At this year's International Builder Show Element 360 had the opportunity to get an exclusive run down on all the buzz strategies, methodologies, and best practices from others for 2018. A reoccurring theme was the importance of online reputation and reviews. Living in a digital era the requirement to monitor your businesses reputation is stronger than ever. With countless reviews sites and the seamless integration of information across platforms, it's easier than ever for customers to find your brand's reputation. The 2016 Consumer Review Fairness Act changed the framework for how businesses solicit, post, and share reviews and since word of mouth is the finest version of publicity, here's a short checklist to ensure your business complies with the updated standards.
- You must disclose if a review or testimonial is paid for. This includes if you’ve paid with cash, gift cards, discounts, or offering free services/products.
- It is illegal to suppress bad reviews. As a business owner if you decide to disclose your reviews you must disclose all of them. You cannot review wash, meaning deliberately hiding negative reviews or commentary.
- A business entity cannot review itself - it is a violation of the FDC. This includes employees of the company. As for previous employees that is a grey area - which we recommend staying away from.
Ultimately the Consumer Review Fairness Act is a way for businesses to maintain honest practices and portray a fair digital reputation. Reviewing your online reputation routinely, creating efficient methods for clients to review your business, and having an open dialogue with clients regarding testimonials and feedback are strategies to create an authentic online presence. If you find yourself second guessing a certain methodology or googling if something is a legitimate practice or not, our advice is to take the honest road and steer clear from any grey territory. When it comes to digital it's easier to keep a clean record than to salvage a broken one.