Facebook’s business pages are incredibly helpful, and they have a lot of special tools just for businesses. One such tool is their review function, which allows users to see the comments left by other users who have visited your location.
But I Don’t Have Reviews!
Well, if you don’t have the reviews section on your page, what are you doing reading a post about removing negative reviews? If you have a negative review you want removed, but it’s not in the reviews system, it’s probably just a post on your wall. You can delete those with ease and with no repercussions. Just remove it and, if necessary, block the user who left it.
The reviews system is a Facebook “app” that’s a special function specifically for one kind of page; local businesses. It only works if you have a physical location, because it’s tied to the check-ins function. Unfortunately, it’s also tied to the maps function. If you want one, you need the other.
So, you’ve had someone leave a scathing negative review on your page, and you want it gone. Can you just delete it and move on with your life?
Unfortunately, you can’t. There’s only one way a single review can be removed from your page, and that’s if Facebook themselves decides to remove it. Facebook explicitly won’t listen to you when you ask for a review to be removed, unless it’s clearly spam. If the review happens to be spam, you can mark it as spam, which will flag it for review by Facebook. I’m going to be honest here, it’s going to take Facebook a long time before they get around to reviewing and removing it. This isn’t a very good solution.
If you want to take a more proactive approach, you can hire a reputation management company to contact Facebook on your behalf. They’ll be considered an impartial third party and will have more sway over Facebook’s decision, not to mention getting them to act before the next glacial age.
Really Removing Reviews
The only way you can directly remove your reviews is by removing all of your reviews. That’s right; all of them. If you happen to have two or three five-star reviews and a flood of 1-star reviews, this is probably a good idea. If you have a few hundred or a few thousand 4 and 5-star reviews, but you’re concerned about a couple of recent 1-2 star reviews, this is probably a worse choice.
In order to remove your reviews, you need to hide the reviews app. First, click to Update Page Info. Click on the Address section and look beneath the map. You’ll see a checkbox tat says “Show map, check-ins and star ratings on the Page.” You have to un-check this setting in order to hide, well, all of those things. Be warned that you’ll be hiding your map as well, so if you’re in a hard to find location, you might want to think twice about hiding it.
Review App Alternative
If you want reviews, or if you want a map, but you don’t want to be as limited as you are with Facebook’s system, you can create your own app. To do this, you’re going to want to create a tab app microsite. You can do this in a few ways, typically using third party services, though a developer in your employ can probably create one.
Essentially, what you want to do is create one or two tab apps. One can be a simple Google Maps integration to give map functionality to your page. Unfortunately, it won’t display on the page the way a map through Facebook displays; it’ll just show up as any other tab app. This is the biggest drawback to using tab apps in place of Facebook’s feature.
For the reviews app, you’ll want to do the same thing. A simple star scale and text submission field works, so you can mimic Facebook’s functionality. The only difference is you’re able to control those reviews, vetting them for spam before they submit, or removing the least relevant reviews before they hurt your business.
Of course, you can only really do this for Facebook; it doesn’t help you when it comes to reviews on Yelp or another third-party site.
A Word of Warning
Before you go vetting all of your reviews, remember that users are naturally skeptical of businesses with nothing but high reviews. It will be incredibly transparent if you’re removing all of your low reviews on Facebook, but they still exist on sites like Yelp. You can expect to be noticed and, if you’re sufficiently high profile, you might find your plan backfires as social media and sites like Reddit pick up and run with exposing your secret.
You can also use low reviews as a customer service opportunity. Facebook allows you to respond to reviews, both positive and negative. You can thank users who leave positive reviews and gain a bit more goodwill out of it. For negative reviews, you can put your customer service hat on and ask them how you can make it better. This helps you gain fans out of people who had a bad experience with a dead on arrival product or bad shipping.
A certain number of negative reviews are natural. If you’re lacking any negative reviews, people will be a bit more suspicious. This only gets worse the more reviews you get, and the more control you have over those reviews. Using Facebook’s reviews feature is a way to keep the ball in the court of the fans, which helps assure them that the review distribution is legitimate. You really are just that good.
Just make sure that when you’re responding to reviews, you’re doing so in a brand voice. You don’t have to be corporate, and you should probably avoid rote copy and pasted “please contact our support” responses, but even those are better than the dramatic social media explosions that seem to happen several times each year.