Social media platforms and networks continue to evolve and grow in popularity. In addition, the increasing use of third party review websites and better informed search results are making it easier than ever for people to do their due diligence on you and your company. To compete, you need to build your brand authority and credibility.
Third party reviews and recommendations are all good to have, but you also need to build your brand and credibility in your industry – show your expertise. Your potential clients will be researching you well before they speak to you.
Here are 5 digital strategies that will help build that brand authority
1. Content Marketing
To demonstrate your expertise you need a well thought out content marketing plan. You should publish regular, relevant content that will demonstrate your knowledge to your customers. This may be by way of blog posts, whitepapers or even case studies.
2. Social Media Marketing
Like it or not, a social media presence is needed on today’s world and your business credibility can be reliant upon it. Use your social media presences to maximise the impact of your content marketing. In addition, monitoring and engaging with customers through social media will allow you to make the most of positive comments and deal with any negative ones quickly.
I am a great fan of Google plus, but I do feel businesses are missing a few great tricks, with this wonderful platform. Two tools that either companies are not doing or are not using at all are reviews and polls. Firstly they are not making the most out of the “Reviews” tab on their business page and secondly, there is the option of creating a poll, which is a great way to collect data.
Anyone who has ever been in business will know that things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes things just go wrong and sometimes somebody on the team fails to act in the way that you would hope or expect. Hospitality businesses can be particularly exposed as they involve significant numbers of staff who are not always highly paid dealing directly with your customers.
Years ago disputes with customers would be settled with letters and phone calls and the worst you might have to worry about would be a strongly worded letter to the local paper. But social media and on-line review sites like Tripadvisor have changed all that. A seriously disgruntled customer is likely to take their issue straight to the pages of Facebook or Twitter rather than asking to speak to the manager. What do you do then?
Social Media Events Unfold Quickly
This was the issue facing a hotel restaurant in Inverness this week. The situation arose when a family turned up for lunch and wanted to order fish fingers from the children’s menu for an uncle with Down’s syndrome. The hotel staff apparently refused and the family left feeling highly disgruntled about how they were treated. Continue reading →
Whatever size your business is, you can no longer deny that it should have an Internet
presence. The World Wide Web increasingly influences how business is transacted, most
significantly by providing a platform for consumers to publicly review your products and
services – whether you like it or not.
The choice is simple; either you ignore what is being said and run the risk of losing
customers – or you take steps to manage your online reputation. Continue reading →
Good reviews can be difficult to come by as experience tells us that the people who tend to be motivated to write a review are those that have had a negative experience. However, research shows that positive reviews on a company are a big influencer for online shoppers when deciding whether or not to buy. Even if not actually buying online, most people will go online and research the product or service they are intending to buy, particularly if it’s a high value item. So obtaining good reviews and dealing with negative ones promptly is critical to managing your reputation online. It’s a fact of life that there will always be the odd customer who isn’t happy, but ignoring them and doing nothing is not an option. You need to respond appropriately online, and show people that you care about your customers.
Below are some tips for encouraging people to leave reviews and also some explaining how you can turn negative reviews around to your advantage.
How to encourage positive reviews:
Ask your customers for reviews. Most people are polite and if you ask them to provide feedback or a review on your product or service, if they’ve been happy with it, they will.
Let your customers know that you appreciate receiving reviews. Whenever you post blog entries or send newsletters, give you customers the opportunity to comment and request reviews if they’ve bought from you or used your services in the past.
Make sure there is a visible call to action on your website and any other social media where people can leave reviews.
When customers purchase online, give them the opportunity to post a review, whether that’s on the buying process itself or later, on the actual product.
With the removal of third party reviews from Google places make sure you encourage people to leave reviews on your Google places page in addition to your own review mechanisms.
Make the process for leaving a review as easy as possible for your clients. Provide links to the relevant pages and instructions on what they need to so to leave the review (particularly relevant for Google places reviews).
How to use Negative reviews to your advantage:
Take the issue or comment seriously. Potential customers will be reading your response and need to see that if someone has a problem, you take them seriously.
If your business is at fault, respond with an apology and communicate as appropriate what you plan to do to rectify the situation.
Let people know that as a result of your communication, future customers will not encounter the same problem. Prospective customers will know that you are willing to review your processes if you are at fault.
Although you can’t always fix every problem, and sometimes you may not even want to, your offer to fix a problem is a great marketing investment. Suggest that the reviewer contact you (or vice versa) directly so you can try and help. Potential customers, whilst they can’t see the detail of what you’re doing, can see that you are responding and offering to help.
Responding promptly and effectively to negative reviews can be a great opportunity to squash a potential disaster and also provide customer service that may turn an unhappy customer into a big fan. Here’s a more general article on reputation management you may find interesting to read.
How are you getting your customers to review your products and services? Share your ideas with other readers.
More buying decisions today are based on online reviews, and your existing client’s words of praise about your products and services can have a major psychological influence on potential customers. In fact, online shoppers say that reviews and ratings have a bigger influence on their decision to purchase than any other factor, so a negative comment on your Twitter or Facebook account can cost your company customers and sales.
Below are 4 reasons why you should encourage your customers to leave positive feedback and deal with negative comments promptly.
If someone is looking to make a new purchase or visit a restaurant or pub for the first time, it’s highly likely that they’ll search on Google, Amazon etc. or even check out what’s on Facebook or Twitter. However, any search will normally produce multiple results and when faced with multiple results it is reviews that often influence the final buying decision. If one product or place has a number of positive reviews and another has none, or the most recent are negative, then it’s highly likely that people will go with the one that has the positive reviews, even if it is positioned lower down page 1 of the search results.
Having a negative review is not ideal but it happens and is sometimes due to circumstances outside your control. A prompt and appropriate response can be turned around to your advantage. Responding in full online is not always appropriate, but if potential customers see that you have been prompt and reasonable in dealing with a complaint or issue, they more often than not will overlook the odd hiccup in your service or product. In fact, the odd lower rating or even a negative one can help as shoppers tend to be suspicious where large volumes of reviews are all 100% positive at the highest level.
Interesting reviews can go viral and get referred to or reposted via blogs or other social media platforms. This improves your online reputation and can provide valuable marketing exposure
Search engines reward sites that have regular, useful, new content. As your customers add their reviews, the search engines are seeing new content and so your ranking improves. This applies to both positive and negative reviews which is another reason why negative reviews need to be dealt with promptly.
Have customer reviews had a positive impact on your business or have you had to deal with a negative review? Share your experiences by commenting in the comments box.