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Tag: Utilizing Customer Feedback (Page 2 of 3)

Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Fake Reviews


It should go without saying that paying for reviews for your business that aren’t legitimate is not the greatest idea. But for a lot of people, this seems like the best answer for buffing up their positive Internet presence.

And why not? If it looks like a real customer and talks like a real customer, it must be a real customer. Not to mention if so many companies are doing it then it’s got to be legal, right? Wrong.

While you may or may not be aware, there are many reasons not to follow this path and stay legit.

It’s Fraud

Plain and simple, if you hire someone to write a phony review you are committing fraud. Think about why you want this person to write a review:to generate revenue for yourself.

With the popularity of online reviews in this era, they do translate to real money.

Fraud is defined as “the wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain”.

Sounds a whole lot like paying someone for a false review.

Real Results, Real Punishment

By 2015, Amazon had sued over 1000 people for writing fake reviews. Many of these reviewers came from the website Fiverr. And no—Fiverr was not sued—the individuals were. The websites on which your business is reviewed will not protect you or your reviewer, they will work towards ensuring the reviews on their website are as legitimate as possible.

Even Yelp and Alibaba have started to crack down on the fake reviews on their websites. And of course, Google has a reporting situation in place so they can handle fake reviews as well.
Want to keep your business’ reputation clean? Don’t pay for reviews.

Spotting a Fake Review

If you’re suspicious that a competitor is employing fake reviewers, there are ways to spot these reviews, or at least make an educated guess.

Take a trip over to Fakespot. Their system will scan for a number of factors including:

Overly positive language

Multiple reviews published the same day

If you want to do additional research yourself, check out the reviewer’s profile and see how real they seem. If you can’t find them in a quick Google search, they could very well be fake.

Tips for Real Reviews

It can be tempting to want to buff up your business by paying for fake reviews. But there are much better ways to get real reviews that you can actually feel good about.

Any time someone purchases from you or employs your services, just ask them to leave a review. Don’t offer gifts or coupons in exchange, simply learn how to pick out happy customers and get them to spread their joy.

And of course if any negative reviews appear, deal with them in a calm, professional manner.

Handle reviews properly and you’ll have a great reputation for your business online in no time!

How Online Reviews Impact Your Local SEO

More and more businesses are realizing the importance of online reviews when it comes to promoting their product or service, but did you know reviews also affect your Search Engine Optimization? SEO is just as crucial to the promotion of a business in 2017 because it means a boost in your ranking. For example, if someone is searching for a hair salon there are many options. But if you have the best SEO, they’ll find you first.

When you’re trying to beef up your SEO online reviews are critical to this process. Search engines love fresh user generated content, and customers love social proof. In fact, 90% of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.

Search engines like Google or Bing are in the business of creating fast and accurate search results, and the input from real people in the form of reviews is a great way to do this. In a recent study by Moz it was determined that reviews make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank results.

Factors that can play into your business’ SEO include a variety of signals such as linking, keywords and categories, with reviews coming in before social media in terms of boosting your business!

Google favors high-rated sites, and in a world where customers spend 31% more on a business with good reviews, you’ll want to get a review gathering strategy in place if you don’t already have one!

A good way to do this is request that happy customers leave a review. If you’re selling online, include your request in a thank you email. At a physical store, create a flyer you can drop in a customer’s bag along with their merchandise. You can even create a landing page on your website linking to review sites for the ultimate ease of access.

Review sites that will get the results you’re looking for include:

Google My Business/




Try the Review Handout Generator by Whitespark and Phil Rozek if you need an easy way to create handouts for your store, then wait for the reviews to start flowing!

Asking for reviews can be a bit of a scary process, considering you can land on a customer who’s not happy with their interaction. But don’t worry—even negative reviews keep your business active from a search engine’s point of view, and as long as you respond to all negative reviews in a calm and professional manner, you’ll be just fine.

Finally, on your quest for reviews, don’t be tempted into paying for fake reviews. This is considered fraud and you could be in big financial trouble for doing it. Not to mention, it’s just better to have legitimate reviews for your business. Even if they’re criticizing you, you can learn something from unhappy customers.

No matter the size or type of business you run, online reviews are imperative to keeping it running successfully. So, go and gather reviews and see just how good the results are!

Michael S.

My firm was rethinking its marketing approach. Our revised plan necessitated a downsizing of the services provided by LinkNow. The LinkNow staff was very helpful in facilitating this change. There was no “hard sell” or other pressure trying to get my firm to maintain its previous higher priced plan. This was a relief and encourages us to look to LinkNow later when we are more appropriately positioned to use LinkNow’s higher priced site optimization/marketing plans.

A concept image of a magnifying glass with a wooden handle on a textured white surface showing the word authentic but magnifying the word fake resembling counterfeitting

Receiving Fake Reviews From Competitors

In this day and age, dishonest companies have been able to stoop to new lows by attempting to damage their competitor’s reputation online with fake reviews.

While it may not be immediately obvious that a competitor is attacking you, a quick check through their other reviews should give you a clue. They are likely attacking other similar businesses in the area. If negative reviews are posted on other competitor’s pages within a tight timeframe, you’ve got the start of a case.

Fake and negative reviews are tricky to deal with. Always do your research before dealing with them, or you may be responding inappropriately to someone who is simply expressing their displeasure. Remember—there is such thing as a legitimate negative review. Take these as constructive criticism, and respond politely.

Tact at All Times

When responding to a fake negative review from your competitor, practice tact at all times. Whether this negative review is legitimate or not, treat it with the same respect. Follow these steps to compose a polite and professional response:


Literally. Breathing exercises will calm you down, so take a few deep breaths.

Don’t take it personally.

A difficult one, but part of being a professional.

Address the issue.

Start your response off by repeating their complaint. For example: I understand that you (insert situation here).

State your core values.

Inform the reviewer of your business’ core values and why they don’t match with what happened.

Make a game plan.

Tell the reviewer what you plan to do to remedy the situation. If this is a competitor leaving a fake review, you likely will not actually do this because the situation did not occur. But, existing and potential customers will appreciate seeing what you would do if it really had happened.

Say thank you.

Thank the negative reviewer for their constructive criticism and invite them back to experience your business again in a better light sometime in the future.

Even if you expect this review to be removed, there will be wait time. Writing a proper response is of value to your future clients. Don’t lose business and allow your competitor to accomplish what they came to your review page for in the first place.

Keep on Keeping on

Being a business owner will always come with its ups and downs. This is what professionalism is all about! Practice being a professional adult at all times, flag inappropriate reviews and represent yourself well.

Should Google not agree with your report, you can always escalate the situation, encourage friends and family to flag the reviews as well, and tweet @GoogleSmallBiz to hurry the process along.

Like with school yard bullying, a reaction is always what a troll wants, so give them a minimal one. In the end, you make your own reputation in the business world and can overcome anything by keeping a cool head.

Business Owners’ Bad Review Responses A Case Study

Reviews are a fact of life when it comes to running a business.

They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy—depending on how you deal with them.

While it is tempting to write a scathing and entertaining response to people who leave negative reviews, as a professional, it is your duty to hold your tongue and not let your emotions do the thinking.

Below, are some examples of negative review responses, and how they could have been handled better.


Where to start?

Firstly, admitting that you are inebriated when discussing a business issue is never OK. One shouldn’t be drunk in the first place when you’re on the clock (and yes, if you’re responding to reviews in your own time, that counts), but publicly admitting it is highly unprofessional. Next, making personal critiques (grammar) and suggesting a customer see a psychologist is not constructive. Especially when your own grammar and sanity could be up for review.

A more appropriate response to this review would be to apologize for their bad experience, and address the price issues. If your restaurant does have fluctuating prices, that should be noted in store and online so customers are prepared. There can certainly be reasons for this practice but it should be transparent so customers aren’t surprised.


This one isn’t quite as extreme as the last, and could very well be true. However, this response is tinged with sarcasm and, if true, reveals unnecessary personal information. An apology in this case would have been better—state that you were unavailable for serious personal reasons, list that it was no excuse to not communicate with customers and let them know it won’t happen again. Offer them a discount or other incentive on a future booking should they be in town again.

If for some reason the situation is an emergency that keeps you away from your work, and you don’t have someone who can help you out with your business in this way, maybe think about hiring an assistant.


As a business owner, your responses should not look like it was written by a ten year old

…and this one is a great example of what that means. Sure, this review was not the classiest, but the appropriate response would be to take the higher ground. As always, apologize! If you were having a bad day, admit that you were and say it was wrong of you to take it out on customers. Depending on what the prices are, they could be explained/defended in some way. Maybe point out that your aim is not to be cheap but to provide quality food.

What review responses come down to is the old adage “The customer is always right”. They may really not be, but your job as a business owner is to represent yourself and your company in the best way possible, no matter what others are provoking you to do. Responses can always be formulated to be reasonable even when defending oneself, but if you don’t have the time to compose something that is well thought out, apologies are the best policy.

Happy review reading, everyone!

The Customer Is Always Right, Right? Advice for Small Businesses

teacupsLinkNow Media has written about ways of responding to negative reviews before. We’ve shown you how to handle negative reviews, and how to use positive reviews to boost your brand. Today, we’re going to take it one step further to help you understand the process and the value of analyzing your customer reviews. We’ve all heard the age old adage that “the customer is always right”, and through the careful consideration of customer feedback, you’ll see that this is true in more ways than one. Not only is it the go-to model for good customer service, it’s also the best way to approach customer reviews, negative or positive.

ABC: Always Be Changing

A stagnant business is a failing business. If you’re not consistently changing your business model to better serve your customers, your customers are heading to your competitors. This is where analysis of your reviews can be integral to success. Think of it this way, wouldn’t it be great to have a helpful coach in real time telling you what and how you could improve your business? If you approach feedback not as either congratulation or denigration, but as a roadmap to help you get where you want to go, then you’ve tapped into a very powerful resource. There are a few simple how-to’s online that can help you create a system to harness this new found resource. We recommend taking a look at this post on analyzing from CSM.

Learn From Mistakes

It’s Fine to Celebrate Success But it is More Important to Heed the Lessons of Failure.” This quote from Bill Gates is the perfect way to summarize why paying attention to customer reviews is important. Learning from your failures keeps your company moving forward and maximizing growth. That being said, it’s equally important to play to your strengths. If you notice throughout your analysis of customer reviews that you’re hearing the same things repeated in every positive review, work with that information to better market your services. You don’t want your slogan to be about speed if every bad review of your service cites long wait times, that kind of inconsistency can damage your credibility. On the other hand, if you notice that customers are responding positively to how simple it is to access your services, than focus on marketing your company as customer friendly. This doesn’t mean you get to stop implementing plans to improve on your weaknesses, but it does mean that sometimes it pays to keep on the sunny side.

These are all very simplified ideas regarding customer review analysis, but once you start critically engaging with your audience it will open up a lot of doors for your business. There are a lot of resources available to help you move forward with more advanced analytics of feedback. But today at LinkNow Media, we hope we’ve at least got you thinking, let us know in the comments below!

Are You Sharing Reviews at The Right Time?

When to postWe’ve pointed at the importance of posting positive online reviews on your business Facebook profile in a previous post. It’s a great way to reach an audience beyond your own, help your brand gain momentum, and get new clients. Today, we’re taking it one step further and looking at the best times to share. Waiting a day, or even an hour, to share a positive review with your Facebook friends can have a tremendous effect on how many people see, share, and interact with your post, so it pays to know precisely when your audience is active.

When is the best time to post on Facebook?

You may be eager to share a positive review with your Facebook friends as soon as it’s received, but this might not be the best strategy. Just because you’re most active on social media during work hours doesn’t mean your audience is. In fact, research shows that Facebook users tend to be scrolling through their newsfeed on Wednesday at 3PM. Still, this doesn’t necessarily mean 3PM on Wednesday is the best time for you.  Fortunately, Facebook offers a tool called Facebook Insights, which allows users to see when their audience is most active. With this information, you can see clearly the most effective time to post.

Use Buffer

If Facebook Insights shows that your audience is most active after you’ve already called it a night, you needn’t set an alarm – use Buffer. Buffer is a tool that shows members the best possible time to post, and unlike Facebook Insights, allows you to schedule a status update in advance. They offer a free version – it’s worth checking out.

Respond Promptly

Posting at the right time might not be enough to make you famous on Facebook overnight, but keep at it and you’re sure to see increased engagement. This means that you’ll be responding to more comments. A lot of online marketers recommend that you respond as soon you possibly can. Sure, being prompt shows that you care about what your customers are saying, but don’t let this recommendation stress you out. Feel free to enter the conversation at any point in a 24-hour period. Set aside an hour a night to make sure you’ve responded appropriately to every comment. If you don’t have time or don’t feel comfortable, enlist the help of a social media professional.


Facebook is always rolling out with new algorithms to increase relevancy and improve personalization. At LinkNow Media, we’re committed to keeping up with these updates to ensure we’re always providing the best Facebook tips! Keep stopping by!



4 Tips To Help You Make The Most of Your Testimonial Page


If you are selling a product or providing a service, incorporating a customer testimonial page on your website should be part of your digital marketing strategy. Unbiased comments from a third party greatly increase credibility and can help a client who is on the fence choose your company over your competitor.

Once integrated, encourage satisfied clients to share their words of praise on your website. If they’re happy with your services, they’ll be happy to do so. These reviews can prompt visitors to make a purchase or encourage an already satisfied client to follow suit with a comment. Even when customer testimonials are coming in, you shouldn’t go on autopilot. There’s more you can do to drive traffic to your website. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your testimonials:

Showcase Your Testimonials

Reviews needn’t be relegated to the testimonial page. Consider using testimonials elsewhere on your website, such as your homepage. Your homepage serves as an introduction to your company, so why toot your own horn? No one likes a bragger! Let your happy clients do the legwork.

Consider Video Testimonials

Seeing and hearing a real person talk about your company can have a greater impact than simply reading. Approach a loyal client with the idea of creating a short video about how they benefited from your service or product. Video testimonials can provide visitors with the experience they’re looking for.

Include a Visual  

Numerous studies indicate that including a human face on your website can increase conversions. This is because people often buy based on emotional factors, so an image of a person can be an effective way to connect with your audience. Including a photo of your happy customer alongside their testimonial can significantly elevate the text.

Write Testimonials For Other Companies

As the old saying goes, what goes around comes around. As a small business, you should always be looking to build relationships with other businesses in your area. If you need a professional, like a plumber or a painter, team up with someone local. If you are pleased with their services, leave a testimonial on their webpage. It’s not only a nice thing to do, but it is a great way to build links back to your website. Not to mention, they’ll be giving you a call when they’re in a pickle. It’s a win-win.


Never underestimate the power of customer reviews. If technical work isn’t in your wheelhouse, get in touch with your web designer to get the ball rolling on your testimonial page.

Is It Ever OK to Delete a Negative Social Media Comment?

deleteSocial media comments come in a variety of flavors. As a business owner, it’s your job to roll with the punches and respond accordingly. You can’t satisfy everyone all of the time, and you can’t stop people from sharing how they feel. Harsh criticism on the web isn’t a matter of if, but when. So, what is the best way to deal with a negative comment? Your knee jerk reaction might be to delete the negative social media comment and move on, but you need to fight the urge to do so. Here’s three ways you can take that negative comment and turn it into something positive:

Show How Far You Will Go

Sure, reading a scathing review about your business can feel like looking into the sun, but it’s also an opportunity to establish a positive reputation. When faced with criticism, it is important that you respond promptly. People are going to see that negative comment, and you don’t want that to be the only thing they see. Offer a sincere apology and a solution to their problem. In a sense, this is your side of the story. Show that you will go the extra mile to meet their complete satisfaction.

See it as an Opportunity to Improve

You know what they say, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge. A negative review isn’t only a chance to show how far you will go to meet a client’s satisfaction, but it’s an opportunity to improve your company. Writing off every angry client as crazy can seriously hinder your ability grow. We hate to break it to you, but your company might have shortcomings. A negative comment can shed light on that fact. If it does, let your client know how you plan on making sure it never happens again. In a way, they have done a huge favor by pointing out your faults, and it didn’t cost you dime.

Take The Conversation Elsewhere

While you may have created a company page for sharing promotions, related articles, and other updates, there is another side of the coin. Facebook also opens up the stage for your customers, and you might not always be a fan of their performance. Remember, deleting a negative comment is a no-go, but you do have the option of taking the conversation offline. Offer a sincere apology and simply ask for the client’s phone number or email address. Explain that it would be more efficient to address the issue by having a conversion in a more direct environment. By doing so, you’re more likely to see eye to eye.


There are some instances when deleting a negative comment is totally ok. If the comment contains highly offensive language or imagery, go ahead and make it a thing of the past!

How do you handle negative social media comments? Let us know.


3 Ways to Attract Online Customer Reviews

email 2Positive customer reviews are important. How important? Consider this: 88% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. That means what your customers are saying about you online plays a HUGE role in the buying process, for better or worse. The key to getting positive reviews is, well, doing a good a job. It’s that simple. Put your customer first, deliver excellent service, and offer excellent products. Many business owners tend to overthink getting positive reviews and will go to great lengths to get them, even if that means going against Google’s guidelines.

Here are three legitimate ways you can attract online customer reviews:

Make forms easy

People like writing reviews. Whether sharing a good experience or bad experience, a majority of people will take 5 minutes out of their day to let others know if your company is worth their time or money. So, throw them a bone. Make it easy for them. Unless someone has something really bad to say about your company, no one is going spend time looking for a place to write a review. Create profiles wherever you can: Yelp, LinkedIn, Yahoo Local, Google Local, Trip Advisor, and Angie’s List. It’s also helpful to integrate a testimonials page on your website. This will allow a customer to leave a review with ease, and it’s a great way to boost your ranking on search listings.

Offer incentives

When it comes to online reviews, you need to be ethical. If you’re a startup, you may be tempted to buy positive online reviews. Quick word of advice: don’t. If your customers can’t spot the fakes, online review sites will. Not only will that cost you your reputation, you’ll also have to pay a hefty fine. Fake reviews are fraud. Why shoot yourself in the foot? Sometimes, all your customer needs is a little push to write a review. Offering an incentive, such as a discount on a future service, can be that extra thing that gets them sharing their thoughts about their experience. If you have a physical storefront hang up posters to let them know about the contest, or you can share it on social media.

Share reviews

Creating a company Facebook page is free and easy –  there is no reason why your business shouldn’t have one. It’s a great way to enhance your brand, share ongoing specials and promotions, and build and maintain relationships with your clientele. It can also be used to share positive reviews. Your customers will love being in the limelight, and their good word will motivate other satisfied customers to follow suit. It’s a win-win.


Online reviews are the new word of mouth. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely people are to choose your company over local competition. Keep in mind, that you will get a negative review from time to time. That’s life. See it as opportunity to show your clients that you care about your company by finding a solution to their problem.

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