interactions are still “fresh.”

Here is an example of a review request you may send:

To ensure you send these feedback emails at the right time, leverage automation. With good email marketing software, you can schedule these messages to be sent out when a customer makes a purchase on your website. 

There’s also review management software you can use to ask for automatic feedback via SMS.

3. Actively monitor your feedback

Actively monitoring individual reviews can help give you an idea of what every customer thinks about your brand. This can help you determine what specific course of action to take as a small business. 

So, if you find positive reviews, you’ll want to send messages of gratitude. If you find negative reviews, you’ll want to issue replies to appease these disgruntled consumers.  We’ll talk more about how to respond to negative feedback later. You’ll also want to gather all the valid negative feedback so you can implement them and improve your products or services. And if you find spam reviews, you can tailor your message to warn potential customers about them.

You can again use review management software to monitor all your customer feedback. 

Adjust the settings of your review management solution so it will send you notifications once a new review is up. This will allow you to respond to it in a timely manner. 

4. Respond to negative feedback the right way

According to Podium, 56% of customers change their minds about a business depending on their response to reviews. That means with proper online review management, you can still save your business reputation even when it was given a negative review. How? By responding to the comment in a timely manner with the aim of reaching a solution to the issue.

In doing so, you show you value what your customers say and prove you’re committed to providing them quality experiences.

But what if the disgruntled customer was clearly in the wrong? You can defend yourself without sounding like you’re berating them. See how this restaurant owner acknowledges the customer’s issue, while also gently telling them that they should expect noise from their establishment in the first place since it’s a tavern. The owner also offered a solution to the problem: upstairs seating:

When you respond politely at all times, you can earn plus points, not just with the disgruntled customer who left the review, but also with potential customers. They’ll easily perceive you as an approachable brand that sincerely listens to them and is committed to making them happy.

You should create a style guide that details your brand’s responses given specific negative reviews. This will help ensure your replies are consistent across the board. 

5. Promote your good reviews on social media

Online review management is also about maximizing positive reviews to strengthen brand credibility, trust, and visibility. The reviews your customers leave can serve as social proof of how great your business is. You can promote your business effectively with these reviews since they specify the type of quality experience other potential customers may expect from you.

But where do you display these good reviews for the best results? Social media is a great option. Over 70% of consumers rely on social media to make purchase decisions. Besides, positive reviews are great for enhancing social media engagement. They can easily get you Instagram likes, Facebook shares, and X comments.

You can leverage your online reputation management system to automatically post these positive reviews on social media. Such tools allow businesses to have efficient online review management, even on autopilot.

Conclusion

Used the right way, reviews are a powerful form of social proof that convinces potential customers to give your business a try. That’s why effective online review management is also key to business success. 

You learned online review management tips to follow for your small business. Choose a review management software solution that can gather your customer feedback from your chosen review networks. Also, encourage customers to leave their feedback about your brand. Actively monitor your feedback so you can respond in a timely manner. And if you encounter negative feedback, make sure you respond the right way. That means you should acknowledge the customer issue and offer a solution. As a final tip, promote your good reviews on social media.  

Equipped with all this new knowledge, you can start managing your reviews now. You’ll reap excellent results. 

The Essential Guide to Online Review Management for Small Businesses was last updated June 11th, 2024 by Shakti Mataya
The Essential Guide to Online Review Management for Small Businesses was last modified: June 11th, 2024 by Shakti Mataya
Shakti Mataya

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