Online ratings and reviews can significantly influence a consumer’s decision to visit – or not visit – a business. Positive reviews can help businesses and allow business owners to see what’s working best for their clients, while negative reviews can do more harm than good, especially when you’re unsure of where it’s coming from or why, without a sure way to respond to it.
Recently, Facebook introduced a new rating system featuring a 1 to 5 star rating to better compete with other online review and social media sites. However, Facebook is allowing too much anonymity by permitting reviews to be left without revealing who left them or requiring real feedback attached to the star ratings. Many business owners with Facebook pages have become frustrated as there is no way to respond to the reviews or correct mistakes in them. Furthermore, Facebook does not even show the full page of reviews or allow the page owner to see who posted one.
Facebook has allowed anonymity for the reviewer as their rating can be controlled by his/her own privacy settings. For example, a reviewer can leave a low star rating for a business and then decide to make the written review public, visible to only friends, or only to himself or herself. Not only will the page owner not be able to read the review and understand why they received it, but they will not know which user left it or if the user was even a true customer.
Many business page owners believe they can opt out of the Facebook ratings feature. Unfortunately, Facebook automatically enables the star reviews once the page owner provides a physical address on their business profile page. A physical address is required for Facebook to establish your business as a real location, online exposure, and to tie corresponding websites and applicable information to your page. If owners prefer not to have star ratings visible on the page, they can remove their physical address to hide the rating.
At McCauley Marketing Services, we conduct regular reputation management checks to ensure our clients have an accurate, positive online presence as well as to respond to any negative reviews. Many businesses have complained to Facebook, Inc. with business owners interacting and sharing their distress on an anti-Facebook-ratings page. Facebook claims to still be hashing out the flaws in their rating system, and until then, business owners are trying to find ways to maintain a positive rating on their page.