How to get more 5-star reviews on Google, Yelp, and Facebook
Remember the good ole days when your business’s reputation didn’t depend on reviews from anonymous people?
Take, for instance, these reviews of the Grand Canyon. Surely the internet trolls can’t ruin something as majestic as the Grand Canyon?
Au contraire. Even a Wonder of the Natural World has its fair share of negative reviews:
This user was underwhelmed:
Whereas this user chimes in with parenting advice:
No one is safe from the scathing pen or cruel jokes of the internet.
Your first instinct may be to attempt to remove fake or libelous reviews from your listing, but trust us – it’s an uphill battle that’s not typically worth the effort. A much more effective strategy is to suppress negative reviews with new, helpful, informative reviews from real customers.
What’s the best time to ask for a review?
This is the correct question to ask. It’s not about how, it’s about when. The best time to ask for a review is immediately after a service is completed or a product is received when the customer is 100% satisfied.
Can I offer incentives for reviewing my business?
Google and Yelp both discourage incentivizing reviews with giveaways or other promotions, and you run the risk of having your reviews taken down if you do. You may also enter into tricky legal territory; take, for instance, this company that was sued by the FTC for offering discounts in exchange for reviews.
Your safest bet is to ask our customers on an individual basis.
Here are 12 ways to get more online reviews for your business:
- Do good work: You didn’t come to this article for this advice, but it bears repeating. If you do great work, people will write glowing reviews. Typically, people tend to write reviews only if they have had an exceptional experience – good or bad. Make sure your customer experiences lean toward the former.
- Post-purchase follow-up email: The simplest yet most often overlooked option is to always follow up purchases, projects or appointments with a request for feedback with a prominent link to review.
Pro tip: Be as specific as possible when you ask for a review. Include where the review should be added, what you’d like reviewed (i.e. the process, the customer service experience, the quality) and why it’s valuable to your business.
- Ask a second time: Do not rely on your customer to remember the first time. Follow up a second time about a review.
- Display it on your website: Include testimonials linked directly to your Google business listing and offer an option for them to add their review.
- Email signature link: It might be a good idea to include a link to review your business on Google in certain employees’ email addresses.
- In-person rating: During the transaction process, set up an iPad and include a Google rating as an optional final step of their experience.
- Add it to your sales and/or support process: Train your team to send a link to review your business on Google (or Facebook) at the completion of a transaction or after offering support.
- Give incentives for your employees: Offer simple perks to employees for gathering customer testimonials, like a gift card or group treat (pizza party, anyone?).
- Create a button: It’s easy to create a button, either as an image or code, and add it to your website, email, and other digital assets.
Outside of these tips, we also recommend responding to every single review. Harvard Business Review found that businesses that respond to poor reviews actually earn higher reviews on average.
How do I request a review?
Make it easy for customers to review your business by providing a direct link to the review platform of choice.
How to request a Google review
To request a review of your company on Google, first, sign in to your Google My Business account. Once you sign in, navigate to your home screen or dashboard and you will see a section called “Get more reviews” that will generate a direct link to review your business on Google.
How to request a Facebook review
Facebook also offers the option to directly link to your reviews. First, you’ll need to log in to your business manager account. Then, navigate to Settings > select Templates and Tabs from the left side panel, then scroll down to Reviews and click Settings. It will share a link you can copy directly to your clipboard.
Are incentivized reviews illegal?
Yes, asking for reviews in exchange for cash or discounts is illegal. Incentivizing reviews is also frowned upon by most 3rd-party sites and may result in your reviews being taken down.
How do I remove bad Google reviews?
You cannot remove negative reviews on Google. However, if a review is fraudulent, follow these steps:
- Respond within 24 hours: Yes, even if it’s fake. Your prospective customers will see the review, real or not. Respond calmly, addressing their concerns, offering a solution, and gently asking about their status. Here’s an example:
“Hi there! I’m sorry you had a bad experience with our team. We take your feedback very seriously and would like to take all steps to right any issues. However, we have no record of you being a customer. Could you please contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can investigate this further?”
- Flag the review: This will alert Google and hopefully they will eventually remove the review.
How does Google decide which reviews are most relevant?
Google has not publicly stated how their “most relevant reviews” algorithm works, but it is likely to favor longer reviews with “high quality” words that are descriptive about the product or service and include specific characteristics.
Have more questions about getting reviews for your business?
Our team of marketing experts can help you improve your digital presence.