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Tag: Soliciting Online Reviews

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Twitter is Doubling Their Character Limit

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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.

    Millennials and Reviews

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    The largest generational cohort since the baby boomers, millennials are the largest generation in US history, and their shopping habits are shaping our economy more and more.

    This tech-savvy generation has a purchasing power that will soon exceed that of every other generation. Strong supporters of online shopping, millennials are cautious as well, putting off large purchases until later in life and valuing quality over price.

    It’s no surprise that with all the information available at their fingertips, they put research into their purchases whether it’s a physical one, or a service. That’s where reviews come in.

    The Importance of User-Generated Content

    User-generated content (UGC) such as status updates on social media, blog posts and Google reviews are what make the millennial consumer’s world go around. The more viral and liked a product or service is by peers, the more likely they are to purchase it themselves.

    In past generations, the professional opinion was king, but with a growing distrust for mainstream media and big corporations, this generation finds themselves turning to the most trusted source: mass approval.

    Some may see this as illogical, but to understand the logic, consider this: Professionals may have appeared on adverts or written articles on a product, but was this always of their own volition? If not, someone wanted them doing that promotion for a reason. And can you really trust that?

    UGC: Investing in Time to Make Solid Investments

    Millennials spend 18 hours with media per day. Astounding, right? Some of us aren’t even awake for 18 hours of the day! Thirty percent of this time is spent browsing UGC, 33% on traditional media such as print and TV, and 37% on other media.

    No matter what they’re looking at, and especially when it’s online, products are being promoted.

    When something catches their eye, their first instinct is to look that product up online to see if it is legitimately what they expect, and to see if it’s worth buying.

    If they’re looking for a service, Google reviews will be their first stop. If your business isn’t listed on a Google My Business page and set up with a star rating, you’re in trouble!

    With 90% of millennials shopping online, your online presence is more important than ever. You just can’t afford to stay in the stone age.

    Influence With Technology

    Most millennials are obsessed with reviews. With apps like Yelp and Foursquare, everyone has a place to speak their mind. Whether you’re reading entertaining negative reviews, leaving one yourself, or praising the best pizza you’ve ever tried, reviews are fascinating and, for the most part, trustworthy.

    Whether they’re aware of it or not, millennials have their antenna up for star ratings and reviews no matter where they are online and if there are no reviews to be found, it’s likely they’ll find a more reliable product.

    So go the extra mile and make sure that your business is getting lots of great reviews. Rank higher on search engines, and bring in that amazing millennial purchasing power!

    Why You Shouldn’t Pay for Fake Reviews

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    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 Consumers Use Reviews Online

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    When you’re searching online to find the perfect restaurant to try out on Friday night, the last place you’ll choose is one with zero online presence. In the information age that is exactly what people are looking for: information. They want to see photos, other customer’s opinions, and maybe even a virtual tour if you have a physical storefront. These days, 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more, with 94% saying they’ll use a business if it has at least a four-star rating.

    On average, a one-star increase on Yelp leads to a five to nine percent increase in revenue, with just one negative review costing you 30 customers. Reviews are the best way to hold a business accountable. Consumers look for reliability, expertise and professionalism, and if you cannot practice these they’ll let you know.

    So, if negative reviews are so dangerous, why collect reviews at all? Well, a couple negative reviews are better than no reviews at all, so long as you’ve got some positive ones going on as well. When negative reviews occur, respond quickly, admit to any errors, reiterate your company’s mission and if possible and warranted, provide compensation.

    When a consumer looks at or leaves reviews online, they’re looking to:

    Find the best business for their needs

    Build trust

    Express themselves

    Help other consumers

    Here are some more numbers to help you understand the benefits of reviews:

    92% of consumers read online reviews

    68% say positive reviews make them trust a business more

    Only14% of consumers will use a business with a one- or two-star rating, whereas 94% would use one with a five-star rating

    80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations

    Online reviews are probably the most important tool for a modern business. You can gain them with skill by requesting them from loyal customers and publicly thanking positive reviewers while apologizing to those who had a bad experience.

    A business with active reviews on websites like Google, Yelp and Foursquare will get a boost in SEO making their online presence skyrocket and produce tangible results in the form of an 18% uplift in sales.

    Now more than ever, consumers want to see that business’ are run by real people, not robots. By interacting through reviews, you are showing that you care enough about your customers to take a moment out of your day to leave a personalized response to their opinion, and being able to do that is massively beneficial to any business. The last thing the 2017 consumer wants is to deal with a business that is unreachable.

    Reviews impact search ranking, too. In 2014 Google updated its search engine to take into consideration the reviews from popular sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. So, if you’re actively getting your customers to leave reviews for your business, you’ll get more business, guaranteed. This sets off a chain reaction to in turn produce more reviews and more new customers.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews and interact with customers. It’s the only way your business is going to grow and survive. Give the gift of communication, and your consumers will most definitely give back!

    Business Owners’ Bad Review Responses A Case Study

    Reviews are a fact of life when it comes to running a business.

    They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy—depending on how you deal with them.

    While it is tempting to write a scathing and entertaining response to people who leave negative reviews, as a professional, it is your duty to hold your tongue and not let your emotions do the thinking.

    Below, are some examples of negative review responses, and how they could have been handled better.

    1.

    Where to start?

    Firstly, admitting that you are inebriated when discussing a business issue is never OK. One shouldn’t be drunk in the first place when you’re on the clock (and yes, if you’re responding to reviews in your own time, that counts), but publicly admitting it is highly unprofessional. Next, making personal critiques (grammar) and suggesting a customer see a psychologist is not constructive. Especially when your own grammar and sanity could be up for review.

    A more appropriate response to this review would be to apologize for their bad experience, and address the price issues. If your restaurant does have fluctuating prices, that should be noted in store and online so customers are prepared. There can certainly be reasons for this practice but it should be transparent so customers aren’t surprised.

    2.

    This one isn’t quite as extreme as the last, and could very well be true. However, this response is tinged with sarcasm and, if true, reveals unnecessary personal information. An apology in this case would have been better—state that you were unavailable for serious personal reasons, list that it was no excuse to not communicate with customers and let them know it won’t happen again. Offer them a discount or other incentive on a future booking should they be in town again.

    If for some reason the situation is an emergency that keeps you away from your work, and you don’t have someone who can help you out with your business in this way, maybe think about hiring an assistant.

    3.

    As a business owner, your responses should not look like it was written by a ten year old

    …and this one is a great example of what that means. Sure, this review was not the classiest, but the appropriate response would be to take the higher ground. As always, apologize! If you were having a bad day, admit that you were and say it was wrong of you to take it out on customers. Depending on what the prices are, they could be explained/defended in some way. Maybe point out that your aim is not to be cheap but to provide quality food.

    What review responses come down to is the old adage “The customer is always right”. They may really not be, but your job as a business owner is to represent yourself and your company in the best way possible, no matter what others are provoking you to do. Responses can always be formulated to be reasonable even when defending oneself, but if you don’t have the time to compose something that is well thought out, apologies are the best policy.

    Happy review reading, everyone!

    How to Get Bloggers to Review Your Product

    cafeThink about the last time you were on the fence about a product. You likely went to an online review site, like Amazon, and scrolled to the review section to see what others were saying about the product in question. If you still weren’t convinced, then you may have dug deeper to a product review blog to read a full-length account of someone’s experience. If the opinion was trustworthy and favorable, you likely followed through on the purchase. Was this the case? If so, there’s no denying it – you are like most consumers.

    It isn’t hard to see how powerful the opinions of bloggers are when it comes to the buying process. They have revolutionized the way we make decisions in the market place, and are imperative to running a successful business. It goes without say then: the more buzz around a product, the more likely it is that people will make a purchase.

    If you are looking to get the name out there about your product, then there’s no question that you are committed to finding people who have positive things to say about it. Working with a blogger is a great opportunity to get the word out there, increase brand awareness, and reach relevant consumers. Here are some recommendations about contacting someone to review your product:

    Who to Ask

    A blogger that gets a lot of traffic likely gets bombarded with emails asking to review this and that. If you plan to ask a popular blogger to write about your product, you’ll need to stand out. In a previous blog post, we focused on helpful tips for writing an email campaign, and a lot of those same marketing principles can be applied here. It’s important to keep your subject line concise. Don’t be afraid to make a pun, ask a question, or crack a joke – this is your chance to show that you’re unique. Be personable. Provoke curiosity. An email with a boring subject line isn’t going to get opened.

    When it comes to the body of the email, put yourself in the shoes of the blogger. What’s in it for them? Bloggers want publicity, so you’ll need to sell them on that point. Explain why your product would be of interest to their audience. Be wary of coming across as too sales-pitchy or using a lot of corporate jargon.

    Not getting any bites? It might be in your best interest to ask newer bloggers. They’ll be flattered by the request and they’ll love getting a freebie. Even if they’re new to the world of blogging, there are a few key things to look for, such as the consistency and frequency by which they post, and the level of engagement in the comments section.

    Where to Find Review Bloggers

    Pinterest is  a great place to find bloggers. Join related group boards, post your product, and interact with like-minded individuals. This is the first step to finding a pinner who might be interested in reviewing your product. They might even be the ones inquiring about it. If not, contact those who you feel you can build a relationship with. Be sure to familiarize yourself with their content before diving in.

    Keep At It

    These tips are a great place to start on your quest to reaching the blogger that will get your product noticed. Of course, what works for some businesses might not work for others. In the end, it’s all about what works best for your audience. Don’t get discouraged by rejection – it simply wasn’t meant to be.

    At LinkNow Media, we are always looking at ways to help business owners get more online reviews, so stop by often!

    3 Ways to Attract Online Customer Reviews

    email 2Positive customer reviews are important. How important? Consider this: 88% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. That means what your customers are saying about you online plays a HUGE role in the buying process, for better or worse. The key to getting positive reviews is, well, doing a good a job. It’s that simple. Put your customer first, deliver excellent service, and offer excellent products. Many business owners tend to overthink getting positive reviews and will go to great lengths to get them, even if that means going against Google’s guidelines.

    Here are three legitimate ways you can attract online customer reviews:

    Make forms easy

    People like writing reviews. Whether sharing a good experience or bad experience, a majority of people will take 5 minutes out of their day to let others know if your company is worth their time or money. So, throw them a bone. Make it easy for them. Unless someone has something really bad to say about your company, no one is going spend time looking for a place to write a review. Create profiles wherever you can: Yelp, LinkedIn, Yahoo Local, Google Local, Trip Advisor, and Angie’s List. It’s also helpful to integrate a testimonials page on your website. This will allow a customer to leave a review with ease, and it’s a great way to boost your ranking on search listings.

    Offer incentives

    When it comes to online reviews, you need to be ethical. If you’re a startup, you may be tempted to buy positive online reviews. Quick word of advice: don’t. If your customers can’t spot the fakes, online review sites will. Not only will that cost you your reputation, you’ll also have to pay a hefty fine. Fake reviews are fraud. Why shoot yourself in the foot? Sometimes, all your customer needs is a little push to write a review. Offering an incentive, such as a discount on a future service, can be that extra thing that gets them sharing their thoughts about their experience. If you have a physical storefront hang up posters to let them know about the contest, or you can share it on social media.

    Share reviews

    Creating a company Facebook page is free and easy –  there is no reason why your business shouldn’t have one. It’s a great way to enhance your brand, share ongoing specials and promotions, and build and maintain relationships with your clientele. It can also be used to share positive reviews. Your customers will love being in the limelight, and their good word will motivate other satisfied customers to follow suit. It’s a win-win.

    Closing

    Online reviews are the new word of mouth. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely people are to choose your company over local competition. Keep in mind, that you will get a negative review from time to time. That’s life. See it as opportunity to show your clients that you care about your company by finding a solution to their problem.

    3 Reasons You Should Not Buy Fake Customer Reviews

    3 reasons you should not buyPositive customer reviews greatly impact the purchasing process and are essential in running a successful business. 92% of consumers read online reviews when searching for a service or product. What customers are saying about you on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Amazon can be a deciding factor in whether or not you’ll be getting a phone call. The more positive reviews your company has the more likely a consumer is to choose your services or products. Not to mention, they help to move your website up on search result pages.

    Given all that good stuff, it is not surprising that there are a ton of fake customer review writing companies for hire. If you’re a startup, you might be tempted to pay for such a service to get the ball rolling. Here’s three reasons why you shouldn’t:

    Your Customers Can Spot Fake Reviews

    Your customers are on the ball when it comes to reading online customer reviews. Fake reviews sound fake. They tend to be short, generic, and not at all helpful. A phony comment isn’t hard to spot, and it can wind up costing you your reputation. If you have glowing reviews about your customer service, but the beat on the street is otherwise, something clearly isn’t adding up. Lying to your customers is not a good way to earn their trust. You’re setting yourself up for failure.

    Review Sites Are Smarter Than You Think

    As much as it might hurt to see the dozens of online reviews your competition has, the age-old adage applies here: quality over quantity. It’s better to have a few real positive reviews than a hundred fake positive reviews. If your customers can’t spot the fakes, online review sites will, and that’ll cost you much more than your reputation. Fake reviews are fraud. Getting caught writing fake reviews comes with a pretty hefty fine. Why risk it?

    You Miss the Opportunity to Have a Conversation

    Reviews come in all types of flavors, both good and bad. Your job is to respond to them. A positive review is an awesome opportunity to provide your customers with a thoughtful thank you. And, while negative reviews suck, they’re a chance to show that you care about your company and will do what you can to find a solution to their problem. This type of engagement and interaction isn’t possible with fake customer reviews.

    Closing

    Making a good name for yourself can take time. If you are a new business, don’t get discouraged. Reviews will come. Negative reviews, too. See them as an opportunity to improve. It’s better to be flawed than fake.

     

     

    How to Ensure Customers Review Your Product

    How to Ensure Customers Review Your Product by LinkNow Media88% percent of consumers read reviews in order to determine the quality of the local business (85% read up to ten!), and another 88% say they trust online reviews just as much as they trust personal recommendations. We can’t stress the importance of online reviews enough. Let’s take a look at helpful ways you can ensure customers review your product.

    1. It’s all about the timing.

    We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the first step to obtain reviews is simply to ask your customers to leave their feedback. But the easiest way to increase your chances of your customers actually doing this is by asking them at the right time.

    For example, if you just resolved an issue with a customer, make sure you follow up immediately and ask them for that review. The experience will still be fresh in their mind, and they will feel more compelled to share. If the person ordered a product that takes a few days to ship, make sure you aren’t asking for feedback until after their package is received. Chances are they aren’t going to go back to that email days later after they have your product.

    2. Make it easy

    This is an obvious, yet often overlooked strategy: make the process of leaving a review as easy and seamless as possible. Don’t make the customer have to log in again or click on a bunch of links in order to get to the right survey. If the process isn’t straightforward and quick, most people will give up. Make sure you allow customers to write reviews directly on the website, provide easy access to leave a reviews on other platforms, and make sure you have a call to action asking to “rate us” visible and easy to find.

    3. Use demographics

    Understanding the demographics of your customer base will help you segment how you reach out for feedback. For example, if the majority of your customers are millennials, you should know immediately that sending a bunch of marketing emails will be not only a waste of time but annoying. Millennials are known for leaving feedback and sharing their experiences on social media platforms even without anyone asking them to. Encourage this behavior with social campaigns directed around reviewing your product. On the flip side, older customers tend to be less engaged in social media, so they might prefer and email with a straightforward online survey attached.

    4. Share the spotlight

    If someone is helpful enough to leave a positive review, you can thank them by giving them a bit of the spotlight. Let’s say a popular blogger leaves you an awesome review. One way you could show them your gratitude is by mentioning their blog and their review on your website. You could also feature their review with a photo and a direct quote on your website. People like attention, and this sort of highlighting can make your customers feel special and appreciated. It’s also a great way to motivate others to leave reviews, once they see that you’re truly engaged in your customers opinions.

    5. Offer free trials, discounts, or prizes

    When asking isn’t enough, sometimes you need to offer a direct incentive. Customers love free trials, discounts, and chances to win huge prizes. While you can’t incentivize customers on certain review sites (think Yelp and Google), you can on your main website.

    Final Thoughts

    Obtaining customer reviews is an ongoing process that you can refine as you learn more about how your specific customer base reacts to your requests. All of these techniques will help you get more reviews, but remember, if you want positive reviews, it’s going to come down to your companies ability to provide an amazing produce and incredible customer support. The better you treat your customers along their purchasing journey, the better their reviews will be.

    6 Proven Strategies for Collecting More Customer Reviews

    6 Proven Strategies for Collecting More Customer Reviews by LinkNow MediaCustomer reviews and feedback are crucial to your business. They reflect what your customers like and don’t like, what your businesses strengths and weaknesses are, and they give you invaluable insight into ways you can you can improve your services. Moreover, customer reviews build your business’s credibility and improve your online presence. If this information isn’t enough to convince you about the importance of customer reviews, perhaps this will: according to a recent survey done with 1000 consumers, 67% indicated they trust online reviews. So how exactly do you obtain customer reviews? Here are a few fool-proof methods you can try.

    1. Request feedback

    People don’t leave reviews just because. Reviews usually come about for two reasons: either the customer had a truly exceptional or horrible experience or more importantly, you asked him or her for their feedback. Seems straight forward enough, but you would be surprised how many companies are lacking in reviews simply because they don’t ask.

    You can ask for feedback in several ways, including: sending feedback surveys after a purchase or customer service request, adding a call to action to your website, or sending out an email to your existing customer base. If you’re interested in more in-depth feedback, you can also host a focus group for your customers or conduct interviews via phone, Skype, or in-person. Adjust your request strategy depending on what kind of feedback you are trying to obtain.

    2. Choose your words wisely

    Considering that you are already asking your customers to take time off their busy schedule to basically advocate for your goods or services, be mindful of their precious time and be very clear about what you’re asking them for. Communicate exactly what you need from them, and formulate your questions as clearly and concisely as possible.

    3. Incentivize

    While you can’t offer these incentives for review platforms like Yelp, you can definitely do so on your own company’s website. Some incentives you can offer include discounts, sales, or special offers. Understanding what your customers want will help you come up with what would be the most engaging incentive.

    4. Sign up

    While you may not be able to incentivize Yelp and Google reviewers, it’s still very useful to sign up with these popular review websites because (1) it increases your visibility online and (2) review websites do all the work for you – they contact your customers, encourage them to leave feedback, and even help handle negative reviews. Especially if you feel too busy with day-to-day business operations to collect and manage reviews on your own, leaving it to the specialists can be quite appealing.

    5. Utilize social media

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you ask, incentivize, or practically beg, some customers will never find the time to write a lengthy review. But that’s okay! You can always encourage them to Tweet about their experience, share a picture about what they bought on Instagram, or even share a quick blurb with friends on Facebook. The other great thing about driving people to your social media pages is that many of these platforms are now providing a “buy” button, giving online consumers the opportunity to engage in online shopping right on your social media profiles. This makes it especially important to include links to your social media pages everywhere: emails, business cards, receipts, etc.

    6. Personalize

    If you want to encourage a customer to leave a review, make sure that customer knows how much you appreciate him or her. A great way to reassure your customer that he or she is not just a statistic to you is by making their experience personalized to them. Figure out their likes, their dislikes, their purchasing history, etc. That way, when you get ready to engage with or incentivize them, you will know exactly what pleases them most and have the best change of motivating them enough to leave great feedback.

    Conclusion

    If you’re providing an exceptional service, customers will be happy to leave a review when asked politely, so don’t be shy! It’s not only okay to ask for feedback, customers truly appreciate their voices and opinions being requested and heard. Just make sure you’re making them feel as appreciated as they are and not just a ploy to get a few stars.

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