Have you ever wondered how to increase online reviews using Facebook? You are not alone! People rely on Facebook reviews and other online reviews because of their accuracy over time. Of course, not every single review reflects the customer experience perfectly, but an aggregate review score quickly tells new customers what type of experience they can expect at your business.

Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to getting Facebook reviews or improving reviews and ratings overnight. If customers regularly have a subpar experience then your ratings will reflect that and the only lasting way to change ratings is to improve your customer’s experience.

#1 Facebook Recommendations

In late July 2018, Facebook announced several major changes to the presentation of its mobile app. While the majority of the changes were done to better personalize the user experience, local business pages also got an overhaul. This was an effort designed to help more than 1.6 billion people connect with small businesses in an easier way.

  • “Reviews” in the navigation menu are now called “Recommendations” and are more prominent on the business page navigation.
  • Historical star ratings from “Reviews” remain visible on local business pages.
  • Users will now be able to recommend specific features of a local business, upload text reviews that meet a minimum word count and add photos.
  • Business page owners can now give feedback on the recommendations for their page.

As stated in the official update, Facebook is making Recommendations from the users more helpful: “People use Recommendations to ask their communities where to go, where to eat, or where to shop. We’re making those Recommendations more prominent on Pages.”

#2 Make it known

Sometimes people just need a reminder to leave a review. Usually, they don’t think about it or realize how vital it is to a business. If you let your customers know how much recommendations mean to your business, you’ll be sure to get some comments.

Getting your first 10 recommendations should be simple. In order to build your confidence ask family members who have already visited your business to leave an honest recommendation. This is an easy way to get started and to gain some momentum and get Facebook feedback.

Think of all the people you spend time with on a weekly basis. There’s a great chance they’ve been to your business and an even greater chance they’ll leave you a great recommendation.

This next round of invites will be sent to friends that you might not see on a weekly basis. Think of any groups that you might be a part of like a softball team or a community garden. Send recommendation invites to familiar faces on this list who’ve visited your business.

If you run a reputable local business, then you’re probably on pretty good terms with a variety of vendors. Not only have they visited your business but it’s in their best interest to see you succeed. This is a great opportunity to get Facebook recommendations.

In reality, the most effective way to collect recommendations is to send invites shortly after a customer completes their transaction with you. Since this audience has no other tie to you than your business, prepare yourself, because they will be more forthcoming with customer feedback than the other groups you’ve invited already.

#3 The long haul

Your reputation is built in every interaction you have with your customers. And just like any relationship, it’s built over time not overnight. Leveraging a consistent flow of customer-generated review content is quickly becoming a go-to marketing tactic for local businesses. What’s driving this trend? Primarily two things. The influence peer-to-peer feedback has on our decision-making and how Google uses review content to inform local search ranking.

Customers online seek to validate the quality of your service before engaging with you. A platform like Facebook that receives 1.62 billion users daily should be considered for this purpose. Not to mention, most customers would prefer getting a recommendation or referral for a business from their friends or family before resorting to a Google search.

Customers turn to social media as sources of information, and Facebook continues to be considered one of the most reliable platforms out there. Customer testimonials act as a form of social proof for your customers to verify the credibility of your business. This is an opportunity for you to build your business and reputation management efforts by interacting directly with these customers through Facebook.

#4 Bad Reviews

Even bad reviews can drive conversions. Businesses are built by humans, and humans make mistakes. Customers on Facebook are willing to see how you handled a bad review and resolved the issue. Here, you can use the opportunity to turn around a negative review by showcasing your rockstar customer service skills.

Yelp saw more 5-star reviews in 2020 than in the last two years, and Brightlocal’s annual survey showed a general increase in people who have written reviews: “72% of US consumers have written a review for a local business – a big jump from 66% in 2019.” Twenty-two percent of them even said that they wrote reviews in order to help local businesses weather the pandemic.

#5 What about SEO?

Studies over the years have indicated that some reviews and review practices count more towards your position in search results than others.

According to Whitespark’s 2020 local search ranking factor survey, these are the review factors that may affect your search performance today:

  • Quantity: More Google reviews are better.
  • Positive sentiment: Positive reviews are better.
  • Keywords included: Reviews that contain keywords related to your products or services tend to be better.
  • Site authority: Highly reliable review sites are important.
  • Quantity of negative reviews: Negative reviews (both negative sentiment in reviews and low star ratings) can weigh against you in search results.
  • Fake reviews: Reports of fake reviews on your Google My Business listing can negatively impact your search results.
  • Review gating: If you are asking customers if their experience was positive or negative first and then only asking happy customers to post a review, this will have a negative impact.

#6 Say thank you!

Every time someone leaves a review, reply to that review with a comment. This shows customers that you are thankful for their feedback.

You can say something like “thanks so much for letting us know what a fun time you had. We love to hear from our customers!” A personalized message to each customer shows that you are a customer-oriented business.

From there, share the review on Facebook so everyone can take a look at this new feedback.

If you get a negative review, don’t delete it. Simply respond and address his or her concerns. That customer may be out of line, but they still deserve to be heard. Apologize for the user’s experience, and offer a solution to resolve the complaint if that is appropriate.

Other customers will see the negative review and will value your transparency. They will see that you took ownership of the situation and tried to make it right. This counts for a lot.

Saying thank you for reviews works a lot like karma, you will get more reviews as a result.

What review sites should you concentrate on?

Here are some of the best review platforms that accept solicited (but not incentivized) reviews:

  • Google My Business (GMB): Google compiles information about a local business into a single listing that should be claimed and managed by the business. This is the most important listing for your business for local SEO because Google favors its native listing service and reviews over other sites.
  • Facebook: The social media giant doubles as a reviewing platform. 200 million small businesses use Facebook, according to Facebook.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): An organization that accredits businesses that double as a reviewing platform.
  • Trip Advisor: A travel industry listing and review site that features attractions, restaurants, and hotels.
  • Yelp: A popular online directory for discovering local businesses and reviews.

Continue to Build Brand Confidence

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of positive online reviews for modern brands. Most customers check them before ever deciding to work with you. Wouldn’t you like more control over your image?

Getting people to provide positive reviews can be challenging, but it’s something that will help your business be more successful. The tips in this guide can help increase the number of positive reviews and get more business. Let’s chat about your strategy for increasing your online reviews. Contact us today.