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Positive Reviews Carry More Weight: 3 Ways to Help Customers Spread the Word

By , December 17, 2010

By now marketers understand that social media is powerful, in particular the peer-to-peer discussions consumers have with each other about products and experiences with companies. Although negative word of mouth can be devastating in certain circumstances, consumers are more open to believing the accuracy of positive reviews than negative ones, according to a recent article by eMarketer.

Two-thirds of respondents in a study by Keller Fay Group think positive word of mouth is credible, while less than half believe negative feedback. This is great news. But what’s even more interesting is this: “Positive information was also more likely to be passed on to others, more than twice as likely to get people to look for more information, and had nearly four times the chance of pushing consumers to make a purchase.”

Jackpot. Positive is powerful – even more powerful than a terrible experience or negative review. So how do you help customers share those positive comments?

1. Give people a place to create positive comments: Provide customers with a place to share reviews and feedback, in addition to the social networks and other online locations they’re already using, such as Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, and more. 80% of online retailers are expected to offer this by 2010’s end (eMarketer). Add customer reviews to e-commerce sites. Solicit feedback on your Facebook Page or through your Twitter account to help encourage customers to put their thoughts on “paper.” In this last week before Christmas and the upcoming frenzy of returning and exchanging gifts, customer service experiences will join products as a topic of conversation, and having a place for customers to submit their testimonials publicly will help.

2.  Illustrate that you’re open to receiving feedback on social media sites. After all, women, as an example, prefer to share positive experiences about products than negative ones, according to an October study by Harbinger via eMarketer. Demonstrating that as a company you welcome feedback shows you value customer feedback, which in itself, can carry weight with consumers. It can also make users feel more comfortable expressing their opinions. One way to begin doing this is to tap into the new customers who received your products as gifts over the holidays. Those who are still gushing over their new gifts might take your advice and post their positive comments and feedback.

3. Encourage peer-to-peer sharing. This is another way to show confidence in your product and your enthusiasm about people talking about it with family and friends. Even recent national TV spots have done this. State Farm Insurance and Tempur-Pedic have included “ask your friends” messaging. Adding social sharing buttons to your product pages and using other tools that make it easy for people to share products and their opinions of them, such as the “ask a friend” button in Shoutlet’s Shop & Share feature, allow customers to effortlessly share their views with peers.

By being receptive to feedback and welcoming about having customers discuss your products, you’ll help generate reviews and positive feedback online. This, coupled with providing customers convenient tools for social sharing, can help get those glowing reviews to more people online. And if they’re positive, they’re much more likely to be influential.