How Negative Reviews can turn into loyal customers.

There’s no question about it. Getting a negative review for your product or company can be scary. Whether you’re a new business or well established, seeing that 1 star rating can feel like the end of your sojourn into online profitability. The fact is with the right approach, you can turn bad reviews into an opportunity to attract lifelong customers.

 

97% of consumers state that customer service in important when it comes to keeping their loyalty. That being said, dealing with customer feedback properly is more important then ever.

Let’s look at some of the ways to handle negative reviews and build a loyal consumer community.

 

React Quickly to Negative Reviews.

As soon as you see a negative review, deal with it! Don’t delay on preparing a response. The faster you can respond, the more likely the customer will be satisfied. You shouldn’t ignore or delete negative reviews. It won’t solve the situation and, if anything, it will further infuriate your customer. There’s plenty of places for a customer to review your business outside of your control and the last thing you want is to create a customer that is now on a crusade to destroy you. Engaging them is your only option.

Be sure to watch your social media profiles as well. Getting in front of problems before they spiral out of control is a key factor in dealing with bad reviews. This will also help minimize the damage it can cause and lets you keep in an eye on how your audience feels about your business.

While it’s not ever advised to delete reviews, there are exceptions to every rule. Some people can become overtly inappropriate or unproductive. Don’t be afraid to moderate these types of comments if they aren’t engaging you in a productive way.

If you suspect a troll, your best approach is do nothing. Responding will typically make matters worse since they aren’t actually looking for a solutions. That and your audience will usually be able to spot a troll and sympathize with you. No one likes a troll.

So you now have a bad review. Time to get to work. Your response needs to have the following three components.

1. Be Prompt

The longer you take to respond, the more your customer feels you don’t care about them. Be quick in your responses. The maximum window for your response should be 24 hours.

 

2. Keep the review public

 

People make mistakes and most people understand that. If you respond publicly, take ownership of your mistake and work to rectify the situation, other potential customers will see that you are willing to work to fix problems and may become loyal customers themselves. Your humility makes others feel empowered and they will gladly work with someone they know will work with them.

3. Be Professional

You put so much hard work into your business, negative reviews can feel like a slap in the face. Try not to take it personally. Throwing insults or shifting blame is largely unproductive when dealing with customers. The customer only wants their problem solved. They won’t care about the why or how. Don’t start arguments or make excuses. Politely apologize and work to rectify their problem.

Create solutions

Customers aren’t leaving negative reviews on your website because they have nothing better to do. Writing a review takes effort and if someone is going out of their way to write one, it usually means they are looking for a solution. Take the time to look at it from their perspective, be empathetic and help fix their problem. Not only will you create a thankful customer but you’ll show others that you’re willing to solve their problems. This will strengthen your business’ brand as a company that cares about their customers and, in turn, strengthen your bottom line.

 

 

 

Instagram for Business

“Insta” Inspired by the instant camera and “Gram” inspired by telegram; voila Instagram was formed and brought to life in 2010. Instagram is as it sounds. It is a photo and short video (up to 15 seconds) focused site unlike other social media sites that allows text updates whereas this is an all visual social media platform.

Instagram is primarily a mobile app. It would need to be downloaded onto your mobile device (it is free to download, don’t worry!). When setting up an account, there is no business specific set up. It is all the same. It is all about how you chose to display your brand.

How to display your brand:

The most obvious one is to show off your product or service. For example, if you are a retail business; take pictures of new products as they come in and post them. If you are a hair stylist show before and after images or if you are a restaurant show pictures of scrumptious meals.Take pictures or video clips of behind the scenes. Let your followers see how your product is made or allow them to see what your office or showroom look like.

To add a more personal touch include your employees at a team outing or hard at work. It adds relate-ability and shows you care about your business and value your employees. Incorporate some  personality – (appropriate images and hash tags of course) to help people connect with you as a person as well.

What can really increase your followers on Instagram is to post exclusive deals or giveaways. Post a picture of instructions on how to use the deal. Alternatively when someone is in your store and paying, ask your customer to show you that they will follow you on Instagram and will get 5% off their purchase (as an example). That could also create a buzz among word of mouth with that customers’ friends too.

A friend of mine, Shira Ben who is a very talented Make-Up Artist of The Beauty Movement by Shira. Has an incredible Instagram. Check out some photos below that i’ve outlined as examples on how to post images. Lets see what Shira does.

She occasionally uses herself as a model to give inspiration.

shira1

 

She shows before and after pictures of her stunning clients

shira2

 

Displays pictures of some of her favorite make-up and tools

shira3

 

Posts pictures of brides and bridal parties at their event to show the final effect
(with their permission of course!)

shira4

 

Has unique and creative images to keep things interesting

shira5

 

She posts giveaways to keep her followers engaged.

shira6

 

She adds some humor.

shira7

 

Not only is she showing off her product but she added personality to it. She made it into a piece that people would want to talk about or even share.

shira8

 

She shows her work from behind the scenes/how things are done which adds emotion. It can be quite powerful and expressive, as this image is.

shira9

She is proud to show off her professional accomplishments. It shows her followers that she is an expert in her field.

shira10

These are all steps to having a successful Instagram Business page!

 

How to rank well in Google Search Engines

These tips are general ways to rank well in search Engines. Not necessarily only Google but Bing or Yahoo ect.

  • Have a simple and clean website design.
  • Titles, descriptions and Keywords – it is important to use these wisely. You want to ensure keywords are being used in titles and proper descriptions are being used for each page. If you are unsure of what keywords would be most successful for you, do a full keywords search first.
  • Include unique and quality content on your website. Here I am writing about something that has been written about and talked about OVER and OVER throughout the web. It isn’t new or unique but it is quality. Trying to keep fresh content on your website is a key factor (start a blog maybe?)

Now for some of the more technical tips…

  • Reduce your site load time – or at least check to ensure it is at a healthy speed
  • Use images that are of proper size. larger images can affect your sites load time and will reduce your SEO score
  • Use a sitemap. It helps web crawlers understand the structure of your site by keeping lists of your pages, posts and images. I’ve read that search engines give preferences to to whose whose site has a proper sitemap.
  • make sure you have a Robots.txt file. What is that? It is a text file that webmasters create to instruct web robots how to crawl (visit) and index (save) pages on their website.

Hope these tips were helpful!

 

What is Pinterest?

Do you not know what Pinterest is?

Do you know what Pinterest is but don’t know how to navigate or use it?

Did you create a Pinterest account because someone told you that you should but you have never used it?

Many people can relate to at least one of those questions.

Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to save and organize images, think of it as a virtual bulletin board. Pinterest isn’t the same thing to everyone. There are different purposes to this visual playground. Some people use it to share their images and others keep their boards to themselves. They get inspiration for their careers or hobbies, keep their thoughts and ideas organized or store images of their dreams for future plans.

Pinterest Lingo

  • Boards: These are like virtual cork boards. you can title them as vaguely or as descriptively as you’d like for example: ‘International foods’ or ‘My top travel destinations’
  •  Pin: The main idea with Pinterest is to “pin” pictures to your boards.  For example, you might pin a picture of beef curry on your “International foods” board
  • Repin: When you see someone else’s pin that you like, you can “repin” it and place the picture on an appropriate board of your own. The equivalent of shares or retweets.

You can also like a pin and comment on pins. These are very standard for most social media sites in which little explanation is needed.

The visual aspect of the site is beneficial to retailers/businesses. It can be used as a portfolio or product catalog. Customers and clients can like the images and essentially are endorsing the product by repining the image of it onto one of their boards.

Check out these 10 rules for posting on Pinterest:

pinterest timing

And lets not forget about timing. The times you post are quite relevant.

pinterest time

HAPPY PINNING!

 

 

 

Marketing Tips for Small Businesses & Start-Ups

In my previous blog posts I have talked a lot about marketing through social media. I still believe social media is a powerful marketing tool however I wanted to focus on some marketing ideas that have a more personal touch that can also be used in conjunction with social media. These ideas may be more suitable for small business owners or start-up businesses.

There is a saying I came across that I really enjoyed and wanted to share, “Marketing is like fishing. The more lines you have in the water (with good bait) the higher your chances of success”.

You never really know what strategies will work and what will not work until you try. If you understand the process and have awareness of your marketing actions and outcomes, you can easily learn what works for your business and what doesn’t.

Marketing Tips for small business

Here I am rambling on, lets get to these marketing ideas that will help spread some word of mouth.

People love free things – Give out samples or offer promotions where your customer can save money.

Attend networking events  It is important to “press the flesh” as they say. Get out there shake some hands. No one knows your product or service better than you do and who better to talk about it. People are more inclined to use a service or buy a product from someone they know rather than a stranger. If you don’t like the events you are attending, why not start your own?

Be helpful – You are an expert in your business. Offer advice, start a blog, share informative tidbits on Twitter as some examples. Show how knowledgeable you are. People are likely to trust someone that has knowledge in their field and is willing to share it.

Start a podcast – A podcast is a great way to educate on a topic you are interested in. It also gives you exposure as an expert in your field.

These are just a few to mention. There are many great ideas to market your business/gain new business through word of mouth, you just have an open mind and don’t be afraid to just try.

YouTube: Benefits to Marketing

 

When deciding if YouTube is the right avenue for your marketing strategy keep in mind that you can integrate YouTube with your web content. Keep in mind, YouTube automatically compensates for diverse devices — which is  important for mobile and tablet viewing. It also gives you an opportunity to engage your viewer-added bonus.

 

Check out some of these incredible statistics:

I feel as though the statistics alone speak volumes as to how YouTube has such a broad social reach. I am amazed at the millions of subscriptions that happen each day along with the 100’s of millions of social actions that take place as well (likes, shares and comments).

There are many different learning styles; styles in which people learn and absorb information. I know that my learning style is by seeing and doing, which is why I personally love YouTube videos. I found the following info-graphic to be a fun little fact. Some great food for thought.

Paid media is a critical part of successful marketing. In most paid advertising campaigns you can target your audience and measure your results to name a few of the positive aspects. Look into if advertising on YouTube is right for you and your business.

What is UX and Why is it so Important?

For most people, when we think of customer service we automatically think of the service we receive over the phone or in person. Do we ever equate customer service with our online experiences? Not typically. However there is a term for it, it is called User Experience (UX).

We are led to believe that our website is about our business (which technically speaking, it is because we are providing information and trying to sell our services or products) but it isn’t actually about our business. It is all about our customers/users. It is mainly about making their experience as easy, seamless and as uninterrupted as possible.

The key to successful User Experience is finding a balance between your business needs and your customers needs. Think in simple terms. This image below outlines how aspects of your website could positively guide and assist your end user.

These are the top 5 questions to ask yourself to determine if your website will evoke a positive User Experience:

Is my website useful? Your content should be original and fulfill a need

Is my website usable? Your site must be easy to use

Is my website desirable? Design elements such as image, brand and identity are used to evoke emotion and appreciation

Is my website logical? Content needs to be easy to navigate and locate

Is my website credible? Users must trust and believe what you tell them

 

How to Develop a Social Networking Strategy

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

Marketers, entrepreneurs and businesses in general often make the mistake of diving into social media without a clear plan. As technology and social networks evolve, everyone seems to want to just jump on the train not to be left behind.This tactic is a waste of time and if unprepared could even lead to misrepresentation of your company among other things. Every action taken on social networks should be a part of a bigger picture.

What is a Social Networking Strategy?

It is a summery of what you hope to achieve for your business by using social networking platforms. The more specific your plan is, the more likely you are to succeed with implementing your plan. Your plan will only guide your actions but will not determine if you will succeed or fail with your intended outcome.

Steps to Take to Develop your Social Networking Strategy

  1. Establish Objectives and Goals: These goals should be in line with your business’s objectives. It is important to envision what theses goals will look like when they are achieved and determine how you will track the progress of these goals. Without having objectives and goals for your social media networking strategy how can you accurately gauge your success?
  2. Audit your Current Social Media Marketing: Take inventory of which platforms you are currently using, how they are working for you and what you would like to see different with these platforms. Also, do your research to see what social media platforms may be best for your business. You would need to figure out which social media sites your target audience uses. Some call this a ‘living inventory’, something that should be regularly maintained.
  3. Create Mission Statements: These should be short and concise one sentence statements. The purpose is to help you focus your attentions to the goal of using that specific social media platform – it should help to keep you on track when/if these profiles become less effective. If you are unable to determine the purpose of a platform you are using or want to use, then you probably shouldn’t use it!
  4. Create or Improve your Current Social Media Platforms: It is important to fill out all fields when creating your profile on these platforms. There is nothing wrong with cross promoting your social networks either. You don’t want it to be difficult for your followers to find you.
  5. Create a Calendar of your Content: Pre-plan what you intend to post and when for each of your social media platforms. This will keep you ahead of the game and able to see what works and what doesn’t. It is good to be spontaneous with your customer interaction rather than your content. Below is a detailed example of a content calendar otherwise known as an editorial calendar.
  6. Test and Evaluate your Strategy: Evaluate where you are with the original goals you have set, you may need to re-evaluate and tweak your goals or tweak your plan based on the progress you see or don’t see with your outcomes. Some ways to test is to be forthcoming with your online followers. Simply ask them to take a survey for feedback. You can even ask your offline customers to take a survey and inquire if social media impacted their decision to use your service or purchase your product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Social Media

The internet is a powerful phenomenon. When the internet first begun in 1969 we all engaged with it, some called it the age of innocence which clearly did not last long. Every GIF, video uploaded or comment posted was not all by chance, I am sure it was someones secret marketing strategy (as is adding kittens to any marketing campaign). Was Facebook or YouTube created with the intended purpose of being a marketing tool? No, but it turned into just that among other things.

These info-graphics below really emphasize how powerful Social Media is in today’s society.

social-customer-service

 

There is no need to emphasize the benefits of social media marketing when you look at the numbers. They speak volumes on their own!