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How to Integrate Ratings and Reviews Into Your Social Marketing Programs

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Positive ratings and those 5-star reviews from online consumers are powerful marketing content. Some 70% of Americans say they look at reviews before taking the next step to conversion, and 51% of consumers say they would never buy a large electronic item, such as a TV or computer, without reading at least one piece of user-generated content.

Quite simply, consumers trust other consumers for purchasing advice.

Many marketers have realized the power of ratings and reviews to drive sales from their websites, but few have extended such user-generated content across their social marketing programs.

That's a shame, because positive ratings and reviews are extremely valuable social content that can be amplified across the social Web.

To exponentially increase the value of ratings and reviews, every marketer should include positive customer comments in their social marketing programs across social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

So how can you get all those great ratings and reviews off your website and into the social content stream, in an efficient, measurable way at scale?

Here are three concrete tips to get you started with integrating ratings and reviews into your social marketing.

1. Get organized

One of the biggest challenges with using ratings and reviews in your social marketing programs is managing the content at scale. Your customers could be creating dozens or even hundreds of reviews per week on your site, as well as on third-party review sites, and it's tough to keep on top of all that activity.

The first step is to create a process to integrate ratings and reviews into your social media marketing platform. That way, you can manage, monitor, and automatically distribute reviews on key social channels alongside other user-generated content.

Once a positive review is part of the social conversation, the powerful endorsement can go to work for you to generate engagement and boost sales.

2. Respond, react, and re-engage

The vast majority of reviews are positive, but sometimes customers voice legitimate gripes or concerns. When a review is negative—either about your product/service or your brand—you must react quickly and reach out to the disgruntled customer.

Likely, you are already adept at calming the rare upset customer by offering a discount, free replacement, or other incentive. But don't forget that these "negative" reviews can actually turn out to be positive customer service experiences.

Of course, you'll highlight positive reviews across your social stream, but distributing only 100% glowing reviews can make your company look inauthentic. Try selecting a few less-than-stellar reviews to share on Twitter, Facebook, or another social network, highlighting how you fixed the problem and thanking the customer for the honest feedback.

The goal is to use reviews to engage customers in an honest two-way dialogue that keeps them coming back, so don't automatically discount every negative review.

3. Monitor and measure

Populating your social stream with review content is just the first step. Then, you have to measure the impact of that content on brand engagement and sales in much the same way you measure the impact of other user-generated content on overall marketing ROI.

Make sure you're tracking the impact of specific review content on engagement and conversion via your social media marketing platform. If you're using reviews as both social content and paid ads, measure which campaigns drive the biggest sales and engagement impact, so you can then optimize distribution of reviews.

The best way to measure the impact of review content when you publish it to social networks or include it in a paid ad is to tag the review by product, product page URL, category, keyword, location (and other tags, if appropriate). Doing so will allow you to determine what's working and what's not.

Once you've got a smooth process in place for monitoring and including review content across your social programs, you can optimize the program via social network targeting:

  • Use your social media management platform to publish relevant review content based on your fans' and followers' social connections, interests, or locations.
  • Use paid advertising on social networks to include relevant review content in ads and reach highly targeted groups that are apt to be interested in the products reviewed.

For example, fans on your Facebook page who love camping will be highly likely to respond to a paid ad or post that includes a positive review of a tent or camp stove.

* * *

Once you get started with harnessing reviews across your social programs, there's no end to what you can do with this valuable content.

When your customers say great things about your products or services, amplify that praise as much as possible to gain maximum impact.

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Shoma Sarkar is product marketing manager at Spredfast, a leading independent social marketing software provider. Reach her via

Twitter: @shoma617

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  • by David W Fri May 3, 2013 via web

    I just read another article which quotes research that the quantity of reviews is a significant factor in influencing buyer's decision making.

    Good Summary.

  • by Srinivas Penumaka Fri May 3, 2013 via web

    This article brings up an important point of using customer voice in social media marketing. So far, businesses have focused on dealing with customer voice from risk management point of view and seldom paid attention to positive voice.

    However, the big missing piece in the article is the fact that reviews on brands' web sites are sparse, dated and not authentic. When you are using customer voice in social media marketing, you need authentic, contextual, high - quality content. And social content is the best source for such high-quality content as long as you are able to filter the content for quality and relevancy and know the people who are giving the content (content producers). So, the big opportunity for brands is to use social content to influence prospective customers in addition to sharing best reviews in social media.

    Srinivas Penumaka
    Co-Founder, ReadyPulse

  • by Vinay Bhagat, CEO TrustRadius Fri May 3, 2013 via web

    Shoma - a good article with some practical advice. With respect to the quantity of reviews, in consumer purchasing, the # of reviews present are a factor, but a bigger factor when comparing products is if a product has zero reviews. I've heard from folks at Bazaarvoice (who powers many B2C/retail review sites) that the average consumer reads 7 reviews, so you don't need enormous numbers. I also think the point you make about authenticity is critical. In the B2B tech world, the AppExchange has lost some trust, because all the reviews seem to be 5/5, which lacks credibility.

    I'd be curious as to your perspective on how B2B marketers can and should embrace this trend?

    At TrustRadius, we're trying to bring the power of end-user reviews to the world of enterprise tech, where today decision makers, rely on ad hoc word of mouth input, industry analysts who are not hands on product users themselves, or most commonly content from vendors.

  • by Seshu Fri May 3, 2013 via web

    Good read, I am still trying to figure out the RoI part of how to measure it in hard dollar terms - is it possible for example take the weekly reach on Facebook and calculate per person cost reach within an industry and calculate how much the business has spent vis-a-vis the actual cost it would take to reach the same number either wise? Would that be an indicator or more of a cost saving? Any person who has seen a post on facebook, will you know if that person has walked into the door of that business because of that post. Even if that is the case how will you measure it if that person has walked into the door because of that post - unless there is some kind of a code/referral tied to that particular engagement?

  • by Ben Jabbawy, Privy Mon May 6, 2013 via web

    Really well said, Shoma. We actually encourage our clients to use customer reviews as content for landing pages, social media posts and email newsletters. And we're even building tools to help them earn reviews from great customers.

    Founder, Privy

  • by PBCC Company Tue May 14, 2013 via web

    Keeping things human is a big and often forgotten key to social media marketing for brands.

  • by Rusty P. Mon Aug 19, 2013 via web

    Great post Shoma - thanks for sharing. My business has also had great results using OpinionAmp for online marketing. OpinionAmp gets reviews from my real customers and takes those reviews online to the culture and target audience we're trying to reach with our product. I've got nothing but positive things to say about the process - incredible results for my small business!

  • by Alisha Wed Feb 5, 2014 via web

    Do you have a Fan Review app that you recommend for Facebook?

  • by Ashley Thu Jan 7, 2016 via web

    I am in charge of posting to our company’s social media pages. I wanted to share good reviews about our product from Google Reviews. Am I legally allowed to post what people said on online reviews (I would not change any wording in their reviews and would include the name and where I got the review)?

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