A great review or testimonial goes a long way when you are trying to close business.
Your potential customer will want to make sure they are making the right decision by closing a deal with you, or making a purchase, so they will instinctively look for testimonials or reviews from your previous buyers.
Reading reviews from your satisfied customers will give your new potential clients the confidence they need to go through with their purchase.
Face it — these third party, unbiased reviews hold more water than anything that you could come up with via marketing or sales materials.
Who better to believe than someone who has bought your product or service in the past, and was so happy with their decision to hire you, that they will willingly vouch for you in a public way?
If you want to be successful in business, you need to leverage testimonials and reviews.
And, it is up to you — the business owner — to make it easy for your target audience to find these testimonials.
Leveraging social media to make use of positive reviews and testimonials is very logical, as many of your potential clients will discover you — or seek out information about you — via your online presence.
Here are just a few ways to get more out of your testimonials and reviews, and where social media fits into the equation…
It might feel awkward, but if you want to collect testimonials and reviews from your satisfied customers, you’re going to have to ask for them.
A good time to ask is after you have delivered your service or product, and your client is happy, and they have given you a compliment.
The thing is, people love sharing positive reviews and being grateful, but it doesn’t always occur to them to give a formal testimonial on social media.
If someone is happy with your product or service, and it feels right and not an imposition, kindly and respectfully ask for the testimonial.
If you have done a good job of building rapport with your customer, they will be happy to do it.
Don’t offer a “bribe” by ways of a discount or offer in return for the testimonial, as that can diminish the experience of doing a noble deed with integrity and authenticity for the client.
2. Control the conversation as much as humanly possible.
Unfortunately, when it comes to social media — or, the Internet in general — there’s always going to be someone who wants to cause ruin and destruction.
When it comes to your business, you need to be prepared to protect your brand.
That means, controlling the conversation regarding your business — as much as humanly possible.
Some third-party platforms — such as Yelp and Google — offer a place where people can submit their critiques of businesses.
The intention, of course, is to recommend (and help grow) businesses that offer great products and services, while warning people about businesses that don’t deliver on their promises.
Those are good intentions.
Unfortunately, platforms like these are often breeding grounds for trolls, haters, or ruthless competitors who get a little drunk with power when it comes to posting reviews.
Their reviews might be unfair or overly entitled. Their testimonials might be hateful or prejudiced as a result of a personal vendetta. They might be biased because they want to sink a competitor. Or, they might come from someone who just has nothing better to do than to cause drama online.
Sadly, the platforms themselves can’t seem to do much about these suspicious reviews and testimonials, because they allow anonymous or difficult-to-trace accounts to post.
They might take a long time to rectify the situation, which can be harmful to a business in the mean time. In some cases, they’ll suggest that they will help “hide” or delete the negative, uncalled for review if the business pays a premium.
It’s kind of horrible. But, it happens.
While a nasty, one-star review among a sea of 4 and 5-star reviews might seem like a mischievous misdemeanor for the perpetrator, it could be devastating to a small business owner’s livelihood.
We live in age where online, anonymity has bred a lack of empathy.
So, the business owner’s hands are kind of tied.
Which is why you, the entrepreneur with everything to risk, needs to go out of your way to protect your reputation.
As much as possible, control the conversation about your brand by moving it to your social media platforms — as opposed to third party platforms that have their own agendas and that you have no control over.
Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook will allow you to approve of and delete questionable reviews. Also, since the reviews have to come from people with real accounts, it is easy for anyone to “background check” these testimonials, which should give them added confidence.
This is much more credible than posting anonymous reviews, yet some consumers might see this as working too much in favour of the entrepreneur.
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of removing yourself from social media altogether.
While you will never control everything that is said about you and your business on the Internet, abstaining from it means you are no longer a participant in the conversation.
You can’t protect or build your brand if you are absent from the conversation.
3. Re-purpose social media reviews on your own website
Speaking of controlling the conversation, make sure you transfer your best and most relevant reviews from social media to your company website.
Your website and social media platforms work together to grow and engage your audience. I talk about this extensively in my online course, “DIY Social Media For Entrepreneurs”.
Your social media profiles and pages on LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are going to help you reach out to your target audience, and engage them, and grow that audience.
Your website is going to help convert that engaged audience into paying customers.
You need reviews and testimonials on both your website and your various social media platforms.
You can copy, paste, and screen capture your best reviews from social media onto your website, where potential clients might be looking for endorsements for your product or service.
To add credibility to your reviews, back-link to the original social media reviews, so that people can see who posted, and where they come from.
Be transparent and credible. Have nothing to hide.
Testimonials and reviews are powerful marketing tools, so it makes sense to use them strategically on social media. Don’t be too shy to ask your best clients and customers for reviews because, while they like you, it might not always occur to them to write you a review. Also, try to control the conversation as much as possible by hosting reviews on your own social media platforms, as third-party platforms can be untrustworthy and unfair. And finally, leverage your reviews and testimonials on your company website, as your social media and website work together to grow your business. You can learn more about how your company website and social media work together in my online course, “DIY Social Media For Entrepreneurs”.