Facebook isn't always the first place business owner's think of when it comes to online reviews, but Facebook reviews are becoming increasingly important.
Everyone from grade schoolers to great grandparents uses Facebook, so if your business doesn't have a presence there, you're leaving money on the table.
No matter what demographics you're trying to reach, a significant chunk of your dream audience is on Facebook, where they're sharing shopping recommendations with friends and perusing reviews written by strangers.
Use the social media giant to your advantage when trying to attract new customers or boost sales.
Why Facebook Matters
Once upon a time, Facebook was used only by American college students. Those days are long over.
In December 2016, Facebook reported an average of 1.23 billion daily active users and 1.86 billion monthly active users - up from 1.59 billion monthly active users at the end of 2015.
The site's massive audience just keeps growing and, because its members span the globe, you can use it to reach nearly anyone.
Reviews on the Rise
An exciting fact for businesses is that Facebook users aren't only using the site to socialize - they're sharing recommendations.
Consider BrightLocal's Local Consumer Review Survey 2016, which included more than 1,000 Americans. It found that Facebook is the most popular way consumers recommend or review local businesses.
- In 2016, 47 percent of consumers reported that they had used Facebook to recommend or review a local business to others within the previous 12 months (up from 30 percent in 2015 and 16 percent in 2014).
- When asked the same question about other review sites, Facebook had a huge lead over Google (25 percent), Twitter (22 percent), Yelp (16 percent), TripAdvisor (15 percent) and other review sites (10 percent).
Did you get that? It bears repeating:
More than Google or Yelp, Facebook is the number 1 site that consumers use to review and recommend businesses.
Exposure and Ease
When you ask customers to write Yelp reviews, they may or may not already have a Yelp account, and those who don't are unlikely to open new accounts just to review you.
On the other hand, it's more likely than not that a significant chunk of your customers are already on Facebook, so writing you a glowing reviews takes minimal effort.
All those Facebook users have built-in audiences: their friends.
If one person writes you a positive review, it's automatically shared with all their connections, which is a huge boost to your exposure that costs you nothing. (Of course, negative reviews spread just as easily, which is why you want your customers to only use Facebook for positive reviews. More on that in a bit.)
It's Not Just About Facebook Users
"Okay," you might think, "so people who actually use Facebook might be talking about my business." But it's more than that.
Even non-Facebook users will now see what kind of reviews you're getting.
When you search for a specific business on Google, a box on the right side of the results page shows an overview of the business, with photos, hours of operation and highlights of Google reviews the business has received.
This box also now includes review scores from Facebook and other sites. So if you have high ratings on Facebook, anyone who Googles your business can see that... even if they never go to Facebook!
How to Get Facebook Reviews
The survey mentioned earlier found that 7 out of 10 consumers will write a review for a business if asked.
Here's how to get started getting those Facebook reviews:
1. Create a Facebook page for your business if you don't already have one. Include lots of pictures and information. You can then invite friends and customers to follow the page:
- Navigate to your business page and click on "More" under your cover photo.
- Click on "Suggest Page."
- Follow the directions to upload the email addresses of your customers. Any of those customers with Facebook accounts will then see a recommendation for your page.
2. Ask satisfied customers to write reviews. Make a habit of ending transactions with "How was your experience with us today?" or a similar question.
- If the person says that it was good, say something like "Great! We'd love if you'd share your experience on our Facebook page." or "Glad to hear it! Be sure to review us on Facebook." Of course, don't be pushy - casual and friendly gets the job done.
- If the person is noncommittal or negative, ask what you could have done better. If you're able to address the person's concerns, consider asking for a Facebook review. If the person is leaving upset, don't mention it of course.
3. Write occasional posts for your Facebook page, and share photos, information on upcoming sales or events, and funny jokes or anecdotes. End some posts with lines like, "Did you visit during our last sale? Leave us a review to let us know what you thought!" to encourage more useful feedback.
4. Systematize the way you seek reviews. One of the most valuable tools for getting customers to regularly post positive reviews is automated customer feedback software such as ReputationStacker, which sends your customers a simple one-question survey about your business. Happy customers are directed to the review site of your choice where they can post a review, while unsatisfied customers are directed back to you so you can address their concerns. This is the easiest way to consistently get positive online reviews.
What If My Customers Don't Have Facebook Accounts?
Remember, Facebook isn't the only review site consumers use, and you want to have a presence on all the major sites.
If you ask for a review and the customer says, "I don't have Facebook," you can say something like, "We're not picky! We'd love for you to review us on Yelp or Google."
Diversification of review sites ensures that customers can sing your praises across multiple platforms.
Isn't it time you start organizing what your'e doing to get more positive online reviews?
You can do it manually or you can easily reach out to every satisfied customer you have and harness the power of Facebook and other sites by using an automated system like ReputationStacker.