Harnessing the Power of Product Reviews on Social

6 minute read, posted on 04/19/2024, by VXI Marketing

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U.S. consumers are 65% more likely to click an ad with a customer review, and another 66% say they’re “often” or “very often” influenced by customer reviews during the journey to purchase.

While responding to online reviews is crucial for driving revenues and managing brand reputation,  monitoring and managing them is very challenging. Reviews can take many forms, in hundreds of places, and in multiple languages. And the situation is intensifying with the proliferation, power, and reach of Gen AI and ChatGPT!

The good news is that your social media team can help. They’re already monitoring and creatively responding on multiple online fronts, and they have many of the skills and tools needed convert reviews into a brand benefit.

Our social media practice leader, Amanda Pollitt, shared her insights on reviews in a recent interview.

  1. How should a company just starting to manage reviews on social media begin?

It starts with selecting the right tools and targets. In my experience, you can pull reviews by website or channel, by product (from every site or channel), or by type of product (so you can compare to competitors).

The decision on which reviews to address first depends on the impact that responding will have. Some companies prioritize the products or sites with lowest ratings, products being actively promoted, or a rotating list of products.

As a starting point, some of the top sites you should be monitoring include:

  • Consumer review sites – TrustPilot, Consumer Reports, Better Business Bureau
  • Products – Online stores and marketplaces
  • Services and hospitality – Google, TripAdvisor, Travelocity, Expedia, etc.
  • Business as a whole – Google Business

One of our clients, LG, sees 1,500 reviews and inquiries weekly across all their sites, and responding takes five people.

  1. What systems are brands using to keep track of reviews?

Many brands are using Bazaarvoice.com and 1440.io. These tools allow us to tap into syndicated reviews, which are the product reviews you might find on retailer sites (e.g., Best Buy, Target).

Product teams typically choose platforms based on their CRM or social management tool. For example:

  • If you use Sprinklr, you would likely combine it with Bazaarvoice.com
  • If you use Salesforce, you would likely use 1440.io

If you are a service or hospitality company, choose Sprinkler. Sprinklr’s reach is very wide – 350MM sources!

  1. What’s your advice for responding to negative reviews?

When you encounter a negative review, the key is to acknowledge and engage, show you care about the experience, and demonstrate that you want to make things better. Often this involves moving to a private channel, email, or webchat to gather details about the complaint and make it right.

A typical comment we encounter is, “I just bought this product, and I can’t set up the app.” If someone has taken the time to post online, they’re at wits end – and there are probably many more people with the same concern. Try to provide an empathetic response that that helps everyone. Providing (or linking to) instructions reassures all consumers that support is available and that you stand behind what you sell.

And here’s a hot tip! After addressing the issue, ask any now-satisfied customer if they would be willing to modify the original review. About 15-20% of people will update their comments!

  1. How do you tell when a string of bad reviews is about to turn into real issue for the brand?

It’s not uncommon to see similarly themed comments on one website or social channel. However, if the same theme or trend jumps across multiple platforms, that’s when it’s about to become an issue. When this happens, you need to collect data and escalate. Your social team should be meeting regularly with other departments, such as marketing, operations, legal, PR, and product management. PR and legal can help you craft responses (and apologies), issue press releases, strategize on how to compensate, and so on. In fact, whenever the digital team has quantifiable product insights, they should share them internally to promote continuous improvement.

  1. In your professional opinion, how should a brand leverage a positive review?

When someone takes the time for a positive review, it’s time to celebrate – and possibly repost!

While it’s tempting to repost every glowing review, doing so may reduce overall effectiveness. Repost only those reviews that add value, spur an immediate purchase, or resonate with a new audience. Watch what the audience responds to; people will react, tag, and reshare if you’re doing it right. If there’s no reaction, you’re overdoing it.

At VXI, we like to repost unique, clever, or comparison reviews. For example, if a customer visits your restaurant, enjoys it, and then explains online how to replicate the meal at home, amplifying that recipe post may be wise. In reposting, you may attract an audience that wants to visit your restaurant but can’t right now.

You can also use positive reviews as social selling and cross-selling opportunities. When acknowledging a positive review, try extending a related or loyalty-type offer. If someone posts, “I LOVE the product and use it at the beach,” then you could respond with, “We’re so glad it’s working out! Thank you for your purchase! We hear that the product pairs perfectly with X….”

Managing reviews becomes even more important as technology evolves. Gen AI can already find, filter, and compare reviews globally in a few keystrokes. The longer you wait to leverage your social team for reviews, implement social listening technology, and take control of your brand’s online reputation, the bigger – and more critical – the eventual job of doing so becomes.

Contact us to schedule a meeting with VXI’s Customer Xperience Acceleration team (and Amanda!) to build a team that can harness the power of reviews to drive revenues.

About Amanda Pollitt

Amanda brings over 20 years of experience leading social and digital customer care teams. Amanda’s experience consists of developing digital channel strategies, designing, and implementing processes, and driving excellence for some of the world’s largest brands, such as Walmart, McDonald’s, Philips, Meta, and Starbucks. As VXI’s social media practice lead, she leads a team consisting of specialists in social media management and engagement, analytics, training, and SaaS enablement.

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