Why & How You Should Always Respond To Positive Reviews

I wrote recently about why and how to deal with negative reviews. After writing that piece, it occurred to me that I should take the time to stress that it is good practice to reply to all reviews, whether positive or negative. The reasons and strategies will differ but you should always find the time to reply to the positive reviews as well as the negative. Here’s why:

 

  1. It Makes People Feel Good.

Yes. It’s as simple as that. When your customer receives a reply thanking them for leaving a lovely review, they will feel good. They will feel appreciated and they will feel valued and know that they have done something good. They will also feel good about your company brand or business and as we are in the business of building relationships with and attaching positive emotions to our brand, that can only be a good thing.
So go right ahead, reply to the positive reviews and make your customers feel good about themselves.

 

  1. They Get Read.

It isn’t just the reviewer who will read your reply. Dozens, hundreds or even thousands of others will read the response too. And when they do, they will create a mental picture of your brand’s personality. What brand, business or company doesn’t want to be seen as efficient, polite and appreciative.

Also bear in mind that online users are unlikely to read one review in isolation, they will read loads of them. They will also read more if the responses are interesting and personal, building a stronger connection with your business or brand.

 

  1. It Humanises You.

Every opportunity to communicate publicly is an opportunity to ‘humanise’ your business. It’s a good thing to capitalise on this by showing a little character in your response. It is also often a chance to subtly reinforce your understanding of the marketplace, subject or area you are involved in. Sometimes, the reviewer may even open the door to a deeper level of personalisation.

For example, if in a review for trail running shoes, the reviewer mentions that they bought the shoes for a specific race, as a specialist retailer of running shoes, you may choose to close your response by saying something like “Enjoy the Snowdon Race and watch out for that final descent, it’s a killer”. That maximises the connection by reinforcing your company’s knowledge of the subject and humanises you as a brand. It also leaves the thread open for others to chip in and agree or contradict by joining in the conversation. All marketing gold dust.

When you illustrate that understanding of your marketplace, you can add knowledgeable to the list of traits the customer recognises in your brand. So you go from efficient, polite and appreciative to efficient, polite, appreciative and knowledgeable.

 

  1. It Is A Chance To Prove That You Are Listening.

Just like it was for negative reviews, you have the opportunity to really prove that you are listening to your customers. By responding in the first place you show the world that you’re listening and you are not too busy or distracted to hear what’s being said.

A neat trick to make the most of the positive feedback is simply to echo it in your answer, either by emphasising how good the feedback is

e.g. “Thanks for giving us five stars John…”

or even repeating the reasons given for the praise.

e.g “Thanks for awarding us all five stars Stacey, we’re delighted to hear that your weekend in our hotel was one of the best you’ve ever had”

You can even take things a little further by how you make it happen.

e.g. “Thanks for the five-star review Bob, we’re really pleased that you and your children enjoyed their visit to our trampoline park. Our staff go out of their way to make sure every one of our visitors has the best possible experience at Jumparound and they will be delighted to know that you appreciated their effort so much.”

 

  1. It Is An Opportunity To Invite Them Back.

In signing off, there is always a chance to let your customers know they will be warmly welcomed next time they visit.

“e.g. We’re looking forward to seeing you again”.

Or

e.g. “ Of course, when you’ve run enough miles to wear those shoes out, we’ll be ready to help you choose the perfect next pair.”

 

Summary

So don’t miss out on these key benefits to your business by dismissing good reviews as ‘not in need of attention’. Respond to the positive reviews as passionately as you do the negative ones and enjoy doing it. Because talking to your customers is good business and it’s actually good fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Handy Tools For Social Media Management

In no particular order, here are a few tools we use to make many of the day-to-day social media tasks we need to complete easier.

 

Google Analtyics

Quite amazingly, Google Analytics is still a free service, giving you in-depth analysis of your website traffic. Far too good to ignore.

http://analytics.google.com

 

Google Alerts

Use this tool to set up alerts for any phrase you like. When Google sees a new post with that phrase,  name or keyword in it, you’ll get an email notification. A great way to monitor the internet for chatter about your business or brand.

https://www.google.com/alerts

 

Thsrs

This handy little tool will help you trim your tweet down to size. Put any word in and Thsrs will provide you with shorter alternatives.

http://www.ironicsans.com/thsrs/

 

Owly

This neat tool allows you to shorten any url into a much more manageable size in a heartbeat.

http://ow.ly

 

Convert Case

Sometimes, you have a chunk of text in uppercase that you need to use in a hurry but need it converting to lowercase first. This handy, lightweight tool is just right for the job.

https://convertcase.net

 

Rhymezone

It not often, but sometimes, you need a rhyme. When you do, let the mother of all rhyming tools come to your rescue.

www.rhymezone.com

 

Pinterest

Although it is a social media network in its own right, Pinterest makes this list because it is such a handy way to collect ideas and store inspiration you find on the net. With secret and collaborative boards it makes an incredible creative-planning tool.

www.pinterest.com

 

Gifs

Make your own Gifs in the blink of an eye. Add effects and captions.

https://gifs.com

 

Adobe Spark

Make your own graphics and animated videos in a jiffy. Free to use (but only for now no doubt).

https://spark.adobe.com

 

Social Mention

An excellent way to keep track of mentions, posts,  photos and videos of your business or your competitors online.

http://www.socialmention.com

 

 

 

 

 

Discover Your Social Media Personality

Before you can engage with your followers on social media effectively, you should understand exactly who you are as a business, organisation or brand. As a team, it is important to discuss and agree some guidelines for who you are, what you say and how you say it.
Here are a few tips on how to help your staff  understand the importance and relevance of social media personality and to start to develop your own.

 

What Are You – And What Are You Not?

One simple but powerful tool to help you agree on this consistent tone of voice is to try the ‘Always and Never’ exercise.

If your team is small, work as individuals, if you are a large group, work in pairs or small sub-groups.  Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down the following phrase, filling in the blanks with your own words, tailoring the phrase to suit your company’s online personality.

[Your company] is ALWAYS ____________ and NEVER ____________

You can take several shots at it. There is no right or wrong answer in this simple test but each  attempt will provoke discussion and raise enlightening issues which will help you discover who you are as a company and what you stand for. Here are a few examples of the kind of thing you may write.

Company X is always helpful and never judgemental

Company X is always knowledgeable and never self-righteous

Company X is always flexible and never unbending

Company X is always friendly and never unwelcoming

 

What Celebrity?

This is always an interesting but revealing discussion for groups who want to discover their social media identity.

If  Company X was a celebrity, who would they be – and why?

I’m not suggesting that you adopt the personality of a celebrity as your own but the discussion that surrounds this interesting and often emotive question can unearth golden nuggets which will help shape and develop your social media personality.

 

Just For Grins.

As an additional light-hearted exercise you could also pose the question,

If our Company X was a cartoon character, which one would we be?

This can provide a welcome lift if your session is becoming a little stale and the ensuing debate can really help to break down barriers and get people talking.

 

What Are You Good At?

Get each person or group to write down three things which your company is particularly good at. This will vary enormously from one company to another. For example, if you are a clothing brand or retailer, it could be a wide variety of combinations like:

  • Fit, Comfort and Style.
  • Choice, Practicality, Affordability
  • Lightweight, Washability, Packability
  • Strength, Durability, Protection

 

What Are Your Customers Passionate About?

Get each person or group to write a short list of values and associated values. Things your customers value and are interested in. These don’t have to be directly related to your service or product, just the things your customers enjoy and are excited about.

Here are some examples of the variety of answers a travel company may give according to their target audience.

  • Price, nightlife, music
  • Comfort, fine-dining, style
  • Photography, wildlife, nature
  • Family, fun, adventure

 

Draw some Conclusions.

Spend some time distilling what you have discussed and agreed. Scribble down a few notes that sum up who you are, what you stand for and how you should be seen-and-heard on social media. Use these notes as guidelines for future social media communication.

Boost Your Online Promotion Offline

As a business owner or manager it is very easy to become entangled in the day-to-day digital and social media promotional activity and miss the everyday promotional tie-ins that surround us and our customers in the real world.

The truth is, we all have a life offline and our customers are no exception. Like us, they are strongly influenced by the things they see and hear every day and those influences offer many simple yet powerful connections to our digital marketing channels.

When customers visit your business to shop, buy, collect, taste, enjoy or stay, you can influence their actions whilst they are with you, encouraging them to connect on social media. From a logo by the till to a mention on the blackboard, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few nuggets of inspiration to get you started.

 

Remind Customers To Check In.

Whether it is a sticker on the door, a poster, or a line on the menu, encouraging your customers or visitors to check in on Facebook can trigger regular organic social media growth for very little effort or upkeep.

 

Encourage Mentions and Selfies.

A quick mention on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook will often be accompanied by a selfie of the customer or a photo of your product whether it is a drink, meal, an activity they are engaged in or even their score. Use your imagination to help boost the effectiveness of this possibility. Can you supply props or prompts for branded selfies?  A back drop for photos?
The specifics will depend on your business or product but the key lies in maximising the opportunity.
If you see your customers taking selfies or photos, ask yourself what you can do or provide them with to make that more effective for you.
Remember, your customers want to tell the world where they are, you just have to help them.

 

Ask Your Customers To Follow you.

When your customers are in your shop, restaurant, gym or business, it is a great time to remind them which social networks you favour. Visual reminders to “Follow us on Twitter” or “Connect with us on Instagram” work well. There’s no need to go overboard but subtle logos and messages can have a significant effect over a long period.

 

Encourage Reviews.

During or immediately after the customer has enjoyed your product or experience is the perfect time to encourage them to leave a review. You should consider how you can harness the positive emotions they are experiencing before their potency fades. A sticker on the door as they are leaving? A card handed to them with the bill or invoice. Or a well-rehearsed, enthusiastically-delivered verbal reminder from a waiter, receptionist or sales assistant.

For larger value items and considered purchases this area might include a personalised follow-up letter or email encouraging the customer to share their experience in an online review.

Don’t be scared of negative reviews. If there is a genuine concern, it’s time to improve your product or service.
Every business has to deal with negative reviews at one time or another. Embrace online reviews and develop strategies to deal with negative feedback. You can learn more about how to deal with negative online reviews here.

 

Promote A Hashtag.

If you have a specific event or product you would like to draw attention to, encourage your customers to use the hashtag in every post, tweet, comment or message they post on social media.  (For more information on choosing a hashtag, check out this post.)

Start early before the event or product launch. Remind customers regularly by featuring the hashtag on posters, leaflets notice boards and blackboards around your business.

Join in the conversation. Monitor the hashtag online and respond to mentions and use the hashtag extensively in your own communication.

 

Promote Sign Up To Email Newsletters.

Don’t dismiss the option of gathering email sign ups in-store. While you have your customers with you, find a way of asking them if they’d like to sign up for email communication. You can gather the addresses manually using a pen and paper, or better still, you could have a dedicated ipad or tablet system.

 

Offer The chance To Join Facebook Groups.

Facebook groups are a superb way to harness the power of advocacy within your customers. If you use Groups, take the opportunity to remind customers to join and give them the reasons why whilst they are with you.

 

Follow That Cab!

Last but not least, don’t forget your vehicles. Whether you have a fleet of trucks, minibuses, trailers, vans, boats, or even bicycles, vehicles can spread the social media message far and wide. They reach a different audience every moment of every day and they  never stop working for you. Make sure there are logos to identify which networks you are active on and use your vanity URL where ever possible to make it easy for curious passers by to look you up.

 

 

 

 

How To Choose A Hashtag For Your Event

To make an event go with a bang, a hashtag is an essential ingredient. Used well, a hashtag can help build the buzz around your event long before the big day and is an extremely effective way to maximise the effectiveness of post event publicity.

So what is a hashtag and how do you go about choosing and using a hashtag to promote your event?

A hashtag is a mechanism allowing online users to filter social media content to display items which are relevant to a certain word or phrase. The ‘#’ is the ‘hashtag’ part of the phrase followed by whatever combination of words you like.
We’ve all seen them, they can be used to identify posts about certain subjects (#travel), specific places (#manchester), events (#rednoseday) or anything else you choose. They work particularly well as a means to promote and enhance an event.

There’s nothing to stop you using a hashtag that’s already in use but the results will be more cluttered and less effective for your users and followers. So ideally, you should try choose something that is unique to your event.

Get a small team together to discuss hashtag alternatives. Write down a list of alternatives When you have a list of  favourites, search for those hashtags on Twitter and Instagram to see what comes up.  Just type the full hashtag in to the search bar. Ideally, you’ll find nothing and communication using that hashtag will be clear and uncomplicated.

When you agree on a hashtag for the event, make it clear within your business that is the hashtag to be used and only that hashtag.  Then use it religiously wherever and whenever the event is mentioned.

Make sure your staff use the hashtag in all communication, on and offline. Encourage your followers and customers to use the hashtag wherever they can too. Then go out of your way to retweet and repost anything on social media that uses the hashtag.

In summary, make using a hashtag for your event part of the plan rather than a reaction on the day. A well-used hashtag can make the event a better experience for you and the customer. It really is a small thing which can have an enormous effect.