In our modern age of user reviews, positive reviews can make all the difference for brand image. Consumers want to double check everything before they make a purchase, and that includes reviews on Amazon, Google, Yahoo, and other websites. Social media now allows users to express their opinions on products and companies to friends, family, and other shoppers in general in a very fast and efficient format.

The term “social commerce” is emerging to express the way in which major corporations are forced to interact with individual customers online in front of the entire internet community – product reviews are just one way to keep users satisfied. Reading product reviews can help you to discover existing complaints about your products before they get out of control.

Effective interaction on social sites is now a major way for brands to promote themselves. It calls for learning a new way of dealing with the public. Some brands have given way to feelings of indestructibility, and have tried to force sites to delete negative product reviews. Unfortunately, this tactic backfires when the cover up is revealed. Companies can lose credibility with the public more for hiding negative reviews than for getting some negative reviews in the first place. The key then is in responding properly to negative reviews.

Since customers rely on accurate reviews, dealing with legitimate reviews then becomes the primary issue for brands. Ensuring that positive reviews are genuine and not paid for is important. It may even mean providing sample products for review and accepting whatever kind of review comes about as a result. Honesty and transparency are highly valued by consumers – they want to know that everything they see is real. They are used to being lied to, and want the genuine article. This makes verified reviews (i.e. those from customers who have actually purchased and used the product) a necessity in maintaining credibility.