Everything multi-location brands need to know about handling fake reviews online.
Reputation management is more important than ever for multi-location brands. Currently, reputation is being dictated by online reviews and social media conversations and there’s one question that we see time and time again: what do I do about fake reviews?
Now, it may seem shocking, but every once in a while… People LIE on the internet.
How can brands stay on top of this new-age of PR without digging themselves a hole or leaving the online review scene altogether? We dug in deep to find answers, asked the experts for their advice, and put together steps any business owner can follow.
FAKE (OR EXAGGERATED) REVIEWS
Almost every business has encountered a negative review in its lifetime. But what action can you take if the review is exaggerated, from someone who isn’t a customer, or worse- just plain false?
Most review platforms, including Facebook and Yelp have a “flag” option that allows for the removal of inappropriate content. So dealing with these things should be simple, right? Just click “flag” and BAM! You’re polishing up those shiny stars again.
Unfortunately, these flags are mainly meant for posts that violate community guidelines. As there’s no surefire way to discern whether or not a post is fake, most communities will opt to leave negative reviews up in the interest of maintaining the neutral stance their platform relies on to be trusted. This leaves brands in a place where they have to take matters into their own hands.
So what can you do? For starters, don’t disable your review pages or delete accounts. Reviews are a powerful tool for brands and it’s important to have control of your online presence through this medium. 80% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, making them a revenue-generating piece of your business.
Instead, we begin by determining the issue. Social Media and Reputation Management Experts like the ones at SOCi say, “You can’t control what is being posted online, but you can control where the discussion goes.” When responding, it’s important to remember 3 things:
- Avoid getting defensive.
- Don’t feed the trolls.
- Take the conversation offline.
[bctt tweet=”You can’t control what is being posted online, but you can control where the discussion goes.” username=”@meetsoci”]
Now, if your page has been spammed with fake negative reviews, there are several steps you can take. Yes, this may seem like a daunting process but experts continue to recommend taking the high-road. Here are some options to consider:
- Respond at your discretion.
- Hit with multiple reviews? Flag or report.
- Reach out to the network’s Support team.
Review the community guidelines for popular review platforms here:
Facebook Pages, Google My Business, Yelp.
If a network decides to not take down these reviews, you can reach out to your customers to let them know what happened and encourage positive feedback. Although it may be tempting, do not counter-attack by posting a high volume of positive reviews. Customers will be able to sense the inauthenticity, just as you did.
SOCi VP of Enterprise Sales leaves us with these last words of advice for dealing with fake or spam reviews:
Don’t Assume a review is fake
Don’t Respond Aggressively always be professional.
Don’t Threaten with Legal Action when you are responding.
Don’t Forget to Flag the Review if the review breaks site policies.
Don’t Ignore fake or spam reviews. Take action.
Want the whole guide to dealing with fake reviews? Download it here: