Life used to be simpler, before social media democratized everything—including criticism. Now while this can be a good thing (in theory), allowing all consumers to have a voice is an incredibly difficult system to police. Arguably the most famous —slowly becoming infamous— review site Yelp has faced enormous criticism over what’s seen as a Mafioso-like approach that would leave Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola shocked and appalled. Everything from negative reviews about parking, to outright extortion. The pushback has been fierce, and Yelp has been the subject of countless articles, a 2017 documentary, and a 2015 episode of South Park—and if you’ve ever seen South Park, you know that you don’t want to be the subject of one of their episodes. Like many aspects of the digital world, advances come quick and changes come quicker. Facebook is leading the charge in this regard, and are changing their review system from a 5 star rating system into a new, recommendation system. But how will this affect your dealership?
Look, no one is suggesting that there’s a criminal organization behind the negative reviews of your dealership. The reality is, you can’t please everyone. Not only that, but some negative reviews can actually give you constructive criticism (imagine that) providing you have areas to improve your business. Sometimes the negative reviews are just that: negative. I had a psychology prof in university that spoke poorly of the website RateMyProfessors.com. He said that, “The only time people leave reviews, is if they’re exceptionally happy or angry. And most of the time if they’re happy they’re more likely to spread praise via word of mouth.” It sounded right, and he was a psychology professor, so I didn’t bother to do any further research on the subject. That may have reflected in my grades that year, but that’s another story entirely. The point I got out of it was that you’re more likely to leave a review if you’re mad.
Now that Facebook is getting rid of this antiquated review system, how will potential customers know if your dealership is awesome? That’s where the recommendation system comes in. Instead of prompting customers to leave a review, they can leave a “Yes” or “No” recommendation, followed by a minimum 25-character response—it’s that simple. This means your staff needs to constantly be on point, but it also means more people will likely weigh in on their experience at your dealership (as opposed to those who just didn’t like your prices, or just don’t know the importance of servicing their vehicle). Not only that, but they don’t even have to go to your page to leave a recommendation. They can just tag you in a post or in a response to a friend, and as long as their profile is set to share publicly, the recommendation will count toward your dealership’s online reputation.
For those who’ve worked hard for top-notch reviews, they’ll still show up on your page. But should you make a positive impression on someone, that good old-fashioned word of mouth advertising will actually see a tangible result. The best part? Recommendations will be sorted by your relationship to those making the recommendations. This means that instead of random weirdos and strangers, customers will see how their actual friends feel. This is huge from a social proof standpoint, since people are more likely to take into account what people in their social sphere have to say about something, than what those outside of it think or say. Plus, maybe they’ll see that negative review and think, “Whatever, Jennie’s a Yelper anyway.”
This switch is still in its infancy, and will have no effect whatsoever on any other review platform. But, with the amount of people on Facebook (18 million users in Canada—every day), and the reach that the platform has, this could be a big boost to how people perceive your dealership. If you have any questions, or want to know more about the different services Strathcom offers, including listing your inventory via Facebook, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you feel like filling out a short, recommendation-based quiz, you may do so here.