How To Handle Fake Reviews


Ian Domenegato

Fake news or fake reviews – what’s worse?

Believe it or not, fake reviews can be far more detrimental to a business! Why? The way consumers comparison shop online puts company reviews at the absolute forefront of any purchasing decision. 

Vague, sensationalized, and clickbait titles are the cornerstone of fake news and because of this, the information doesn’t stick with your audience for long due to the lack of detail.

Fake reviews on the other hand are harder to identify because they can easily come across as a real testimonial of your client experience, and influence future customers’ buying decisions.

In our e-commerce world, reviews have a high influence on your buyer’s journey. We know 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. And, while fake positive and negative reviews are illegal and good for no one, it’s become a lot harder to determine which is which. 

So here are our top tips to spot fake reviews and strategies for your business to get positive reviews early on.

Spot The Fake

While spotting a fake review is not a science, there are some revealing communication elements and flaws that allow us to more easily spot one.

Have you ever read a review that was SO EXCITED!!!!! to share how a product or service changed their life forever or was absolutely horrible!!!! and used an obnoxious amount of exclamation marks? Using lots of excited or frustrated punctuation may not seem like a huge problem on the surface, but the use of multiple exclamation marks mimics colloquial syntax and grammar on social media and messaging apps. Therefore, it makes a consumer more likely to believe a fake review because it uses a writing style people also employ every day, with people they’re close and comfortable with.

Think about the last time you left a review on something – you may have used 1-3 exclamation points to convey your message, but anything more than that is a tad revealing of what someone wants you to feel versus how someone actually experienced the product/service.

Secondly, is to keep an eye on people who leave reviews without purchasing. An MIT study found people that leave a review without purchase are more likely to make specific requests in their reviews such as: ‘please’, ‘offer more’ or ‘bring back’, etc.

This type of review is more problematic for the business owner since it’s common courtesy and good business practice to respond to every review. However, when reviews are flooded with requests based on people that have not purchased something it becomes a) time-consuming with low ROI to respond and b) takes up real estate making people less likely to scroll down for truthful positive reviews or requests. And the reality is, 89% of consumers will see fake reviews on a business profile, therefore, a business owner cannot afford to NOT respond thoughtfully for their reputation management.

So how can YOU harness the power of positive reviews?

Magnetic Marketing = Positive Presence

Since 85% of people perform some type of online research before making a purchase, your positive ratings are just as important as things like branding, content strategy etc in the beginning. So how do you get positive reviews early on to draw in new or repeat customers?

Ask for them!

Through client outreach and email marketing strategies, you can drive more reviews to your business, helping grow brand trust and confidence with potential customers and increase sales.

This strategy of quick outreach to get customer feedback helps businesses to resolve issues quickly and reduce customer friction.

The quickest and easiest way to strengthen your brand narrative is to proactively create it. Strategies such as offering services for free, that you KNOW you can over deliver on, in exchange for a review/testimonial is one approach. Another is to consistently ask your followers, subscribers, and current customers what they’re enjoying and how you can improve.

This type of feedback is known as ‘social proof’ and can be screen shot or copied and displayed as the actual love your business is receiving.

At the end of the day, great online reputation and review management strategies really help businesses stand out from competitors in a Google search. So, if you’re not optimizing your review management strategy, you may be driving customers away and leaving money on the table!

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Reviews

Creating a truthful and positive presence online is paramount for long-term growth and reputation. As your business grows, so should your online community and potential! That’s why identifying and mitigating negative or fake reviews early on is an important ingredient for your marketing efforts to pay off.

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