Clearly, online reviews might as well be called digital word-of-mouth. In spirit and in practice, the power of the online review is its ability to inspire faith in a local business.
The real question becomes: how do you actually get people to leave Facebook reviews? After all, local business owners have a tough enough time getting people to leave any kind of online review as it is! Let alone, getting them to leave a review on a particular site.
To answer that question, let’s take a look at an online review success story. Keep in mind that while the business in question was anything but a local area business, the core principles of their marketing strategy can work for anyone.
In 2013, Playtex Baby had a problem: their social media and marketing strategies weren’t working. The often clunky nature of “corporate communication” meant that their voice and approach wasn’t as good as it should have been.
In an effort to fix what was broken, they decided to double down on social media and word-of-mouth advertising. Their strategy: focusing on creating what they called ‘interactive mom-to-mom connections.’ The key? Rebranding themselves with a new voice, making an effort to put the ‘social’ back into social media.
Playtex Baby went on to create a contest they called “Review-to-Win”, where customers could submit product reviews and be entered into a raffle for a prize. Combining all of their marketing efforts, Playtex Baby was able to get more than 2000 product reviews in just seven months.
By focusing on online reviews, local businesses can expanding their organic reach, create a safe place for customer complaints to be addressed and turn an ‘audience’ into a ‘community’.
But be forewarned. Not all review sites will allow you to solicit your clients for reviews. Case in point: Yelp will actually penalize you and change your rankings if you actively solicit for reviews. So always, and we mean always, check the respective websites terms of service before you implement any online review solicitation.
So how do you use Facebook? First you need to set up your business’ Facebook page correctly.
Facebook Local Business Setup
So now that we’ve broken down exactly what makes Facebook reviews such an appealing choice, it’s time to actually set this up. For the record, local businesses do need to give visitors permission to leave reviews on their Page beforehand. The process to include the Facebook review option is simple enough, thankfully. All a local business owner has to do is:
- Click Settings at the top of your Page
- From General, click Reviews
- Select Allow visitors to review this Page
- Click Save Changes
Keep in mind that the cornerstone of the Facebook review’s power is that it’s part of such a massively populated network. Just about everyone in your audience already has a Facebook account, which makes ‘signing up to leave a review’ unnecessary.
Beyond that, Facebook reviews can take advantage of the social network they’re attached to and develop what you could call a ‘social signal’. Whether it’s a check-in or a review, that local business will end up posting to that user’s Facebook feed. Now, their entire social circle will have access to the local business page (along with the number of reviews and the total star rating).
Remember: what the local business is selling isn’t nearly as important as what the business’ reputation is. How do they conduct business? How much do they care about quality? How do they handle complaints? That’s what people care about.
There’s always going to be a new marketing strategy, a new site, a new tactic. But despite it all, one thing will always remain the same: a business’ reputation will always be their most powerful asset.