When last did you dine at a new restaurant without checking it’s online rating? OR book a hotel? OR enlist a service? We’re guessing you really had to think about it. Reviews are the new word of mouth and according to the Bright Local ‘2016 Local Consumer Review Survey’ – 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

So, what are your reviews saying about your company and what is the best way to handle your digital reputation?

The rise of social Media Reviews:

Reviews are a huge part of any B2C business these days, in fact, reviews made on social media have increased eight-fold since January 2014.

These public platforms are transforming the way brands interact with their clients. Social media has given consumers a voice and they are using that voice, not only to complain but to praise businesses, creating healthy competition amongst competing brands. Let’s have a look at who the most reviewed industries are:

  • Restaurant
  • Lifestyle (Gyms, Entertainment)
  • Hospitality
  • Retail (Malls)


The interaction for these industries vary across relevant platforms but you can be sure that if your company falls under any of these categories and you have a negative review score (1 star – 3 star), it will result in a loss of sales and new customers. +- 90% of consumers will read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business, so your reviews are basically an online elevator pitch to potential clients.


Negative Facebook Review Tab                                          Positive Facebook Review Tab

Responding to reviews

The proof is in the pudding and the way you handle online reviews will ensure consumers trust you and feel like they are being prioritised.

When answering reviews, you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does the review have a negative or positive tone? Reviews don’t always match the rating, you need to establish exactly what the review is saying before responding.
  2. Is your response in line with your brand tone? Your brand has a personality, staying in line with that is important for brand continuity and for customers to be able to relate to you.
  3. What do you want the outcome of your response to be? If a review is negative, there must be a call-to-action for the customer to send you their contact details if you don’t have them, this will lead the customer away from the public eye and allow you to conclude the issue offline.
  4. Have you personalized your response? Consumers hate feeling like a number, make sure you address the person by name and answer their review with a relevant response.

Negative reviews can often be turned into a positive experience, if they are handled correctly. Sometimes the customer is not always right, and other consumers will often look past an imperfect score, if they see a reasonable, honest reply which is handled with good intentions.

Social Places & Go Review.

Right, so how does this translate for brands with multiple locations and 1000’s of reviews though?

Social Places have developed a proprietary software that helps businesses manage their reviews from multiple platforms including:

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • TripAdvisor
  • Zomato
  • Foursquare
  • Wining & Dining

The Go Review platform aggregates reviews from these sites and allows users to respond and manage them from one dashboard. It also packs powerful reporting mechanisms which allow businesses and franchises to pull data on a store and brand level and distinguish exactly what its customers are complaining about.

Go Review Reporting


The software also boasts an instore customer feedback tool aimed at increasing popular reviews online by allowing customers to share their positive experience on their favourite social media sites. Negative reviews on the other hand are kept offline and sent to the managers via sms and e-mail to ensure they are dealt with while the customer is still in-store

Take a look at the Go Review customer journey:


Go Review Customer Feedback Process

Go Review instore customer feedback journey


The bottom line:

As long as you have customers, there will be reviews and how you choose to manage these reviews will directly affect your business.

In the competitive world of Social Media, there will always be someone who is one step ahead of you, so our advice is this:

  • Choose a few of the main Social Media sites that are relevant to your industry and own them! There are new sites opening every year, it can be a mammoth task to try to keep up with them all.
  • Never assume that your business will keep its positive reputation, Social Media is volatile and you must be aware of your reviews and the tone in which your customers are speaking about your brand.
  • Utilize professional services to help you manage your online reputation. These companies can assist you with powerful data insights and quicker response times, as well as, freeing up your time to ensure you are giving your customers the best products and services you can.

Check out the Social Places website for more info on how we ensure that you look as good online as you do in real life. www.socialplaces.co.za

Thanks for the read ✌