As a business owner, I know there is a love-hate relationship we have with Facebook. We hate the time-suck that it is and that it seems no one is even listening or seeing anything we are doing there, and yet it is still the most heavily used social networking channel. We know we “should” have a presence there, just like having a website in 1999 was an important form of legitimacy.
There is no doubt that Facebook still attracts the attention of 7 out of every 10 people in the United States. (You know the other 3 people just lurk from their spouse’s account) and that many businesses have seen great success using Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites as tools in their marketing.
So how can you successfully use this mega platform to actually convince people to leave their homes, where they can simply push a button and Amazon or Grubhub will deliver whatever they want, to come into your local business and spend money? Let’s take a look at some tips you can implement before the year comes to a close.
5 ways to use Facebook for your local business to build brand awareness and increase sales:
1. Get involved in local community Facebook Groups
Or better yet, start your own Facebook group for your city, town, or community interest. Facebook is more than Personal Profiles and Business Pages. It also has plenty of groups focused around specific interests, especially in the local community and neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods today have their own Facebook Group to share events, crime warnings, wildlife sitings, items for sale, recommendations, and more.
You can engage with your local community and let them know you’re more than a faceless business that wants to sell them things. You also get an idea of the issues concerning your local community, events you might want to attend or sponsor, and networking opportunities with other retail business owners in the area. Use the group to ask questions and share “BEST OF” lists– Best dog parks, best place to get dessert after 10pm, best picnic spots, and more. Throw out the question and have people comment with their answers and then offer to curate the list into a .pdf and share it back with the group.
What if you share the little league scores or high school sports scores weekly for the group? Who doesn’t want to be a part of a local group like that? The beauty of Facebook Groups is the members see every message, unlike a business page that usually has to work harder to get attention or use advertising and promoted posts.
2. Create PHOTO-WORTHY spots in your local business.
So perhaps you can’t get a giant blue bear sculpture outside your place of business, but fortunately, people will snap shareable photos with a lot less. It could be a great welcome mat that says “Great Shoes” and people will want to stand, snap and share. It could be something painted on the wall of your restrooms and people will snap and share there as well. Get creative and think of areas of your business that are brandable! Be sure to train your staff to spot groups snapping photos and go over to offer to take one of the whole party. That is great digital service.
3. Use targeted ad options on Facebook.
Facebook’s ad platform is pretty impressive, especially when it comes to the targeting capabilities you have for the audience. If you want to focus on Facebook users who live in a specific area, or who frequent businesses that are near your retail location, you can fine-tune who sees your promoted messages. Ads or sponsored posts appear in the newsfeed and look like a typical post, except that it’s marked as an advertisement. Make sure you monitor your ads that are running to respond to any comments or questions left on the ad post.
4. Run special promotions and events for your Facebook and social media fans.
Give your customers and potential customers a reason to pay attention to your page, and reward them for doing so. You don’t have to keep the promotions solely digital, especially if you want to increase foot-traffic on slow days.
Consider having deep discounts and flash sales that are in-store only but promote them online to get customers to come in. You can offer an in-demand product or other items discounted for the first 25 or 100 customers who come in on certain days. This sense of urgency encourages speed and enforces scarcity.
A trend that many are capitalizing on today is in-store experiences! Use Facebook and other social channels to let your community know you have a band playing or offer a tasting, a demo, or a yoga class or some other event for your fans. Experiences will draw those digital shoppers out and Facebook is a great place to talk about it.
5. Engage with your customers and prospects on your social media posts.
Many local businesses are still afraid of allowing comments on their social channels, fearing negative comments or reviews. People love social proof and if you allow comments on your pages you have the control that allows you to respond. If they comment on their own profiles or other pages, you can’t do anything about it. Invite reviews where you can participate.
People want to see that others like your brand as much as they do, so when you get a compliment in your place of business, ask if they would be willing to share that on your Facebook page or Google Review. Make it easy for people who are already happy, to share their feelings with the world. Today, “Word of MOUSE” is the new “Word of Mouth” when it comes to recommendations.
If someone is talking about your store, products or services, online, be sure to acknowledge them. Don’t leave comments, testimonials or questions on your Business Page unanswered. Let people know you hear them and appreciate every single comment left. [read: RESPONDING TO SOCIAL REVIEWS]
If there is someone being social with your brand on a regular basis, why not reward them with a special coupon or offer. Let them know you appreciate them sharing or engaging with you. Reward the behavior you want to be repeated.
We hope these 5 tips will inspire you to begin looking at Facebook with a fresh perspective when it comes to marketing your business. With a little creativity, you will have fans talking about you and more importantly…coming in to spend money! If you have more questions or want more ideas, be sure to join our DIY.social Group on Facebook, where entrepreneurs share ideas, tools, and resources to build their businesses!
If you are just getting that Facebook page set up we have created a guide that walks you through the steps to SET IT UP CORRECTLY and START GETTING FANS TO JOIN YOU! Download this free resource today!
Writing Better Posts will Get Your Message Further in the Social Stream
The social marketing space is extremely crowded and loud. Twitter alone has approximately 500 MILLION tweets flying out PER DAY! (approximately 6 million every SECOND) Twitter is a stream flowing wild and full with interesting content and … not-so-interesting clutter. Your goal on your social media channels is to share interesting and helpful content that others find good enough that they pluck it out of the stream and pass it along through ReTweets and shares.
To help your social media messages stand out and be read more often, here are 5 things to keep in mind:
1. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
Being controversial isn’t a bad thing on social media channels… occasionally. Tell us how you feel about something, while still being civil. People want to chime in and agree with you… or disagree with you. If you are just quoting everyone else, it gets old. It’s like that old saying, “Be yourself…unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!”
2. Become a better writer!
Punch a bit of drama, humor or even intrigue into your tweets and posts where you can. Can you say it in a way that is more entertaining or humorous? “Craving that last piece of cake” can be tweaked to read, “I kept hearing my name being called in a seductive voice. I turned to find the last piece of cake winking at me.” Just more fun to read and pass along! “Busy day ahead” can be made more interesting AND helpful by telling us a bit about you with, “Working with clients to tame their clutter today-I love scary closets” or “Busy day ahead expanding minds–this could get messy!” [READ: 7 Skills Every Social Media Marketer Needs]
3. Share it More Than Once.
We all know that once is never enough for anything great, so why not share your post more than once. Unless it is time-sensitive, put that post out today in the morning and then again perhaps tomorrow afternoon. Keep in mind that people are not sitting at their computer or on their phone JUST reading your posts (I know…shocking!). I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but people are reading lots of content and perhaps they missed your post today but will catch it tomorrow. Try adding two different images to your posts and see which captures the attention better. Speaking of images…
4. Add more photos and videos to your posts to allow people to SEE what you are saying.
Social media is all about photos, videos, and all things visual. Make sure and utilize this on your posts. While there are LOADS of great sites to find stock images [see: STOP USING THESE CRAPPY IMAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS] you can also create your own with photos you snap, images you create with tools like Canva or other tools, or fun Gifs you find or create!
5. Be quiet sometimes.
On any social media platform, my philosophy (that even I do not follow at times) is BE HELPFUL, BE INTERESTING, or BE QUIET! If you post tweets when there is nothing interesting or helpful to say…you might start being ignored. Of course, we are talking about SOCIAL media, so there are times you are socializing and chatting it up with folks, but if you are just posting what you are doing without asking yourself “Can I make this more interesting or helpful?” you might want to just go for a walk.
YOUR TURN TO SHARE: Of all the posts you have shared in the past week, what was it that grabbed YOUR attention and inspired you to pass them along?
Here is our FREE resource to help you use Twitter to build your business — Download Now:
You’ve been asked by your manager to set up a Facebook Page for the business and most of what you read says you have to do this from your personal profile. You don’t want this business page attached to YOUR personal profile. After all, what happens when you leave (hey, it can happen!) Perhaps it’s YOUR business, but you still don’t want to link it to a personal profile that you use for family connections and REAL friends.
FEAR NOT! You CAN do this. It may feel like you’ve been asked to turn over your personal diary for the world to read on your business page, but I assure you, your secrets are safe. Even though you are linking them for access, you are not linking them for the world to view.
So let’s understand something up front. When I create a business page, it is like creating a website for a business. I will need access to the backend of the site to load or change content, but nowhere on the site does it have to give my name or contact information, unless I want it to. It is the same with Facebook. Your PERSONAL profile is your access point or portal into Facebook but from there you can create and manage as many business pages as you’d like. You don’t need a special login and password for each page, and you don’t have to share passwords with anyone. (If your mother didn’t tell you this a long time ago, you should NEVER give your passwords to anyone. Whether they are your manager or not. There is no need for anyone to use YOUR password.) You log in and go to the pages you have admin access to. Your manager, or other team members, can log into their own personal profile and have the same access point if they are made an admin for the page.
If, and I hear this all the time, your manager or co-worker does not have a Facebook account of their own, so they ask to log into your account to check the business page, tell them you would like their login information to their bank account to check on your payroll first! They need to create their own account–it’s FREE and they don’t have to ever use it or share their horrifying vacation pics. If they need to log into a site, including Facebook, they need their own login credentials. There are just some things, like a glass of milk, a toothbrush or social media passwords, that should never be shared with other people.
When you are logged in from your personal profile and then jump over to your business page (easy to switch between the two from the dropdown arrow in the upper right) people on the outside do not know you are associated with the page. They cannot see any of your personal information and they are NOT automatically made FRIENDS of yours if they LIKE the business page.
With that out of the way, let’s get started! To begin, log into your own personal Facebook profile and THEN go to Facebook.com/pages and click CREATE PAGE in the upper right. You will be asked to name your page and select the category (not-for-profit, local business, etc. And don’t worry too much about the categories since they can be changed at any time. Your name is not so easy to change so choose wisely!).
Fill out the basic info and you are well on your way!
In the SETTINGS for your new page, look to the left and find PAGE ROLES. This is where you add an additional admin to the page, such as a team member or your manager (who will need to have a Facebook account). You can select different ROLES for people such as EDITOR (someone who cannot add or remove others but can post and comment AS THE PAGE.) You can select MODERATOR, ANALYST, even JOBS MANAGER to give specific rights without allowing people to add or remove others. If you leave the organization, you simply make sure there is an ADMIN assigned to the page and then remove yourself in this same area.
Now that we’ve covered how to set up your page, let’s move onto the REAL WORK…. creating and posting content every day!
That’s where things get scary! Happy posting!
No, No, Not Content Creation
Gina Schreck is the founder of SocialKNX. Their teams help organizations connect to their world and convert LIKES into DOLLARS! Be sure to find more geeky goodness on our own Facebook Page!
Who cares about the galaxy far away, when you have customers swarming around waiting to be pulled into your universe right here?
We’ve all heard that content is KING. We may have even heard that video content is QUEEN, which, aside from most card games, always trumps the KING! But, what good is it to create lots of content if you don’t have a plan in place to attract people to the content once it’s created? And even when people come to consume a piece of content you created, what is your plan after that?
Many people put a lot of hours into the creation of a single blog post, video or even website content but then they put no thought into how it will be promoted or what the next step is, and they wonder why no one is finding them. [Read More at- If You Write It They Don’t Necessarily Come]
I’m going to talk about a lot of different content pieces, and I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. You don’t need to create all of these at once, and you can get help with many of these pieces (I know a great team who can help! 😉) but when you do create a piece of content for your marketing, you need to know its role and its place in your content universe.
Your Website- THE SUN
The core of your universe, or your sun, is your website or your physical space (i.e. your store, your office, etc.). It is the place you want to ultimately get people to come to so they can contact you or purchase something from you. If your website is old and outdated or doesn’t have strong calls-to-action for people to contact you or buy from you, this should be your first step. You need a clean website without pages and pages of text.
Donald Miller of StoryBrand says it best, “If you confuse, you lose!” Your website needs to be clear and yet answer the questions people are coming with. If you feel that explaining what you do is complicated, imagine what people coming to your site are thinking.
According to Donald Miller, there are three questions your website must answer in the first 10-seconds someone lands there:
What is it that you offer?
How will you make my life better?
What do I need to do to buy from you?
There are too many websites that never clearly tell people how to actually work with the company. Go look at your website with the eyes of a stranger. Does it answer the three questions above, QUICKLY?
Too much text on a site will also cause your potential customer’s eyes to glaze over and they will leave. It’s too much of an investment that you are asking them to make. I have a hard time when people send me an email filled with text, don’t think people will invest loads of time on your website right away. Have links and buttons to “read more” or “learn more” but don’t make it over-whelming for someone just stopping by to read a blog post.
Here’s the harsh reality, no matter how much you just love the 16 paragraphs you have on that home page, even your mom isn’t reading it. As the popular meme goes, “Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!”
Once you feel that your website will help you convert more of those who come to it, let’s focus on how to get more of those ideal people heading your way.
Your Larger Pieces of Content- THE PLANETS
There are planets that are orbiting around the sun. These are pieces of content that your audience members want and need. These should have a natural gravitational pull that brings people from the piece of content into your core for more. Planets come in many forms:
A challenge series (one tip a day delivered via email)
Live Video Shows or Interviews
Shortcasts (Alexa briefings or Google capsules)
You may have some of these planets directly on your website or they can be delivered through an email or social media post. Your planets can have planets within them as well. For example, you might write a blog post and within that blog post you have a graphic or box that has a “DOWNLOAD OUR TIP SHEET WITH 25 WAYS TO SAVE TIME.” This is a great way to see if your readers are ready to move forward and commit by giving you their email address. I call this a lead magnet delivery campaign.
Keep in mind, as sad as it may be, not all of our ideal customers will be drawn to every piece of content we create. For this reason, you need to continue to create a variety of content pieces to see which ones land with your audience members.
If your content is helpful or interesting and leaves the reader wanting more from you, they will take the next step. So let’s move out into the stars!
Your Social Media Posts -THE STARS
Your stars are the social media posts (and sometimes email pieces) that are pointing people to the planets. They are small, byte-sized, shiny objects that are attractive to people. Your social media posts should be visually appealing, drawing people in to get to know, like, and trust you. They give enough information to entice. They will have short captions that attract attention and make people want to click or be pulled into your orbit.
Email messages can fall into this category since the purpose may be to pull them in closer to your core, but typically a person is already close if you have their email address. This is where you might want to look at how you can segment your email list to create smaller groups to get more personal with –that’s a topic for another post.
The key with social media content is you need lots of it. Just like stars in the night sky, not everyone will see every post. Some go by like a flash and won’t even catch your attention, while others stop you from scrolling immediately, drawing you in. You will need a variety.
Many people feel that posting one or two times a week is plenty of content on their social channels, but what they don’t realize is, like a shooting star, most people miss the infrequent post and so they never get pulled into your universe. If you’re promoting a new blog post, you might want 3-5 versions of social posts, each with different headlines and images pointing people to the post. This gives you five chances to capture someone’s attention.
Don’t forget that your social posts are not just for pushing out promotional content either. You want to mix in a healthy dose of “social” content to allow your ideal audience to get to know and like you. Social posts that do well include a peek behind the scenes in your office showing how you prepare for projects or your work team in a brainstorming meeting. Anything that lets people come in a little closer to learn more about the personality of your brand.
Ask questions to see whether your audience likes listening to classical or pump up music on a Monday morning. Share your favorite quote. That’s the social part of social media.
NEXT STEPS? What do you want your audience to explore next?
Now that we have explored your content universe, you will start to see how important each piece is in your marketing strategy. Nothing works when it sits alone. If you only have a website, you’ve got to work harder to get people to find you. And once people are on your website you will have a lot of work to do getting people to know, like, and trust you if that’s all they know about you.
Is it possible to only have a website and not need the planets and stars in your content universe? Of course, it is. When I have an immediate need for a plumber, if I don’t already have a relationship with someone, I’m going to Google, but then I will take the time to read the reviews on their Google My Business page, which is also a social channel.
Can you use only social media to get business and never need a website? Sure, you can. There is a cupcake truck that drives around Denver selling only cupcakes. You can find out where they will be and what flavors they will have stocked only through their social media accounts. So, you may have something so desirable that people are going to know about you through word-of-mouth and they already like you, so you just have to show up! That’s my kind of business.
The key is, you will shorten your sales cycle and increase your conversions when you have your content universe in working order. So once someone has been drawn to you through a social media post and goes to your website to read a post or watch a video… then you have to ask what do you do to keep them engaged with you? This is where the lead magnets and email campaigns come into play.
Often, we spend a lot of time and stress trying to drive more traffic to our websites, but we don’t think about what the person will do next. We don’t have a next step identified and so the person reads some information and then clicks away to another website. We think our “contact us” page is enough of a call-to-action, or even worse our “sign up for my newsletter.” Who wants another newsletter clogging up their inbox? Why not, “Get our weekly free tips and tools,” or something that sounds like something people would actually want.
When we attract people to our website to read a blog post, we have to think, “THEN WHAT?” What can I offer my reader when they finish, to give them a little more? What can I give them that might allow them to think of my brand a little longer and perhaps allow me to connect one step deeper with them?
You will want to start creating lead magnets and content upgrades for your blog posts or other content on your website to encourage people to exchange their email address for something of greater value. Let’s use the example of a content upgrade in one of your blog posts.
If you were an electrician and had a blog post about the “25 tips to keep your family safe around electricity in your home.” You could then create a printable tip sheet for parents to use with their children to help educate them on the “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts Around Electricity”. You could have a second sheet that provides readers with “20 Hidden Electrical Dangers Lurking in Your Home.” Of course, your contact information is at the bottom of both sheets. All the reader has to do is enter their email address and download these great resources. Who wouldn’t want these? Since you are an electrician and you want to know who lives in your neighborhood, you could ask for their mailing address along with the email address and then mail out a card with tips on a magnet.
When your blog reader gives you their email address, you make sure you have a statement on the form they fill out mentioning you will send monthly tips and resources to keep their family safe at home, and they are automatically added to your list. Now you need to think of ways to nurture this relationship.
Perhaps you send a welcome email with a short video letting them know you are so glad they are focused on keeping their family safe and that if they are ever interested in having a free home inspection for them to give your company a call. Always mention ways they can stay in touch and find more tips and resources on your social channels. You want to stay top of mind and in front of your potential customers as often as you can
Now you send a regular email with additional tips and resources, perhaps seasonal tips along with additional information that you know a homeowner will find helpful. It doesn’t have to be a sales pitch in an email, and it doesn’t have to be daily or weekly. You are nurturing the relationship. Building trust.
At the end of each email message be sure to offer a free consult or perhaps a summer special or holiday safety check, along with your contact information. Never make people search for your contact information. I’m always surprised how many of these emails I get where they expect me to click over to their website to find how to contact them. Call me lazy, but that’s just too much work!
When this family needs an electrician, who are they going to call? They have now gotten to know you, like you and trust you because of the information you have shared. They certainly wouldn’t dare call someone from a random Google search.
Make sure you’re not collecting email addresses the way many people collect social media fans. If you are adding people to your list and then not doing anything to stay in touch and nurture the relationship, what’s the point? And then when you want to sell something to this list of people, how likely will they be to purchase from you?
WHAT NEXT? LET’S PUT IT INTO PRACTICE TODAY:
Here are 3 things you can do today to start building your content universe:
Create a content inventory of your current assets.
Add all of your blog content, video content, any lead magnets you currently have, etc.
Make a list of ideas for possible lead magnets and content pieces that you will plug into your calendar for creation.
Draw out a simple content map with your website being the sun, the pieces you have floating around the sun and then begin the craft some social media posts to start shining on those planets!
If all of this has your head spinning… RELAX! We can help you with any or all of these activities and we love working with our clients to move from just having social media posts thrown up on your profiles to having a strategy in place to drive more leads to your business!
Hotel websites are very similar. They all have the same stock photos of beautiful people sitting in beautiful lobbies or the typical hotel bedroom and the navigation panel on the side to book the room. To the average consumer, your hotel website does not do much to differentiate itself from the others. However, there are several things your property can be doing with social media to blow every competitor out of the water.
Here are 7 Ways Your Hotel Can Win With Social:
Listen to the social vine and have your hotel engage early
I don’t mean to listen to someone saying they are thinking of making a trip to Denver and you send a 20% off promo code. I mean use Twitter’s geo-location feature to listen for conversations going on in your city and then jump in and engage in the conversation with fun facts about the city, events that might be taking place that week or “DID YOU KNOW” trivia about your property or area. Ask what brings them to Denver and share a favorite restaurant or place of interest with them. Let them know you can help in any way possible AND oh, by the way, you want to offer them a special deal only available to your Twitter friends. Don’t offer the same worn out deal that they can find on any travel site.
Have your “Social Concierge” welcome a guest BEFORE they arrive
Sure, after booking a hotel room many hotels send a confirmation email, but why not encourage them to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other sites your Social Concierge is connecting with guests. Show them you are on duty and ready to make their experience extra special. You can now extend the guest experience from the booking to the arrival, and of course, all the way through to their next booking.
Provide helpful information to guests
Have the Social Concierge provide guests with seasonal weather information suggested packing items like winter coats or fall sweaters. Put together a list of things ahead of time for each season and then place the link in a tweet or Facebook post to them. On Twitter and Facebook, you can continue the relationship building and find out if they are coming for business or perhaps a special occasion that you can now help make more productive or more special.
Send a link with local events happening in your town and suggested sites to see.Send a list of restaurants in your area and shopping malls around. The concierge at the desk isn’t the only one who can help them make plans.
Let your guests know you’re online and ready to answer any questions, before during or after their stay.This can personalize the experience and nip any problems in the bud. It can also relieve your front desk team from some of the traffic that gathers to ask simple questions.
Watch for SOCIAL check-ins
Be sure and have your social “check-in deals set up” and watch those check-ins daily to also welcome folks who may have come into your social range through these channels. A person is always stunned when they check in on a social channel and someone replies to them with a WELCOME note. It shows you are listening.
Don’t send a typical survey after a guest leaves
These are impersonal and most guests feel as if it goes into a shoebox under the GM’s desk anyway, never to be looked at or acted upon. You do the work. Reach out and ask them via Twitter or Facebook, if their stay was excellent. Get specific feedback and if the guest is delighted, then you can ask if they’d be willing to share the sentiments on TripAdvisor, Google My Biz or Facebook recommendations. Encourage them to share any favorite photos or memories from their trip. Keep the relationship growing!
What are some other ways you can reach out through the social channels that guests are flooding, to create a more unique customers experience? Have you had any hotel or retail store do something creative that WOW’d you? We’d love to hear.
I know most people are skeptical about Yelp, Google My Business, TripAdvisor and other review sites, and none more skeptical than a business owner with a bad review posted on one of these sites. “It’s probably one of my competitors, posting a false review.” Whether it is your evil competitor trying to take you down or your newest fan raving about you, these sites cannot be ignored.
Companies have to be monitoring their brands and make time to engage and reply to these active reviewers. Now before you start whining about the good old days before all of these social sites and consumer review sites, stop! Times and tools have changed. Consumers have a voice and now the tools to tell the world about you–good and bad. Let’s focus on what you can do to maximize this power. With a little attention to these reviewers, you can turn a bad experience around and build loyalty, and on good reviews you can boost the love and create a viral spread.
Here are some tips you need to use today:
1. Claim and Manage Your Business’s Review Sites.
I still hear people saying they don’t want reviews because they fear the negative reviews will hurt their business. First of all, if you think there will be more negative than positive reviews, perhaps it’s time to do some training within your team. Second, people are going to talk about you whether you “allow” them to or not. The question is, will you be part of the conversation? According to Review Trackers, who looked at 9 million online reviews, they found more people are leaving positive reviews than negative and most consumers say they want to see what other people say about a brand before they decide to do business there.
On Google My Business, be sure to claim and get your website verified so you can reply to comments left by your customers. On Facebook, you want to be sure you own and manage your business page so you can do the same. If you search for your business on Yelp (or any of these sites) and you see “IS THIS YOUR BUSINESS?” or “CLAIM THIS BUSINESS” do the work and gt it validated so you control it.
2. Reply to comments and social reviews quickly
When someone takes the time to write any comment about your business, they are giving you a gift. Don’t leave that gift unacknowledged. Make sure you have notifications turned on for comments on your website and that you either check once or twice a day all of your social channels or turn those notifications on as well so you don’t miss comments there.
There is nothing worse than leaving a question or comment and never hearing back. Whether you receive a great compliment or a horrible review, be sure to thank the person for taking the time to provide you with feedback. One thing I learned from raising my 4 children is, what you recognize or reward will be repeated. Thank people for bringing you the feedback.
3. Apologize… SINCERELY!
Again, something I learned from my kids during those teenaged years; an apology that starts with SOR-RY and includes BUT… is not an apology. It is an excuse.
I had the opportunity to sit with a woman in a cable company call center, Mary Delgado, who was the escalation desk for the vilest of customers. She took call after call from people who were cussing at her, screaming into their phones (over cable TV, no less). Mary would listen without interrupting and then her first response would be, “Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you have had to go through this. This should NOT have happened. I am going to get this taken care of.” It was so classic. You could almost see the person on the end of the line squirming as they tried to come up with another comeback. Their anger couldn’t compete with her willingness to own the problem and seek a resolution. Sometimes all a wronged customer wants is to be heard and to hear a sincere apology.
4. Do NOT delete the comment
Show, in public, how you are going to make things right or at least ensure it doesn’t happen again. Most review sites don’t allow you to delete a review, but Facebook does if the comment is left on the page and not in the review area. I have seen companies delete negative reviews, thinking the person will just quietly go away. If you delete an angry comment on your site, the customer will take it to a public space where you have no control and it WILL. GET. UGLY!
I am shocked to see review sites where a company either denies that the problem happened, basically calling the customer a lier (Most classic is the Blue Sky Hostel owner in Glasgow who calls the customer “a blind, fat, retard.” The firestorm of comments back and forth between the owner, the angry customer and everyone else who chimed in for entertainment was better than any reality show available on any television network.
You can find the Buzzfeed post here with screenshots. Which is another reason why you should never delete a negative comment–the person has most likely taken screenshots in case they need to go to the public.
So what can you do about it? If it is something you need to investigate to find out if it is true, you can HIDE a comment on Facebook, but on any site, you should contact the person who posted the review and ask them to contact you via private message to resolve the issue. When they don’t respond, you can assume the person isn’t looking for a resolution.Whether it’s a negative review, an old embarrassing photo of yourself, or anything that shows up on the web that you wish would just go away, the one thing you CAN do is put out lots of good content that is attached to your brand, to push those old reviews down. It will take time, but it works.
5. Ask for reviews and recommendations on your social media sites regularly.
When a delighted customer tells you they had great service or loves your product, immediately ask if they would mind writing a review for you on one of your social sites like Google, Yelp or Facebook. Let them know how it helps your business and then thank them.
Talk to your team and remind them to think digital-first and get those recommendations in video, on social sites or anywhere else that the world can see.
Aim to get these recommendations on a regular basis. It doesn’t help to have 10 reviews all at once in 2014 and nothing since. This tells consumers (and Google) that you got friends and family members to review your business when you opened the door but no one has reviewed it since. Make a point to ask people on an ongoing basis 2-5 a month or 1-2 a week depending on how busy you are.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you left reviews on a social review site? Do you expect a response? How do you feel if you get one?
If you need help keeping up with all of the responses and connecting with your social audience, contact us today.…it’s what we do!