Have you recently purchased an expensive device? An online course or service, perhaps? We assume that it took you some time to pick out the right one for you. Does this mean you’re indecisive? Not necessarily. Nowadays we’re surrounded by countless options, no matter what we seek to purchase – and that’s quite confusing.
What helps us decide? Well, for one, recommendations play an important role – preferably from people we know, or from people online. This is why these days, it’s essential for any business to have a review management strategy. In a macro view, it is a key component of any business’ reputation management system. And it all starts with the term UGRs.
UGRs (User-Generated Reviews) is a general name for reviews and comments posted by your clients on platforms that enable testimonials such as Trustpilot, Google, YouTube and other social media networks. In essence, these UGRs make it much easier for us to separate the wheat from the chaff, with the help of the wisdom of the crowd. And this means that you need positive UGRs in order to make your brand or product the most attractive choice in your potential customer’s eyes.
But how can review management be done? After all, whether your clients post complimenting UGRs about you or not isn’t in your control, right? Well, not entirely.
Reading online UGRs (Image by Freepik)
Can’t spell UGR without you
Truth be told, nowadays most people are well aware of the fact that a vast majority of online information is promoted in some way or another. Whether it’s news articles or a YouTube fashion vlog, you already know that there’s a big chance that there’s some hidden motive behind this piece of content that you are exposed to. And that’s another reason why we are super-suspicious about what we consume online.
While UGRs do seem more authentic, they can also have a “driving force” behind them. Let’s say that you go to a restaurant, and the shift manager offers you a free dessert if you leave a good review. While this means you were motivated by the business to leave a good review, it doesn’t mean that the UGR you create is not authentic.
Does this mean you should neglect marketing efforts? Absolutely not! Even today, uploading prompted content about your brand is valuable to marketing efforts, but it should come hand in hand with an effort to boost your UGR presence. In a world in which there are countless competing brands offering your potential clients a proposal similar to yours, it’s fundamental that you differentiate yourself from your competition. And we claim that UGRs can do just that.
User-generated reviews are just that – user-generated. Not promoted. And that makes all the difference. A few positive testimonials may be much more helpful for your sales efforts than the most polished and convincing marketing text or video. But there’s one major problem with UGRs: To make them work for your benefit, you must have some kind of ongoing review management system. Reputation management should definitely not be done offhandedly.
A woman rating a business (Image by Freepik)
The logic behind reputation management
First of all, it’s important to understand how potential clients scan through UGRs: What aspects of online testimonials are most important to them?
- Your brand’s average score (if the platform shows it)
- The ratio between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ UGRs
- The amount of UGRs posted about your brand
- The most negative UGR content.
Yes, your potential clients are likely to focus more on the negative reviews, or even read them only. And this raises a few issues.
First, satisfied clients do not tend to post UGRs. Unhappy clients, however, do. This small fact may harm your brand’s online presence even if most of your clients are satisfied with your services. Second, clients may (unjustifiably) post negative UGRs about you and exaggerate about their bad experience, just to take revenge. Third, your competitors may post fake negative reviews about your brand to harm you, or even promote their brand inside these reviews (“I tried this company, it was a total disaster. The ABC company, however, was much better”).
How do you manage this? Take it from a reputation management company.
- You can encourage your clients to post testimonials online. Most of them are satisfied with you, they may just need a nudge or a motive to post a UGR.
- Do you suspect that some of the negative reviews posted online about your brand are fake? You can report them. If you are successful, these testimonials may be removed.
- Respond to clients leaving UGRs, but not just to the negative ones. Engaging with your clients publicly moves you up a notch in the minds of your clients, even if not all reviews about you are positive.
- Some of these platforms let you claim your profile on their websites. Trustpilot, for example, does, and so does Google My Business. This gives you much more control of who, what, when and where.
These are some of the main tactics for monitoring UGRs. They can be used in two main approaches, AKA reputation management strategies.
The two UGR monitoring strategies
The first strategy is named JIT (Just In Time). This reactionary approach means acting only after bad reviews start causing havoc to one’s online presence and trying to minimize damages.
The second strategy is called JIC (Just In Case). This proactive approach means ensuring you have sufficient positive reviews at all times and making sure clients continue adding them, even if your score is currently acceptable.
Let’s have a look at 2 brand profiles from Trustpilot and witness the differences between them.
As you can see, this company has a distinct majority of positive reviews, but also quite a lot of negative ones. However, the fact that so many people posted reviews about it makes this brand much more credible than other companies that have the same overall score, but with a smaller number of reviews. Also, this company responds not only to bad reviews but also to positive ones, which implies that they maintain customer relationships successfully.
In this example, on the other hand, you can see a company that has extremely low ratings, and a small number of reviews. Almost ¾ of the reviews posted about it are 1-star reviews – and some of them are most likely phony.
This company does not monitor its reviews and does not respond to bad ones (or ask the platform to remove them). Its team might wake up in a few days and beg for people to write good reviews about the brand, but it’s too late. It’s not likely that this company is going to be perceived as credible.
Indeed, when handling large quantities of reviews, monitoring your business’s online presence can get quite frustrating. But there are several ways to tackle this.
No review management software? No problem!
We understand that it’s a lot to take in at once. Ideally, there should be some sort of organized way to monitor UGRs on the varied platforms, but for the moment there’s still no review management software that can help you with this.
We recommend that you assign someone specific in your firm to be in charge of monitoring your brand’s online presence and nudging your clients to post UGRs. If you don’t have the right person to do it, you should consider hiring the services of a reputation management company.
Buzz Dealer is a digital marketing firm that helps companies utilize content such as UGRs in their favor. But it’s not all about UGRs. There’s way more to reputation management than just managing reviews, especially if you’re an online brand, a global one or a digital-first one. The right way to do it is to have an Online Reputation Management agency taking 360° care of your brand’s online image. For that, we encourage you to contact us.
Even if your business is not digital or global (a physical business, a local business or both), our review management platform can help you stay on top of all of your reviews, set alerts, reply to reviews, generate more reviews and monitor your online reputation. It’s currently in its Beta stage and will be fully launched soon.