Do more with your existing Google Reviews

Everyone talks about how to get more Google reviews, but very few talk about what to do with the ones you already have!

I’m a Level 7 Google Reviewer. I have over 450 reviews, and 250 photos that combined have been seen over 1.5 million times. I’ve answered over 3,000 questions about businesses just like yours. I’ve never been paid a single penny for any of these reviews.

Now, there are two main ways that a business I’ve reviewed can interact with me once I’ve left my feedback, and if you’re a small business owner, you’d be wise to do them both.

The first, easiest, and strangely, the least common way is to give that review a review of your own. All you have to do is click the thumbs up button under their review. Why does this matter? Well, reviews that have a lot of thumbs pointing upwards are given more credibility, for one. But your upwards pointing thumbs also act as a reward to that reviewer.

As I’ve said, I’m a Level 7 reviewer. I’m a Local Guide, so I get a neat little digital badge, and access to some meetups and small perks now and again. Nothing earth shaking. But the more I review, the higher my rankings go. And in order to earn my Expert Reviewer badge, one of the things they measure is the impact of your reviews. That’s right - I can’t earn this badge until I reach 50 thumbs up. And on my nearly 500 reviews, I have a paltry 33 thumbs.

Now, that might be due to folks not appreciating my reviews - they’re not all five stars, after all. But it’s also a bit of apathy both on the part of review readers and businesses, who are missing out on a way to interact with reviewers, and help showcase the reviews they find truly helpful.

So, my first suggestion is to give out those thumbs to the positive reviews you get on Google. You’ll be rewarding people who have taken the time to talk about what you’re doing well, and that only helps to drive brand awareness and fosters a real sense of connection. Also, it’s my experience that once a review has a thumbs up, others follow suit.

The second is a bit more time intensive, and that’s the reply. I know, replying to reviews isn’t always fun. There’s negative comments, trolls, people who just can’t be pleased, and so on. But you don’t have to engage everyone - in fact, I would suggest against it. Instead, respond to positive reviews with thanks, and ways to follow up if they have suggestions. When bad reviews come in, talk to the reviewer in the reply. Ask them to follow up with you on what went wrong, offer suggestions or solutions where you can, and still thank them for the feedback. Not every negative can be turned to a positive, but other people reading these reviews will at least get to hear your side of the story, and will see a brand that’s actively engaged with their audience, for good and for bad.

Remember, engagement isn’t a one way street. It’s not even a two way street. When it’s done right, it’s more like a friendly tennis match - lots of back and forth, and hopefully, a bit of an audience to see how well you play the game, so that when it’s their turn to serve, they’ll know they’ll have a few good rallies, regardless of a few errant shots.

As always, if you have questions about your website, your logo, your social media strategy, your marketing plan (or lack thereof), we’re always here to help! Drop us a line, or follow us on Twitter at YourBlackPug. We’re always happy to hear from you.