For modern businesses, negative Google reviews can feel like their make or break – but how you respond and manage bad reviews, determines the potential impact.
It is vital to have a review strategy in place, so let’s look at what marketing tactics you can use to manage any negativity that comes your way, and how to handle reviews without the stress factor.
The Power of the Google Review
Customer feedback is massively valuable and can help us improve our businesses, products, services, and client experience across the board.
Managing reviews, being proactive about requesting feedback, and taking the time to address any adverse ratings is crucial! Taking the initiative is all about reputation management, so ignoring bad feedback can only stand to make things worse, or reinforce the validity of the review for prospective new clients. If you assume your customers are happy – and they aren’t – it is impossible to know what changes you might make that would instantly improve your Google ratings.
OK, so we know the value of reviews and allowing your customers an independent forum to air their experiences. However, negative reviews are not to be feared!
Positive reviews provide that feel-good factor, and attract new customers – but don’t give any scope for improvement.
Negative reviews are an opportunity to showcase how much you value your clients, with a public medium to deal with the issue.
Learning and growth are integral to the success of any organisation, and having the humility to accept when things haven’t gone well adds that personal, human touch.
Some businesses can also see a conversely positive effect, when having dealt with bad reviews professionally, thoroughly, and with the dedication to putting things right.
One of the most disastrous things you can do, if you’ve got negative Google reviews, is to ignore them. The second most disastrous thing you can do? be defensive! And the icing on the cake? Assigning an untrained member of staff to ‘make the problem go away’.
Here at Woya Digital, we have dealt with countless crisis response issues and damage control initiatives, and they almost always have a common thread. Companies might see social media or their digital presence as solely a marketing ‘technique’ – and devaluing the critical importance of these public spaces can be damaging.
If you appreciate the importance of your online presence, and how this touchpoint marks the first impression almost every client will have of your business, that sets the tone for handling negativity with a constructive attitude.
Here are a few things to think about, before firing off an angry reply:
Is the review accurate?
Can you correct the situation?
What has this taught you?
How can you make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again?
Great responses always work to provide a solution, where possible, and work with the customer to give the business a chance to understand what’s gone wrong. And EVERY review should be responded to, whether positive or negative.
A customer who takes the time to write down how they feel is your secret weapon in organic marketing, so always take the time to reply thoughtfully, promptly, and with thanks for the effort taken to provide constructive feedback about your service.
The Negative Review Tool Kit
OK, so you’ve had a terrible review, it’s splashed all over Google, and your five-star rating has just dropped down a notch.
It’s not a great feeling, but it’s how you deal with it that matters now.
Take your time to read the review, understand the problem, and investigate the facts. Replying without knowing what’s happened internally can make things much worse, so make sure you have all the information you need before entering into a discussion.
Always respond – even if to acknowledge the feedback, and advise that you are investigating. Yes, sometimes customers see this as a ‘cop-out’ – but only if you never do get back to them!
Discuss the situation with your staff, and ask for honest appraisals about the situation. There are two sides to every story so, while the customer is king, don’t be quick to place blame or fault without everybody having the opportunity to have their input.
Respond publicly. It’s always tempting to send off an email or have a private call. These are great to follow up with, and demonstrate how seriously you are taking the situation! However, a lousy public Google review with zero response is not a good look.
Acknowledge what went wrong. We’re all human, mistakes do happen, and there’s nothing negative about owning up to your shortcomings.
For whatever reason, someone who spends money with you feels unhappy. Always be apologetic for the inconvenience or the upset – because drilling down into the cause can be a powerful way to prevent any recurrences.
Ask questions! If you need to know more, or you would like to understand why your customer is upset, ask them for the information you need.
Provide a solution. In some cases, a disgruntled customer might not want a replacement product, a refund, or some other compensation, but you should always offer.
If your customer is satisfied with your response and the way their concern was handled, you can request they update their review; with no pressure!
If you’ve responded, offered your appreciation for the feedback, given a solution, provided context where appropriate, and apologised – you’ve done everything possible.
Keep your cool, be calm and respectful, and NEVER resort to bad language! Customers will see this just as clearly as the poor review itself, and so your response shows how your marketing team deals with problems – which can be a big fat positive.
Ever seen a review where a customer claims they haven’t had delivery, or that nobody has responded to a customer services enquiry? If the reply below is polite, adds a little context, or offers an apology and a fast resolution, you would be far more likely to trust the business to have your back if something does go wrong, and deal with them in future.
Dealing with Fake on Malicious Google Reviews
Now, there is another potential scenario and one that can feel a lot more complex to unpick. What do you do when you’ve had a negative Google review, and you believe it to be inaccurate or malicious?
Fake reviews are infuriating, however again, keep your cool. Fake reviews do happen, and it is a by-product of the digital era that sometimes, people will post malicious content for no reason other than to cause disruption.
Problem: You’ve received a Google review, and believe it to be untrue.
Solution: Respond explaining your perspective, and ask for clarity if the customer believes your information to be inaccurate. Always be respectful, even if you suspect the reviewer is just after a freebie!
Problem: A bad Google review is fake.
Solution: If you’re certain a negative review is fake, you should still respond. The best solution is to present the facts explaining why you believe the review isn’t legitimate.
Problem: Your business is the target of malicious fake reviews.
Solution: We’ve all heard of competitors using this marketing tactic to discredit rivals – and if you are sure a review is fake, you can submit a request to Google to remove it.
Negative reviews can feel like a marketing disaster – but by following a clear strategy, and knowing the best techniques to manage your response process means they don’t have to be. Remember that reviews mean you get to understand what you’re getting right, and what you’re getting wrong.
By placing equal importance at both ends of the spectrum, you can improve your business visibility on Google, and present your business in the best possible light, in any scenario!
For more support with growing your digital presence, leveraging online marketing tools for business growth, or help with optimising your online activity through the intricate art of SEO, get in touch with the Woya Digital team.
Google is a big beast – the most visited search engine in the world, it processes 3.5 billion searches every day and is increasing by about 10% year-on-year. You may think your small, locally-focused business can’t really benefit from Google, but the truth is, it really can: Google’s facilities for local businesses are some of the most important online marketing tools you could ever hope to utilise, and best of all – they’re free!
One of the greatest tools available for local businesses online is Google Reviews; yet these are often feared by small enterprises. We’ve all read news articles of small businesses going ‘rogue’ on Google Reviews and writing witty, harsh or firm responses, but this aside, there’s real business benefit to be gained from using the service correctly.
Here, we uncover the ins, outs and optimisation potential of Google Reviews to identify how best they can contribute to your online marketing efforts.
What Are Google Reviews?
Google Reviews form part of Google My Business functionality online. Alongside the business information lodged with Google for search users to find, (such as your name, address, business information, opening hours, directions and website details) users can leave a review on how they found their experience with your company.
All of this information combined reassures Google that your business is real, does what it says, and that it is in fact located where you say it is. Google will feature your local business alongside others on Google Maps, and rank businesses in order of what the algorithm determines to be most relevant to each users search criteria.
Google Reviews are (should be!) honest and unbiased customer experiences documented as part of your Google My Business online presence. They’re similar to TripAdvisor type reviews; written by individuals, but within Google and not hosted on a third-party website.
How Do Google Reviews Work?
Google Reviews are written by customers who choose to take the time to write them. When a Google user is on a Google My Business listed, they’ll see the option to ‘Write A Review’. They can then go on to complete a form with a 1 to 5 star rating, and share their thoughts, feelings and experiences on their interactions with your company. This review will then be posted alongside any others on your Google My Business listing.
Local businesses aren’t able to write reviews on themselves, but they do have the option to respond. Businesses should (must!) respond to all reviews – positive, neutral or negative! In some cases, if you suspect a Google Review to be unfair or fake, a request can be submitted for it to be removed.
How Do Google Reviews Impact Search Rankings?
Google Reviews may seem like just another part of the many online marketing priorities small businesses have to juggle, but in fact, they’re very important!
Google Reviews add a great degree of authenticity to your Google My Business listing and increase the algorithm’s judgement of ‘trustworthiness’ from your brand. Local businesses with reviews will rank higher in the SERP (Search Engine Page Results) than those without reviews, and will feature a snippet of a positive review (if there is one) in the shortened version of the listing. Googles search algorithm changes all the time, but at present, Google Reviews are only second behind otherwise organic search ranking in their SEO priorities. This means that a local business’ first priority should be basic SEO; and their second, Google Reviews.
Google likes reviews because they confirm the credibility of your business as well as provide a good indication of how well you’re thought of in the local area, and the quality of your products or services.
Why Do Google Reviews Matter?
When customers (both potential and existing) search for local products or services, they know that what they’re seeing is primarily a marketing presence – after all, we all understand that it’s 2020 and we need to present ourselves well online when we’re talking business.
This means that more than ever, people value genuine, personal experiences shared; it’s the digital version of the typical word-of-mouth recommendations that business have thrived on for years! Google’s algorithm agrees and embraces third-party independent news and views on your company and its products and services. Without Google Reviews, everything on your Google My Business is technically just marketing.
How Can I Encourage Customers To Leave Google Reviews?
Of course, the success of your Google Reviews is dependent on actually having them, and it’s an important for you to make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave you a review. There are lots of ways to encourage your customers to leave you one, and these include (but are not limited to):
Set up a bespoke link for your business’ Google Reviews so that it’s as easy as possible for Google users to access the ‘write a review’ page (this is easily done through your Google My Business suite)
Email customers after their purchase/visit, share with them the link to leave a review, and ask if they would’t mind
Include a link to leave a Google Review on your regular email newsletters
Post a link to leave a Google Review on your social media channels
Showcase the best reviews and share them to social media channels – people are often more likely to leave one if they think you may share their words onwards
Take onboard any constructive feedback given in reviews and respond to them stating how you intend to enact any changes. People love to feel as though they’ve contributed positively!
How Else Can I Utilise Google Reviews Of My Business?
Shout about your reviews! Your website designer will be able to channel recent reviews directly from Google to your website so that any visitors will be able to view them. Also share your 5 star rated reviews on your social media channels to increase their visibility.
Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment! If you’re a local business owner looking to increase your business visibility, check us out and get in touch!
If you have the ‘Pages’ app installed on your phone or spend time in Facebook’s scheduling and publishing tools, you’ll have noticed a big change – gone is the yellow and orange Pages functionality and in is the new, blue, professional looking Facebook Business Suite.
Facebook remains one of the biggest marketing tools for businesses of all types, shapes and sizes, and with the company now also owning Instagram, the stakes have been raised even higher. Business Suite is the latest development in Facebook’s professional offerings for companies, and it’s one you’ll need to get round asap if you work in the digital marketing, social media or advertising space.
So who, what, when, where, why? Let’s break it down…
Who Needs Facebook Business Suite?
… anyone who runs a business Facebook Page – but it’s not a case of physically having to make the effort to go and install it and start working with it; it’s already there!
What was the ‘Pages’ functionality on Facebook (usually on your smartphone or device as a separate app, or in the menu section of your Facebook feed) has been automatically replaced with Facebook Business Suite. If yours hasn’t yet, stay tuned – it’s being rolled out across all territories over the space of a few weeks, so should be with you soon.
Instagram advertising and business management, including insights, can also now be accessed from Facebook (they own Instagram, after all) – so if you run an Instagram account that’s either a Creator or Business category account, you too will need Business Suite.
What Does FB Business Suite Do?
Business Suite intends to act as a ‘one stop shop’ for all of a business’ social media marketing needs; hosting all functionality in one place for both Facebook and Instagram’s business tools. Once your Facebook and Instagram accounts are linked, all messages, insights, sponsorship opportunities and page details will sit within Facebook Business Suite.
It’s expected that Business Suite will grow and expand its functionality over the next few weeks and months, but for now, its functionality includes (but is not limited to):
Basic Facebook Page admin – including changes and updates to existing information
Scheduling and Publishing functionality – to allow you to post to your business Page and to plan content ahead of time. For the first time this includes scheduling to your Instagram account, which has long been something only achievable through the use of third party apps for Instagram users, so will be a real help to those managing a busy presence on the platform!
Advertising management – including the planning, amending and payment of adverts across both Facebook and Instagram
Messages – to and from those engaging with your Page, including automated responses and common ‘FAQ’ functionality
Insights and analytics – on your audience, content and performance across both Facebook and Instagram
Whilst Business Suite does everything Pages did, it adds in the same capabilities for Instagram too. This truly integrates the two social media channels to allow each to be planned for, published to and analysed in a way that doesn’t involve having to switch back and forth between different apps, platforms and statistics, and datasets.
Where Can I find Business Suite?
It’s currently being rolled out across all territories, so don’t panic if you don’t have it just yet – it’ll be on its way!
If you use the Pages app on a smartphone or device, it will be automatically replaced with FB Business Suite at its next update, if it hasn’t been already. If you don’t have the app but would like to, it can be downloaded now from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store (provided its available in your country or territory – if not, download Pages and wait for the update).
If you use Pages through the desktop version of Facebook, click through to your Pages and when available, you will be prompted to enter Facebook Business Suite and start looking through the new features and functionality.
If you visit business.facebook.com to manage your social media marketing for Facebook, you’ll find this now automatically redirects to Facebook Business Suite.
How Does Facebook Business Suite Impact Me?
Business Suite is the newest functionality Facebook has to offer for businesses, so if you use Facebook or Instagram as a business, you’ll be forced to use it. This isn’t a bad thing – the functionality is easy to use and much improved upon previous iterations of its business offerings – but it will take some getting used to – as any change on social media does.
As you’ll find once you start using it, Business Suite streamlines both Facebook and Instagram’s business functions and makes things easier to navigate than ever before. With clearer analytics and enhanced functionality, it makes growing and developing your online business presence simpler and faster.
…What’s This We Hear About Whatsapp?
If you have a Whatsapp Business Account and use the Whatsapp Business app, you can sync your account with Facebook Business Suite. At the moment, analytics and messaging functionality is minimal (Facebook don’t own Whatsapp, but they work with them) as the companies develop more systems together.
It can only improve from here!
The best way to get started with Facebook Business Suite is to access it and start having a play around, but if you’d like more info or support on how best to optimise your social media marketing, get in touch – our team at Woya Digital would love to have a chat!
You may not even be aware of it yet, but Facebook Creator Studio is the latest update for ‘Page’ owners and administrators who use Facebook and/or Instagram for their small business social media management and marketing. So who has it, what is it and how can it help with small business growth and social media presence? Read on …
What is Facebook Creator Studio?
Facebook Creator Studio is a one-stop-shop for the management of Facebook Page content. It acts in place of the existing Facebook Publishing Tools, Facebook Ad Manager and Facebook Pages App so that everything to do with your Facebook content can be managed from one place.
How do I find It?
Facebook Creator Studio is being rolled out gradually across different counties and territories, so although some accounts will automatically direct you to it when you click your Facebook Publishing Tools link, others won’t.
If you attempt to manage your Publishing Tools and find that you don’t yet have automatic access, simply type ‘Creator Studio’ into the Facebook search bar to find it. If you’re still unable to access it, don’t worry: it may just be that it’s not yet been rolled out to your account.
How is it Different to Existing Management Tools?
Historically, Facebook’s page management tools have been split into several different apps and places; accessible either through the usual desktop Facebook site or a standalone Facebook app that interlinks with your Facebook account. Whilst some recent integration has seen Instagram ads become more aligned with Facebook’s own Ad Manager (facilitating the management of both from one single place), there has never before been one single point of management for all of a business’ content across both Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Creator Studio gives consistency to the management of a business’ social media marketing no matter the size or type of company – it offers the same opportunity for small business growth as it does a large corporation, albeit they may not quite be matched in terms of advertising budget. Creator Studio combines, aligns and simplifies Facebook page content management tools for businesses.
Despite being more streamlined than its predecessors, it does have more options and facilities than previous tools. Notably, it holds the ability for the user to upload, manage and schedule all content across both Facebook and Instagram from a single place – something for which a large degree of small business marketers and social media managers have previously used (and often paid for) third party websites and apps. Indeed, this update is so comprehensive that it’s a possibility we see some third-party programs no longer needed, as users move across to Facebook Creator Studio.
What can Creator Studio do for Video Content?
Gone are the days when video content was considered a ‘nice to have’ marketing perk for big businesses who splashed cash on professional production. Facebook Creator Studio has moved with the times and made it easier than ever for businesses to manage their videos. A content library acts as a central video storage location and allows users to upload and schedule videos across any pages within which they hold an administrative role. Multiple videos can also be uploaded at the same time.
Videos can be used in page Stories, both on Facebook and Instagram.
What Insights does Creator Studio offer?
Facebook Creator Studio amalgamates all insights from both a business’ Facebook and Instagram presence, as well as allowing the user to split them out and see them separately. Insights available on Facebook Creator Studio include, although are not limited to:
Performance – the views, likes, reactions, comments and overall engagement on all content across pages and cross-posted
Audience – insights into the audience who are viewing a page’s content – their age demographics, locations, languages spoken and read, and the interests they hold and engage with on Facebook and Instagram
Loyalty – track the consumer behaviour of the audience viewing and engaging with your content, including their following habits, viewing and re-watching, what they engage with the most, and how often they return to engage with your content
Earnings – track the monetisation and income of content that includes ad content – such as videos with ad breaks within
Will it help me Monetise my Content?
Any business looking to monetise their content across social media; be that directly through advertising or indirectly through other purchase behaviour; are able to explore and venture into new ways of doing so through Facebook Creator Studio.
This includes ad breaks in video content (similar to YouTube), brand collaboration opportunities and community partner payouts. For the first time, larger businesses are able to target, communicate and negotiate with smaller brands to work with them and advertise alongside them without having to fork out for hefty agency fees. This is ground not yet covered by any standalone social media network, but instead only by specific brand advertising agencies and businesses.
All income and monetisation through Facebook and Instagram can be held and managed in one place within Facebook Creator Studio, allowing for flexible monetisation and a diversification of income within a portfolio.
Does my Small Business need Creator Studio?
Yes! However, if you don’t start using it soon, you’ll be moved to it for your Facebook Pages management anyway!
There is also a handy App (available for free on the App Store and Google Play) for use as an on-the-go management tool – allowing you to respond to queries and messages, oversee your monetisation and income and manage your scheduled and published posts right from your mobile device without having to switch between apps or wait to access a computer to use the desktop version of the Facebook website.
Facebook Creator Studio has some fantastic functionality already, and there’s undoubtedly more to come as updates are released. If you have not yet checked it out, we suggest taking a look and familiarising yourself!
Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment! If you’re looking for affordable digital marketing support for your small business, get in touch for a persona chat!
Small, local business marketing can be challenging – it can so often feel like your message is lost, in the ether of big-budget firms investing heavily in ad campaigns and influencer sponsorship. Interestingly, the biggest of the big corporations has designed it’s own features to encourage small business growth online without having to heavily invest in social media marketing – introducing Google My Business.
What Is Google My Business?
Google My Business (GMB) is the all-encompassing Google facility for small businesses, allowing them to carve out their niche in both their local area and with a wider audience online. GMB gives a local business marketing opportunity in the midst of its huge global presence.
When you google a business, if it has an office, shop or location, you’ll find a listing to the right-hand side of the top search engine results with its basic details: name, photo, address, phone number, other contact details, opening hours, link to website. This information is all populated from a GMB account and gives a premium overview of small business information.
Google My Business also increases your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This helps to boost your web presence, ensures your name and address appear on Google Maps when users search online locally, and gives the ability for those searching on Google to access reviews on your business. All of these features help drastically with online business growth online.
How Much Does Google My Business Cost?
Unlike most local business marketing, GMB is completely free to use! Businesses are free to invest into paid search and other advertising practices on Google if they so choose to, but to claim and maintain a Google My Business listing, is free.
How To Claim Your Local Business Listing
Claiming your GMB listing couldn’t be easier. Simply go to www.google.com/business and sign up to a new account if you don’t already have one. Follow the instructions and fill out the relevant online form to start the process.
For security purposes, and in order to fully verify that you are the owner of the business you’re trying to claim on GMB, a postcard will be sent in the post to your primary business address. Once received, follow the instructions on the card to unlock and activate your listing.
Why Is It Important for Local Business Marketing?
Google is the search engine master, with over 63,000 searches completed per second every day of the week. The word ‘Google’ has become a verb, and it is now by default the easiest and quickest research option for people all over the globe – no matter their query.
To put it simply: where you don’t appear, your competitors will. With Google being the default search engine for most people, it makes sense for your small business to be front and centre of their related queries… and if you’re not, they’ll end up going to your nearest competitor.
Post On Google My Business
Businesses don’t need to make much extra effort to post to their GMB any more or considerably differently than they would their usual social media presence. It is important to post regularly, but posts can be re-purposed from other social media channels. Just amend post text wording so the content isn’t entirely identical, and you’re good to go!
Google loves varied content, so when posting to Google My Business, be sure to mix it up. A good variety of updates and text, photos and offers will keep the algorithm happy and ensure your small business shines.
Local business marketing has come a long way since it relied on notices in parish newsletters, signs by the sides of roads and leaflets posted through doors. Now, business of every shape, size and type need to have an online presence and Google My Business is the ideal way to manage just that. A call to action can still encourage both potential and existing customers to contact you in the manner of your preference, but positions you as experts in your field and as ‘top of the listings’ when anyone searches for anything related nearby.
You may only serve and sell locally – but your customers may now come from all over!
Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment! If you’re a local business owner looking to increase your business visibility, check us out and get in touch!
These are (as you’re completely aware) ‘unprecedented times’ for business. Across the globe many companies, particularly SMEs, are struggling to operate as normal. Through the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing market impacts, businesses must continue to invest in marketing and business growth where they can to ensure they have a business to go back to when things revert to (dare we say it?) ‘normal’.
Google have been working in a variety of ways to help local businesses continue to trade. One such way they’re doing this is through the creation of Google My Business Support Links.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business is a one-stop-shop for businesses to manage their presence across Google. This includes (but is no means limited to) their entries on search results, contact details, map locations, photos and reviews. It’s free to manage and is an invaluable marketing tool, especially for small and local businesses.
What is a Google My Business Support Link?
A Google My Business Support Link allows customers to support your business online, even if they’re not able to currently come and visit you at your physical premises in the way they would normally. This is through 2 types of support links, which we detail below.
Types of Support Links
There are two types of Google My Business Support Links: donations links and gift card links.
Gift card links allow customers to do as is plainly indicated – purchase a gift card. Gift card links can link through to either a page on your website or to a supported gift card provider. The gift card bought can then be used at a later date by the customer in exchange for your goods or services to the value of the card.
Donation links link through to fundraising page provided by a supported supplier and allows customers to donate to your business without expecting a product or service in return.
The donations and purchases made through Google My Business Support Links can be a fantastic way to keep money coming in to your business, and to promote continued business growth by encouraging customer loyalty.
In order to install Google My Business Support Links, your business must fit the following criteria:
Have been verified on Google My Business by 1st March 2020
Must have a physical store presence
Must be based or operating within a list of various countries – the UK is one of them
How to hold a Successful Google My Business Support Link Campaign
If you are eligible and believe that your business would benefit from launching Google My Business Support Links, now’s the time to get on with it! There are some ways to optimise your campaign’s reach, and we’d recommend the following:
Use Google’s marketing tools to create posters and social media posts to promote your support links and drum up awareness and support from your community and customers
Keep messaging positive, but honest. Let your customers know how much you’re looking forward to seeing them again and can’t wait to get back to business as usual!
Stay focused and be specific! If you intend for gift cards to be used for a certain purpose or have a set idea for them, say so. If your donations are to be used toward funding something specific, state so. Explain why you need and value their support so much.
Google have again demonstrated their commitment to small businesses with the launch of Google My Business Support Links. For more info visit the Google Help Pages.
If you have not yet claimed and registered your Google My Business account, we suggest getting this done as soon as possible. This will allow your business to make use of Google support initiatives into the future. If you need support in getting this sorted, don’t hesitate to shout out to us at Woya!
Woya Digital is making business growth through digital marketing affordable for any business through our pay monthly marketing packages, with no upfront investment!