Where do your customers go when they have a question about your product?
Even more importantly, where do they go to find reviews about you and to leave reviews of their own?
If you think it’s your website or a review site like Yelp–you could be dead wrong.
There’s one social hub that’s emerging as the new king for customer engagement and review gathering, and it’s growing at 4x the rate of other review sites.
That’s right–we’re talking about Facebook, the 10th fastest-growing company in the U.S..
We spoke with Mandy Yoh, Head of Communications at ReviewTrackers, to find out how brands can maximize engagement and increase customer loyalty via everyone’s favorite social network.
How Facebook Reviews Work for Brands
There are several ways customers can engage with your page on Facebook beyond liking your page. For instance:
- Messages (customers can message you directly)
- Chatbots (customers can engage with your automated chat bot)
- Reviews (customers can leave reviews for local companies)
- Visitor Posts (customers can leave comments for brands)
- Community (mobile tab that includes photos from other customers)
- Check in (customers can “check in” to a physical store)
Today, we’re mainly going to cover Facebook reviews.
Not all brands are eligible to receive Facebook reviews. In fact, Facebook still hasn’t rolled out reviews for businesses without a physical address.
For instance, UNIQLO’s USA brand page doesn’t have any star ratings…
…while their local Denver store page does.
However, even online-only brands can get “Visitor Posts” on their brand page, which can basically have the same effect as a review.
Just check out the posts on the Lush Cosmetics North America page, which is not eligible for a star rating, but still gets the equivalent of reviews, minus the stars:
These posts can be shared, liked, and commented on–meaning other customers are free to engage with other customers.
Why Facebook Reviews?
Yes, there are other social platforms out there that can be really engaging, but Facebook is leaps and bounds ahead of the game at review gathering.
Here are several other big reasons why Facebook can have a big impact a brand’s relationship with customers.
Check-Ins are Prompted to Leave a Review
Once a customer “checks in” to your store on Facebook, they’ll automatically be asked to leave a review. Not just that, they can also add a photo, video, or add a “feeling.”
Here’s my check-in for Nordstrom:
After the customer’s checked in, Facebook will create boards of directories, take insights based on data sets they have around you, then customize the content that customer sees. Which brings us to the next point…
Facebook Customizes Content for the User
Many brands are investing in personalization platforms for their ecommerce site, so it’s important to know that Facebook is doing the same thing. A user’s behavior is will directly affect what they see on their newsfeed, the ads they get served, and more.
“What happens is that Facebook bubbles up insights that are relevant to a customer’s needs or wants,” says Yoh. “They are great at making it about you. They’re the only social media platform that has this level of review engagement.”
If there’s one thing we know, it’s that personalization is a huge part of the ecommerce equation, and will continue to be big in 2017. If brands don’t pay attention now, they could be left in the dark (or worse–in the red).
Facebook Shows Other Customer Reviews
Facebook also has an integrated review element, so you can see what others have said about that brand.
(There’s nothing like a little good-old-fashioned bandwagoning to get more people to review.)
“That sets the tone where customers are automatically more likely to engage with you,” says Yoh.
When a customer clicks on the Facebook review page, they have the option to sort reviews by “Most Helpful,” “Most Recent,” or “Star Rating.” In addition, they can like, comment, or share on another person’s reviews–which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how good the review is.
Why does this feature matter?
Consumers today are showing greater due diligence when it comes to spending hard-earned dollars–meaning they’re no longer trusting in native advertising, and instead, are looking for brands that seem genuine. Beyond this, people trust their peers, according to Yoh.
Yoh and her team ran their own study at ReviewTrackers, and from a sample of 500 women surveyed 54.6% claimed online reviews were more influential to their purchase decision vs. advertisements.
“On top of that, I’ve seen stats that show 84% of people trust an online review about a retailer just as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from their mom,” says Yoh. “We’re seeing the trends go in that direction.”
What are Best Practices for Gathering Facebook Reviews?
To start, you can’t lose when you start with customer-centric media: Photos, testimonials, videos–it’s a lot more incentive for your consumer to care and want to come back. Here are some of the most creative ways to gather Facebook reviews.
Leverage User-Generated Content on Facebook
Take this a step further, and leverage user-generated content campaigns to raise conversions.
One Facebook case study showed that adding user-generated content to Facebook Ads increased click-through rate by 300%, and cut both cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition costs by 50%.
There are three reasons to use these nontraditional customer testimonials, according to Yoh:
- Consumers want to see other consumers tell the truth about your brand
- It’s more engaging to have imagery or video attached to what you’re doing
- If you use a video of a customer, that’s yet another touchpoint
Learn more about user-generated content on Facebook in our blog post:
Deal With Negative and Positive Facebook Reviews Gracefully
You should deal with online reviews as if you have an audience watching you–because you do.
“Make sure to always respond and interact with customers out in the open,” says Yoh. “This also means dealing with negativity positively. It fosters trust and shows the customer is important to you.”
This may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many customer service fails happen on social media, simply because it doesn’t feel like a traditional review site.
Remember the Pigalle Restaurant incident? After leaving obscene responses to one reviewer’s disparaging remarks about the restaurant’s pumpkin pie, the restaurant owner attempted to explain why this happened:
Unfortunately, what this chef doesn’t understand is that this woman has left a legitimate review–albeit in a nontraditional way. It was up to them to respond in a way that built up the brand, and didn’t bankrupt it (which unfortunately, it did–Pigalle is now closed).
Personalize Your Facebook Review Feedback
Warning: This part of the process may consume a lot of your time–or your social team’s time.
However, it’s definitely worth personalizing your feedback to a customer.
“Show your customers you care by using names and any other personalization that is relevant to the situation,” says Yoh.
When you send a blanket response out to every single negative or positive Facebook review, it looks tacky. Alternatively, if you don’t respond at all, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to build trust.
How Can Brands Pull in Facebook Reviews on Their Site?
As you gather and respond to reviews and general comments on your Facebook page, don’t forget to build that up on your own website.
The fastest way to build up consumer trust in your site is by showing real customer feedback such as user-generated photos.
“A brand should be totally open about their interactions with customers–perhaps showing a feed on their site that pulls in customer feedback about their brand, or video testimonials from customers on their site,” says Yoh.
Another way to build rapport? Provide ways for your consumers to engage with your brand for fun or for help.
“Customers shouldn’t have to search for support,” reminds Yoh.
Highly visible support is especially important, because you may actually avoid the dreaded Facebook rant if customers feel they can easily resolve a problem. Better yet, make customer support the foundation of what you do.
This is part of the reason Zappos, Amazon, and other customer-centric companies have such rabid fans–it’s what drives their policies, whether it’s lenient return times or fast service.
In an age where consumers trust each other over brands, you can be the brand that transcends, builds confidence, and watches sales grow as a result.
What’s your strategy for Facebook reviews? How do you deal with negative reviews? Do you employ user-generated content in your marketing campaigns? Share with us in the comments below.