A few weekends ago, I was out shopping, and my shoelace broke. Taking a good, hard look at my well-worn old sneakers, I realized that it was probably worth replacing more than just the shoelace. I pulled out my phone and Googled nearby shoe stores — and Google Maps showed that there was one not too far away.

I arrived at the store, excited to find a fresh new pair of kicks, but my excitement was quickly quashed. The store was a total mess, and no one seemed available to check inventory or help me try on shoes. 

I pulled out my phone again and started looking for another nearby shoe retailer — but I couldn’t help glancing at the search result for the store I’d just visited. There was an option to leave a review, and I felt like I owed it to people to warn them about the condition of the store. I left a one-star review mentioning that the store was messy and the salespeople were unhelpful.

I didn’t expect what happened next. 

Half an hour later, I received an email from the store. They apologized profusely and explained that the store was messy because a child had just stormed through and torn everything off the shelves. The staff was very sorry, as I’d caught them before they’d had a chance to clean everything up. The email said that the store was hoping I’d return so they could apologize in person and give me the assistance I was looking for.

 

Social reviews = social proof

I went and changed my one-star review, and returned to the store a few days later to buy a nice new pair of sneakers. With just one email, the store turned a lackluster customer experience into an excellent one. Thanks to new technology, this is becoming increasingly common — which is why it’s essential for brands to be able to analyze, understand, and respond to social reviews in real time. 

Social proof through reviews is what drives trust and decision-making in the consideration stage of the customer journey. For retailers, it’s especially important to be able to manage reviews from customers nearby. According to G2 Crowd, 93% of consumers use reviews to determine if a local business is trustworthy. That means people from the surrounding area are rating your business online. If you’re not monitoring your social reviews, your brand’s reputation could be at stake. 

 

Managing social reviews with Social Studio

The responsibility for managing social reviews falls to social marketers. That’s why Salesforce has built new support for analyzing and engaging with Google My Business reviews right into Social Studio. One of the most exciting new functions is the ability to assign local managers to respond to reviews through the Social Studio mobile app. 

In a situation like my shoe store story, a social media manager could assign the review to the local store’s manager, who would have a much clearer understanding of the problem (the child who tore up the store) than the remote social media manager would. After receiving a push notification on their phone, the local store manager could respond to the customer within minutes, who would receive an email telling them that the store has replied to their review. 

This has a flow-on effect. Prospective customers will notice that you’re actively reading and replying to reviews, which creates a deeper level of trust. And just like me, customers are often willing to go back and amend their negative reviews once you’ve resolved a problem and made things right. 

 

Social reviews impact brand reputation

To effectively manage your brand’s online reputation, you need to be able to analyze social review data and learn from it. With the Google My Business review analysis dashboard in Social Studio, you can see which retail locations have the highest and lowest star ratings. This can help you understand common traits shared by high-performing locations, and what can be changed to help under-performing locations turn things around. 

You can also analyze review data from across the entire web, pulling from hundreds of review websites that mention your brand name — even if your business isn’t tagged in the conversation. This is particularly useful because it delivers insights about what drives negative customer sentiment for your competitors. You can use this information to your advantage and position your brand as different from competitors when responding to your own reviews.

Social reviews equal social proof and can have a deep and lasting impact on brand reputations. Brands who don't invest in this space risk ceding ground to their competitors where it matters most — in those initial search results where customers are comparing their options.

Want to learn more about social reviews? Check out this demo of Social Review Management and Google My Business in Social Studio.