What To Do When You Get A Fake Bad Review [infographic]

In an age where people like to do their online research before buying a product or service, it’s very important for small businesses to have positive reviews. However, it’s also a fact of life on the internet that almost every business is on the receiving end of fake negative reviews, which can be hugely damaging, but what can you do about them?

When 94% of people say that a bad online review can be enough to put them off using a business, it’s clear that managing what they read about you, and while genuine bad reviews are a consequence of customers getting poor service, internet trolls and competitors can be responsible for reviews that are simply designed to damage your business.

To help you, Headway Capital has come up with this step-by-step guide to dealing with fake negative reviews:

Identifying Fake Reviews

Getting a bad review is always disappointing, but genuine feedback shouldn’t be ignored or removed without the consent of the reviewer. But how do you know which anonymous criticism is real and which has been planted by someone out to hurt your business? One way is to look at the tone, does it sound like a disappointed customer or does it come across as vindictive and vicious? Does it include any specifics about what the customer is unhappy about? Has the reviewer left very positive reviews of your competitors? All of these are possible red flags that this review might be fake.

Report The Review

When you’re confident that a bad review is fake, the next step is to know how to remove it. If it’s on your website, then you’ll have that control, but most reviews will go on public sites like Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor. Here’s some tips for how to get them taken down on these sites:

Google - Go to the review and hover over it, which should bring up a flag icon. Click on that and you’ll be able to report it. If Google decides not to remove it based on your report, you can use My Business Dashboard to ask for further support by sending them a screenshot of the review along with any evidence you have.

Yelp - In the review, click on the Flag Review button and select the ‘violation’ that you are reporting it for. Going back to the review and hovering over the Flag Review button will give you an update on the status of your report.

Facebook - Click the three dots in the top right corner of the review you want to flag and then select Report Post and follow the instructions to say why you are reporting it.

TripAdvisor - Click Your Business and select Manage Your Reviews in the Management Center. In the Concerned About A Review section of the page, click on See Our Guidelines And Submit Your Comment to fill out an online form about the review you think is fake. Make sure you have evidence to back up your claim.

Yellow Pages - Click on Report This Review underneath the fake review or contact customer service if you want the review removed urgently.

Angie’s List - There’s no direct way to report a review, so you need to use Contact Us and send a message about it.

Respond To The Review

It’s important to respond to all bad reviews to help protect your online reputation, and this includes fake ones too before they are removed. When responding to a fake review, the key is to remain professional and avoid being negative. Instead, focus on casting doubt on it in the eyes of others by making it clear that you cannot confirm that it is genuine. Offer for the reviewer to contact you directly.

Another way to respond is to encourage your real customers to leave reviews, which will drown out the fake negative one, while you can also use social media to point out the fake review, which highlights the problem and will attract some positive comments.

Monitor Your Reviews

When you’ve had a fake bad review, it’s a useful reminder that you need to keep an eye on what people are saying about you online, whether it’s good or bad, real or fake. Luckily, there are automated ways of doing this, so it doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours of your day trawling the internet. Here are some of those time-saving tips:

Google - Go to Google Alerts and type in the key words and phrases you want to get alerts about, one of which should of course be all of the main variations on your business name that people might use to talk about you. Show Options lets you choose how often you get alerts, and in this case, you will most likely want it to be ‘As-it-happens’ that you’re able to respond quickly to fake negative reviews.

Yellow Pages - You can use the email notifications option in the Reviews tab to be mailed as soon as someone leaves a review about your business.

Yelp - On the Language and Notifications page you can set which notifications you want to receive, including details of when you’ve been reviewed.

Another good tip is to keep an eye on social media, so along with monitoring your mentions and posts on your page, keep an eye on hashtags related to your business.

With all of these tips, you should know more about how to deal with fake bad reviews and keep your online reputation at least as spotless as it deserves to be.

How to Deal With Fake Negative Reviews - infographic
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