It’s pretty safe to say that Facebook is one of the top platforms today for companies hoping to build and enhance their social media presence.
With Facebook Pages, businesses can connect with consumers, respond to customer queries and concerns, share news and announcements, publish menus and catalogs, set up Call to Action buttons that drive engagement, and build buzz through “likes,” comments, and shares.
Need to keep up with what’s happening? Check out our summary of the latest updates to Facebook Pages for business.
Why Facebook reviews matter
In 2013, Facebook introduced a new Review feature, which allowed consumers to rate their favorite (or least favorite) local businesses on Facebook based on a 5-star rating system.
Since then, user-generated ratings and reviews on Facebook have become increasingly crucial in influencing the purchase decisions of consumers, similar to how dedicated review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor have made an impact on consumer behavior.
Facebook is a major factor in the path to purchase
As a social network that also happens to have the ability to connect businesses with consumers, Facebook can influence users throughout the different stages of purchase: awareness, consideration, and post-purchase. According to the 2015 Social Recommendations Index by advocacy activation company Social Media Link:
Awareness: 55 percent of consumers consider Facebook – along with retail websites – as the most common place to learn about new brands and products.
Consideration: 71 percent say that they “somewhat” or “completely” trust the content they see on Facebook – slightly more than those who say they trust retail websites (68 percent) and online communities for product / service reviews (66 percent).
Post-purchase: Approximately 66 percent of consumers are most likely to share on Facebook their thoughts, experiences, and opinions on their purchases; meanwhile, after purchasing, one-third will connect or engage with a brand on Facebook (while only 2 in 10 will connect via the brand’s website or community).
More consumers prefer to leave reviews on Facebook
When it comes to where people might prefer to leave reviews online, sites like Google and Yelp come to mind. But Facebook is actually gaining ground as the review site of choice.
In a 2014 survey of over 1,000 consumers in the US, Facebook was the preferred site for 24.5 percent of consumers looking to post online reviews of local businesses. It outranked Yelp (22.3 percent) and was second only to Google (31 percent).
“Facebook, when folks in the marketing industry weren’t looking, has become a major force in the review space,” said Mike Blumenthal in his report. “It is easy for users to leave reviews there from a login perspective and for many the interface is familiar and non threatening. Even though the reviewer does need to navigate to the business’ Facebook page, many seem to be willing to do so of their own accord and do so in significant numbers.”
Facebook can make – or break – a business’ reputation
The numbers suggest that Facebook reviews indeed matter – and more so every day. But one story involving a local family-owned jeweler in Boston paints a picture of how reviews on Facebook can quickly make – or break – a business’ reputation.
Early last month, Long’s Jeweler in Boston saw something strange happen to its local business Facebook Page: over 100 fake negative reviews had suddenly populated the Reviews section in a matter of a few minutes.
According Lynelle Schmidt, a representative of the business, Long’s Jeweler had always been aware of how shoppers relied on online reviews – posted on sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google – to guide their purchase decisions.
This was why she had worked hard to build great digital (and offline) reputation for Long’s Jeweler, helping the business achieve an overall rating of close to 5 stars on Facebook – which plunged instantly when the fake reviews started rolling in.
“We work hard to earn the respect of our community and those who shop in our stores,” wrote Schmidt in an Inbound.org discussion. “Sadly, all this hard work came crashing down for us. I was disheartened to see that someone had hired over 100 people to give us fake one-star reviews.
“In the span of just a few minutes, we went from a gleaming 5-star reputation to just barely over 2 stars. These reviewers live in fake places, went to fake colleges and had all rated the same businesses with the same rating at the same exact time.”
Two days later, the business was hit yet again with another wave of fake reviews.
According to Schmidt, Facebook did not immediately respond to her request to have the fake reviews taken down.
“When I went to try to contact Facebook to remedy the issue… the response was – no, there’s absolutely nothing we can do for you. All 100 of those reviews that clearly came from fake profiles within the span of just a few minutes didn’t serve as enough proof to Facebook to consider them fake.”
A week after the incident – and after readers on Inbound.org volunteered to report the fake profiles – Schmidt provided an update saying that Facebook was now (finally) looking into the situation.
Managing Facebook reviews
It’s obvious that Facebook reviews play a bigger part than ever in consumers’ purchase decisions. Hey, if your competitors have chosen Facebook as a place to post fake reviews and damage your reputation, you know that it must at least be as impactful as Yelp or Google.
To help you manage your presence on the social network, as well as attract more customers through positive reviews and high ratings on Facebook, check out these tips:
Enable Facebook reviews
According to a study, 80 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from local businesses with positive reviews on their Facebook Page. So it makes sense to want to encourage reviews on Facebook: if you can generate positive feedback from your happiest customers, your Page can attract more people, drive sales, and do wonders for your business.
To receive ratings and reviews on Facebook, you must first enable the Review feature.
- Go to Settings located at the top of your page.
- Click Page Info and choose Local Business as your Facebook Page category. (The Review feature isn’t yet available for, say, pages for singers or actors or authors.)
- You’ll then be given an option to make your business category more specific: restaurant, café, hospital or healthcare facility, hotel, etc.
- Click Save changes.
- Next, you have to add your business’ physical address or location. Again, go to Settings and click Page Info.
- Click Address and enter the information required, then tick the box next to Show map, check-ins, and star ratings.
- Click Save changes.
If you’d like to turn off the Review feature, just uncheck the Show map, check-ins, and star ratings box.
Respond to Facebook reviews
As the Facebook Page owner or administrator, you can show customers that you value their feedback by responding to their reviews.
This being Facebook, you can simply “like” a review that’s been posted on your Page. But we recommend that you also take the time to thank those who have left reviews of your business (positive and negative).
An option to respond to reviews will be available on Pages that have enabled the Review feature – and it’s similar to how you can comment on page posts on Facebook.
Delete negative Facebook reviews
Let’s start with a spoiler alert: you can’t delete reviews on Facebook – not like you can delete, say, unwanted comments on your Page or the photo of your cute cat that you accidentally uploaded.
What you can do is report a review to be removed from your Page – particularly if the review doesn’t follow Facebook Community Standards. This is the course of action that Long’s Jeweler took. Just go to the review in question, click I don’t like this review, and follow the instructions.
You can also disable the Review feature by unchecking the Show map, check-ins, and star ratings box in your Page information settings, or by removing your business address off your Page.
Track Facebook reviews and be vigilant
Unfortunately, what happened to Long’s Jeweler can happen to any business – especially in the most competitive industries. There isn’t (yet) a one-size-fits-all solution that addresses the problem of fake reviews, but you can play a part in helping minimize the problem.
By tracking your Facebook reviews regularly, you can stay on top of your business reputation and manage customer feedback. More importantly, you can put yourself in a position to report reviews whenever necessary and respond ASAP when fake profiles come to damage your Facebook Page.