As the use of mobile phones rises and e-Commerce skyrockets in popularity, review management becomes a modern necessity for marketers.
Statistics show that 80% of shoppers use smartphones while inside physical stores to improve their own customer experience. In fact, they log in to find product reviews, compare pricing costs or find alternative store locations.
Compared to the previous decades, online reputation is blowing up into the biggest marketing index right now.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything about review management and brand reputation. In other words, we’re going to talk about everything that today’s social media managers and digital marketers should know about.
Want to find out more? Let’s start!
Table of Contents
What Is Review Management?
In short, review management is the professional process of handling all customer reviews posted about your business online.
To clarify, online reviews include all posts made about your brand on review sites and social media channels. Specifically, online reviews, regardless of sentiment, can be found in:
- Social media: While star rating isn’t available on Facebook, customer feedback can become public with personal posts on Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, there are social media accounts that take review requests and produce content for new customers on Youtube, Instagram, etc.
- Google business profile: Potential customers visit Google reviews first for real-time honest opinions about local businesses, as well as star reviews and statistics.
- Niche relevant and other platforms where users can leave reviews: Lastly, there are specific review platforms for interested individuals and local searches, such as Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Foursquare.
A successful review management strategy includes the following processes: Review monitoring, review analysis, review response, and review generation.
Why Is Online Review Management Important?
All things considered, all brands are required to excel in review management today. Obviously, there are review management software widgets to do that, but companies need to pay attention to their online reputation.
Whether we’re talking about big corporations or small businesses, it’s obvious that online reviews have a huge impact on them. At this point, the majority of purchase decisions are heavily influenced by good and bad reviews all the time.
As a matter of fact, research shows that 9 in 10 customers consider online reviews as important as personal recommendations.
Surprisingly, this article claims that the same percentage of potential consumers always read a review before buying something.
Hence, it’s important for business owners to design review response and monitoring strategies in order to have positive review management.
Firstly, review monitoring helps you track bad reviews, identify the fake ones and delete them immediately. Secondly, review response is all about communicating with your consumers to deal with any possible problems. For example, there might be something you need to change for your next marketing campaign.
Subsequently, there might be a problem with your current customer support plan. You need to make sure that users get the best possible customer experience. Therefore, your business needs to acquire the best review management software.
Thirdly, it’s important to find and promote every positive review your brand gets to build trust among your brand community. A successful customer review management strategy analyses your good reviews in order to know how to automate more.
After all, positive review generation optimizes your brand image and online presence.
Review Management vs Reputation Management
Without a doubt, if you’re working in the marketing industry, you always hear about some review and reputation management software.
Of course, it’s no secret that the two of them sound a lot alike. While this may be true, let’s not forget that review management is not the same process as reputation management.
As has been noted above, online review management has to do with tracking all customer reviews. Companies tend to use the best review management software to identify fake ones and reply to positive and negative reviews.
In general, reputation management is about protecting your brand image and improving the public’s idea of your business and products. Compared to review tracking, reputation management is a more rounded and strategic approach to the same concept.
To put it differently, reputation management doesn’t limit itself to review tracking. On the contrary, reputation management software monitors and analyzes every piece of information that’s available online.
In detail, this kind of information about the public’s perception can be found in:
- Review platforms, (i.e. star ratings)
- Websites (i.e. business info and local listings)
- Social media (i.e. likes, comments, and shares)
- Forums (i.e. references in consumer discussions)
- Blog posts and news articles (i.e. article mentions)
Moreover, a good reputation management strategy focuses a lot on improving the brand’s local SEO efforts.
In other words, we could argue that review management is part of a successful reputation management strategy.
However, we should distinguish the two processes, as both management strategies are important for a company’s online presence.
4 Review Management Benefits
Still not sure that this part of reputation management is right for your brand?
Let’s see how can review management benefit every business.
Benefit #1: Positive reviews increase trust
To begin with, it’s common knowledge that consumers make their future purchasing decisions based on word-of-mouth advice.
Whether it’s online or not, positive reviews can help a business build trust among its core brand community. Take the case of this study for example. The data collected in this study show that the performance of China’s hotels is highly affected by online consumer reviews.
As the levels of trust among new customers are rising, so do sales.
Not only can positive reviews convince potential customers why your product’s worth it, but also how it works.
Moreover, testimonials are a part of a successful brand reputation strategy. They provide a platform for good reviews, in particular, to give the audience a genuine idea of the product. With this purpose in mind, try adding video visuals or a clear image of the customers, especially if they’re influencers.
In short, sometimes detailed positive reviews and honest testimonials can be as productive for your sales as successful marketing campaigns.
Benefit #2: Negative reviews help you spot certain problems
On the contrary, negative reviews are able to shed a light on the company’s weaknesses.
It’s inevitable for a small business to be flawless and provide a problem-free user experience. That’s why a positive approach to bad reviews is necessary. In fact, constructive criticism can be found in the form of an online review, whether it’s formed nicely or not.
With this intention, it’s important to track, identify and analyze negative reviews that point out what your business does wrong so far.
Take a minute to listen to your customers and ask yourself:
- What’s the problem here?
- Is it your fault?
- Can you fix it?
- Have other brands dealt with similar issues?
Perhaps it’s a product failure or an insufficient customer support system.
In any case, the best you can do is to listen, respond, make things right and improve your work.
Benefit #3: You can protect your reputation online
A point often overlooked is the fact that fake reviews are a real thing and today it’s quite common.
Fake reviews can only harm your brand reputation so the best policy is to spot them quickly and delete them. There are arguments made about other forms of handling your fake reviews, but the main focus lies in the fastest way of tracking them.
Luckily, web and social media monitoring tools offer the best review management software for any business in need. Monitoring tools provide users with online mention reports, API integration, and real-time notifications, whether they’re made by e-mail or SMS.
Undeniably, the protection of your online reputation from malicious or automated fake reviews is imperative.
Benefit #4: Search engines love positive reviews
Last but not least, you have to admit that search engines, like Google, are the fastest links to your business.
As people of 2022, we tend to be sure of very few things, actually. For the rest, we can always use Google. That’s why your brand needs to go big on local SEO.
When it comes to local businesses, however, Google points out that distance is only one of the factors for result placement optimization. In fact, Google Business Profiles tend to care more about prominence and relevance than geographical proximity.
To clarify, it’s more likely to get recommendations for businesses that are getting many positive reviews. than for nearly-located ones.
Perhaps, now, you’re more convinced about the importance of review management!
How to Manage Reviews in 4 Easy Ways
Now that we got you interested in managing your reviews it’s time to dive into how to do that correctly.
So, how do you handle online reviews?
1. Track and monitor your online reviews
Firstly, you need to start monitoring your customer feedback.
Web and social media tracking tools can provide business owners with review monitoring.
For example, Mentionlytics has teamed up with reviewtrackers to offer users the chance to find all their online reviews effortlessly.
With a reputation management software-powered tool, like Mentionlytics, you can always stay up to date with your online reputation. Get real-time notifications for every new review the moment it’s been released and plan an effective review response strategy quickly.
2. Respond to negative reviews
Sometimes, customer feedback can get ugly. Despite your best efforts, a review can seem unfair, rude, or misleading.
However, you need to make sure to follow these steps to keep your online reputation as professional as it gets:
- Respond as fast as possible
- Make your response public and personalized
- Apologize and, if it’s necessary, explain where you went wrong or how your mistake came to be
- Offer a solution and ask for a second chance
- Thank the author for their input in creating a better user experience
On top of some important do’s, there are a few equally important don’ts. To clarify, under no circumstances, don’t:
- Delete the post / comment
- Ignore the review
- Respond rudely or lose your temper
- Engage with detractors / haters
- Automate identical responses
3. Respond to positive reviews
In general, positive reviews seem like good customer feedback that doesn’t need a response.
Nevertheless, professional review response strategies imply that you should reply to positive reviews as well. In short, you should follow these steps:
- Respond as quickly as if it was a negative review
- Thank the person who posted the review
- Don’t make your message long and pointless
- Be genuine and create personalized responses
- Include a call-to-action, as a request to share their review with their social media friends
- Share the review on your social media platforms
Moreover, it’s equally important to respond to every single review, even if it’s too much effort sometimes.
According to the results of this Harvard study about TripAdvisor reviews, hotels that responded to reviews optimized their review performance. In detail, hotel managers’ responses multiplied reviews by 12% and increased their star ratings by 0.12 stars, on average.
4. Encourage customers to leave a review
This one might seem difficult, but it’s worth it.
Build trust among your potential customers and boost your online reputation, by following these steps:
- Target satisfied customers and personally ask them to write a review for your business or products
- Simplify the review process for the customers, by providing direct links to review sites and easy templates
- Explain why reviews are important for you and give them a tangible reason to write them, like future discounts
Make sure to follow the previous steps if you want to excel in review management.
How to Develop an Effective Review Management Strategy in 3 Simple Steps
When it comes to business strategies it can get confusing. Therefore, you need to do everything to streamline your workflow.
If you want to create a simple yet successful review management strategy, you need to follow the next steps.
Step #1: Decide on which platforms you must focus on
To begin with, you must choose where your review generation should focus.
For example, are you aiming at a much wider crowd with a Google Business Profile? Or do you want to focus on Facebook reviews to study your brand community members’ interconnection?
As mentioned above, an AI-powered monitoring tool, like Mentionlytics, can help you here as well. The platform’s new review monitoring feature includes a great number of platforms to choose from.
Surprisingly, more than 100 review sources are monitored, with popular review sites such as TripAdvisor making the list.
Step #2: Decide how you will answer reviews
This one has been talked about in the article, but it’s important to set your priorities straight from the get-go.
When you’re dealing with several different reviews (positive, negative, and fake) it’s important to create an all-around strategy.
There are many questions you need to ask yourself and answer according to your needs and preferences.
For instance, is a ticketing system necessary for your business? Or can it do more harm than good?
Several other things to consider here are tone of voice, use of vocabulary and emojis, fake reviews dealing policy, etc.
Step #3: Decide how you will collect new reviews
Finally, this step is about the number of different ways a business can collect reviews.
Here are some ideas, if you need inspiration:
- Include a review spot on your brand’s website
- Turn your specific product reviews public for every customer to see
- Create relevant social media content, such as polls and Instagram story questions
- Reach shoppers via personalized e-mail follow-ups
If you consider this piece of advice, you’ll probably be surprised by its effectiveness rate.
Now Over to You
Are you working in the customer support or the PR department of your company?
Hopefully, this article made review management clear and simple for you.
If you’re interested in intelligent review management, Mentionlytics is the tool for you. So, make sure to sign up and get a free trial to experience what fast and effortless reputation management feels like.