online review management for schools

A guide to online review management for schools

Online Review Management is a marketing strategy that maintains a school’s digital reputation. It works towards social media management, SEO, business listings, review management and paid search. This helps it to stay relevant and competitive in on overcrowded online market. Within this article, we will discuss the three ways to implement such a scheme for your school.

A 3 step guide to online review management for schools

  • Be responsive
  • Create consistency
  • Utilise online services

Read on to find out how to do this.

Be Responsive

With reviews everywhere on the internet, it is more important than ever to keep a tab on what people are saying about your school. These opinions can have a large impact on prospects. A recent survey by BrightLocal found that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This demonstrates the amount power parents on social media platforms and online forums such as Mumsnet can have on the reputation of your school.

To successfully manage online reviews, you have to be receptive and create thoughtful responses. If the comments are positive, take the time to thank the parents for their feedback. If they edge onto the negative side, remember that these comments are there to help you understand what you can do to improve. Reply swiftly and clearly address the problems aired. 44.6% of consumers are more likely to visit a business if the owner responds to reviews so it is vital you do so. (ReviewTrackers Online Review Survey).

Create Consistency

Business listings are one of the main reasons people google a company or school. Four out of five consumers in a recent survey said that they use search engines to find out information such as addresses, business hours, reception phone numbers and directions. To maintain a professional online appearance, these details should remain consistent.

Remember to keep track of your business listings across all online platforms. This includes your school website, social media profiles, and online third parties. Look out for any outdated details and remember to alter them whenever there is a change in your operation.  

Consistent business listings can also boost your search engine ranking. Accurate data is an important factor for getting to the top of Google search results. When the information about your school is correct, it is therefore more likely to appear on parents’ screens.

Utilise Online Services

The problem with the internet is that it is just so big. It can feel overwhelming to try and manage the reputation of your school across all platforms. Even if you are constantly checking your social media, new review sites are always popping up online and creating more work for you to do.

If the challenge proves to much for your in-house team to manage by themselves, consider utilising an online service. There are plenty of products on the web that can help your digital reputation thrive such as Reputology or Igniyte.

With our Review Management service, you can make sure you aren’t missing out on any prospects or conversions. To find out more about how it can help with your school, book a consultation now.

Digithrive for schools

online reviews

Why your business needs online reviews

1) Potential customers can tell if your business is filtering your online reviews

According to Ecoconsultancy, 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. Online customers are more savvy than ever and can spot when things look too good to be true. Indeed, 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores (Reevoo, 2015).

2) You’ll lower trust levels if you only have good online reviews

Webrepublic have stated that 30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews. If you’ve only received five star reviews for your business, customers will know your manipulating them and can assume that it’s because your hiding something.

3) Give your customers a voice and show that you care

If you don’t allow or encourage reviews, your customers that have something to say, whether that may be positive or negative, will find it strange. It’s much better to be able to respond to a negative review to show that you care about your customer experiences than have them leave reviews on unverified listings and profiles.

If your business doesn’t allow for feedback, it appears to customers that you don’t really care about them or value customer service. If customers can’t expect good service, don’t expect them to want to visit your business. Customers like to see businesses that are open to feedback and especially the businesses that are listening enough to try to win customers back.

5) Give your business a chance to win back business

If a review isn’t published, customers can feel frustrated. If you let your customer down and they leave a review, this is an opportunity for you to win them back. By responding sympathetically and providing solutions, the customer’s experience will feel less negative and in turn, could help them give you another chance.

6) You’re missing out on opportunities to improve

While customers can sometimes be difficult with unrealistic expectations, others can help you improve on potential oversights. There is also room for improvement, and by listening to those who matter the most - the customer - you can only improve their experience. 

Want to know more about review management? Click here, or book a call with one of our digital experts.


Review Management - Best Practices

We make online review management easy.

Why your business needs to stop removing reviews:

1) People can tell your business is filtering the reviews.
68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores (Econsultancy, 2012). Customers are a lot more clued up now and are able to spot the difference between real and fake reviews - in fact, 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see bad scores (Reevoo, 2015).

2) It can look like your business has something to hide.
30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews (Webrepublic). Only 8% of consumers expect a business to have a 5-star rating before they will consider using them (Brightlocal, 2016). If there are only five star reviews on a review site, customers will know that your business controls its reviews and will assume it’s because you’re hiding something

3) It looks like your business doesn’t value customers enough to win them back
If your business doesn’t allow or encourage feedback, it appears to customers that you don’t really care about them or value customer service. If customers can’t expect good service, don’t expect them to want to visit your business. Customers like to see businesses that are open to feedback and especially the businesses that are listening enough to try to win any customers back that may have had a bad experience.

4) It doesn’t give your business an opportunity to win back customer trust
If a review isn’t published, it can be very infuriating to customers. If your business did fail the customer, it gives you a chance to win them back. Since your business is responding to the reviewer publicly, your business can possibly win them back as well as show other customers that you care about how you treat your customers. Customers and potential customers will respond well to that.

5) You could be missing out on valuable feedback to improve.
While customers at times can be unrealistic with their expectations from a business, some can provide feedback on possible oversights. Oversights happen to the best of us and there is always room for improvement. Listening to your customers may help improve certain aspects of your business moving forward!

Here are the situations when it is acceptable for your business to filter out which reviews are published:

1) When the review contains graphic material or inappropriate language
If the review is inappropriate, contains explicit language or graphic material. Fortunately, many review sites are all over this, but if they happen to miss it, you can flag it as inappropriate.

2) When reviews are irrelevant to your business.
If a review doesn’t provide any mention or context to your business, products or services. Sometimes customers leave reviews but they really want to ask a question. If it really doesn’t add context as a review from a customer, it is okay to suppress that review.

3) When reviews are spam or someone is plugging another business
If a review isn’t related to your business but is obviously spam, or if a person starts talking about their business instead of you business.

4) When the review is a fake or planted by a competitor you know it
In the case of review fraud, it is completely acceptable to suppress the review and remove it.

Unfortunately, reviews have been used as blackmail and this sort of unsavoury behavior does occur. The fact that this behavior is on the rise further highlights the importance of practising review management and using reputation management software.

Please don’t review your own business - Again, customers and potential customers will be able to tell that you’re self-reviewing from a mile off! No one will write such lengthy and in-depth reviews about a business, so please let any reviews be from your customers!

Here’s how your business can practice white-hat review management:

  1. Provide exceptional customer experiences
  2. Ask your customer to leave a review (in store signs, surveys, etc)
  3. Read and analyse the review. Does it meet the criterion to suppress or remove?
    1. If yes, remove and you are done managing the review
    2. If no, the review stays published
  4. Respond to the review
    1. If the review is positive, thank them for their feedback
    2. If the review is negative, try to move the conversation offline. Try to remedy the situation to win the customer back. If you have remedied the situation, try asking them to adjust their review. If not, then at least the customer may come back.

Why it’s best to take the review management high-road?

At the end of the day, people can tell that if your business is grooming your reviews if all of your reviews are too positive. From a consumer’s perspective, it is better to see a business with a mix of reviews, mostly positive but with some negatives as well, we are all human after all! So long as a business is trying to remedy the situation by responding to the customer and following the proper review management protocols, it actually says more about the business than a business with all perfect five star reviews.

Find out more about our review management service and how it can help grow your business, book a consultation now.

negative reviews

How to respond to negative reviews

Believe it or not, the same premise applies to negative review response as it does to positive reviews. The way you respond to negative reviews can highly impact not only the reviewer but all of your other potential clients that come afterward.

Don’t let a negative review worry you too much, as 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores. We are all human and can relate to human errors that may occur in day to day life, causing a negative experience with certain customers. Your potential clients will empathise with this - it’s all about how you handle that negative review.

Seeing a business handle a particularly challenging review online well, shows that they are proud of their business and that they maintain customer service to a high standard even past the point of sale. They are willing to go the extra mile to preserve their reputation!

Consumers will tell an average of 42 people about a good customer experience and 53 people about a bad customer experience - if you handle this correctly, you can definitely control any possible damage. You can make potential clients see the best of you with these four easy steps: apologise, promote, get offline, keep it simple.

How to respond to negative reviews:

  • Apologise and sympathise
    The first and most important step towards fixing a problem is acknowledging that one occurred. Regardless of what happened, a simple apology and sympathy for your customer’s experience goes a long way - 7 out of 10 consumers changed their opinion about a brand after the company replied to a review (Bazaarvoice via Marketing Charts, 2013)
  • Promote
    So your famous pancakes weren’t up to par the day this particular customer visited. If they’re what you are known for, why not reiterate that? “Our pancakes are usually a hit, we’re sorry to hear that they weren’t up to par when you visited!” Continue the conversation offline
    Offer the reviewer a chance to discuss their issue further via email or phone. You want to avoid a back and forth conversation on your reviews!
  • Continue the conversation offline
    Offer the reviewer a chance to discuss their issue further via email or phone. You want to avoid a back and forth conversation on your reviews!
  • Keep it simple
    Refrain from specifics and don’t ask questions. Those conversations are much better served in a space away from the prying public, therefore, again try to move the conversation offline.
    One last pro tip: leave your business name, location and category out of this. You don’t want your negative reviews showing up in search!

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? We can provide you with software to pull in your reviews from all over the web in order to help you respond quickly. If you don’t have time, seek out Digithrive's services to do it for you. Not only do we guarantee expertise, but we also guarantee it in a hurry: we respond to reviews as soon as our software pulls them in!

This is why your business should want more reviews on review sites.

Find out more about our review management services and how it can help grow your business, book a consultation now.

online review

What is Online Review Management?

Word of mouth and print advertising encompassed the reputation of a business. But now consumers are the ones in charge of the reputation of a company. They do it by providing real-time online feedback via social media, forums and review sites. Online review management forms part of a digital marketing strategy that works towards social media management, SEO, business listings, review management and paid search in order to help your business stay relevant and competitive in the online sphere.

Four out of five consumers that did a survey said that they use search engines to find local information from diverse devices to find store addresses, business hours, product availability and directions. However even though the numbers say it all, there are some businesses that still don’t manage the digital segments of digital marketing in order to maintain their online presence, therefore, their offline reputation.

Online reputation management: your business has options

The reputation of your business affected at any time by any kind of source across the whole web. There are some products that can help you cut down the management time expenditure of your reputation such as (SaaS), services (outsourcing services) or people (outsource or hire a digital marketer).

Even if your company is constantly checking their social media there will always be a new review site from a listing that they will miss. Firstly, your business has to decide whether it’s better to conduct online reputation management in-house or through outsourcing by looking at their pros and cons. Your business must always take into consideration that there are better practices when responding to reviews than you may believe.

Why your business’s online reputation matters

An online reputation of a company has to be backed up by rates and reviews made by consumers. Without them, it would seem like no one visits the business and that’s no good.

Ready or not, consumers are talking about your business

A business choosing to manage their online reputation or not, does not correlate to consumers talking about their favourite or least favourite businesses. But if a business completely ignores their online reputation the consequences will be devastating.

Whether a business chooses to manage their reputation online or not, consumers are talking about their favorite and not-so-favorite businesses. If a business simply ignores their reputation online, the consequences can be detrimental.

Social media is a two-way conversation where businesses can no longer just broadcast the message they want people to see. Brands, consumers and everyone has an equal voice.   

Customers can and will talk about their terrible experience with a company. The incorporation of social networks to businesses has changed the way they communicate. Currently, customers can maintain conversations with brands and vice versa as if they were speaking to a friend. Due to this, businesses have had to be more personal and manage their social presence.

Reputation drives conversion

Everything that people sees online matters. Approximately 74% of customers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Customers only put their money where their trust is. For instance, a Harvard Business School study found out that a sees a one star increase on Yelp site their revenues increase from five to nine per cent.

As stated before, businesses believe that harvesting their digital profile by themselves takes them too much time. There is a solution to that, today we can find many monitoring tools that facilitate this process with customers, saving time but also money. The worst thing your business can do is to ignore your customers online.

What makes a good online reputation?

Staying present, means being listed online and having a good reputation go side by side. Not appearing on reference sites is as bad as having bad reviews on that site. Building a reputation and an image is important for both search engines and consumers. Some of the most important aspects of the online footprint include:

  • Number of business listings
  • Consistency of business listing information
  • Overall sentient in reviews
  • Frequency or current velocity of new reviews
  • Overall volume of reviews
  • Social activity and engagement

Currently, reviews and social recommendations are seen as more authentic by customers due to the fact that they want their experience to be the same as the ones on the reviews. This means that online reputation is becoming more important every day.

Online Review Management: The main sell

Google stated that 9 out of 10 of local searches lead to action, with more than 50 percent leading to sales. If someone’s website is better than yours, customers will go to theirs rather than yours. 79% of customers use their phones to compare prices and look are reviews, and 74% end up buying. Therefore, online reputation management has a very important role in your business plays when the goal is to make sales - which let’s be honest, is what we want!

With our Review Management service, you can make sure you aren't missing out on any potential customers or conversions. To find out more about how it can help grow your business, book a consultation now.

positive reviews

How to respond to positive reviews

A good or bad reputation can mean the difference between your business flourishing, expanding, or shutting down - a study found that 73% of consumers trust a local business more after reading positive reviews (BrightLocal, 2017). In the digital age, a business’s reputation is mainly controlled by customers using online review platforms like Google and Facebook to publicly announce the quality of the service they receive. The good news is that this lets you easily monitor and manage your online reputation, a power you can put to good when you respond to positive reviews in a timely manner.

How to respond to positive reviews

Keep it simple - thank the customer for their time, name drop, promote and tell your customer what to do!

  • Thank your customer
    No one would ignore a compliment in real life, so approach the digital world in the same way. Make sure to reiterate their compliment so your customer knows that a real person took time out of their day to acknowledge them. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017) so it's important you thank your customer, they are helping you after all!
  • Use your business name and keywords
    Capitalise on the opportunity to drive your business up in search results as positive reviews work wonders in search. Referring to your business name, location and type to help index the review online.
  • Promote your business
    Are you holding a promotion, or offering a discount? A positive review is a great way to get the good news out!
  • Direct your customer
    Ask them to bring a friend next time, or recommend a different product as an enticement to return.

There are multiple ways to boost and respond to positive reviews online. Making sure that your customers are leaving a review in general, is imperative too, you can simply do this by sending them an email requesting them to leave one - 68% of consumers have left a review for a local business after being asked to do so (BrightLocal, 2017). You could also help boost positive reviews by incentivising your customers - 'Leave a review to get 10% off your next purchase'! 

More: How to respond to negative reviews

Find out more about review management and how it can help grow your business, book a consultation now.