Best PracticesDealership Marketing

Here’s how to get your first 100 Facebook Reviews

People rely on Facebook reviews because of their accuracy over time. Of course, not every single review reflects perfectly the customer experience, but an aggregate review score quickly tells new customers what type of experience they can expect at your dealership.

Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to get Facebook reviews or improving reviews and ratings overnight. If customers regularly have a subpar experience then your ratings will reflect that and the only lasting way to change ratings is to improve your customer’s experience.

For many auto dealerships, however, it’s not so much a problem of quality ratings and reviews, but rather the quantity of customers leaving them. If your dealership has less than 10 Facebook reviews it sends a bad message to potential customers.  Even if your sales and service are top-notch, it takes time to build up credibility online.

This guide will walk you through a simple approach to getting your first 100 Facebook reviews. It requires you to manually send review invites and even though it is a free approach it will require an investment of time.

If you’re interested in a more hands-off approach, check out Podium’s online review management product which can automatically invite every single customer to review your dealership.

0 – 10 Ask Family

Getting your first 10 reviews should be simple. So in order to build your confidence ask family, who’ve already visited your dealership, to leave an honest review. This is an easy way to get started and to gain some momentum and get Facebook reviews.

One of the benefits of Facebook Reviews is that each review has a ripple effect, and can be seen by the reviewer’s audience on the platform. Once you’ve gained 10 or so glowing reviews from your next of kin, it’s time to cast a slightly broader net.

11 – 20 Ask Extended Family

The next 10 reviews will be slightly harder than the first 10, but still fairly simple. Instead of just relying on your immediate family, think broadly about any family who’ve visited your dealership. This might be a rich uncle or a cousin who moved away.

The point is that this group knows you and your dealership and would feel privileged to leave you an awesome review. You should know everyone in this group by name and easily be able to send them a review invite online. With 20 positive reviews in the tank, it’s time to step up our game to the next level.

21 – 30 Ask Friends

In golf terms, the first 20 reviews were tap-ins. The next 20 will require slightly more hustle, but nothing you can’t handle to get Facebook reviews. Now that you’ve reached out to relatives let’s tap into your social network.

Think of all the people who you spend time with on a weekly basis. There’s a great chance they’ve been to your dealership and an even greater chance they’ll leave you a great review.

What if you feel awkward asking friends and family for reviews?

It’s not unusual to feel slightly apprehensive about mixing business with your personal life. But keep in mind the fact that 77% of consumers say they’d be willing to leave a review if asked by a business. As an owner, you already know how much people love to share their opinions, and really that’s all you’re asking for. So go for it and see just how well your first 10 to 20 review invites are received.

31 – 40 Ask Your Social Network

The term “friend” is used pretty loosely on Facebook, which is great for influencers, but not helpful when you’re trying to narrow down your list of friends to invite to get Facebook reviews for your dealership. This next round of invites will be sent to friends that you might not see on a weekly basis. Think of any groups that you might be a part of like a softball team, or a community garden. Send review invites to familiar faces on this list who’ve visited your business.

Side Note: Remember, not every review has to come from a regular customer.  Anyone who’s been to your dealership can vouch for it in the form of a review.

41 – 50 Ask Employees

Some of your very best customers might be hiding in plain sight. If you haven’t already, ask your employees to review your dealership. Like it or not, their job depends on the success of your dealership. Although you might not mention that to them when asking for reviews.

If you think that they’re unlikely to leave you a good review, then it’s probably time to make some more substantial changes to improve employee satisfaction. Just like that, you’re halfway to 100 Facebook reviews.

51 – 60 Ask Former Employees

Summer jobs are the best. Whether you’re a golf caddy or a temporary office administrator the stakes are usually pretty low. And when summer ends, it’s back to school without the stress of promotions or career path.

For most dealers, temporary and former employees are an excellent audience to invite to review your business. Obviously, you’d want to focus on the employees who left on good terms. But if you’ve been in business for a few years, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a dozen or so employees to talk up your business.

61 – 70 Ask Vendors

If you run a reputable local business, then you’re probably on pretty good terms with a variety of vendors. Not only have they visited your business but it’s in their best interest to see you succeed. This is a great opportunity to get Facebook reviews.

You probably know most of these people well enough to send them invites online. However, you might need to invite some of them in-person the next time they stop by your dealership. If it’s feeling too unnatural to ask for an invite out of the blue, try running a monthly promotion to get more reviews.

71 – 80 Ask Past Customers

Admit it! Getting reviews isn’t as hard as you thought it was going to be. For the last third of your reviews we’ll focus squarely on your customers. After all, that’s who you typically think of as leaving a review.

But you might not have thought of former customers who you no longer see regularly. This audience used to come in for a tire rotation or oil change every so often and then just stopped coming in. Maybe another service center opened closer to their house, or maybe they just learned how to do it themselves.

Pro Tip: If your Facebook Page is fairly active, you can find former customers by going through likes and comments on old posts. Sending a review invite on Facebook is great way to keep in touch or reconnect with old customers with a side-benefit of getting Facebook reviews.

81 – 90 Ask Today’s Customers

The second to last group is our most engaged audience because they’re actually in your store–or if you’re reading this then they may have just left. In reality, the most effective way to collect reviews is to send invites shortly after a customer completes their transaction with you.

For the next batch of reviews, try sending invites to your next 10 customers right after they complete their transaction. Since this audience has no other tie to you than your business, prepare yourself, because they will be more forthcoming with customer feedback than the other groups we’ve invited already.

91 – 100 Ask Future Customers

How can you send Facebook review invites to customers you haven’t even met yet? The most successful local businesses actually integrate Facebook reviews and Google reviews into their sales process so review invites automatically go out to every single customer as soon as they complete their transaction. But you don’t have to be a Podium customer to set up a simple process at your business for inviting future customers to leave a Facebook review.

Some of the best processes are also the most simple, so don’t overthink it. It’s easy to look at businesses with thousands of positive reviews and feel overwhelmed. But the truth is that your reputation is built in every interaction you have with your customers. And just like any relationship, it’s built overtime not overnight. If you want to see faster results, you have two options–get more customers or convert more customer interactions into online reviews.

Nico Dato is head of marketing at Podium, a modern communication platform for businesses with a local presence. He fuses his passion for statistics, d...