Set the stage for the seminar by asking some questions to gauge what type of online presence or digital marketing the audience has.
What is an online review? Make sure everyone has a basic understanding of what you mean. Maybe show a few examples.If consumers don't know you, they don't trust you. But if others have taken the time to share their experiences, consumers listen. Besides getting new buyers across the purchasing threshold, feedback increases the likelihood that your company will make improvements to its products or services. If customers can see a noticeable improvement, or if they notice that your company is at least making an effort at listening and improving its products or services, then they will be more likely to continue doing business with you.The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey was conducted between August 31 and September 16, 2011 and polled more than 28,000 online consumers worldwide. Some of the reports findings:92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, as well as news coverage, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18%since 2007.Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70%of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform, an increase of 15%in four years.Nielsen’s survey shows that 58%of global online consumers trust “owned media,” such as messages on company websites, and 50 percent find content in emails they consented to receive to be credible.Only half of consumers around the world say they trust paid television, magazine and newspaper ads. Still, the majority of advertising dollars are spent on traditional or paid media, such as television.http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/press-room/2012/nielsen-global-consumers-trust-in-earned-advertising-grows.html
The purpose of building an online business presence is to increase brand awareness. The greater the online presence, the more customers will be aware of your brand. Building customer awareness for your brand will lead to customers preferring your brand over others because they have become familiar with it. It then becomes easier to move potential customers through the funnel to translate that awareness into sales for your business.Building a business’s online presence and increasing brand awareness can be achieved by following these 5 steps.
Monitor Brand Mentions (Watch for comments about your business)You want to be alerted anytime another website mentions your brand name or website. As you receive alerts you can monitor who’s talking about your company. If the mention is favorable, maybe you can reach out to that individual for a testimonial. If the mention is negative, you can start digging in to find out what went wrong and try to win back that customer.Find Out Who Links to Your SiteLinks are SEO gold. Anytime another reputable site links to yours, the search engines see this as a “vote of confidence” and it increases the online authority of your site. Having an alert set up to notify you of these links allow you to quickly analyze what you did to earn that link. People are Discussing Your Product or ServiceUsing alerts for the name or your products or the service you provide is a great way to stay up-to-speed with your customer base. Find out who’s talking about your business and plan a way to engage with those individuals or businesses. It’s a great way to learn purchasing habits of your target market as well. What you’ll often find is people are writing blog posts about a product they recently purchased. More times than not, they’ll also provide a back story about why they purchased the product, the need they originally had and maybe even a quick review of your company or competitor. Hone in on the right combination of phrases to filter through the noise from less relevant sites.Social Media MonitoringThe brand alerts you set in the first tip will carry over and alert you of social media mentions on sites that Google can crawl (they can’t crawl much of Facebook), but you want to go one step further with your social media monitoring. Assuming your Twitter handle is slightly different from your brand name, you want to add an alert specifically for that profile. Also, set “link:” alerts for all your social media profile URL’s like Google+, Facebook Fan Pages or anywhere you engage with customers and the general public.Monitor Your Competitors OnlineCopy the steps you performed to monitor your brand name keywords and your “link:” monitoring, but adjust the phrases to match your top competitor brand names. You’re now set to monitor your competitor’s successes and failures. Are they earning links from a source you can leverage as well? Did they spurn a customer? Can you begin to engage with that customer to begin earning their trust and later their business? The insights you can gain with this tactic are virtual endless.
**HANDS-ON** Visit Google.com/alerts (Allocate 5 minutes for this activity)How to Create a Google AlertIt’s pretty simple really. First you need to have a Google account, either through a Gmail address, or by registering another email address with Google. Next, begin by entering your search query. Recommend choosing a Result type of “Everything” to start as well as “All Results” in the How many field. The How often field really depends on the urgency of the information Google is sending you. I believe the brand mentions and links should be set to “As it happens”, but your competitor mentions could be set to “once a day”. Take a few weeks to experiment with the settings to find the right balance for your business.Social Media MonitoringSet “link:” alerts for all your social media profile URL’s like Google+, Facebook Fan Pages or anywhere you engage with customers and the general public.Monitor Your Competitors OnlineCopy the steps you performed to monitor your brand name keywords and your “link:” monitoring, but adjust the phrases to match your top competitor brand names. You’re now set to monitor your competitor’s successes and failures. Are they earning links from a source you can leverage as well? Did they spurn a customer? Can you begin to engage with that customer to begin earning their trust and later their business? The insights you can gain with this tactic are virtual endless.Find Out Who Links to Your SiteHere’s what to enter into Google Alerts: “link:mysitename.com” (remove quotes and adjust for your domain name)
1. Facilitate engagement vs. aggressively trying to encourage customer reviews.The best word or mouth is organic. It is valuable because it is real. To encourage customer reviews think about how you can drive awareness about your business on multiple platforms, not just your preferred review site. In other words, don’t just seek reviews on Yelpor TripAdvisor. People tend to go where their friends are. And maybe their friends are on Google+ or Twitter, but you’re not, which leads them to think you’re not home so why bother. 2. Build an online presence on multiple platforms.This is why content is so important. Usually the folks asking how to encourage customer reviews have a minimal business presence online. We of course get this – it takes time and money to really have a well rounded local, review and social media presence. The internet is full of tribes and your customers might be, or want to be, talking about your business, just not on the sites you think they should. You can’t fight this. Go to where they are and participate.3. Reward employees who generate positive reviews.Employees are in a perfect position to generate reviews, if done so at the right time and in a sincere manner. Example: A tour guide takes a moment at the end of a tour to thank guests for attending and asking them to take the time to provide a review, which helps him/her. 4. Make use of deals and check-ins.Give customers a reason to visit your profile other than to write a review. This has a twofold benefit of enticing non-social or review site users to your profile, and getting existing site users of a reason to visit your page. In a given week there are easily a dozen sites to run a deal on. It’s also ok to run the same deal on multiple sites. 5. Time deals and check-in rewards around your best customers.If your ten best customers visit once a week, change up your deal or special often enough to keep them interested. Deals don’t have to cost a fortune either. Rewarding regular loyal customers is a better use of marketing money than targeting bargain hunters. It’s hard to win a new customer, it’s cheaper to keep the ones you have. If this results in 10 people who religiously check-in once a week – and 100 of their friends see this – that’s a 1000 views. This exposure is worth the 2-1 happy hour beers or free coffee with their lunch. 6. Focus on Google, Yelp or Facebook.The deals also don’t do anything most of the time for your loyal and proven customers – your best ones. Having a regular local deal does and it’s cheaper. This solves the ‘problem’ of your existing customers already liking you. Loyal customers have little reason to find you on a site like Yelp, TripAdvisor or Google. By making use of the “deal” or “special” feature almost every local site offers now, you give them a reason – and in fact train them – to regularly visit you online or check-in on Yelp or Foursquare. Getting these people on your site is half the battle when it comes to trying to encourage customer reviews.
Respond ASAPA timely response goes a long way in showing how attentive and receptive you are to your customers’ feedback. It also demonstrates your efficiency in handling specific customer issues and concerns. To prevent slow responses – orlack of responses – make sure you assign to a specific employee the responsibility of tracking and responding to reviews.Take action to correct weaknesses pointed out in reviews.Always keep your tone polite and positive. From there, craft your answers to reflect your brand. Are you folksy? Sophisticated? Down-to-earth? Your response is a great way to put your brand personality in front of your target audience. Giving people a face and name to associate with your business can increase appeal.Responding quickly and properly to customer reviews can help stop the spread of online criticism about your brand. When someone posts an unfair comment, respond with care. Comment on the facts, not on the reviewer. Be polite, take responsibility, offer what you can to make things right, and encourage the customer to visit again.
Don't just start the conversation.Be an integral and evolving part of it. "Social media has one very important perspective to share with brand management—the conversation. Like branding, social media is all about the conversation and building effective relationships. They are perfectly suited to one another," says Ed Roach, founder of The Brand Experts and author of The Reluctant Salesperson. The rules for brand messaging through new media versus traditional channels haven't changed, but "the game sure got better and more interesting," says Roach. It's not enough to have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you must participate in the conversation by making regular posts and replying to direct messages from your customers. Excel at telling your customers "About Us."The primary purpose of your site's About Us page is to provide information about your business and what it can deliver, so it should include the basics, such as who your company serves, how long it's been around, and its long-term goals and mission. Don't forget to include your address. And if your company has multiple locations or does business globally, this is the perfect place to mention that information, or at least link to a page on your site that does, such as your Contact Us page. But don't stop there, which is a mistake a lot of businesses make. What results is a stale, unoriginal, and downright boring About page. Promote your reputation across the webYou'll not only look savvy, but increase your connectivity, and gain traffic to your site from elsewhere. You don't necessarily need to put out the next viral marketing video or hire an expensive marketing agency to achieve a high rate of traffic. All you need is a bit of elbow grease, a few tricks up your sleeve, and a commitment to making your site a quality destination for visitors. Add Facebook Like buttons, have a dynamic blog section, utilize SEO, and build your site heavy with links, for starters. Showcase your best work. In this new environment, a sturdy brand is all about trust and relationships. With that goal in mind, there's no better way to build both than by posting testimonials or listing big-name clients you've partnered with. That will lend your business a good amount of credibility. You might consider incorporating your clients' logos somewhere on your page as an added visual element. Mentioning awards and recognitions your company received, as well as community service work, green initiatives, and interesting facts, will also make your business more appealing. Additionally, timelines, company history, and major milestones are attention-grabbing. **TIP: Include an image of the front of your business on your listing.**
One-third (33%) of global respondents find online banners ads to be relevant, compared to ads on social networks (36%) and online video ads (36%). Forty two percent of global consumers find ads in search engine results relevant. Nielsen Report 2012Targeted Local Advertising: Ads are placed on search result pages, so that users searching in your area will see your business above the natural search results.Ads are also placed on the business pages of nearby businesses in your category. Advertising on Yelp will remove competitor ads from your Yelp business page, allowing you to keep the purchasing focus on your business.Profile Enhancements: Photo Slideshow or Videohttps://biz.yelp.com/support/advertising
Even if you run one of the best businesses in the world, chances are good that a negative review will eventually show up. To limit the damage negative reviews can have on your reputation, create a solid action plan to deal with these reviews. Many times negative reviews require action at an operational level, so it helps to have a system for sharing this information with the management team. Your business should have a review response policy guide that includes:Your target response time, which should be within 24 hours.Who on your team should take ownershipProcess used and steps involved for resolving issuesHow the incident should be documentDocumenting negative reviews allow you the opportunity to review your records in the future to substantiate progress or use infuture training for employees.
You can fix your online reputation, strengthen your business, and reconnect with customers that might have been lost otherwise.1) They Point Out Flaws in Your CoverageIf you were a knight about to fight in a battle, wouldn’t you want to know where the chinks in your armor were? If a customer has left a dissatisfied post, take heed, and see if you can’t patch up your operation.Example: Imagine reading the following in a review:“As far as dentists go, he’s alright. But my last dentist…”It doesn’t matter WHAT it is the last dentist did, it’s something you’re not doing and that you could be doing to ensure that your customers have a better experience. Fix it!2) They Point Out Flaws in Your ServiceIf you took your car in for an oil change (that includes checking the regular systems in your car), occasionally the technician will come back and say something like, “Hey, your transmission fluid is getting low.” At that point, you can do one of two things. Fix it, or ignore it. Fix it, and your car will keep running most likely for years to come. Ignore it, and eventually the whole thing breaks down.So if the reviews sound something like:“This Chiropractor never even had me do what my former chiropractor did…”“The wait-room smelled like…”“The receptionist was completely off-putting and rude when she…”Take it as an overall free check up to keep your business running smoothly for years to come and fix the problem! (And yes, sadly, sometimes the problem is your staff, not you!)3) They Point Out Flaws in Your Delivery Followup: it’s crucial in sales, but also in most other businesses. If the customer feels that you don’t care about them, they’re not likely to come back, or recommend you to a friend. Sometimes the ball may get accidentally dropped somewhere along the way of managing a new customer. It’s not that you did something wrong, but that you missed an opportunity to do something right! Here again is your chance to fix that.4) They Give You A Chance To Make It BetterOnline reviews are much more public than ever before, whether they’re negative or positive, but in many situations they’re attached to an individual that you should both be able to identify, and also have contact information for. Always reply to a negative online review in a positive, courteous manner. Don’t be defensive. Remember, here the customer ALWAYS is right, even if you know they’re in the wrong. Apologize for any misunderstanding or inconvenience, and then address the problem as best as you can.Then, if you can determine who the customer is, contact them and let them know that you’ve addressed their negative review, and offer to make anything better. Give them a free product or service or a discount or something to let them know that you’re sincere in your attempts to woo them back. At best, you’ll win them back and they’ll be impressed with your diligence in seeking to please them, and at worst you’ve still done good damage control! Impress enough people, and your “Google Local SEO” score will continually raise.
**HANDOUT** Example of ResponsesReviewPro Guide to Responding to Reviews
Avoid taking negative reviews personally. Angry, abusive responses – or any type of personal attack – could affect what others think of your professionalism. Everyone knows some customers are impossibly difficult, so there is no need to get emotional in your responses.Avoid questioning the reviewer’s legitimacy. Fake reviews do happen from time to time, but they can be very difficult to prove and it’s better to avoid this accusation. If you have reason to suspect a review is fraudulent, report it directly to the review website. If the review site does not respond to you, try responding to the guest using your records to verify your case. Avoid automatically replying with a discount or coupon. This could lead to abuse when not sued with discretion.Avoid corporate-speak that contains no meaningful information. Generic comments like “We’re sorry to hear about your experience” can be viewed by others as you avoiding responsibility. Instead, own up to your mistakes and give concrete action steps you took to prevent the situation from happening again.
**ACTIVITY** Have participants break into groups and write responses to the customer review using the guidelines given.
What is TripAdvisor?TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with over 75 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide, including China under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to TripAdvisor's millions of monthly visitors.
Reach millions of travel buyersMore than 32 million consumers each month research their travel purchases using TripAdvisor. You can introduce your travel products and services (hotel, B&B, attraction, tour package, restaurant, etc.) to millions of qualified travel buyers.Appear on the top travel sites on the webBy listing your products and services within TripAdvisor's travel directory, you not only will be seen on www.tripadvisor.com's award-winning site but on other leading travel sites.Deliver your message at just the right time With its sophisticated search technology, TripAdvisor can help you reach consumers at the very moment they are researching your location. As a hotel owner in Boston, for instance, you would benefit greatly from listing your property with TripAdvisor. Consumers looking for hotels in Boston could access your information, including a description of the property and a photo, and be well on their way toward booking a room!
Quick Facts:More than 75 million travel reviews and opinions from travelers around the world: · 1,800,000+ businesses · 114,000+ destinations · 655,000+ hotels · 235,000+ attractions · 1,000,000+ restaurants · 16,000,000+ candid traveler photosMore than 60 new contributions are posted every minute.More than 90 percent of topics posted in the TripAdvisor forums are replied to within 24 hours.
Order and distribute TripAdvisor Comment CardsIt’s basically a business card that’s personalized for your business establishment or property, and it includes a note on one side of the card requesting your guest or customer to leave you a comment or review on TripAdvisor. The best part? Your first 250 TripAdvisor Comment Cards are free. (Just pay the shipping fees.) You can place your order from your TripAdvisor Management Centerpage.Showcase your BadgesTripAdvisor regularly awards popular, highly-rated businesses with badges like “Travelers’ Choice” and “Certificates of Excellence”. If you’re one of those who have been honored, don’t hesitate to tell people about it. To get started, check out the TripAdvisor Widget Center, which allows you to display your reviews and awards while also encouraging customers to browse your TripAdvisor page and review your business.Display TripAdvisor awards in your propertyYou don’t have to limit yourself to promoting your TripAdvisor accolades online. Along with comment cards, there are TripAdvisor awards, plaques, and stickers that you may be able to use and display in the most prominent spots of your property. It works in the same way as showcasing your badges, and goes a long way in establishing your business’ credibility. It also shows how seriously you take guests’ feedback.
What is Yelp?Yelp is an online urban city guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great — and not so great — in your world.Who uses Yelp?You'll find a wide range of people on Yelp, including locals who are "in the know" about what's cool and happening in their city, visitors who want to get an insider's local perspective, and anyone trying to find a great local business.
How did my business information end up on Yelp?We license basic business information from third party data providers who gather this type of information from public records and other sources. We also get business information from our users, who are helpful enough to correct the info we have, or let us know about a new spot that just opened down the street. Please feel free to let us know if our information is out of date!Where does Yelp get information about how expensive a business is, whether it's good for kids, etc.?These subjective attributes are voted on by users who have reviewed the business. They can change over time as more people review the business and cast more votes. The more objective attributes that we show in the business listing (whether the business accepts credit cards or is wheelchair accessible) can be set by the business owner if he/she has signed up for a free Business Owner's Account.How is the ranking of search results determined?Yelp's search results are based on an algorithm that is designed to provide the best results based on a number of different factors including review text, ratings, and number of reviews. We are constantly working on improving our search results so that we can deliver the most relevant local results to our users
Over 84 million people visited Yelp in Q3 2012 to make spending decisions. To help businesses get the most out of their online presence, Yelp Business Accounts offer a suite of FREE tools for businesses.Communicate with your customers-- privately and publiclyTrack how many people view your business pageAdd photos, a detailed business description, up-to-date information, history, and specialtiesRecommend other businessesUsing a Business Account: Yelp aims to connect people with great local businesses and Yelp Business Accounts allow businesses to share information with the Yelp Community.Recent Activity: The Recent Activity section allows you to monitor activity on Yelp that relates to a particular business.Business Information:You can update information relating to a business (e.g. address, opening hours, etc.). You can also share some additional information, such as the business' specialty.Check-in Offers:Check-In Offers appear on Yelp's Mobile Applications and are a great way to promote a business to users searching nearbyMessaging:Messaging allows you to communicate with Yelp users that may have reviewed a business you are associated with.https://biz.yelp.com/support
Responding to ReviewsResponding to reviews is a great way to learn from and build goodwill with one of your most vocal customers. Yelp allows businesses to respond publicly and privately to user reviews.However, contacting reviewers should be approached with care; internet messaging is a blunt tool and sometimes good intentions come across badly. We've put together some examples to help you get this balance right.Keep these three things in mind as you're crafting a message to your customer:Your reviewers are your paying customersYour reviewers are human beings with (sometimes unpredictable) feelings and sensitivitiesYour reviewers are vocal and opinionated (otherwise they would not be writing reviews!)
More than 400 million people use Google+ to connect with the people and businesses they love. This guide will help you use Google+ to engage your followers, drive customer recommendations, and increase your traffic across Google. Download it now to get started today.When potential customers search for products/services on Google, the results to the right may include relevant posts, photos, and videos from a business’s Google+ page. Get found across Google, right when your customers are most interested.Think of your Google+ page as your brand hub. Your page, along with your profile image and recent posts, is eligible to show on the right-hand side of our results when relevant to a customer’s search. Relevant posts can also show up within search results for your page’s followers. Now, when people search for your brand on Google, they can get the latest info straight from your Google+ page, on the righthand side of their search results. And when your followers search for information relevant to your brand, content you've shared may appear in search. First, create your Google+ page. Then start publishing regular, relevant posts to attract and engage followers. And be sure to add the Google+ badge to your site, to connect your Google+ page to your site and help you grow your following.Search on Google+ can help you as much as it helps your customers. Search keywords, names, or anything else, and use your search results to better understand what people are saying about your brand. Reward superfans with rebate coupons or even jump in to help resolve customer service issues. It’s like listening in on a conversation that’s all about you!https://plus.google.com/pages/create**Add example of Google review.**
Your Local ASBTDC Little Rock – Lead Center UALR College of BusinessDonald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development 2801 S. University Little Rock, Arkansas 72204 501.683.7700 http://asbtdc.org