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Online reviews of your company and its products and services are great tools for growing your online reputation that consumers trust.

That value goes so much further when customers not only write reviews about you but share them through social media channels too. 

As an example of the kind of reaction you can provoke if you do it right, just cast your mind back to the Sainsbury’s tiger bread letter from three year-old Lily Robinson.

She suggested that the bread looked more like a giraffe, and when the customer service agent who replied to her letter agreed and sent her a gift voucher, Lily’s mother posted a photo of the letter on her blog.

It was picked up on social media and went viral in January 2012 - the result: more than 150,000 Facebook likes and 48,000 shares. 

Not only that, the company received hundreds of emails and phone calls commending it for its excellent customer service. It further cemented this image by going on to change the name to Giraffe Bread after asking other customers for their opinion on Lily’s suggestion.

A quick search on Twitter in July 2013 showed that it’s still being talked about 18 months later!


Blog till you Drop wrote this great analysis piece on why this went viral, which essentially boils down to it being picked up by online social influencers. So how can you do this for your brand?

Here are some steps you can follow to get great results...

Cultivate some brand ambassadors

As the analysis of the Sainsbury’s viral success showed, it was largely driven by comments, likes and shares by online influencers.

So you need to get some of your own. BEcause have identified these key attributes you should look for in yours. They need to be:

  • Proactive - willing to approach people and able to deliver the key brand messages without making them feel bombarded.

  • Professional - take pride in what they do for you while being approachable and professional.

  • Plugged-in - they have to have a good online presence and know what to say, to whom and where.

Make sure it’s easy for customers to review your products and services

Using an online review platform that can send automated review request emails when customers buy from you can ensure that you get a constant stream of reviews.

It shows your customers that you are interested in their feedback and want to ensure that they’re satisfied with your products and services, which goes a long way in developing a good online reputation, as 50-80% of experiential word-of-mouth marketing is generated from the sales you’ve made. 

Respond to the reviews to show you’re reading them and taking notice

This goes for positive and negative reviews. There’s nothing worse than being ignored if you say something nice about someone and tell all your friends.

It’s a common courtesy on Twitter that anyone that retweets, favourites or mentions your content is acknowledged. Keep ignoring people who mention you and you’ll soon fall out of their favour and be mentioned no more.

Thanks to social media, the negative comments made about your brand will now be seen by many people - so always show how you’ll improve things in light of negative comments. 

How and where to share the comments and reviews you get

In order to tap into the power of your reviews you need to share them. As well as having them feeding into your company website at strategic points through the purchases and check-out process - you should use them across all your marketing channels for maximum impact.

The right online review platform will have tools to make it easy to share your reviews through:

  • Email campaigns

  • Facebook

  • Google Shopping

  • Search engines

Then they are working hard for you and demonstrating to everyone that you’re a business that can be trusted.


As you get back to work on selling your brand through socially shared reviews, remember these key points:

  • Social leads convert 13% better than other leads, so it’s worth investing time and budget in generating and nurturing them.

  • You need a social media strategy - don’t just start randomly posting updates!

  • Brand ambassadors with online influence are how you get content to go viral.

  • It has to be easy for a customer to review your products and services.

  • Automatically invite customers to review you a few days after their purchase.

  • Use an online review platform that allows your reviews to be easily shared on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

  • You have to interact with people who share and comment on your content.

Jan Vels Jensen

Published 9 April, 2014 by Jan Vels Jensen

Jan Vels Jensen is Chief Marketing Officer at Trustpilot and a contributor to Econsultancy.

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