Can we trust the information we see online? Of all the areas in which fake reviews affect search, they are likely one of the biggest concern to businesses.
There is a lot of pressure on businesses to maintain a high rating and receive positive reviews. Especially because statistics say that 85 percent of consumers rely on feedback from others.
A study from Harvard Business School shows increasing a business’s online rating by one star can bring from 5% to 9% more sales.
That pressure, plus the readily available people offering to write positive reviews on behalf of any buyer, can make it hard to resist a little artificial stimulus. Here are good reasons why you should stand up against fake content:
Trust comes first!
Trust is important, and consumers are increasingly sensitive to information that challenges their brand loyalty. So, reviews are part of your business content and reflect your reputation, positively or negatively.
According to specialists, people evaluate others by answering two questions: Can I trust this person? and Can I respect this person?.
Applied to a business, it doesn’t matter how good you are at your trade or how good your products are if you don’t pass the trust test.
Consumers who realize reviews are fake will move on from your business. And they’re pretty good at it. Almost 80 percent of consumers say that they’ve spotted fake reviews.
Short-term gains, long-term lost game!
While you might get a temporary bump in business from artificially raising your star rating, the long-term risk is great.
Consumer behavior statistics reveal that when targeted with irrelevant information, 67% unsubscribed from email lists, 43% ignored future communications and 20 percent stopped buying from the company. The reaction to false information is likely to be even stronger.
High expectations are harder to meet!
When expectations are built up, it is much more difficult to meet them. The greater the expectation, the longer the fall to reality. Building up a super rating on false pretenses creates an expectation you cannot match and starts a non-sustainable trend.
When consumer experiences don’t match expectations, the backlash will be hard including more negative reviews. Combined with inflated reviews, those high ratings cannot be sustained. Or it takes more false reviews to compensate, making the problem even worse.
Real, better than perfect
Online media has made it easier to share the good and hide the bad. Social media made it possible for everyone to create the illusion of a perfect life. But there is a growing movement toward authenticity.
Advertisers are now emphasizing the virtues of the less-than-perfect and embracing diversity. Reviews constitute native content to be judged on its merits. That means the good and the bad.
According to statistics, 82 percent of consumers seek out negative feedback to get the full picture, based on the belief that the truth often lies somewhere in the middle.
It may be tempting to justify a boost in ratings with a few fake reviews when you’re convinced everyone else is doing it. But the negative impact far outweighs the temporary lift you might experience. Stay authentic and invest in the long-term health of your business!