Online reviews and testimonials from customers are a way for businesses to build social proof and boost credibility. Reviews are very persuasive for potential customers who want to try new products or services. As the writer of this article from the Conversation points out: “In an age of information overload, feedback and reputation systems enable fast decision-making, providing us with the sense (or illusion) that we are in control as the decision taken is perceived to be informed.”
The snag is that it's not always easy for customers to distinguish a fake review from a genuine one. And even a single negative review can seriously damage your reputation and result in lost revenue. Weforum estimates that fake online reviews cost businesses a shocking $152 billion a year. So the question is, what can you do about fake reviews if they appear?
How to spot a fake review
Before we go onto what you can do about a fake review, we should probably take a moment to tell you how you can identify one. Here are a few key signs to help you spot a fake online review:
- First and foremost, pay attention to the tone used in the review. Does it seem over-the-top positive or excessively negative? If so, that's usually a good indication that the review is not genuine.
- Another sign to look for is unusual wording or phrasing; fake reviews often contain odd turns of phrases that real customers would be unlikely to use.
- Finally, take a look at the reviewer's other activity on the site. Do they only have one review? Are all of their reviews for the same business? If so, that's another red flag.
If you come across a review that meets one or more of these criteria, there's a good chance that it’s fake.
How to respond to fake reviews
If you do spot a fake review, the best thing you can do is ignore it. Responding will only give the review more attention and make it seem more credible. If you're absolutely convinced that you need to respond, do so in a calm and professional manner. Be sure not to stoop to the level of the reviewer by attacking them personally; this will only reflect poorly on your business. Instead, focus on responding to the specific claims made in the review. If possible, include links or other documentation that supports your position.
As a business, it's important to know how to spot a fake review – and how to deal with one if it does appear. By paying attention to key indicators and responding in a professional manner, you can minimise the damage that fake reviews can cause. If you believe that a review of your business is fake, here’s how you can approach it:
- Ignore it: In some cases, it may be best to ignore the review. This is especially true if the review is not harmful or if responding might do more harm than good.
- Reach out to the user: If the user has left their contact information, you can try to reach out to them directly and ask if they wrote the review. If they didn't, they might be willing to take it down.
- Report it: Most review sites have policies against fake reviews and will take action if they receive enough complaints about a particular review.
Maintaining a good online reputation
The best way to deal with fake online reviews is to have a good online reputation in the first place. That way, even if someone posts a negative review, it won't hurt your business too much because prospective customers will see plenty of other positive reviews out there.
So how do you maintain a good online reputation? By having a strong digital marketing strategy that includes both SEO and social media marketing. A digital marketing agency can help you develop and implement an effective strategy that will help you build and maintain a good online reputation.
Find out more about how we can help you with your digital marketing. With League’s digital marketing solutions, you can transform your business with an innovation advantage.