In the world of digital marketing and ecommerce, brand reputation is critical. The reviews customers leave on your social media page, website, and other sites could majorly impact the success of your small business. According to Forbes, 90% of internet users read product reviews before committing to buy. That’s a lot of consumers seeking out reviews on your product or service. This tempts businesses to increase popularity by leaving their own reviews. The plan may seem harmless, but it could damage your brand in the long run.
If you’ve been considering leaving your own reviews online to influence consumers, think again. Here are a few of the reasons it’s important to never leave your own online business review.
Your Reputation Could Suffer
If potential clients realize a review was left by the company themselves, your page begins to lose credibility. There’s a reason a consumer reaches out to friends, family, and now the internet, to determine if a product or service is a good fit. Simple calling the company will always result in a positive review because a company won’t downplay their own product or service. In other words, Self-reviewing is dishonest, because it can’t possibly be unbiased.
Seeing self-reviews online could put a bad taste in the mouth of those who see it. Reputation tarnishing is a serious problem, and once consumers feel your brand is dishonest, sales will dwindle. Almost 50% of adults in the United States Google search a business before interacting with them. That means about half of your potential customers are coming to you through a search engine and could be privy to your self-promotion. This could result in a bad review, and a negative review impacts business success by 22%.
Google Knows You Left Your Own Review
Search engines play a huge role in the success of any online marketing campaign. To this day, search engine optimization is one of the most popular methods of marketing management available. It’s no wonder with search engines accounting for 91% of information searches online. This means staying in Google’s good graces is crucial to the success of your business.
Unfortunately, Google tends to be picky about the algorithm they use for search engine ranking. One of the things they penalize businesses for is fake reviews. A review you’ve left for yourself could be deemed fake because it wasn’t left by an actual customer. Anything flagged by Google as fake or spam could have long-term negative results on your brand’s reputation and visibility.
Competitors May Call You Out
Even if you get past the watchful gaze of the Google bots crawling for algorithm rule-breakers, there are others who might catch your faux pas. Many business competitors search out their competition to check on things like web design, search engine rank, and review success. If a competitor sees a review you’ve made on your own business, they may report you to Google, or the review site you’ve commented on. This could result in your review being removed from the site, or the heftier penalty of losing your visibility through Google.
Even if you’re sure your local competitors aren’t snooping around to see how they compare, it’s a good idea to forego the self-proclamations.
Increase Your Positive Reviews Naturally
One of the most overlooked, but successful methods of receiving consumer reviews is simply asking for them. When you perform a service or sell a product, ask your customer to tell you how you’ve done. Make it easy by sending a link to a survey, a review site, or your own website review section. Customers are more likely to leave a comment if you remind them, or they think it’s a personal request.
If you have a blog, vlog, or manage social media accounts, ask your readers to help. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out to your audience for their current opinions on your brand. Be sure to take any negative comment that arrives in stride, as even negative comments can shine a positive light if managed properly.
Ask a Reputation Manager
When in doubt whether a review tactic could impact your reputation negatively, consider contacting a reputation management company. These firms specialize in building brands up online and removing unwanted negativity associated with a business. Your reputation manager can more thoroughly explain the cons of a self-review, and point you in the direction of more natural review accumulation.
Want to learn more about online reviews, reputation management, and online marketing? Schedule a free consultation.