I sat at a conference on digital media the other day listening to the various presenters and one thing became very apparent. EVERYONE thinks they are an expert on social media, digital marketing, and just about everything else these days. As soon as someone learns how to Google, they think they are the penultimate god of internet advice. I completely understand the feeling, i mean Google is knowledge and knowledge is power.
The thing that I don’t like is that these people are giving people advice on digital marketing and social media but they don’t even “know” the people they are “advising”. Here’s the problem, social media when applied correctly can be great, but to apply it correctly you have to have goals. A presenter in a room of 75 people only knows his own goals, limitations, resources, and comfort level.
Now here’s why i went off on that little rant. If you invest a lot of time and money into social media marketing and online advertising, one of the end goals is usually to get someone to work with you right? I would hope that’s one of the goals. However the thing is, unless a customer was directly referred to you by a close friend before they choose to pick up the phone and call you they are going to run an internet search on you to see if you are legitimate, and to see what they can find about you.
So before you engage in digital marketing, (includes blogging, Facebook, YouTube, twitter, Google ads, etc.) you have to make sure that when someone searches for you on Google they will find a site you want them to find, and good reviews.
Who would you rather work with, someone who you can’t even find on the internet, or someone who pops up right when you search them and has 100 happy reviews from clients and colleagues? Research shows that positive web reviews when from credible sites carry a fair amount of weight when consumers are making purchasing decisions.
That being said if you do a good job for a customer, and you count on referrals for business, why not ask for a review? Not a review that you print out and put on your fridge but rather one that is on the internet permanently for the world and your future clients to see?
There are a couple easy ways to keep and store reviews. First i recommend everyone, make your business a google place page. It takes 2 weeks to verify with Google but it is the first step in higher web prominence. It has the added bonus of sometimes getting you to the first page of Google in local searches.
The cool thing about Google place pages is that they can store reviews from various review sites on the net, not just Google reviews! They will take reviews from yelp, the yellow pages, kudzu, yahoo, and others! You might set up a place page and see that you already have reviews on these sites. Hopefully, good ones. It is tough to recover from bad reviews, but if you do have a couple bad ones try and convince some past customers to write good reviews that will then come to the top of the list and eventually bury the bad ones. Only time heals so to speak. You can also respond to bad reviews and politely explain the situation, and even ask the poster to remove their prior work.
So in a nutshell, before you spend hours on marketing online, make sure you have a good clean online reputation, and a place page that has positive reviews! If you have any questions about this let me know! I would be happy to discuss.