by Rob Zaleski
Encouraging customers to give you feedback can be tricky. In today’s digital environment, where 74% of consumers rely on social networks to guide their purchases, having positive word of mouth online is essential. How do you ask for it effectively, tactfully and in an unobtrusive way? In this post, we’ll discuss ways your local business can encourage more reviews and testimonials from your fans.
People trust the experiences of other customers. As a matter of fact, 85% of people head to review sites to decide where to spend their money. Testimonials are an excellent means of letting potential customers know what to expect, and they come right from the mouths of those who know it best—actual customers.
But how do you ask your customers for feedback online? At Main Street Hub, we’ve written over a million messages for our customers across social media and we’ve learned that a more conversational approach is the best. So, instead of saying “leave us a testimonial!”, say something like, “If you had just 30 seconds to recommend us to a friend, what would you say?” As evidenced below, the results can be amazing.
When potential customers visit your page while doing research, they’ll see all the wonderful things your customers are already saying about you. This provides a social proof that can encourage them to choose you over a competitor. Additionally, when your fans comment, their friends see that they’re doing so, which further spreads this positive word of mouth to people who may not be familiar with your business! These testimonials can be shared on your website, tweeted to your followers on Twitter, or even used on marketing materials.
When customers head online to research where they go to spend their money, you need to look as good as possible. One way to look great is to have a plethora of reviews from actual customers. According to Yelp, your focus should be more about awareness, rather than outright asking for reviews. This is because Yelp feels that asking for reviews can diminish your credibility with customers and lessens the integrity of reviews in general. With this in mind, we recommend increasing traffic to your reviews pages in a couple different ways.
A simple thing to do is occasionally feature positive reviews from Yelp, Google+, or TripAdvisor on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Not only can this encourage your fans to stop by your page, they may also feel inclined to provide their own feedback. It also shows your appreciation to people that provide reviews and puts the spotlight on your biggest fans! At the bottom of every review is a ‘Link to this review’ option. Clicking this will change the link in the browser to one that goes directly to that review. You can then copy and paste this link into posts on Facebook and Twitter, thanking the reviewer for the kind words.
Another way we love to encourage feedback is by following up with people who check in to your business on Yelp or Foursquare. When people check-in to your business on these platforms, they can share that check-in with their friends on Facebook and Twitter. Basically—free word of mouth advertising, and that’s something you want to thank them for. Doing a quick Twitter search for your business’s name and/or Twitter handle can yield a ton of opportunities to connect with customers. In doing so, you can ask them to provide some feedback about their visit, and even let them know that they can find you on Yelp and Google+ as well.
A couple days after this conversation, the customer was inspired to write a 5-star review of the business. This kind of outcome can actually have a massive impact for local businesses. A Harvard study has shown that a 1-star increase in your overall rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue. Simply providing great customer service online could lead to more revenue for your business. That’s a win-win situation all around!
Social media and reviews pages are customer service channels that you simply cannot ignore. Not only do they give you the opportunity to spread word of mouth about your business; they give you the ability to enrich and enhance the relationships you have with your customers.
The steps outlined above can take time, though. Main Street Hub does all of this for you, and more. Receive personalized recommendations on your online presence by signing up for a free social media assessment below!
by Rob Zaleski
Our #GetSocialAustin event is coming up on March 4th at Mercury Hall here in Austin, TX. In this event, we’ll be featuring local business owners that will discuss how they’ve used social media to connect with their customers and increase business in the local community. Two of our speakers are Natasha Bajic, Owner of Bras Ovaries, and Cara Gambini, Owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Company. We’re thrilled to have them take the stage and share their stories.
Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at these two socially savvy local business champions!
Natasha Bajic, Owner of Brass Ovaries
Natasha Bajic is an unstoppable force in the local business community. Not only is she a decorated army veteran who has explored war-torn areas, she was also the first female to complete special operation training, and even survived a fall from a Black Hawk helicopter. On the recreational side, she’s hiked the Appalachian Trail and has taken up skydiving as a hobby. While obtaining her degree in Neuroscience, Natasha spent years studying the human brain, which helped shape her personal approach to pole dance. She dubs this approach, “releasing your inner monkey.”
The way Natasha runs her business has earned her just as many accolades, and she goes above and beyond her studio’s controversial name. She’s the first pole dance instructor to teach with the accompaniment of a service animal (named Amigo!), and has developed Brass Ovaries into one of the best pole training facilities in the nation. That’s not just her word, either. Natasha has received numerous awards and recognition for her contribution to the fitness industry, holds a plethora of certifications, and has trained Pole Dance Hall of Fame member Kim Shafer-Standley and World Pole Champion Pantera Blacksmith.
Partnering with Main Street Hub in February of 2012, Brass Ovaries has seen engagement numbers that blow her competition out of the water, and a 70% increase in Facebook fans. We even helped her shut down a Twitter account that was impersonating her brand!
Cara Gambini, Owner of Texas Hill Country Olive Company
After spending six years providing her skills to the oil and gas industry, Cara Gambini decided to bring her talents home to the family business. She joined Texas Hill Country Olive Company in January 2013, and it turned out to be exactly what the company needed. Cara brought with her a technical savvy, thanks to her degree in Computer Science and experience in project and program management. She took the business to new heights throughout the year, and partnered with Main Street Hub in November to continue that success. Since then, Texas Hill Country Olive Company is reaching more customers across the web and is seeing more interaction than their competitors could even hope for. Not to mention they hold down a 4.5 star rating on Yelp!
The Texas Hill Country Olive Company is a family-owned business committed to supplying the highest quality olive oil produced in the United States. The company began in 2009 when the family bought 17 acres of land in the picturesque town of Dripping Springs, TX. Since day one, the focus has been on preserving the natural beauty of the area while providing fresh, locally produced extra virgin olive oil and other premium quality products. The family is proud to have created the only certified organic orchard in the State of Texas and was first to win medals for their olive oils.
Both of these entrepreneurs have amazing stories, and we can’t wait to hear them share more with other local business owners at #GetSocialAustin on March 4th.
Are you an Austin business owner? Register for the FREE event here:
Enjoy this post? Excited to check out the event? You may also like our interview with Gabrielle Tuschak, owner of event co-sponsor, Go Local Austin!
An Interview with Go Local Austin’s Gabrielle Tuschak
by Rob Zaleski
Our #GetSocialAustin event is only a couple weeks away. On March 4th, we’re partnering with Go Local Austin to provide local business owners with an opportunity to network, learn social media best practices, and hear from other business owners who have had success using social media to grow their business. We recently sat down with Go Local Austin Co-Founder, Gabrielle Tuschak, to discuss the importance of local business.
MSH: Why do you feel it’s so important to support local businesses?
GT: There’s a long list of reasons to go local: environmental and economic sustainability, increasing product diversity, better customer service, job creation, creating happier, self-sufficient communities, and one of my favorites…preserving the local flavor that keeps Austin, Austin! Can you imagine what our communities would be like without local shops, where every city had the exact same businesses? Shopping local is fundamental to the vitality of our community and supports our city’s unique and unmistakable Austin identity.
It’s also important to support the business owners behind our Austin businesses. They live here, send their kids to school here, and own property here, which means they’re invested in the long-term health of our city. Local business owners also contribute 250% more to local non-profits than their national competitors. That’s why we see cities that have thriving local businesses also have thriving non-profits. [Tweet This] It’s just awesome to think that these charitable organizations are benefiting when we shop local.
MSH: What kind of success stories can you share from local businesses participating in the Go Local program?
GT: Our Go Local business partners are doing more business and making more money. One study from a business school here in Austin found that, out of a pool of 250 Go Local cardholders, 73% had a greater appreciation for local business, 41% frequented local business more in general, and 33% consciously frequented new Go Local businesses.
Because cardholders are rewarded every time they use their card (with a 10% discount on average), they feel more appreciated and develop a sense of loyalty to those Go Local businesses. I love that the majority of cardholders have an increased awareness about shopping locally. This is a really big deal. Changing our thoughts has to come before we are able to change our behavior. Something as simple as increased awareness is really beginning to shift consumer-buying behaviors and contribute to the success of our Go Local business partners. The Go Local card is not simply offering monetary incentives to buy local—it’s helping Austinites think and shop more local.
MSH: What’s the future vision you have for Go Local?
GT: My vision is to find more profound and positive ways for Go Local to impact our community. One exciting idea we’re working on now involves increasing charitable giving to local causes. We’ll be providing ways to do this affordably and conveniently for both our Go Local businesses and cardholders in order to keep Austin local AND giving. I’m excited to formally announce this in more detail soon!
MSH: How would you describe the importance of social media for local businesses?
GT: What’s great about social media is that it provides a space for businesses to connect to their customers in a much more personal way. This falls right in line with one of our Go Local goals, which is to create more meaningful relationships within our community. I highly encourage Austinites to get to know the people behind the business and likewise, I encourage businesses to get to know the person behind the customer. Social media is a great tool to do just that and is becoming a significant means of interaction between businesses and their customers.
MSH: In partnering with Main Street Hub for #GetSocialAustin, what are you hoping to see come out of this event?
GT: What I like about these events is their sincerity. No one is trying to sell anyone anything. Main Street Hub is providing a free and valuable service to our business community and Go Local is happy to be involved. Our hope is that attendees will be able to utilize information from these events to further their company’s success. I’d say it’s a very realistic goal.
MSH: SXSW brings thousands of people to Austin each year. What kind of impact would you say that increased traffic has on local businesses?
GT: It’s definitely a great way for businesses to test their limits! Performing at maximum capacity can be a learning opportunity to see where you can improve. Obviously, the economic impact is enormous, too. What I’m interested in is: how can we maximize the value of the millions of dollars that pour into Austin each year during SXSW? How many times can we re-spend these dollars within our local economy? Recycling and reinvesting the monetary value of events like SXSW allows the economic impact to last throughout the year, not just for two weeks. That’s the value and the magic of shopping local.
For more information about the #GetSocialAustin event, click here: Get Social Austin
by Rob Zaleski
The 2014 Sochi Olympics may be half the globe away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add a local flair in your social media content based on this worldwide event. Local business owners can use the popularity of the Olympics to really go for the gold and get their fans excited, and thereby help spread the word about your business, no matter what kind of business you have.
Simply talking about the Olympics isn’t a solid marketing strategy, though. In order to really connect with your audience, you need to find a way to tie the topic to your local business’s offerings, the interests of your customer base, or even your local community. If your audience finds your content compelling, they’ll engage with it or share it with their friends and family. This not only increases visibility, but also acts as a public endorsement of your brand, which spreads positive word of mouth online. Positive word of mouth and increased visibility lead to more customers. We’ve put together some examples of how you can do that.
Aim for the gold
Post example: “Which of our dishes wins the gold medal in your heart?”
Why we love it: Asking a question is always a great way to get your audience talking, because it shows them that you value their input. This simple twist on asking your fans about their favorite dishes turns the post into something timely and can really get them talking. It doesn’t have to just apply to restaurants, either. You can ask this question about specific products you carry, or services you offer, and can receive valuable information on which of them your fans truly prefer!
Post example: “In honor of the USA taking home the gold/silver/bronze in [insert event], we’re featuring half-off Budweiser on tap all week!”
Why we love it: As has often been evidenced during large sports events, real time content can truly make an impact and spread word of mouth. If you have products, dishes/beverages, or services (a Swedish massage, for example) or a business that has specific geographic origins or associations, you can capitalize on those countries taking home medals. This becomes real-time, relevant marketing and shows fans that you’re paying attention to what’s going on as much as they are.
Pro Tip: Speaking of real-time, Twitter’s advanced search offers you amazing opportunities to connect with customers in the moment. Have TVs? Find people mentioning that they want to watch the Olympics and invite them in. Offering a special like the above example? Find people cheering for the US (a local search for #GoUSA or #USAgold ought to do it) and let them know to stop by. Finding these opportunities is exactly what our “do-it-for-you” HubTargeter technology is designed to do. See how it brings home the gold here.
Show your local spirit
Post example: “Come by today and help us cheer on fellow Texans Justin Olsen and Johnny Quinn as they compete for gold in the bobsled event!”
Why we love it: Showing support of local competitors really brings the international Olympics events home. A quick online search using the phrase “2014 Olympics competitors from [insert state]” can help give you an idea of who’s from your home state, if you don’t already know. You can then look them up on http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes/ and learn a bit about them. This information can be used for a trivia post, as you’ll see below, or can turn into easy shares by your fans to show their support of local competitors, as well.
Go with what you know
Post Example: “Give us your best guess: An hour of ice skating burns ____ calories.”
Why we love it: Trivia or multiple choice posts are a great way to not only get your fans talking and sharing, but also serve as a way to show off your knowledge. Gyms and fitness centers, or even healthcare providers, can use these kinds of posts to spread helpful information in a fun way.
Post example: “Ted Ligety gets X hours of sleep before an event. How many hours do you need to be in tip-top shape?”
Why we love it: A little research on Olympic competitors can provide you with interesting and informative tidbits to start conversations about important topics in your industry. Use content like this to open up dialogue with your fans and start discussions that lend themselves to your expertise.
Post Example: Which country will take home the most gold medals this year? Place your vote this week and one lucky winner will receive a $10 gift card!
Why we love it: Every local business can tie contests into a social media strategy, especially now that Facebook has opened up contests to the timeline. Doing so can increase engagement in a fun way, encourage new followers through word of mouth, and create extra value for fans and followers of your social pages, all with only a small investment from you. Just be sure to brush up on Facebook’s promotion guidelines to keep from violating any of the policies. You should also ‘Pin’ the post to the top of your page to make it easy for fans to find it and enter (See below. Click the arrow in the top left of a post to see the drop down menu).
Remember to have fun with your fans. Think about providing value and offering something that will interest your audience, rather than using your content to try and sell something outright. Not only will this invite more engagement, but will also keep your fans coming back for more.
Interested in more information on how someone could be doing all this (and more) for you? Sign up for a FREE social media assessment by clicking below.
by Rob Zaleski
We’re very lucky here at Main Street Hub to have a great group of community managers from varying backgrounds who all have a passion for local business and social media. This past Monday was the 4th annual Community Manager Appreciation Day, which was started by Jeremiah Owyang back in 2010 to recognize the work these creative people do every day online. Community management professionals can be an asset to local and small business owners. Here’s how:
A Fresh Perspective
Many local business owners struggle with what to say on social media, that many simply don’t bother getting started. A community manager brings with him or her some social savvy and a background in creative writing that can greatly benefit your online presence.
You know your business and products, but how do you present them to your customers? Community managers can provide new ways to approach the business you love, and that fresh perspective can prove fruitful in spreading more word of mouth about your business online.
A good community manager is typically up to date on current events and trends, which they can incorporate into presenting your business to an audience. Just look at some of the recent events such as Arby’s tweet during the GRAMMYs.
Cool, Calm, Objective
When your business receives the inevitable poor review or online customer complaint, it can be tough not to have a knee-jerk reaction. After all, this business is your heart and soul, and sometimes people can be harsher online than they typically would be in person. A defensive shouting match online leads to a situation where no one wins, and often the business comes out on the short end of it.
An advantage of having a community manager is that you have someone who can coolly handle customer service, with both the customer’s and business’s best interest in mind. Good community managers understand quality customer care and can not only diffuse a situation, they can often completely turn it around! Not only that, but a response showing great customer service has actually been shown to reduce the negative impact of the review in the eyes of potential customers.
That Creative Spark
A struggle of many local business owners we’ve talked to is finding the time to come up with creative content and strategies for their business online. Community managers bring with them a familiarity of social media platforms and how to best utilize them for local businesses.
Your customers want to be informed and entertained on social media, but it’s a noisy environment, and you need to stand out. Creative content is key to keeping your business top of mind, and that’s something good community managers do best.
What we look for in our potential community mangers are individuals who are innovative thinkers, but who thrive in a team environment of collaboration. The various individual talents and interests are what make the collaboration of our community management team so successful. This shows week after week as our customers continue to see people stay engaged and interacting with the local businesses they love.
Our thanks go out to not only our community managers, but also those working for businesses large and small across the web. Their creativity, customer service, and social savvy make the internet a better place for businesses and customers.
What great examples have you seen or experienced when interacting with a brand’s community manager?
Want to find out what our community managers could do for your business? Sign up for a free assessment by clicking below!
by Rob Zaleski
Mobile usage is on everyone’s minds for 2014. Local business owners need to know how to adapt to the increasing ways in which their current and potential customers are accessing information on the go. We’ve identified three ways that mobile is becoming more important to local businesses, and offer some tips on how you can capitalize on this.
Foursquare real-time recommendations
Foursquare, a mobile app that lets your customers ‘check in’ to your business and share their whereabouts with friends, is heading into 2014 with a renewed focus on local. When you’re near certain spots, Foursquare will ping you through an iPhone notification, and let you know what people recommend based on “tips” they’ve left. The app will also personalize this by using tips left by your friends on Foursquare, too. This word of mouth advertising makes tips on the location-based platform nearly as important as reviews. The more great tips people are sharing, the more likely their friends are to be influenced to visit when they’re near your business. In 2014, try leading your biggest fans to Foursquare like you would Yelp or Google+. This can be as easy as letting people know they can check-in to your business, or by offering specials to entice people to do so.
Twitter testing nearby tweets
If someone was nearby, expressing a need for your product or service, wouldn’t you want to reach out and make them a customer? The Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter has been testing a separate timeline on mobile devices that will only show tweets from people near your location (if they’ve activated that option). This could turn into a huge opportunity for local businesses looking to find potential customers in their immediate vicinity. At Main Street Hub, we’ve been able to generate thousands of new customers for local businesses by doing something similar to this with our “do-it-for-you” HubTargeter product, but we also use keywords to sift the results even further, reaching out to relevant users and starting conversations with them for you.
Mobile-friendly sites drive local trafficIn June 2013, 60% of people were using mobile devices to get online, and 6% of them were using mobile exclusively. The number of smartphone owners climbed to 152.5 million in November 2013, and is expected to keep rising. People are now accessing the internet in a fundamentally different way, so if your website doesn’t load quickly and easily on a mobile device, it could be costing you business.
Easy access to your social pages, reviews, and a ‘tap to call’ feature (pictured) show customers that you have their best experience in mind. Not only can a mobile-friendly site bring you more customers when they’re on the go, it can also act as a way to keep in contact with them through an email newsletter sign up or by encouraging them to connect with you on your social sites.
58% of people were using their smartphone in some way while out shopping in stores this past holiday season, according to an Ipsos poll of holiday shoppers. Another study found that 70% of people plan to use their smartphone more to help their shopping experience in the next year. [Tweet this stat!] If you’ve been ignoring the mobile revolution, it’s time to recognize that it’s not a fad. It’s the way we will all be doing business!
Have you noticed more people using their mobile phones or tablets while visiting your business? Are you currently doing anything to entice them, interact with them, or capitalize on their device usage? Let us know below!
by Rob Zaleski
Smartphones and social media have made the sharing of images a part of our daily lives. But image sharing isn’t just for “selfies” and pictures of the kids. For a restaurant, great images can mean the difference between someone choosing your restaurant when searching online or going with one of your competitors. Taking high quality photos can be time consuming, however, and hiring a professional photographer can be expensive. Have no fear. We’ve put together 5 tips to help you take great photos of your most popular dishes for your website and social media pages. Whether you have a digital camera or a smartphone, following these tips can help you take quality photos your fans will love!
1. Use natural light when you can to make your dish look its best.
If you can snap a photo by a window or outside to get indirect light, you’ll get the best colors to show up from your dish. If you can time it to late afternoon before the sun starts to set, you can get a less harsh, natural light that will look even better. Take this Fishermen’s Grotto #9 post below, which is a photo of their award winning clam chowder. The natural light and uncluttered background make the bread bowl stand out and immediately makes you want to order one while enjoying a beautiful day on The Wharf. Also, consider using a white plate, container, or white paper menu to act as a reflector of light without the need for fancy equipment. If you’re using a digital camera, check if there’s a white balancing option, especially if you have to shoot photos indoors or in lower light situations. It can help a bit.
2. Take photos from multiple angles
Not only will you catch the light differently, some dishes just look better from different angles. Take a look at the below example. This perfectly shot image of The Stinking Rose’s Garlic Roasted Prime Rib likely wouldn’t have looked as amazingly tantalizing from a bird’s eye view shot. Hitting it from an angle created an elegant composition, and notice that it included some other table items as well. This makes the photo look more natural. Try shooting from over head, close up, from the side (especially for tall or highly stacked dishes), and from the table. Then pick which one you like the best. Adjust focus in different areas, rather than simply the center (you can do this by tapping on a touch screen phone, or adjusting the zoom on a digital camera). You may find that this can give the photo a more artistic look.
3. Check what various options your camera has
Many digital cameras have settings for lower light, close-up shots, and some even have settings specifically for food! You can also give the ‘macro’ option a try, if your camera has it (usually noted with a flower shape, like below). Keep in mind that the photos need to look good and capture attention while using a smaller resolution that’s appropriate for a screen or mobile device. If your digital camera or phone saves the images as a very high resolution, you may need to reduce the file size and resolution, which brings us to our next tip.
4. Use a photo editor to tweak your masterpiece
Depending on your level of familiarity, this can be a long or short process. Easier online apps like PicMonkey or Pixlr are great free options to make minor to moderate edits, including lighting, saturation, cropping, and bringing out certain colors. As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to lower the pixel resolution of photos, especially those that come from a high definition digital camera. Both PicMonkey and Pixlr allow you to do this. Keep in mind that Facebook images are 403 x 403 square, Twitter images work on a 2:1 ratio (1024 x 512 works great). These are things to keep in mind to optimize the visibility of your photo on different platforms (watch for a future post about this to come).
5. Don’t be afraid to do some behind the scenes photos, too.
People love a look behind the proverbial curtain. Snap photos of your customers’ favorite dishes being prepared, your head chef hard at work, or even photos of fresh ingredients you use. This can make your fans feel like they’re in on the action.
Images are great for telling stories, so play with different ideas. If your restaurant has an ‘old world’ feel to it, try adding some antique-looking filters, snap photos of accouterments around the restaurant that give it character, maybe a photo of your grandfather who started the restaurant. If your fans are familiar with your name or a manager’s name, you can use that to make photos even more personalized, like the Tarahumara’s Mexican Café and Cantina post below. Don’t hesitate to use quality photos your fans post, too. Just be sure to thank them for posting, and give them credit when you use it (as can be seen in the Fishermen’s Grotto post far above). Telling a story creates something people can relate to, and that’s how you build a strong following.
What ways do you plan to use imagery in 2014? Do you have a great example of successfully using photos on your social media pages?
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by Rob Zaleski
“When you search for somewhere to stay on Bing, you’ll have instant access to our community’s reviews and ratings without needing to leave the page.”
Even if you’re not what one would typically consider a business associated with travel, you could still have reviews (especially if you’re a restaurant). Take ownership of your page, respond to these reviews, thank visitors for their input, and kindly correct any inaccuracies you find. TripAdvisor responses are public by default, so this can make a major impact on potential customers when they find you. This is especially important now that it can help you show up in Bing search results.
Do you have a TripAdvisor page? Have you been paying attention to how you rank on Bing, as well as Google? Let us know in the comments below!
by Rob Zaleski
If you’re like most local business owners, you’d like to see more customers coming through the door in 2014. Foursquare may be able to help you do just that.
In recent interviews with Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, he’s said that the newest version of the app, which has increased usage by 60%, is a goal finally realized. Crowley wanted Foursquare to be a real-time recommendation engine that would use information from users to tell others where to go, when to go, and what to look forward to when they get there. Now that the app has reached this pinnacle, with no signs of stopping there, it’s even more focused on helping local businesses bring customers directly into their doors. Here’s how.
Follow up by thanking them for stopping by, and watch how impressed people are that you took the time to do so. This small gesture not only makes people feel appreciated, but can increase customer loyalty (and that means repeat business for you!). All this from a simple check-in.
For example, let’s say I go to a Mexican restaurant and leave a tip saying, “Best tacos in Texas. Period.” (A wild claim, here in Austin.) Later that week, one of my friends on Foursquare is near that restaurant. A notification will pop up on their phone, saying something like, “Near ______ Mexican Restaurant? Your friend Rob says, “Best tacos in Texas. Period.”” How’s that for real-world, real-time word-of-mouth recommendations?
The app will often prompt people to leave a tip later, especially if it’s either their first check-in, none of their friends have previously checked in there, or if the spot doesn’t have many tips. You don’t even have to do anything!
The second item on the list is Specials. Whereas you may not come up on top of the list if someone searches your product or service (Again, think “tacos” in Austin. There are more than you can even imagine.), if you’re the only one nearby offering a special, you just gained more exclusive visibility on that list!
Whether your goal is to find new customers, keep your current ones coming back, or network your presence across multiple platforms, Foursquare can help you. With more eyes on your business, person-to-person recommendations, and your name being shared across networks, this simple app can add to your bottom line in a hurry.
Are your pages looking good to welcome new customers in 2014? Sign up for a FREE social media assessment below and find out!
by Rob Zaleski
If there’s one thing we always recommend, it’s responding to your local business’s reviews on Yelp, Google+ Local, and TripAdvisor. A recent study from BazaarVoice now offers up some statistics on just what kind of effect those responses have on potential customers.
Responding reduces negative perception of a brand
This point is huge. The BazaarVoice study showed that reviews read by the group who also saw responses saw one-third of the negative impact eliminated from the review, compared to those who just read the negative review alone. The reason for this is that it gave people the perception that the business was listening and truly cared about customer experience.
This also adds a human touch to a brand, which can lessen any negative perception. People who saw responses to negative reviews also perceived the quality of the products to be higher because the brand stands behind them and their customers’ experiences with them. A jump in trustworthiness was also associated with responses to reviews.
Responding increases intent to purchase
A common concern that we hear from thousands of business owners is that negative reviews will turn away potential customers. The study found, however, that when a business responds to a negative review, the readers’ intent to purchase doubled compared to the group that just read the negative review! Even with the negative review remaining on the page, a response to it can completely turn the perception around for potential customers.
When a response is present, the study also found those reviews more likely to be considered helpful. This was especially true in the health & beauty industry, which is an important point to consider for owners of spas and salons, healthcare, and fitness centers.
Correcting inaccuracies skyrockets sentiment
A frustration that numerous business owners have with negative reviews is that some of the information in them is just plain wrong. They may find it quite a surprise that this can actually work in the business’s favor. Taking the time to write a response that kindly corrects inaccurate information can increase reader sentiment by up to 157%. This is especially important for reviews that appear to be written directly to the business owner or at the business (rather than simply reporting to an audience). The reviewer is practically begging you to start a conversation and will be happy you engaged them, as long as you are genuinely trying to make the situation better for them.
We’ve written before that a negative review isn’t the end of a conversation, but rather the beginning of one. All of the data above, however, is also predicated on the idea that the negative review will remain on the page. We’ve seen numerous examples of customers updating their negative review to a positive one after receiving a friendly and helpful response. This doesn’t just apply to reviews, either. The same goes for tweets on Twitter and comments on Facebook. It’s time to start joining in the conversations about your business online. We’re happy to help you do it.
Which of the above findings are most surprising to you? Have you already seen success in responding to feedback you’ve received from customers?