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Why We’re Hating Review Gating – And You Should Too

Why We’re Hating Review Gating – And You Should Too

Consumer reviews are the lifeblood of your social proof. They can go a long, long way towards establishing your brand’s credibility to prospective customers and can help to build a sense of trust and value in your brand.

Let’s be honest here. It doesn’t matter how articulately you explain why your brand is great, or how well you can wax lyrical about the virtues of your products, or how clearly you can delineate the reasons why you outmatch your competitors in every way.

The simple truth is that consumers are always going to take anything brands say about themselves with a pinch of salt.

And why shouldn’t they?

This is, after all, the digital age where consumers are better informed than ever and rely on credible information to back up their consumer choices.

Sure, this can make them more fickle, but it also means that if you can earn their loyalty, there’s a good chance that you can retain it.

Consumer reviews go a long way towards earning that trust… But the process of review gating, while it may seem beneficial at first glance, can actually undermine that trust.

Here we’ll take a close look at review gating and why we take a strong stand against it.

What is Review Gating?

Review gating is, in its simplest terms, a means by which businesses can selectively dictate which reviews are displayed proudly in the digital realm for all to see… and which reviews get quashed, never to see the light of day.

Businesses or third party review companies reach out to consumers for feedback. If it’s positive, the consumer is then encouraged to post a review publicly. If it’s negative, the feedback is submitted privately.

Essentially, review gating gives businesses a means by which they can block bad reviews and only let positive reviews be displayed.

A lot of review companies use Review Gating… But not us. Here’s why!

While we understand why businesses may feel sensitive about bad reviews, we have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to Review gating. We don’t believe that it benefits businesses, brands, customers or new prospects.

Review gating risks a rose-tinted depiction of your business being displayed to the public, and while all brands want to appear in the best possible light, we don’t believe that review gating is the way to achieve it.

Here are just some of the reasons why we’re so firmly against the practice…

It’s against Google’s MyBusiness Guidelines

Google is the giant of the search engine world, and we believe that it’s a giant whom businesses cross at their peril. Last year a lot of business blogs wrote about how Google was taking a stand against review gating in their My Business guidelines.

However, the truth is that while review gating was officially stated to be against review gating in their MyBusiness guidelines as of April last year, the company has been against these guidelines for quite some time.

Companies who have been caught review gating have been forced to remove ads found to have come from gated sources going back as far as two years. This implies that Google has always had a problem with this practice and want to rid the internet of it, root and stem!

Seeing years’ worth of reviews disappear from Google is not a great look for any business and could seriously undermine consumer trust in you.

It’s one thing to be penalized by Google. It’s another thing entirely to be penalized by your core consumer base.

It’s dishonest… And your brand needs to be transparent

Consumers can be pretty forgiving when brands they’re investing in make mistakes. Heck, Volkswagen more than doubled its profits last year even in the wake of the “emissions scandal” that seemed to spell doom for the brand.

When businesses own their mistakes and make reparations to their consumer,  those consumers tend to be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

But if there’s one thing that consumers hate, it’s being lied to.

There was a time when businesses large and small could keep their customers in the dark when it came to less than flattering operational practices. Today, however, consumers have the means by which to find answers for themselves.

And if they discover that they’re being duped by brands to which they had been loyal they will see this as a betrayal of their trust… As well they should.

Businesses in the 21st century need to be transparent in the way that they operate. They owe it to their customers and themselves to ensure that their closet doors are wide open so that consumers can see that they’re skeleton-free.

And no, a bad review is not a skeleton in your closet. In fact, bad reviews are beneficial to your business, and in quashing them enterprises hurt only themselves.

Which brings us to…

It robs your business of an important opportunity

Business owners can have a strong emotional reaction to bad reviews. They can take bad reviews of their business personally and this can impair their judgment.

A bad review is not an attack but an opportunity to respond.

It allows you to show consumers that you accept, acknowledge and embrace criticism and use it to improve your business and provide a better service to the customer.

It shows that you have a proactive approach to conflict resolution and don’t simply bury your head in the sand. It shows that you care about all of your customers, not just the ones who can be coerced into giving you 5-star reviews.

What’s that? Some negative reviews are unreasonable and possibly even personal? Good! That’s all the more reason to leave them on there.

Reasonably minded consumers will be able to see that the bad review is unreasonable and better still that you responded to it in a measured, amiable and reasonable way. That’s a huge net win for your brand’s image.

We focus on generating reviews that build genuine trust and value in businesses and their brands. That’s why we’re against Review Gating!

To learn more about generating reviews for your business, and easily managing and tracking what comes in, click here.

Free Business Listing Sites To Submit Your Local Business To

Free Business Listing Sites To Submit Your Local Business To

Running a successful modern brand is about looking at what it takes to make the business as successful as possible. There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to achieving this, and you have to make sure you look at how to make the company stand out. You always need to be trying to market and promote your business as much as you can, and this is something you need to bear in mind.

Local business listings have taken on perhaps more importance in the digital world than ever before. Back in the day, there was no internet, and entrepreneurs needed to list their companies in magazines and newspapers, but things have changed. The internet has made it a whole lot easier to list businesses, but it has also become more important to do this well. Stats suggest that 75% of customers will research your business online before they visit, so strong digital presence is important.

With this in mind, you need to make sure you look at what you can do to make the best of the business listings available online. There are so many things that play a part in making the company better, and being able to list yourself is a great place to begin. Check out these sites that offer free local business listings that you can make the most of, and we’ll look at a couple that cost money at the end.

Bing

The great thing about Bing is that it is one of the best-known and most highly-respected sites online, and there are plenty of great listings that you can make. When people visit Bing, they know they are getting recommendations that can be trusted. If you can get yourself on Bing, you will help to validate your company that little bit more. You can add photos and contact details too to give your business more of an identity.

Yelp

Yelp is another one that is very well regarded, and it’s the perfect free business site to list your business on right now. You can add pertinent information about your business that customers might like to know, such as opening times and contact information. But, you will also be able to add your menu so customers know what you sell before they visit the business.

Facebook

Okay, so Facebook is not officially a business listing site, but you’d be a fool not to make the most of it right now. There are so many things that you need to make sure you get right, and having a strong social media presence is one of the biggest. It is imperative that you are making full use of Facebook as a business resource, and this is certainly something to keep in mind. Statistics suggest that 66% of monthly Facebook users will use the site daily, and that offers a lot of exposure for your brand!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great because it’s pretty much the social networking site entrepreneurs were crying out for. It’s a site that allows you to improve the way your business comes across. You will be able to list the company and information about the brand in a little more detail. You can also showcase important things such as affiliate businesses, awards you may have won, and invite people to link up with the company. This is one of the best ways of improving the business, and there are a lot of benefits to this in the future.

Google My Business

It’s pretty clear how important Google is to your business moving forward, and this is something that plays a big part in taking the company further. SEO and keywords are crucial, and this is why citation sites matter so much for the business. Google recently unleashed a new program called Google My Business, whereby you can connect directly with customers through Google’s search, maps, and Google+ functions.

YellowPages.com

Back in the days before the internet, the Yellow Pages book was the thing businesses used to market and promote their brands. Listings could be made along with contact details, and this provided a basic but important form of business promotion. Well, now the company has evolved to become an important online listing service in its own right. This is a simple-to-use free directory, but you can also buy a variety of additional services to supplement your listing should you choose to.

Merchant Circle

Merchant Circle is one of the perfect choices for those with small businesses who are looking to connect with customers and other small businesses in the area. You can advertise and promote your listings on here, and it even allows for companies to post blog posts in a bid to generate more interest in the business. The more active you are, the more exposure you will be able to enjoy moving forward, and this is important.

Yahoo! Business Directory

Yahoo is now a paid service and one of the most impressive ones on the market right now. The landing page is easy to use and aesthetically pleasing, and the recent partnership with Yext has proven to be a game changer. This is the perfect platform for those who are looking to improve engagement with customers, as well as taking things to the next level.

Sevanow

Another of the best and most impressive paid listing sites on the internet, and ideal if you are looking to grow your brand effectively. Sevanow is something you need to make sure you get right as much as possible, and you should be able to simply sign up and list your company fairly easily. Bridging the gap between businesses and customers, Sevanow is definitely a site you need to check out today.

These are some of the best listings that you are going to need to know about in order to give your business the exposure it deserves. This is a really important part of the process of running a modern brand, and you have to do what you can to make the most of it. Keep these site in mind when you are looking for the perfect ways of listing your business moving forward.

Add or Embed Google Reviews To A Website

Add or Embed Google Reviews To A Website

Reviews have become fundamental to the world of online business, with customers using resources like this to heavily influence their buying decisions. With Google’s Local Business service rapidly taking control of this market, customers trust this platform, and this makes it a great place to start when you’re working on this for your own business. When you’re relying on something like reviews to draw people to your business, it makes sense to put them in as many places as possible, enabling your customers to see them.

One of the best locations for your reviews is your website. While a lot of people struggle with web design and won’t be able to build a site from scratch, adding a service like Google Reviews to a website is surprisingly comfortable. To give you the help you need, this post will be exploring some of the steps which you will have to take to get this working, across several of the most popular website platforms in the world.

The first stage in this process involves getting yourself hooked up with some credentials which will provide you with access to the Google Review API. You will already have a Google Local Business account, and this means that you need only follow this guide to get yourself on the right track with an OAuth 2.0 certificate.

Embed Reviews Yourself

Google doesn’t officially support a simple way to embed your reviews onto your site, instead of forcing those who would like to build for themselves to use their JavaScript API for it.

This approach takes a lot of learning and is far too deep for this post to cover entirely, but Google has made their handy guide which can show you how to use review data. You should only go down this route if your website isn’t built using one of the platforms below.

Add Google Reviews To WordPress Site

WordPress is by far the most popular website building platform on the market, and this means that there are loads of plugins available to make your life more comfortable with it. The guide below assumes that you are logged in on WordPress and can see the backend Admin area.

Step One – Download Plugin: While its name may not be very imaginative, Google Reviews Widget is a popular free plugin which can handle the tasks at hand. You can download it using the link and should be left with a .zip file afterward.

Step Two – Install The Plugin: Navigate to your Admin backend, and go to the Plugins section on the left-hand side of the page. Once here, you should see a button at the top which says “Add New” or “Add Plugin,” and this should be clicked, replacing the button with an “Upload” option which would also be clicked. You can now upload and activate the plugin.

add new plugin wordpress

You can also simply search for the plugin in WordPress and install it from there. Just go to Add New – then type in the search ‘Google Review Widget’ and you’ll see the plugin below. Click install, then activate.

Step Three – Setting It Up: The setup process for WordPress plugins is nice and straightforward. Upon installing it, you should be taken to its menu system, giving you the chance to get started. The most crucial part of this is your address, and you need to make sure that you’ve added it correctly if the plugin is going to function as intended.

Step Four – Get It Displayed: There are two options when you’re looking to display a WordPress plugin on your site; shortcode or widgets. Widgets have to be added in pre-allocated areas and can be found in the “Customize” section of WordPress. Shortcode can be added anywhere, though you will have to pay to get access to this feature.

Add Google Reviews To Wix Site

Wix has been in the game of DIY website builders for longer than just about any other company. This gives them a significant edge in certain areas, and the plugins on offer are certainly one of them.

Step One – Add The Plugin: The MyReviews plugin is one of the most popular available for Wix. You can go to its page, click the “Add to Site” button, and get started with the process of installing it without having to go through any real trouble.

Step Two – Getting Setup: Setting up this plugin is very similar to the process for WordPress, and you will need your API credentials at this stage. Unlike the other options in this post, this plugin can cover Facebook and Yelp reviews, too, making it extremely powerful for those going down more than one route.

Step Three – Adding It To The Site: Wix uses a strict grid-based system as its structure, often making it a challenge for users to choose exactly where they’d like their content to go. Once you do decide, though, it will be a simple matter of clicking the right space and filling it with your MyReviews plugin.

Add Google Reviews To Shopify Site

Shopify doesn’t have quite the same following as WordPress but is an excellent alternative for those who want to be able to sell things through their website. Plugins can be used to help with this, though it tends to be a little more expensive with this platform, as there are fewer options available to spark competition.

Step One – Add The App: Google Reviews by Omega has been around for a reasonable amount of time, and has long been one of the more popular options for this sort of job. It comes with a trial which will start as soon as you click the “Add App” button.

Step Two – Get It Configured: In the Shopify backend, you can effortlessly search for options which relate to your apps, making the task of finding your plugin options friendly and quick. You will need your Google Local Business account details at this point and will have to be careful to input everything perfectly.

Step Three – Display It: This plugin is great because it allows you to add your configured reviews to the site using shortcode. The reviews can go anywhere, and installing them properly will be easy, giving you the chance to start reaping the benefits.

As reviews become increasingly important to small businesses, the number of companies which are working to be compatible with them is only growing. While they may not allow you to embed Google Reviews to your website, you can still have access to an extensive range of tools to help you out with this.

Want to get more Google reviews? Check out our 2 Step Reviews solution to get more customers raving about you online.

What To Do If Competitors Are Leaving Your Business Negative, Fake Reviews

What To Do If Competitors Are Leaving Your Business Negative, Fake Reviews

Have you noticed that your business is receiving negative reviews from customers? It’s possible that you have spotted plenty of negative reviews on common resources such as Google or even social media like Facebook recommendations. Upon closer inspection, however, you might discover that these aren’t negative customer reviews at all.

Instead, they could be coming from a competing business, keen to take down your company and bring your brand to its knees. This is a clever and underhanded way to hurt a competitor and unfortunately, it’s becoming more common.

Business owners know that reviews are trusted by potential customers online. A couple of well placed poor reviews online might be all it takes to make sure that customers favor their business over yours.

As such, you need to be aware of how to handle this situation and ideally how to get those fake negative reviews removed as quickly as possible.

Engage And Gain Loyalty

The first step is a preventative measure that you can put in place as soon as your business begins to sell on the market. You just need to make sure that you are encouraging customers of your company to leave reviews. This will build up a team of loyal followers who will recognize and defend you from negative reviews that may be suspicious and even false. With positive reviewers defending you and contradicting an out of place negative review, they become far less believable.

Make Yourself Unique

A lot of the time you will find that businesses are leaving you negative reviews because they feel like you are too similar to them and they don’t like this. As such, what you need to do here is make sure your business has something unique that nobody else has to make yourself completely separate. By doing this, nobody can say that your company is copying anyone else’s and they are less likely to leave you a negative review to take you down.

You will find that this is harder to do when you are an established company on the market and it is a new business who is doing this to you. In this case, making yourself unique can be quite a challenge as your customers expect certain things from you having been your customers for years. In this situation, you should try talking to the new business on the market, and discuss the different markets that you are each targeting. By doing this, they will no longer feel threatened by you, and will stop leaving your negative business reviews.

Stay Calm

You should always aim to stay calm and respond to negative reviews in a friendly and professional manner. Simply say thank you for leaving the review, but that your records do not indicate that they ever used your service, but if they would like to provide you with more details, your business would be more than happy to rectify the situation. This way, you have not risen to the negative review by the other business, and people online will see that you handle complaints professionally and without lashing out at customers.

The good thing about doing this is that even if you are wrong and the review has been left by a customer experiencing issues with your service, you are going to be able to make things right with them. Once you have done this, they are likely to review their comment and change it to a positive one.

Challenge The Review

Of course, your main course of action is always going to be to attempt to get the negative comments removed. To do this, you need to look at the individual procedures of the resource where the review has been posted.

An example of this would be Google. With Google reviews, it’s a matter of first recognizing that a review is in fact fake. Once you have done this, you can then move through a number of steps to get it removed. First, make sure that you do take a screenshot. By doing this, you can ensure that the reviewer in question does not change their post to make it look less severe or extreme. Provide as much information as possible about the review and it will be taken down quickly.

One of the key details is often showing evidence that the negative review is from a competitor. You should check reviews of other businesses similar to yours. Chances are that the same reviewer is posting negative reviews for multiple businesses and leaving one out. If they are, then the business left alone is likely the source of the attack. Showing this will make it far more likely that all the negative reviews are removed.

Join Together

That’s why it’s important to make sure that you are joining forces with other businesses online. Remember, you are likely not going to be the only one that has been targeted by these negative reviews from a competitor. They will have deemed others a threat as well and taken action against these business owners. Contact the businesses and address the issue head-on. You’ll find it’s far easier to handle if you do have strength in numbers.

Leave The Company Alone

It is certainly going to be tempting to retaliate against a business who is pushing negative reviews towards your company. You might feel the urge to get even but this is always going to be a mistake. Posting negative reviews could get yours removed while theirs remain and continue to hurt your brand. If you are going to complain to get negative reviews removed, then your hands must remain completely clean.

Similarly, you don’t want to make the issue public. Do not try and push your customers into taking action. As we have said they will do this without any push from you regardless. By taking it into the public spotlight, you could be left in a situation where you seem like the brand in the wrong.

We hope this helps you tackle competitors leaving bad reviews and gets your business reputation back on track.

How To Send A Direct Link To Google Reviews

How To Send A Direct Link To Google Reviews

Google My Business is a crucial part of any digital promotional plan online. This is particularly true when you are trying to appeal to a local consumer base.

When they searching for businesses nearby they will often check reviews of companies like yours. As such, it’s important that you make sure that you have plenty of reviews that potential customers can view and access.

Even negative reviews are better than no reviews at all as you can respond to negative reviews and address any concerns customers have. Furthermore, users are far likely to trust reviews from customers of your company than direct information provided by your website.

Unfortunately, getting customers to write a Google review can be quite difficult. This is primarily because they have to put in a bit of effort to get to your business’s Google review page.

Luckily, there is a way to get customers to your Google review page easily.

You can send customers a direct link to your Google review page – meaning they can post reviews after one simple click.

So how do you create this Google review link for your business to send to customers? Let’s dig in.

Creating Your Direct Google Review Link

Use The PlaceID Lookup Tool On Google

For these steps to work, you will need to make sure that you have a Google My Business Account for your company. It’s easy to set one up and once you have done this you will be able to access your Place ID.

With this, you will be able to pinpoint your company on the map. You can gain your Place ID code here by scrolling to the bottom map and inputting your business name exactly how it is in your business listing. You’ll see a bar where you can fill this in on the Place ID Map.

After your business is displayed on the map, you will then see your full Place ID.

It’s typically a group of numbers and letters which will be about 25 characters long.

You can then copy this code and save it anywhere you like. We recommend creating a Google Doc and storing it there so that it can be accessed later.

Here’s a picture of us copying our Place ID:

Using Your ID

Now that you have your place ID, you will be able to use it to create your Google review link. To do this, you need to use the following:

https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=

You must then add your unique place ID that should have already been saved directly at the end of it as part of that URL.

We know that a link this large is a little bit of an eyesore and may put off some users. So, you can consider shortening it using the Google URL shortening tool. To do this simply visit:

https://goo.gl/

From there you will be able to input your original URL and get a smaller, user-friendly one that can be used.

send Google Review Link by Email

How To Send Google Review Links

Now that you have a great user-friendly link, you can start sending it out to customers. If they are signed into their Google account, a window will pop up that will provide them a simple way to leave a review on Google.

Be aware that under the policies of Google you cannot gain reviews by offering incentives. You can, however, send out an email or text and gently request that customers do review your business. The right CTA can work wonders here and provide the type of results you want.

Just write out your brief email or text message review invitation and copy and paste the direct Google review link at the bottom.

Take It Further

Once you start getting those fantastic positive reviews, you may want to consider utilizing them as part of your campaign. You can do this with Small Thanks from Google.

This is another tool that will allow you to create social media posts or even digital posters around a particularly impressive review that you want other users and followers to see. This is a brilliant way to get more from a great interaction with a customer that other users are sure to love.

Need help getting a link to your Google business page?

Google reviews matter so you want to make sure that you get as many as possible. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely it is that new users will be interested in buying from your company.

2 Step Reviews provides an advanced way of sending your customers a direct link to leave you a review via text message. If you’d like to learn more about it, schedule a call with us today.

Can Google Reviews Help SEO?

Can Google Reviews Help SEO?

Local Google reviews can absolutely influence SEO. Customer reviews, both positive and negative, are factored into the complex equation Google uses to determine its local search rankings and, as it turns out, they can help in the general search rankings as well.

Studies have proven both of these statements, and Google has tacitly admitted the connection. We’ll drill down into exactly how local Google reviews can help with SEO and talk about what you can do to use Google reviews to your advantage.

How Do Reviews Factor Into Local SEO?

There are two ways reviews enter into the equation. Firstly, Google includes the text of a business’s reviews when looking for keyword matches on a searched term. Secondly, the number of reviews a company has is considered, with higher volumes of reviews giving the business a boost in search rankings.

Does having keywords in your reviews help ranking?

To understand how this works, imagine if someone were to search for “hamburgers and pizza.” In the local pack portion of Google’s search rankings, where local businesses show up under a map of the area, Google looks for the keywords “hamburgers” and “pizza” in both the text of local restaurants’ websites as well as the text of the local reviews they’ve received under their Google My Business account.

If your restaurant serves hamburgers and pizza, you probably already have those terms in your website copy.

But if you also have customer reviews that say things like, “These guys have the BEST hamburgers!” and “If you visit, make sure to try their Margherita pizza” then you’ll do better in the rankings for those keywords than local restaurants that either don’t have any local Google reviews or didn’t have any featuring those keywords.

Does the number of reviews you have influence ranking?

There are two ways to think about a business’s total review volume and how it gets counted by Google, one direct, and one indirect. Directly, Google considers total review volume in its calculations.

A business that has more local reviews should, on the whole, perform better in search rankings, all other things remaining equal than a company with fewer reviews.

Indirectly, the more reviews a business has, the greater the pool of review text that can be matched against search terms, and the more frequently Google will find a suitable match.

To use a simplified example to explain, imagine if restaurant A has one review, which says:

“I love this place. Their hamburgers are the best around!”

While restaurant B has these three reviews:

“Really good food. They make a mean cheesesteak. Worth the try!”

“I keep coming back. Try a slice of their Margherita pizza. It’s fantastic!”

“Really great, classic hamburgers and french fries. Steak cut fries rule!”

Both restaurants will get a boost when people search for hamburgers. But because restaurant B has more reviews, it has more possible search term matches. It could also get a boost when people search for cheesesteaks, pizza, and french fries.

Frequency of reviews and SEO

Having a consistent stream of reviews coming in every few days is important too. Not only do people prefer reviews that are recent, but it’s a good signal that is sent to Google.

When you have a system in place, like using 2 Step Reviews, you should easily be able to capture a few reviews a week. You don’t want to just reach 50 five-star reviews and call it quits.

Having these reviews continuing to come in is a sign that you’re still in business, and still providing five-star service. This will ultimately lead to earning Google’s, and your potential customer’s trust in your company.

Does responding to your reviews help improve your SEO?

review response example

Indeed it does. In fact, we recommend to all of our product users to respond to all reviews no matter what they may say.

This is good advice in general, since responding to reviews shows your positive reviewers that you appreciate their kind words, and it shows your negative reviewers that you care enough about them to try and resolve their issues.

But it’s also a good SEO strategy. For one, Google encourages people to respond to their reviews and rewards businesses that do. But also, like the review itself, the text of your response is included in the total word pool for search term matches. This means you can craft your responses to include useful keywords for SEO.

Of course, you have to be very careful about this. If your responses read like you’re trying to pander to the search engine, you’ll come off as disingenuous to your customers and risk alienating them. Keep your responses heartfelt and genuine, and slip in a search term or two if it works organically.

Reviews help improve organic rankings as well

We know this is true based on a nine-month research study in which a sampling of businesses had Google reviews added into the copy of their websites.

This one tweak, over the full length of the study, caused average organic page views for all the sites to climb from 5,500 a month to 8,000 a month. That’s quite an increase for a single SEO modification.

However, it shouldn’t be surprising that Google considers reviews in this way. The review text merely is added to the entirety of the content on the website, and the more and varied content Google has available to it, the more likely a business will place well for a given search term.

Take Advantage of Local Google Reviews for SEO

To take advantage of this powerful additional SEO tool, you need reviews, and the more, the better.

If you haven’t already claimed your Google My Business account, don’t delay any further. Get it set up.

It’s important to fill it out completely. Google provides excellent information on how to optimize My Business listings here. Don’t leave anything blank. Google rewards complete information.

Once your Google My Business page is set up, there are a few things you should consider adding to your main website to help your review SEO.

For one, place a direct link to your Google page for customers to leave a review on your website. Next, start adding some of the best reviews you get into a “Reviews” or “Testimonials” section on your website. You could also sprinkle them throughout the entire site. This gives Google even more grist for its search algorithm to chew on.

But more than anything, if you want to ramp up the number of reviews on your Google My Business page, you merely need to ask for them. More often than not just asking your customers if they wouldn’t mind leaving you a review is all it takes to motivate them.

Studies have shown that seven out of ten customers say they’d leave a review if asked. Particularly if people like your service they’ll consider it a favor they’re happy to do.

And 2 Step Reviews can help.

Our easy-to-use app automates the process of asking for a review. Just enter your customer’s name, and contact info and the app will reach out for you. We know how to request reviews, and our specific language greatly increases the chances of getting one.

Get started now at www.2stepreviews.com and schedule a free demo today!

How to Remove Facebook Reviews

How to Remove Facebook Reviews

As a business owner, online reviews can make or break your reputation. According to a survey conducted in 2018 by BrightLocal, 86% of people consult with online reviews before doing business with local companies. If you have negative reviews weighing down your Google and Facebook local business pages you could be losing a significant number of potential customers.

The stakes are fairly clear. If you have negative reviews you should be doing whatever you can to clear them, and more importantly, to prevent new ones from appearing. Providing stellar customer service is the best medicine against future bad reviews. But for now, we’ll talk about how you can get rid of the bad reviews you already have.

What Can You Do?

We should first be clear about what is possible for you, as a business owner, to do. No, you can’t simply delete legitimate negative reviews. That would defeat the whole purpose of the review system. But that doesn’t mean you’re powerless. You can:

  • Request to have fake negative reviews removed
  • Respond to legitimate bad reviews
  • Try and resolve your customer’s complaints so that they will delete their negative review
  • Turn off Facebook Recommendations completely

We’ll look at all of these in detail.

2 Star Review

Getting Fake Negative Reviews Removed from Facebook

There are a number of reasons why fake or illegitimate negative reviews may be appearing on your site. Disgruntled former employees might attempt to use negative reviews in order to damage your reputation. Competitors may do the same thing in an attempt to weaken your position in the market while strengthening theirs. And online trolls frequently spread poor reviews indiscriminately…just because. Apparently spreading negativity and messing with other people’s lives is something they enjoy.

Whatever the reason, fake and illegitimate reviews can be removed from your Facebook business listing. Here’s how you can identify suspect ones.

  • Does the review promote a competitor?
  • Is the reviewer attached to a competitor in some way? Both of these can be signs a competitor is up to no good.
  • Does the review include specifics that the general public likely couldn’t know?
  • Does the reviewer’s anger seem out of scale with the details of the complaint? These are both signs you may have an angry former employee on your hands.
  • Is the review ambiguous? Does it lack corroborating substance?
  • Does it contain improbable details? Does it seem unlikely? These four could be signs you’re dealing with a troll.
  • Does the review seem like it was intended for a different business? It may very well have been lodged against you by mistake.

If you suspect that a review is illegitimate, go through your records and try to confirm any details the review includes. If your records don’t support the complaint, or directly contradict it, you should petition Facebook for its removal. Here’s how you do that.

  1. Go to the Reviews tab on your business’s Facebook page
  2. Click on the three horizontal dots at the top right of the suspicious review
  3. Click on “Give feedback on this recommendation”
  4. When Facebook prompts you with, “What’s going on?”, pick the option that best applies from these choices:
    1. Recommendation Not Relevant (fake or illegitimate)
    2. Unfair Recommendation (disgruntled employees or competitors)
    3. Or Nudity, Violence, Harassment, Suicide or Self-Injury, Spam, Drugs and Hate Speech.
  5. If asked to, provide details describing specifically why you suspect the review is unfair or illegitimate and should be removed.

Once your complaint has been lodged all you can do is wait for Facebook’s ruling. In the meantime, it’s smart to respond to the review so that other customers can see that you take your criticisms seriously.

Dealing with Legitimate Poor Reviews

If you determine that a review is likely real then having it removed by Facebook isn’t an option. Your best bet at this point is diplomacy and customer service.

Respond to the review. Honestly apologize and ask the reviewer what you can do to improve. Make it clear to them and to other potential customers that you are serious about customer service and that you want all customer experiences to be positive.

If based on the customer’s profile, you know who they are or if you can figure it out by comparing the complaint details and date to your records, and you run the sort of business where you can and do contact customers, consider reaching out to them directly. If it feels appropriate you can also reach out directly to the customer’s Facebook profile.

Ask them what it is you can do to make the situation right. You could offer them a discount or some other incentive to come give your business another try. It’s bad form to directly ask them to remove the negative review, but you can hint at it, couched in terms of having them come in for a better customer experience on their second visit.

You may find that proactive customer service is all that it takes to get the customer to remove their bad review. They may be impressed that you took their comment so seriously.

If they ask you how to remove a review on their end you can tell them it’s very easy. All they need to do is:

  1. Click on the three horizontal dots at the top right of their review
  2. Then either select “Delete” to delete the review or “Edit review” if they decide they want to alter their review to reflect their newer, better experience.
many facebook reviews

Turning Off Recommendations

We don’t generally recommend this. It’s much better to try and deal with each negative review separately because if you turn off Recommendations entirely you no longer get the benefits of the service. Yes all of your negative reviews will no longer appear, but neither will your positive ones, and customers will no longer be able to add reviews at all, which will make it harder, over time for you to repair your reputation. Remember that this step doesn’t delete your negative reviews, but only hides them. They’ll all still be there in the future when you turn Recommendations back on so make sure in the interim you deal with them.

So it’s best to deal with negative reviews now. However, if for whatever reason you’ve received a large volume of poor reviews that are damaging your business more than you can currently bear, turning off Recommendations can be a quick, temporary way of dealing with the problem. To turn off Recommendations you’ll need to:

  1. Go to your Facebook business page and click on “Settings”
  2. Scroll on the left and click “Template and Tabs”
  3. Then on the right scroll to “Reviews” and click “Settings”
  4. Toggle “Show Reviews” to “Off”
  5. Click “Save”

Work to Keep Reviews Positive

The best defense against future negative reviews is excellent customer service. Try and generate a positive customer experience for each of your customers, and when something bad happens, move quickly to make it right. Don’t let negative sentiments fester.

The best way to combat negative reviews you can’t get rid of is to water them down with a lot of great reviews. And the best way to get positive reviews is to ask for them! We can help.

Our easy-to-use app automates the process. Just enter your customer’s name and contact info and let the app ask for the review for you. We know how to ask for a review, and our specific language greatly increases the chances of getting one. Get started now at www.2stepreviews.com and schedule a free demo today!

Reputation Management: What Your Boss Wants to Know

Reputation Management: What Your Boss Wants to Know

Users online are more likely to trust the word of your customers rather than information provided directly from your brand. This should tell you everything you need to know about the importance of reviews and digital word of mouth when thinking about the success of your business.

Ultimately, you need to make sure that the general buzz around your business and the brand is positive. This should be true across all the different review resources users access including Google, Yelp, Facebook and more. To do this, you need to make sure that you are managing your business reputation effectively.

What Is Reputation Management?

Typically, when a customer buys a product from you or uses one of your services, then they will be granted the option of providing a review.

Through this review, they can offer information on any positive or negatives about your business and the service that you offer.

They can mention specific details about your business from the time it takes you to fulfill an order to the general state of a product provided or the quality.

Some review sources will allow customers to provide pictures and videos which can be even more damaging if they do not match the official advertisements you have offered.

It may not even be an official review. It’s possible that users online are simply referencing your brand or services and products on social networks.

Hopefully, they will be promoting your brand or recommending it, but in some cases, there could be negative concepts and opinions present.

There might even be entirely negative threads directly linked to your brand.

Poor Reviews

Negative Review Management

You might think that the issue of poor Google reviews for your business is significant enough but that’s not the case.

The reality is that you might be completely oblivious to this negative buzz.

Some business owners choose to believe that ignorance is bliss and simply avoid engaging with negative chatter or bad reviews. However, if you do this, you are playing a very dangerous game.

Bad buzz can spread like wildfire online and a tweet that has been shared a couple of hundred times potentially could have been seen by thousands of people.

That’s where reputation management comes in.

Reputation management is about tracking reviews and mentions of your business and responding to bad reviews the correct way.

Through reputation, you will know if there is an issue or problem related to your brand image and you will be able to handle it effectively and efficiently.

With some reputation management solutions, it’s possible to immediately be notified of a negative review and respond instantly to the user or customer.

How Does Reputation Management Help Your Customers?

girl on computer

Customers can learn a lot from the way you manage your reputation.

The first factor to be aware of is that customers want to be able to engage with brands online. They want to know that their thoughts, their opinions, and their concerns are being heard and more importantly addressed.

If there is a negative thread for your brand on social media, responding shows the user and other potential customers that their concerns matter and will be addressed.

The faster you can respond, the more people will see it and understand that they are not just shouting into an echo chamber. You and your brand are listening.

The customer learns that there may be a path for resolving their issue. Other users learn that you care about people who buy your products and services.

You don’t need to respond to every negative review or comment. Simply picking issues that are gaining traction will be enough to protect your brand.

Is It Just About Dealing With Negative Buzz?

A common misconception about reputation management is just monitoring negative reviews. You can use reputation management to make sure that positive buzz and positive ideas are elevated and seen by a greater audience.

A basic example of this would be retweeting a positive comment from a follower or even an influencer.

An influencer is a respected individual who will have an impact on levels of demand for your brand. So, a positive comment should be recognized, championed and used effectively.

Impact Of Reputation Management On Your Brand

Negative reviews and opinions surrounding your business can quickly grow out of control. They could even attract media attention and potentially may have the power to go viral.

Quickly, these ideas could be the main concepts attached to your brand image and you don’t want that. With reputation management, you can prevent it.

The effects of this can be astounding.

By managing your reputation effectively and showing customers that they do matter, you can increase the chances of more users following your brand online or even visiting your website.

By demonstrating that you are willing to address issues you can build trust around your business too.

This is a great way to expand your audience reach and eventually you could see a greater level of sales.

As well as gaining new customers, existing customers are also more likely to remain loyal to a brand if they see you interacting and engaging online.

They want to feel like they have a connection with your business and managing your reputation will help build this idea.

Managing your reputation goes beyond attracting customers

attract employees

You might be surprised to learn that managing your reputation won’t just have an impact on consumer decisions. It could impact potential employees as well.

Employees will often research a company before they decide whether they want to work for that brand.

A positive brand reputation will help you attract the best workers and create a solid team that can take your company to new heights.

We hope you see now that with reputation management you can put out fires online before they grow out of control.

You can shape the ideas and concepts that you want to be attached to your brand and ensure that negative reviews are snuffed out or handled effectively.

You will be able to make sure that you have control over what people are saying about your company.

How Many Reviews Calculator

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How to Write a Google Review

How to Write a Google Review

How to Write a Google Review With and Without a Gmail Account

Writing a Google review is a fairly simple process, and you can participate in their review system whether you use Gmail or not. We’ll show you how it’s done and then give some basic tips on how to write good reviews.

Your Google Account

You don’t need to use Gmail but you do need a Google account. Thankfully there are a lot of places where you may have already opened one. You already have a Google account if you’ve:

    • added one to your Android smartphone
    • registered with the Google Play Store
    • registered with Google Pay
    • opened a YouTube account
    • added an account to Google Maps
    • signed up to use any of the Google products like Docs, Sheets, and more
    • opened an account through Chrome
    • added an account to a Chromecast or other Google smart home devices

And there are more. You can check to see if you have a Google account by searching your email address here. If you have one already then you’re all set! Otherwise you’ll be given the opportunity to open an account when you write your first review, so either way, you’ll have no problem getting started.

You can add a Google Review using your computer or on a mobile device, and in both cases, you can write your review inside of Google Maps or directly from Google search results. We’ll talk about all of these scenarios.

Writing a Google Review on Your Computer

You can write a Google review on your computer using your internet browser.

Writing Your Review Inside Google Maps

  1. Point your browser to maps.google.com.
  2. Once in Google Maps search for the business you want to review.
  3. When Maps finds the business you’re looking for it will highlight it on the map with a pin and open up a window on the right side of the screen with information specific to that business.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the window until you see, “Write a review”.
  5. Click on the link. If you’re already logged in to your Google account you’ll move right to the next step. If not you’ll be prompted to sign in with your email and password. Put in the email associated with your Google account.
  6. A new window will pop up where you can click the number of stars you want to give the business, write your review, and upload any pictures you want to accompany it.
  7. Click “Post” and you’re finished!

Writing Your Review Through Google Search Results

  1. Either go to google.com and search for the business you want to rate or simply type the name and location of the business into your browser’s search bar (in this case make sure your browser defaults to Google for search instead of Bing or some other search engine).
  2. When your search results appear you’ll see information about the business you searched for on the right-hand side of the screen. Scroll down until you see reviews and click the “Write a review” button.
  3. As before, you’ll be prompted to log in to your Google account if you aren’t already logged in.
  4. A window will appear where you can choose your star rating, write your review and add any photos you’d like.
  5. Click “Post” and you’re done!

Writing a Google Review on Your Mobile Device

The process for writing a review on your smartphone or tablet is very similar to adding one on your computer.

Writing Your Review Inside the Google Maps App

  1. Launch the Google Maps app. If you’re on an Android device Google Maps comes preinstalled. If you’re on an iPhone you may need to install the app first.
  2. Inside of Google Maps search for the business you’re interested in reviewing.
  3. The business will show up on the map and a small info box will appear at the bottom of the screen. Either click on the map pin or the info box to bring information about the business full screen.
  4. You’ll see some tabs across the top of the info screen. Click on “Reviews”.
  5. You’ll be taken to the review area where you’ll see the business’s current overall rating and right below that, “Rate and review” with five blank stars where you can add your own star rating.
  6. Click on your desired star rating and a window will pop up where you can add your review and upload photos. If you aren’t already logged in to your Google account you’ll be prompted to.
  7. Click “Post” and your review is complete!

Writing Your Review Through Google Search Results

  1. Load your device’s internet browser and go to google.com.
  2. Search for the business you want to review.
  3. When your search listing loads you’ll see a few tabs across the screen. Click on “Reviews”.
  4. Scroll down the page a bit until you see, “Rate and review on Google” and five blank stars.
  5. Clicking on the star rating you’d like to give the business will bring up a window where you can write your review and upload any pictures you’d like. If you aren’t already logged in to your Google account you’ll be prompted to.
  6. Click “Post” and you’re finished!

Writing a Good Review

As you can see, leaving a Google review is easy, and accessible multiple ways. You’ll never need to let fear of the process hold you back from posting reviews again.

And now that you know how to write a review we thought it would be helpful to give a few tips on how you can make your review as useful as possible to other people.

Be authentic: Try to describe your full experience of the business, both positive and negative. Even if you had a great experience there are still likely places you feel the business could improve. Feel free to point these out.

Be insightful and specific: Be sure to mention the elements of your visit that you felt were unique. If you thought the business was great, be specific about why. If you had a bad experience, tell readers exactly what went wrong. No business needs 30 reviews that all say, “I loved it!” Try and add something new.

Be respectful: If you’re leaving negative feedback, try and keep it constructive. A good review should be helpful to both potential customers and the business itself. Constructive criticism gives the business room to improve.

Your First Review

You’re now armed with all the knowledge you need to start writing useful, balanced and helpful reviews for the businesses you interact with. Try writing one today!

If you’re a business interested in getting more positive reviews from your customers all you need to do is ask. Most customers will leave a review when the request is made, and our app can help. Get started now at www.2stepreviews.com and schedule a free demo today!