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Have you ever asked a friend or family member to submit an online review to your business Facebook page, and they didn't disclose their personal connection? What about your business Google listing? Have you yourself posted a glowing review of your business or a negative one of the competition?
You may be seen to be misleading
If you can answer yes to any of the above, it might be time to sit and rethink your strategy. Ultimately it's misleading the consumer and is, in fact, illegal under Consumer Law. Legal action has been taken by consumer watchdog ACCC numerous times for fake online reviews.
Fake reviews are just plain dodgy
Everyone wants their business to rank well against the competition, and having good reviews online will help lift you in the search results. But faking positive reviews is just plain dodgy. The fact is consumers are increasingly reliant on these online reviews to make purchasing decisions.
There's no such thing as an overnight success
Even omitting and editing reviews online, especially the negative ones can be seen to be misleading. Offering incentives or paying for reviews is another big no-no and can land you in hot water. On sites such as Airtasker, you will regularly see ads for people willing to pay others for likes and reviews of their social media pages and website listings. Obviously, it is tempting if you are a new business, as we all know online reviews are important. But there is no such thing as an overnight success, these things take time. Building your brand and getting exposure for your business will take both time and consistent effort.
So what should you do?
If you want to be seen as a trustworthy business and prefer to take the high road here are a few things you can do:
- Ask people who have used your services or products to leave a review.
- Display review site logos on your website or in your physical store.
- Manage your review process effectively, by knowing who will monitor and respond to your reviews.
- Always reply to both the positive and the negative. Silence is deafening to consumers. Make sure you reply promptly.
- Don't purchase fake reviews.
- Don't encourage your friends and family to give reviews.
As with everything, you've got to take the good with the bad. You will undoubtedly get negative reviews, but hopefully the positive ones will outshine them. All feedback is good because it provides you with an insight into how you can improve.
There's a better way to do business.