There’s a misconception that bloggers rave about every free product or service they receive, regardless of how good it is. So what happens when one blogger raves about a product while another slates it? Are both reviews given equal weight? Or are we more likely to believe the negative one?
A couple of weeks ago there was a certain cruise ship that you could not avoid seeing across your social media feeds. From extravagant spiral staircases to luxurious restaurants, the Scarlet Lady looked like a floating dream. Every piece of content from the ship was aesthetically pleasing, and the reviews we more than complimentary. That was until Becky shared her experience via a detailed blog post on The Owlet.
A lack of options for those with dietary requirements, poor design, loud inescapable music and rude staff. If was clear that Becky’s experience of the Scarlet Lady was a far cry from what others were sharing on social media. The fact that her review was so opposite to the reaction of her fellow influencers led people to question just how honest the people raving about it were being. So, when people have completely different experiences with a product or service, does this undermine the trustworthiness of those who have a positive experience? And how can you ensure that your audience trusts your opinion, regardless of whether you love or hate what you’re reviewing?
“A blogger’s honesty and integrity is likely to be questioned if they have a different experience to everyone else. We must remember that when there are conflicting opinions it’s because two different sets of people had two completely different experiences,” says Alice Spake, a blogger who was also at the Scarlet Lady press event.
“I’ve been to restaurants others have raved about and walked out halfway through the main course. We all have different tastes and I sometimes feel this is forgotten about when it comes to blogging. If we all liked the same things it would be boring, right?”
It can be easy to forget that people’s preferences and requirements can impact the experience they have with a product or service. Ultimately, it’s important that everyone is honest in their reviews (regardless of whether they loved or hated something) to ensure that consumers have a broad range of opinions to draw from when making purchasing decisions.
“As bloggers we form a connection with our readers, and because they get to know us they trust what we say, like you would if a friend gave you advice,” says Becky, whose negative review of the Scarlet Lady on The Owlet caused a stir.
“Brands will always want the review to be positive, but it’s important to be honest. If your readers buy a product because you promoted it, it’s always going to ruin their trust in you if you weren’t truthful about your experience.”
When there’s pressure from brands, and the fear of damaging a relationship, it can feel hard to be 100% honest in your reviews. Ultimately it’s important that you are to maintain the trust of your audience and the value of your opinion.
“I’ve prided myself on being honest from the very beginning of my blogging career, it’s usually the first thing someone says when recommending or describing me to someone else and I’m proud of that. Honesty and integrity go a long way in this industry,” says Alice.
Becky also feels that being honest is the most important thing creators can do when working with brands: “The only thing you can do is ensure that you’re always honest, and remind your audience of that. I say that I have an ‘always honest policy’ – if I don’t like something I will tell you, but equally if I say something is amazing then my readers are more likely to believe me because I don’t sugar coat the negatives. At the end of the day you can’t please everyone, all you can do is your best, and hope that your readers see that you’re genuine.”
So next time a brand tries to tempt you into a glowing review with an extravagant bundle of products or exotic trip put yourself in the shoes of your audience and make sure you’re truthful in the content that you share. Otherwise, you could damage your reputation in the long run.