Facebook’s New Review Format for Business Pages

Recent Facebook updates have created a new challenge for many businesses, particularly when it comes to marketing and reviews. For a long time, businesses have collected extensive information about their customers based on the reviews they leave–and customers have come looking for information about businesses based on the star-level reviews. Recent changes to Facebook’s review platform, however, have transformed the way many customers will interact with business reviews, from the way they leave them to how they determine what other customers think.

The Latest Changes to Facebook Reviews

A few months ago, Facebook made a move away from their five-star ad policy to create a system based on ten stars. This system was designed to allow users more flexibility in the review they were providing. This option, however, didn’t last long. Instead, Facebook has chosen to move away from star-based reviews. Instead, business pages ask users a question: Would you recommend this page? The answer is either yes or no, making for both a shorter, quicker response for customers who are leaving reviews and a more accurate view of the facility for those who are looking at them.

That doesn’t mean, however, that users are unable to leave expanded information–which in turn can be extremely valuable to both other users and to businesses who are hoping to improve their understanding of the customer experience. In addition to their simple yes/no recommendation, customers are invited to provide feedback about their experience in the form of text, photos, or pre-entered phrases.

How Do These Changes Help Businesses?

Anything can cause a customer to drop a star on a five-star review scale. Maybe the food came out cold, the hostess was less than polite at a restaurant, or the cashier at a store didn’t ring them up fast enough. In many cases, however, customers browsing for reviews won’t take the time to consider why a particular business lacks that five-star rating. Instead, they simply check the overall star rating and make a choice, especially if they’re in a hurry to choose a restaurant or find a store. The new Facebook review system can offer several advantages to many businesses, including both the simple yes/no recommendation and the rich endorsement option that allows them to add more information to their review.

It’s easier than ever for customers to leave reviews on your page. With a simple swipe, they can provide access to that information to other customers. This can help increase the number of customers who will leave reviews, which will, in turn, increase your review base–and that means higher confidence from customers who are considering your business.

Reviews can contain more information. While customers have always been able to leave information about their full experience–and businesses have always been able to interact with customers concerning those reviews and information–the new review style actually encourages customers to say a little more about their experience with your business. Not only that, they’re given prompts to help them describe their experience more fully.

Customers get pre-selected options to leave more information in their reviews. This text includes things like, “good for groups,” “open late,” “free wi-fi,” and other options that will quickly and effectively tell other customers what they might want to know about your business. This, in turn, means that customers can find out more information about your restaurant at a glance. Even better, they’ll get it from a source that they trust: other customers. Social reviews continue to be just as important to many customers as reviews from friends and family members, while similar information provided directly from your brand could be viewed with a higher level of skepticism.

Pictures will let other customers see what it’s like inside your store or restaurant. A picture is always worth a thousand words–especially when it’s a great one! A great picture of a fantastic dish served by your restaurant, the perfect latte art, or a stunning piece of decor can entice other guests to come to visit your restaurant, while a fantastic product picture can help bring new customers into your store. Of course, if customers have a negative experience, that can also work against you: those negative pictures will quickly prove to other customers that they’re being perfectly honest about their experience with you.

Yes/No recommendations are simple and easy to understand. A scale-based star system is open to interpretation–and many customers have a different opinion of what really constitutes a five-star experience. A yes/no recommendation, on the other hand, will tell browsing customers clearly whether or not others would recommend a trip to your facility. In spite of their complaints, would most customers go back, or are you getting a resounding “no” from your audience? That “yes” could be a great way to draw in more customers.

Current recommendations options offer increased marketing potential. Along with their other benefits, Facebook is now allowing users to see reviews when they search for information about your business. Reviews from users that they have friended or followed will show most prominently. This is an excellent way to help grow your organic reach, especially since it requires little effort on your part. All you have to do is encourage users to leave reviews–the rest will take care of itself!

Customers are encouraged to go beyond simple information to provide a more detailed summary of their experience. Previous review options didn’t leave a lot of grey area. Most customers who are interested in leaving extensive reviews are either those who had an extremely positive experience with your business or an extremely negative one. With the new review system, on the other hand, customers are encouraged to leave a brief review with more information. It’s just a quick star review that says, “Oh, they were okay.” Instead, the review system encourages customers to provide more extensive information–especially photographic evidence of their time with your business.

Staying Authentic

One of the biggest complaints users have always had about Facebook reviews was the inability to remove negative reviews. Customers can put in negative reviews for a wide range of reasons: they don’t like the business owner or his interactions on other pages; they don’t like policies that the restaurant stands for; or they’re attempting to “vindicate” a friend who’s had a negative experience, whether with your brand or with a restaurant owner. Fortunately, Facebook’s new review system offers the option to help keep your reviews as authentic as possible.

Just like you can report negative content on other pages, you can now report review content for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • A customer who has not actually visited your restaurant or store, especially if they stated as much in the review.
  • A customer who is harassing you personally or who is harassing your page unfairly.
  • A customer who is using inappropriate language or posting inappropriate material on your page.
  • A recommendation that has been paid for, whether by you or by another customer.

Note that you don’t simply have the option to delete reviews, and it can take time to have a negative review removed from your page. This move toward authenticity, however, will go a long way toward ensuring that your Facebook reviews are accurate and that they reflect information about your business that is true, at least to the best of your customers’ ability.

Making the Most of the New Review System

As before, in order to make the most of Facebook reviews, you have to encourage customers to leave them! Most of the time, only customers who are highly satisfied or highly disappointed in their experience with your business will feel the need to leave a review. Visitors who think that it was “just okay” are unlikely to take the time to offer more information–even if they’re willing to come back. Consider these tips for making the most of the new review system.

Encourage customers to leave reviews. Consider offering special promotions for customers who are Facebook fans or offering incentives for reviews. This could include discounts and other information.

Respond to reviews. The beauty of social media is that it is interactive. Not only can you read what customers have to say about you, but you can also respond to them! Use this option to deal with problems and offer compensation to customers who are unhappy with the service they received. In many cases, this won’t just bring them back–it will also encourage future visits from other customers, who can see that you’ve gone the extra mile to make your customers happy.

Pay attention to customer feedback. What do customers have to say about your business the most often? What are they most likely to comment on? Remember that positive comments are just as important as negative ones: positive comments tell you what you’re doing right and shouldn’t change, while negative comments will give you an idea of how to improve the customer experience in the future.

Are you struggling to expand your social media presence and make the most of your SEO efforts? If you need help with your overall marketing strategy, contact us. We’ll help ensure that your organic reach is able to grow.