LinkNow Media | Customer Reviews

The Web is Waiting For You

Tag: Small Business (Page 1 of 2)

Blue bird on speech bubble

Twitter is Doubling Their Character Limit

boat

On September 27th it was announced that Twitter is testing the expansion of their famous 140-character post limit, not just adding in a couple words, but doubling it to 280 characters.

Known for its concise nature, many Twitter users are wondering if this expansion is a good idea.

Twitter company owners however have some pretty good reasoning behind their decision, which is currently being tested out on a randomly selected group.

The original 140-character limit was chosen arbitrarily, based on the current SMS text limit, which is 160 characters. Leaving 20 characters open for usernames, Twitter was born.

A limit of 280 characters was chosen to make tweeting easier for those posting in languages affected by “cramming”. This includes any language except Japanese, Chinese and Korean. Where nine percent of English speakers fill the 140 limit every time, only four percent of Japanese users do so.

With 328 million users, it’s surprising to say that Twitter has never turned a profit. With that in mind, of course there is some monetary thinking behind this new change. By encouraging English speakers to tweet more often, and say more, investors will see a rise in users and activity.

The company also hopes to put an end to multi-message tweet storms.

Twitter Facts

At 11 years old, Twitter has accomplished a lot in its lifetime. With 328 million active users and 1.3 billion accounts created, it’s clear why it’s one of the most prominent social media platforms out there.

  • 500 million users visit the site every month without logging in.
  • 29.2% of social media users in the United States are Twitter users.
  • 83% of the world’s leaders on Twitter.
  • 500 million tweets are sent every day.
  • It took three years, two months, and one day to go from the first tweet to the billionth.
  • 65.8% of US companies with 100+ employees use Twitter for marketing.
  • Twitter is an important platform and staying up to date with what’s going on with it will keep you at the top of your online marketing game.

    But Will it Happen?

    Twitter has played around with the character limit in the past. There was a brief moment in 2015 where a 10,000-character limit was considered—yes, for real.

    More recently the removal of @ replies, photos, videos and quotes from the character count didn’t throw users into a panic. However, the doubling of the character limit has.

    Negative reactions came quickly, with users expressing their love for the brevity of Twitter. The platform encourages the editing of thoughts to boil them down to their purest form, and that is attractive. Concerns include the potential of an even bigger platform for Internet “trolls” to bash fellow users.

    So, will the 280-character limit become a reality for all Twitter users soon? We’ll have to wait and see.

    The Better Business Bureau vs. Peer Reviews

    boat

    The Better Business Bureau (BBB) was founded in 1912 and created to focus on advancing marketplace trust. An unbiased authority, their accreditation of businesses across the United States and Canada have held a lot of weight when it comes to displaying the quality of a business.

    Ranked F – A+ and providing basic information on a business such as founding date, as well as customer reviews, it’s a great website to gain valuable information. Factors that affect a BBB accreditation are:

    1. Build trust

    2. Advertise honestly

    3. Tell the truth

    4. Be transparent

    5. Honor promises

    6. Be responsive

    7. Safeguard privacy

    8. Embody integrity

    These are all excellent things for businesses to aspire towards.

    However, over the years, the BBB is losing its standing as the first resource discerning customers turn to. While businesses still proudly display their accreditation, and rightly so, consumers are starting to turn more to online reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook.

    So, what does the BBB offer their members that free reviews do not?

    Right out the gate, you’re going to have to look at your client demographic. The baby boomer generation grew up seeing the BBB as a standard of excellence. A business could be ruined with the right misconduct complaints. If they are your target, the $500 yearly BBB membership could be a valuable investment.

    Once you’re a member, you start off with an A rating which is pretty good. This could go up with good reviews, or down with bad. You’ll receive a logo that you can place on your site, the backlink is good quality SEO, and your membership fee is tax deductible.

    The biggest difference between the BBB and other review websites is status and history. Accreditation looks great but when it comes to sheer quantity of opinions and SEO value you would be better off encouraging reviews across other platforms, especially if you have a younger audience.

    In Conclusion

    So, in the end, do we believe in the relevancy of the Better Business Bureau in 2017? YES we do! A membership just may not be for every business, especially those just starting out.

    Like with any marketing tactic it’s important to weigh your options and look at your target market. Online reviews are an amazing sounding board for your customers to tell other people what they think about the products/services you offer, and for you to respond to their feedback.

    When you read about what’s affecting SEO, you’re not going to find the BBB listed anywhere but you are going to find a lot of stats about reviews.

    It’s a fact that over 80% of your current and future clients are reading reviews and taking them seriously, and they’re not hunting for the ones on the BBB.

    However, the BBB provides a long-standing pedigree that is appealing to many browsers who want to know more about your website. If you’re able to make the investment, we recommend you try it out. But until you’re able to, just keep building those reviews!

    What Marketers Should Know About Online Reviews

    boat

    In this age of the Internet, lots of things are being re-thought especially the way in which we market products and services. Whether you’re a small business or a large one, the same suggestions apply.

    The pre-Internet consumer would compare brands and were fully dependent on information provided by manufacturers. While some brand names still carry weight, the importance of brand names in general have diminished, with consumers favoring opinions from experts and users.

    The current consumer relies on user-generated reviews, expert opinions and peer to peer information in general.

    So, where does the marketer stand in all of this? While they don’t have full say over what information consumers have available to them, by working with an influence mix they can be more effective than ever.

    The influence mix consists of prior preference and experience, information from marketers and consumer reviews.

    Prior Preference and Experience

    This applies to products that are habitually bought, like toothpaste and toilet paper. Customers are going to be influenced by what they themselves have done in the past more than anything else. These products are review-independent and feature luxury items as well.

    Information From Marketers

    Right in the middle, information from marketers can fall into review-independent products and review-dependent ones as well. However, someone purchasing a review-independent product is more likely to take this information into account, as they’re not looking for reviews to tell them something similar.

    Consumer Reviews

    The consumer’s reliance on reviews is most prevalent with products they can’t test themselves. All products follow a continuum. For example, before purchasing electronics buyers will pay close attention to what previous purchasers have had to say before taking any chances. But when buying from a chain restaurant, they rarely have reason to look it up since they already know what they’re going to get.

    Market research is more important than ever. Figure out how your market is getting their information and making their purchasing decisions, and you’ll be able to decide from there the best way to follow through with marketing. With the rise of reviews, branding takes on less importance, making it easier entry for newcomers and for anyone to diversify more easily.

    Did you know, 30% of U.S. consumers say they begin their online purchase research by going to Amazon.com to read through reviews? And 79% of Americans now shop online. With a market that big it’s not one you want to miss out on. Whether or not your product or service can be directly purchased online doesn’t matter. If you can benefit from reviews, make sure you’re getting them.

    To properly use reviews, make note of these points:

    Do:Track and quantify information from forums and review sites.

    Don’t: Measure individual preferences, satisfaction and loyalty.

    While some believe that reviews are going the way of the dinosaurs with more fake ones cropping up every day, that’s not truly the case. Review websites are coming up with ways to certify reviews and crack down on the fakers, making reviews more reliable than ever.

    Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Fake Reviews

    boat

    It should go without saying that paying for reviews for your business that aren’t legitimate is not the greatest idea. But for a lot of people, this seems like the best answer for buffing up their positive Internet presence.

    And why not? If it looks like a real customer and talks like a real customer, it must be a real customer. Not to mention if so many companies are doing it then it’s got to be legal, right? Wrong.

    While you may or may not be aware, there are many reasons not to follow this path and stay legit.

    It’s Fraud

    Plain and simple, if you hire someone to write a phony review you are committing fraud. Think about why you want this person to write a review:to generate revenue for yourself.

    With the popularity of online reviews in this era, they do translate to real money.

    Fraud is defined as “the wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain”.

    Sounds a whole lot like paying someone for a false review.

    Real Results, Real Punishment

    By 2015, Amazon had sued over 1000 people for writing fake reviews. Many of these reviewers came from the website Fiverr. And no—Fiverr was not sued—the individuals were. The websites on which your business is reviewed will not protect you or your reviewer, they will work towards ensuring the reviews on their website are as legitimate as possible.

    Even Yelp and Alibaba have started to crack down on the fake reviews on their websites. And of course, Google has a reporting situation in place so they can handle fake reviews as well.
    Want to keep your business’ reputation clean? Don’t pay for reviews.

    Spotting a Fake Review

    If you’re suspicious that a competitor is employing fake reviewers, there are ways to spot these reviews, or at least make an educated guess.

    Take a trip over to Fakespot. Their system will scan for a number of factors including:

    Overly positive language

    Multiple reviews published the same day

    If you want to do additional research yourself, check out the reviewer’s profile and see how real they seem. If you can’t find them in a quick Google search, they could very well be fake.

    Tips for Real Reviews

    It can be tempting to want to buff up your business by paying for fake reviews. But there are much better ways to get real reviews that you can actually feel good about.

    Any time someone purchases from you or employs your services, just ask them to leave a review. Don’t offer gifts or coupons in exchange, simply learn how to pick out happy customers and get them to spread their joy.

    And of course if any negative reviews appear, deal with them in a calm, professional manner.

    Handle reviews properly and you’ll have a great reputation for your business online in no time!

    How Online Reviews Impact Your Local SEO

    More and more businesses are realizing the importance of online reviews when it comes to promoting their product or service, but did you know reviews also affect your Search Engine Optimization? SEO is just as crucial to the promotion of a business in 2017 because it means a boost in your ranking. For example, if someone is searching for a hair salon there are many options. But if you have the best SEO, they’ll find you first.

    When you’re trying to beef up your SEO online reviews are critical to this process. Search engines love fresh user generated content, and customers love social proof. In fact, 90% of customers say their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.

    Search engines like Google or Bing are in the business of creating fast and accurate search results, and the input from real people in the form of reviews is a great way to do this. In a recent study by Moz it was determined that reviews make up 10% of how Google and other search engines decide to rank results.

    Factors that can play into your business’ SEO include a variety of signals such as linking, keywords and categories, with reviews coming in before social media in terms of boosting your business!

    Google favors high-rated sites, and in a world where customers spend 31% more on a business with good reviews, you’ll want to get a review gathering strategy in place if you don’t already have one!

    A good way to do this is request that happy customers leave a review. If you’re selling online, include your request in a thank you email. At a physical store, create a flyer you can drop in a customer’s bag along with their merchandise. You can even create a landing page on your website linking to review sites for the ultimate ease of access.

    Review sites that will get the results you’re looking for include:

    Google My Business/

    Yelp

    Foursquare

    Citysearch

    YP.com

    Try the Review Handout Generator by Whitespark and Phil Rozek if you need an easy way to create handouts for your store, then wait for the reviews to start flowing!

    Asking for reviews can be a bit of a scary process, considering you can land on a customer who’s not happy with their interaction. But don’t worry—even negative reviews keep your business active from a search engine’s point of view, and as long as you respond to all negative reviews in a calm and professional manner, you’ll be just fine.

    Finally, on your quest for reviews, don’t be tempted into paying for fake reviews. This is considered fraud and you could be in big financial trouble for doing it. Not to mention, it’s just better to have legitimate reviews for your business. Even if they’re criticizing you, you can learn something from unhappy customers.

    No matter the size or type of business you run, online reviews are imperative to keeping it running successfully. So, go and gather reviews and see just how good the results are!

    Relaxation Techniques for Responding to Negative Online Reviews

    zenWe talk a lot about the dos and don’ts when it comes to responding to negative reviews, and we always stress the importance of keeping your cool. Today, we’re going to take that advice one step further by providing you with a few relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to keep you level-headed when faced with a scathing review. Follow this advice from LinkNow Media and you can’t go wrong.

    Mindfulness app

    Stop, Breathe & Think is a guided meditation and mindfulness app that offers breathing techniques with the aim of assisting you in broadening your perspective, getting in touch with your emotions, and improving your reactions to stressful situations. Many of the exercises can be performed in under 10 minutes, so not having time is no excuse! When practiced regularly, this app can help reduce anxiety, increase compassion and enhance motivation. It has everything you need to respond to an unfavourable opinion about your business in a calm manner.

    Inhale pink, exhale blue

    Inhale pink, exhale blue is a breathing exercise that can regulate stress, relieve tension and improve your mood. This breathing exercise is practiced by bringing your awareness to your breath and imagining yourself inhaling pink and exhaling blue. Another variation of this exercise involves inhaling love and exhaling fear. Whichever one you choose, this awareness will help bring you to the present moment, which is integral to managing the emotional distress of whatever is front of you—in this case, harsh words about your service or product.

    Stretch, stretch, stretch

    Most people associate stretching with warming up or cooling down after physical exercise as a way improve flexibility and prevent injury. However, stretching can also do wonders for the mind too. This is because stretching regulates your heart rate and blood pressure, helping to promote mental calmness, which is key when it comes to responding to a negative review. Here you can find a handful of yoga poses and stretches that you can do at your work desk. Or, just simply touch your toes. Even something as small as this can help improve your mood to assist you in responding to a negative review without getting defensive.

    Final Thoughts

    Getting a negative review on Yelp or any other customer review website is never fun. If you are like most people, your response might be to go on the defense, but you need to find ways to avoid doing that. Being defensive isn’t going to help right a wrong, and it certainly won’t win over someone who is upset about your service. When it comes to fixing the problem, you need to remain calm. Exercises like the ones above can help with that, but you’ll need to practice them consistently.

    Have you had any success with practices of nature? If so, have they helped other areas of your work life? At LinkNow Media, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know in the comments section below

    How to Get People Talking About Your Products

    productsWe’ve said it again and again – content is king. That is why so many small businesses have made it a priority to produce a lot of it – and not just a lot of it, but interesting content – the kind of content that gets people talking. This is key when it comes to getting people to review a product. After all, people aren’t likely to spend money on a product that doesn’t have any buzz surrounding it. The best way to get people talking is by creating and distributing content that is conversational. So, let’s give them something to talk about. Follow these tips from LinkNow Media, and you’re sure to see some friction in the comments section.

    Contests

    Who doesn’t love the opportunity to win a prize? Enticing your customers with a chance to win a prize is a great way to spread the word about your product. One good thing about contests is that they can be introduced through many different social media platforms as well as through email campaigns. When it comes to contests, there are so many different directions you can take. If your product is easily photographed, for example, then hosting a photo contest is a great idea.

    Email Campaigns

    In the simplest sense, email campaigns are friendly reminders for customers to something. In this case, you are trying to get customers who recently bought your product to write a review about their experience. If you want them to follow through with that action, you’ll need to get personal. Personalization is more than plugging in a client’s name in the email. By using data collected from CRM software, you can produce content relevant to their behavior, interests, and demographic. Sometimes, what’s in it for them isn’t anything tangible, but rather the feeling of being noticed and appreciated. When they feel recognized, they’ll be more likely to share their thoughts on your company. What goes around comes around.

    Video Bloggers

    Reading about someone’s experience is one thing, but seeing them use your product is another. There’s no harm in reaching out and asking a video blogger if they’ll review your product if it’s the type of product they typically review. Their contact information is usually provided at the end of their videos or somewhere on their personal website, if they have one.

    Final Thoughts

    These are surefire ways to get people talking about your products and level of customer service. If you plan to follow through with these tips, it’s important that you are prepared. What we mean is that you need to be ready to meet the demands of your newfound popularity. Once reviews start coming in, make sure you have enough inventory to meet the needs of your consumers.

    Online Customer Review Tips for Small Business Owners

    Paper ClipThere’s no denying that attracting new customers can involve a lot of effort. Unfortunately, as a business owner, it can be difficult to devote time to your digital marketing strategy. One way to bring in new business that doesn’t involve too much effort on your end is by letting your satisfied clients do the leg work. Online customer reviews are one of the most effective ways to push a person to follow through on a purchase. That means it’s well worth it to do what you can to make leaving online reviews a seamless process. After all, the more online reviews you obtain, the more likely you are to make sales. Here are 3 tips for getting the most out of your online customer reviews:

    Ask for Reviews on Expensive Products

    It’s a fair assumption to make that cost is a major factor holding people back. So, if you are going to encourage satisfied customers to leave online reviews, it pays to give an extra push on your more expensive products. Reviews from satisfied customers can illustrate why your product is worth every penny.

    Send a Follow Up Email

    Let’s face it – emails are easy to ignore. Half of them can be deleted, and the majority of them don’t demand your immediate attention. None-the-less, an email can be that extra nudge a person needs to write a review. The hard part is getting them to open that email, so it’s important that your email demands attention.

    When it comes to sending out a follow up email, timing is key. You want to make sure they receive the email at the point where they have had enough time to reflect on their feelings about your product, but not past the point where they are no longer excited.

    Have A Strong Call to Action

    A call to action is exactly what it sounds like – it involves getting someone to perform a certain action. If that action is getting a customer to write a review you need, then you need to put yourself in their shoes. Why should someone take time out of their day to write a review? What’s in it for them? We’ve looked at the features that make a strong CTA in the past, and the same principles can be applied to getting someone to share their experience about your product or service. It’s important that you provide them with a clear and straight path to where they need to be. If writing a review involves multiple steps or filling out a form, they may be reluctant to follow through.

    Make the Most Out of Your Google My Business Page

    milkMilk or cream? T-shirt or sweater? Stay or leave? Romance or comedy? Every day, each one of us makes hundreds of decisions, both big and small. Sometimes, it can seem as though we decide in the blink of an eye. Other times, however, we weigh the pros and cons of each and flip back and forth on our decision for what feels like an eternity. Whether we are going with our intuition, or mulling over past experiences and considering the short- and long-term effects of our choice, there are a ton of factors that play into our decision-making process.  When it comes to making decisions on the internet, the process is no different.

    Let’s say you’re looking for a home cleaning company in your home-town of Portland, Maine. If you don’t have any recommendations from friends or colleagues, you’re likely relying on the internet to find a residential cleaner near you. When you type “residential cleaning company in Portland” into Google, you will be shown which cleaning businesses are available to you in your area, along with some basic information, like their address, phone number, hours of operation, and rating. The higher the rating a company has, the more likely you are to head to their website.

    Optimize Your Google My Business Page

    Just as you search for services, other people are taking similar steps to find businesses. So, if you rely on getting visitors to get to your website from local search traffic, then reviews from Google My Business should be a priority. Here are few tips for a better optimized page:

    Citations Management

    When people are talking about citations, they are referring to any mentions of your business’s name, address, and phone number online. This information is listed on customer review sites, like Yelp and Angie’s List, and social media platforms, like Facebook. It’s important that this information is consistent across the board, or else Google will doubt the validity of your business. Any discrepancy, such as your address appearing as 705 Main Street one place and 705 Main on another, could hurt your ranking. If you don’t have a physical location, here’s advice from Google on the best way to handle it.

    Category Selection

    It important that you select the right category for your business-type. This might sound like a no-brainer, but for companies that offer more than one service this can prove to be difficult. If you’re unsure, read up on Google’s guidelines for representing your business.

    Images

    Never under estimate the power of visuals. Adding photos of your business to your page is the best way to show off your business’s human-side. Be sure to include photos of your staff in action and the interior of your business, if possible. You also have the option of providing people with a virtual tour of your business by enlisting a Google-improved photographer.

    Ask for Reviews

    Yelp uses a recommendation software specifically designed to flag comments that appear to be fraudulent. We’ve looked at this in the past, and mentioned how it seems to be more lenient with negative reviews, hiding many legitimate reviews from satisfied customers. This isn’t the case with Google My Business, so don’t be shy about encouraging a happy customer to rate your business and share their experience. Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them taking the time to share their kind words by writing a response comment. Of course, not every comment is going to be a glowing review. It is important that you respond to harsh criticism too, whether that means offering an apology or clearing up a miscommunication.

    Those are just a handle of ways you can better optimize your Google My Business Page. At LinkNow Media, we are sure to look into this topic again.

    How to Spring Clean Your Business’s Yelp Reviews

    springReviews are an increasingly important way that customers engage with a brand, product, or business. A good review can win over potential customers the same way that a negative review can do the opposite. A constant stream of positive reviews on your Yelp page suggests that your business is popular, successful, and well run. At LinkNow Media, we believe that in the spirit of spring, it is always a good idea to do some spring cleaning. This includes putting in order strategies to increase positive reviews on Yelp. The following are some easy ways to encourage new positive reviews.

    Encourage New Reviews

    The best way to encourage your clients to review your business is by providing great service and asking them about their experience upon completion. Speaking with your customers in person about their opinion of your service allows for an opportunity for you to remedy any disappointments or concerns before they make it to the internet. After speaking with your customer, gently encourage them to write a review if they are so inclined, and thank them graciously for their patronage. This will make your clients feel appreciated and as if their opinions are valued and taken into consideration.

    Respond to Challenging Reviews

    The best way to respond to challenging customer reviews is to firstly wait 24 hours before responding. This will give you sufficient time to approach the situation with intellect rather than emotion. The second tip is to let go of any defensive tendencies you may have to show your point of view. It’s not about your defense, it’s about the client’s perceived experience. Lastly, just go with it. Accept your client’s criticism with kindness, grace and dignity. Offer your sincere apologies and hope they will give you another shot. If you have lost them, at least you have demonstrated your ability to extend kindness and generosity to other potential clients who may have read this online interaction.

    LinkNow Media always recommends that you choose which reviews to respond to wisely. Address reviews with specific complaints, or that seem genuine and not mean spirited. This will more likely be worth your while as opposed to engaging with an internet troll.

    Share Positive Reviews!

    If there is a particularly glowing review that made an impression on you, feel free to publicly thank your customer for being so generous with their words! Trust us, it won’t go unnoticed.

    Page 1 of 2

    Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén