Anyone who owns a small business knows how dangerous and damaging fake reviews can be. It is simply too easy for online accounts to be created, using them to leave negative or positive reviews about businesses they have actually never worked with. This makes reputation management more difficult as well. Yes, there are lots of policies in place to combat fake reviews, but other than taking a review off if it is flagged up and the teams agree that it is fake, there is little that these policies achieve.
How Fake Reviews Circumvent the Policies
Sometimes, a fake review is easy to spot. They will discuss something irrelevant to the company, or they don’t use actual words at all. But sometimes, a fake review is just blank, leaving one star with no explanation. You can flag those up with Google, but there is little they can do about them, since it is almost impossible to prove that they are fake. You telling Google that a negative reviewer actually wasn’t a customer is impossible to do. Plus, the system is set up in such a way that people who are not customers are able to review you. All they have to have had is a “customer experience”. They may have browsed your store, for instance, and that qualifies them to leave a review.
Reputation Management for Fake Reviews
Reputation management for fake reviews is all about knowing how to respond. It is infuriating to receive one star fake reviews, and to watch some online troll destroy your reputation, which took you many years to build. It is incredibly upsetting, and it can be tempting to respond furiously. This is why the first thing that you must do, is to calm down and take a deep breath, after which you can respond appropriately.
The solution is to actively share your dilemma. Use your social media pages, for instance, to screenshot your negative reviews and tell your customers that you feel they are fake, asking them for their opinion. Your loyal fan base will immediately cheer you up with the fun things they come up with. Fake reviews are left in an effort to harm you, and the best thing that you can possibly do is turn that around, using them in a way to improve your reputation overall. Sharing with those you know who care is a great way to achieve that.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are fantastic platforms for this. People have become incredibly witty online, and the placement of a couple of good hashtags can even make you go viral. The best thing is that it is likely your trolls will see it, and the satisfaction of knowing they know their attempts backfired is great.
Removing Negative Reviews
Sometimes, it is possible to have negative reviews removed. Sometimes, however, it is not. If that happens, you need to encourage a few four and five star reviews, so that your overall ranking becomes more positive. In fact, you can make that 1 star review work for you, because most people find a 4.2 to 4.5 star ranked business more trustworthy than a 5 star one.