Topic: Reputation

Reputation tips and tricks

Celebrating Serving 10,000 Customers 0

We’re excited to announce that Main Street Hub now serves 10,000 small businesses across the U.S. and helps them connect with their communities, build relationships, and get new customers!


Andrew Allison and Matt Stuart, Co-CEOs

Seven years ago, our Co-CEOs Matt Stuart and Andrew Allison had a vision of creating a socially responsible business, where every employee could make an impact and help local economies.

From the start, our mission has been to create thriving local economies around the world, and reaching 10,000 customers is a huge step on that journey,” said Matt Stuart.

Through our dedicated team and proprietary technology, we are able to make a difference every day for the local heroes we’re proud to call our customers.

“We’re still only at the beginning,” said Andrew Allison. “But this milestone allows us to reflect on the huge impact that we’ve been able to make for so many local heroes and their customers around the country. We owe our success to our incredible team for treating every single one of our customers with extraordinary respect and care.”

Every member of our team is customer-centric, always putting our customers first. This mindset has played a huge part in helping us reach this milestone. To reward our team for their dedication and hard work, every Hubster in Austin and NYC received local business pins to wear with pride and show their Reverence for our local heroes.

“10,000 customers is an exciting milestone, and we got here by building our product and service the right way — by putting local heroes at the center of everything we do,” said Chief Product Officer Mike Georgoff. “We’ve earned their trust by bringing enterprise-grade marketing technology and machine learning to Local, allowing them to compete in the new economy. And, we’ve done it while respecting what makes them unique, authentic, and beloved by their communities.”

We’re proud of the impact we’re able to have for our customers, and we’re looking forward to continuing to raise the bar for our customer experience and help even more local heroes!

Read the full press release here.

Don’t miss a milestone — Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn!



Celebrating Serving 10,000 Customers was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

Bad Marketers Sell (and sell and sell and sell) 0

Smart Marketing … uses valuable content to educate, advise – and then sell.

Quick question: When was the last time a prospect walked up to you and said, “Yes, I absolutely want to buy your [product or service] right now!”

For many organizations (B2B as well as B2C), selling is rarely a one-call close. It takes multiple “touches” across multiple channels to turn a prospect into a customer. And if you’re always selling? You’re turning those prospects off.

Market like a boxer.

As best-selling business author Gary Vaynerchuk points out in his book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, “jabs” are valuable content you share to:

  • lower prospects’ sales resistance;
  • build credibility and trust;
  • position yourself (and your company) as an expert that solves problems;
  • educate prospects about the benefits you deliver and value you provide;
  • and stay top of mind…

…so that when a prospect IS ready to buy, you’re in the perfect position to land a knockout right hook (the sale).

Lace up your marketing gloves.

What types of content should you be sending? First, make sure the information you share has good take-home value for your readers. Then, use these ideas to soften your audience and set them up for that knockout blow:

  • Blog posts.
    Write about timely topics that matter most to your audience (think: What kind of challenges do your prospects face? What are they trying to achieve? What keeps them up at night?).
  • Regular (opt-in) email newsletters.
    Repurpose your blog posts as content for an informative e-newsletter.
  • Long-form content.
    Create eBooks and whitepapers to provide in-depth explorations of your target audience’s key challenges (Hint: offer this content in exchange for opting into your email marketing).
  • Visual content.
    Slide decks, infographics and short videos combat “reader fatigue,” offer variety and keep your audience engaged.
  • Holiday/seasonal mailings.
    Lighten things up by balancing serious content with fun stuff (i.e., 10 Tips for a Perfect Turkey, July 4th BBQ Recipes, Super Bowl Trivia, 5 One-Tank Trips for Summer Vacation).
  • Quarterly promotions.
    If applicable, to encourage warm prospects to respond.

Need a little help before you step into the ring?

We’re in your corner! For great advice or assistance with any aspect of your company’s marketing, give BARQAR’s experts a call today.

 

The post Bad Marketers Sell (and sell and sell and sell) appeared first on BARQAR.


Source: Barqar

Yelp Reputation Management Tips 0

As an entrepreneur, you already know the impact that Yelp can have on your business. Because of this, Yelp reputation management is extremely important.

On average, Yelp receives 145 million unique visitors… per month! Additionally, some studies suggest that 90% of Yelp users claim that positive reviews affect their buying choices. Yes, you read that correctly, 90% of users!

With this statistic in mind, it becomes even clearer why the most successful business owners devote so much time to their profiles on Yelp.

Even if you have the best product or business, a poorly kept (or non-existent) presence on Yelp keeps people from choosing you.

What a Good Yelp Reputation Looks like

A great reputation on Yelp doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it will look seriously suspicious if every rating is 5-stars. Even the best businesses get criticized by a user at some point or another.

zingermans yelp page screenshot

 

The important thing is that the majority of comments have something positive to say about your business and the user’s personal experience with it. This is where an effective Yelp reputation management strategy comes into play.

In addition to having a business page full of recent, descriptive and overwhelmingly positive comments, there are other elements that will keep your business’ Yelp page in tip top shape.

Taking control of your business’ profile page, filling in all information, keeping it updated and quickly responding to users are all important aspects of cultivating a strong reputation on Yelp.

When it comes to Yelp reputation management, remember that you can shape how people perceive your business by staying active on the platform and attentive to customer needs and feedback.

Because you don’t get to edit what customers are saying about your business online, focus on the aspects of your business’ reputation on Yelp that you do control.

The secrets of great Yelp reputation management

Start with your profile

    1. – take control of the existing page or start a new one. Make sure all contact information is updated… but go the extra mile. For example, update the profile with recent images from your restaurant, include other places where users can connect with the business – places like instagram, facebook, or your primary website.

Engage with customers when appropriate. Thank users for their positive reviews and offer your apologies to those who had less than stellar things to say. Find out if there is any way that you can make that relationship better – give them a coupon to come back in, or tell them how your team is currently addressing that issue.

Stay active. Be supportive of other businesses in your industry. Make sure that your business finds its community online. This is not only a way to introduce your name into online communities, but it’s a great way to invite reciprocal support.

Build a business that people want to support. This is much easier said than done, but if you aren’t focused on the actual user experience with your product or business – then there’s no point in going on Yelp. You’ll just open yourself up to negative reviews. So make sure that you are paying attention to the experience that clients, customers, vendors, partners and employees are having with your business. Are you working on building a high quality product or experience? You must have a strong base in order for people to write great reviews about it.

Let people know you’re on Yelp, but don’t demand reviews. This is likely the trickest aspect of an effective Yelp reputation management campaign. The best reviews are organic, and if they look fishy, Yelp’s software will likely flag them. According to Yelp’s guidelines you can’t directly ask customers to review your business on Yelp as this would likely create a bias in reviews. However, if someone has a phenomenal experience with your business and they want to write about it, make sure it’s easy for them to find your Yelp page. Remember, don’t coerce or incentivize anyone, but make sure that you tell your customers that your business is on Yelp and that their feedback is welcomed and appreciated. To learn more about Yelp’s specific guidelines, read their Business owner’s guidelines

What to do if you have negative Yelp reviews

Yelp is a great site for consumers to learn about businesses through other customers’ experiences and for businesses to generate some interest, but there can be a downside.

Unless a user deploys hate speech, sexually harasses or threatens others – the user can pretty much say anything. This emboldens some users who have a personal agenda to attack businesses or their owners. And unfortunately, this means that some users may write some comments that are not only false, but harmful to the reputation of your business both online and in real life.

With this in mind, here are some steps on how to deal with negative comments on Yelp:

How to deal with negative comments on Yelp

When it comes to responding to bad Yelp reviews, Yelp has a built in tool for businesses. The free review response tool lets business owners respond privately or publicly to any reviews left on their page. So what does that mean for you? Both public and private responses have their pros and cons, and you need to understand both before kicking off your Yelp reputation management campaign.

Let’s start with the pros of a public response:

By diplomatically addressing any complaints publicly, you show your users that you are apologetic for any sub-par experience, appreciate their feedback and can share steps you’re taking to correct this situation. This sort of public acknowledgement is important for your brand. However, there are a few cons to responding publicly to a bad review.

The cons of responding publicly:

If you respond in a way that is less than professional and courteous, you lose respect from other users and potential customers. If you respond publicly and this somehow incites the user who posted the poor review, that just means that you will be engaging with more negativity. Additionally, by responding directly to a negative review, you are actually helping that review rank higher in search results by keeping it active. That means that you are increasing the likelihood that someone will read this bad review.

Pros of responding privately:

If you choose to respond to someone privately, there’s also a lot to consider.

The advantage of responding directly to your attacker, is that you can appeal to them calmly and rationally and ask for more information concerning their experience and how to rectify it directly.

Cons of responding privately:

However, by responding privately, you run the risk of the user responding very publicly anyway. Also, if someone comes across this negative review, it may look like you did nothing as there is no public resolution.

3 key factors when responding

While the way that you communicate is important, when it comes to dealing with bad Yelp reviews, the key to turning this negative into a positive is what you choose to communicate. It’s up to you to use your discretion in which types of reviews you choose to respond to, but try to keep the three factors of timeliness, courtesy and follow-up in mind. Sticking to these is crucial for finding success with Yelp reputation management.

Timeliness:

    • By responding to users quickly, you show them and other potential customers how important their feedback is. If you don’t respond at all, it seems like you don’t care about their experiences, or aren’t engaging on this platform. This leaves you open to even more criticism.

Courtesy: In addition to timeliness, courtesy is key. Instead of responding with a slew of insults, try to find something positive within the criticism. If there’s nothing there, simply apologize for their experience and thank them for their feedback. And if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. It all depends on your personal style. No matter what someone else is saying to you, it’s probably not worth it to quibble with this person online. Instead stay courteous, calm and cool-headed.

Follow-up: In addition to timeliness and courtesy, a course of action or follow-up is also necessary when dealing with negative reviews on Yelp. It’s one thing to simply apologize, but by explaining actionable steps to your disappointed customer the actionable steps you plan to take, you show that you take their complaints seriously. By following up, you show your commitment to high-quality service, and that you truly care about the customer experience. Don’t just pay lip-service and make promises you can’t keep. Be specific about what you plan on doing, and set a timeframe for more follow-up.

Ask for help

A good Yelp reputation management strategy needs a way to drive positive reviews to your page. When it comes to soliciting for reviews, Yelp discourages any outright asks or offers of compensation for positive reviews.

However, make it known to your customers that you’re on Yelp! Encourage customers to visit your page. Word of mouth is important – particularly for smaller businesses, and Yelp is just the digital version of this. Include links to your Yelp page in your email signature or on your business cards.

According to Yelp, business owners shouldn’t ask customers directly to review their experience. These sorts of reviews are often viewed as disingenuous, and Yelp’s software may filter them right out of the recommended reviews section on your page.

Earlier this year, Brian Patterson of Marketing Land reached out to a contact at Yelp, and uncovered more information when it comes to asking clients and customers to review your business. According to this exchange, while asking for reviews is discouraged – it doesn’t violate any terms of service.

Incentivizing the customers is prohibited, but technically, asking for reviews is allowed. However, as mentioned before, if these reviews seem forced or are published by users who don’t post very often, there’s a good chance that the reviews will be filtered out of recommended reviews, and no one will really see them.

So remember, use this information at your discretion, but don’t spend your energy trying to capture reviews that won’t help you much in the end. Reputation management on Yelp needs to be done the right way.

Acknowledge constructive criticism

When it comes to harsh reviews, it’s easy to retreat or completely destroy unfounded accusations. However, neither of these reactions will help your business. As we said before, focus on the constructive aspect of any criticisms on Yelp.

While it’s true, the site’s review-filtering process isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, there are a lot of real people venting about their experiences at different establishments on Yelp. So take a deep breath and dig in. There is a good chance that some of these criticisms can not only help you improve your business, but give you the opportunity to show what your brand is all about in the way that you choose to respond!

Love your haters

Let’s face it, Yelp isn’t always fair when it comes to the rules and options for business owners. There’s no way to remove a bad review (even if it is false) unless it is truly lewd, hateful, or threatening. And, as a business owner, you do not have the option to be anonymous.

Additionally, Yelp has been accused of tampering with reviews and rankings of businesses that choose not to purchase ads on the platform.

All of this tends to skew the bias towards the consumer and those businesses spending more money on the platform.

Don’t let this get you down. Instead, focus on showcasing your brand and the heart of your company. The businesses that success with Yelp reputation management focus on this more than anything else.

Be grateful that this platform lets you deal directly with people who are satisfied or dissatisfied with your product. Here you have the opportunity to improve your business in a practical way, and develop a strong method for responding to criticism.

How can you contest or correct the review?

When it comes to dealing with harsh reviews that are also false, Yelp does not allow you to delete the post as a business owner. Instead, your options are those listed above.

If someone leaves a message that includes hate speech, lewdness or truly threatening remarks, Yelp will remove it. However, lies are harder to prove, and Yelp does not mediate or research these types of comments.

How to take things even further

Yelp reputation management is tricky, and while completely removing most bad reviews from Yelp is nearly impossible, there is another effective method to dealing with these kinds of damaging search results while improving the overall presence of your business online.

We encourage that individuals and businesses alike focus on best practices when it comes to search engine optimization and branding so the properties that they control have the best chance at rising in search results.

While creating positive content that you control will not remove bad Yelp reviews, this approach gives you the best chance to control the results that rank well while suppressing the negative reviews.

To accomplish this, you must focus on building up your company’s Facebook page, Twitter account, Google Plus page and more. You have to actively engage and post original content on these platforms and more while also maintaining a professional website for your business.

Managing your company’s online reputation beyond Yelp

While Yelp reputation management is an important piece of the online puzzle for businesses, remember that this is just one aspect of your business’ identity. In addition to engaging on the Yelp platform, you need to develop your brand through company websites, active social media accounts, and polished online identities of your company’s executive members.

Remember, when people type in the name of your company, there are at least 10 spots for search results. By ensuring that your company has secured a number of profiles, you increase the chances that your team is in control of the content that people are seeing online associated with your brand.

When creating a positive online identity for your company, the combination of branding and SEO (search engine optimization) tactics is the most beneficial to this long-term goal.

How BrandYourself can help

BrandYourself’s DIY tool is intended for individuals (as opposed to businesses) who want to improve their personal brand online. However, our customized managed services cater to individuals and small businesses alike.

Yelp reputation management is something we help clients with regularly, and we’re always here if you need a little help.

If you choose to work directly with BrandYourself’s team of experts through our Managed Services division, a boutique package is the smartest choice to improve the reputation of your business online.

To learn more about these options, schedule a consultation with one of our Reputation Advisors, or give us a call directly at 646-863-8226.

The post Yelp Reputation Management Tips appeared first on BrandYourself Blog | ORM And Personal Branding.


Source: Brandyourself

Crafting a Content Marketing Strategy 0

Insights from Visit Austin & Main Street Hub

Whether you’re a small business or a travel destination, creating a strong online identity and content strategy is important to help you land that new customer or new traveler.

“Content is at the core of every channel or product that you develop. Having a strategy for producing quality content that connects with your audience is crucial to success,” says Susan Richardson, Director of Content and Publishing at Visit Austin.

Building your online presence from scratch can feel overwhelming — thankfully, Visit Austin shared some of their favorite social media and content insights to help you develop that strategy and bring in that business:

Ask yourself these questions.

What are my overall business/marketing goals?

How does social media marketing help me accomplish those goals?

Who is my audience?

Where are they?

Setting goals is a great first step to building your content strategy. Identifying what your business hopes to accomplish, who you’re hoping to connect with, and how social media can help you do that will help inform your content strategy.

Learn more about building your brand and setting marketing goals here!

Focus on doing a few social media channels well.

There are more social media networks than we can count, and new ones making an appearance every year.

It’s tempting to want to build a presence on every social media network — but this can be exhausting and not an efficient use of your time.

There are a few platforms that are staples: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Learn more about each of these platforms — check out our Facebook Breakdown, Twitter Breakdown, and Instagram Breakdown!

Get organized with a content calendar.

Knowing what to post and when to post it can take a huge pressure off of your shoulders! Taking the time in advance — whether it’s a week, month, or quarter ahead — to plan your content will help you stay organized and ahead of the game instead of trying to play catch-up.

Not sure how to start planning? We can help you Learn How to Make a Content Calendar.

Share as many photos and videos as possible.

Sharing photo and video content on your business’ social media pages will help increase engagement and create more marketing ROI. Your followers will also remember your message more clearly when it’s accompanied by a visual piece of content.

Step up your photography game with these tips.

Leverage influencers.

Building a network of social media users who love your business and your brand will help you increase your business’ organic reach online.

For example — if you’re a restaurant, you can ask a local lifestyle reporter to come in and try your food, or if you’re a retail store, invite a fashion blogger to come visit your store and try on some of your clothing. Then, you can ask them to share their experiences with their social media networks.

You can also ask some of your biggest fans to be your business’ brand ambassadors! This is another great way to spread word-of-mouth about your business.

Here is how to get started building your network of brand ambassadors.

Spending money on social media advertising can help you grow your online presence.

While you don’t have to spend money on social media to drive traffic to your pages and engagement from your audience, spending money to run Facebook ads or promote tweets on Twitter can help you reach a wider audience more rapidly than through unpaid methods.

Niche topics are great for SEO and website traffic.

If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your blog or website, knowing what your audience is looking for can help you decide on blog ideas!

Try searching for different terms associated with your business and see what comes up. Are there any places your business appears a lot? Places your business doesn’t appear? Use that to inform your strategy!

Measure, measure, measure. Keep doing what is working!

One of the best ways to understand if your content marketing strategy is working for your business is to check your analytics. Every social media platform has a built-in analytics feature where you can check out how many people are engaging with your posts, how many people are following your page, and more!

For more help identifying important social metrics to measure, check out our blog on Social Media Metrics and ROI!

Building a strong content strategy is the first step to producing excellent content and developing a strong online presence!

Need helping building your content strategy? Let Main Street Hub do it for you! Get started with us here.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn so you never miss one of our local business resources!



Crafting a Content Marketing Strategy was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub

Your Guide to Review Responses 0

Insights from Main Street Hub’s Community Managers

Consumers are spending more time online than ever before. From social media to review sites, businesses are expected to be just as visible and accessible to consumers online as they are in-person. In fact, 70% of consumers report having used the Internet to find a good local business, and 49% of consumers say they are more likely to visit a business that has positive reviews.

What does this mean for your local business?

It means that claiming your business page on review sites like Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor is crucial for maintaining your online reputation. Once you’ve claimed your pages, you have the opportunity to respond to customer reviews, begin conversations, and build trust with your online community.

If you’re excited about that opportunity, but unsure where to start, our Main Street Hub Community Managers are here to help. Get your №2 pencil ready — you’re about to get schooled.

How would you define an effective review response in one word?

When asked to describe a great review response in one word, three out of nine Community Managers chose the exact same word — “sincere.” This goes hand in hand with the words “human,” “genuine,” and “empathetic” that were also chosen, suggesting that your response should be honest and heartfelt. On the other hand, three of our community managers advise that your review response be “specific” and “personalized.” So, how do you craft a response that shows sincerity and specificity?

Try using the reviewer’s name in your response and specifically referencing something they say to show that you care about the individual and their review.

What kind of voice do you try to achieve when responding to reviews?

When describing the voice they use when responding to an online review, almost all of our Community Managers expressed that they change it up depending on the situation. Some factors to keep in mind when deciding how to address your reviewer are the style of your business, your own personal voice, and the tone of the review you are responding to.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself! Try coming up with a sign off that sums up who you are and how you communicate with your customers.

What’s the first thing you do when responding to a positive review?

A majority of our Community Managers encourage the use of an exclamation point. This just goes to show that our team is enthusiastic when responding to positive reviews. When crafting a response to three, four, or five star reviews, you’ll want to express your genuine appreciation that the reviewer took the time to show their support online. If your reviewer mentions the product or service they liked best, mention it in your response to show how carefully you were listening. If they mention a particular employee that provided great service, assure them that you’re going to pass along their kind words to that person.

By being appreciative and receptive in your response, you can open up a dialogue that will keep your satisfied customers coming back time and time again.

What’s the first thing you do when responding to a negative review?

Nearly all of the Community Managers we spoke to said that their first step in responding to a negative review is to identify the single biggest pain point mentioned by the reviewer. Many times, one and two star experiences with a business stem from a single misunderstanding or error and unravel from there. If you can identify where the issues began and explain how you intend to improve on that for next time, it’s okay to let some of the minor complaints go unmentioned.

Remember, many people leave online reviews because they want to feel heard. By acknowledging and apologizing for the biggest thing that went wrong, you will make the unhappy customer feel confident that you will do your best to fix it and potentially bring them back to give your business another try.

For a negative review, how do you decide whether to defend the business or apologize to the customer?

Seeing a negative review for your business is can be disheartening. Sometimes, it’s clear there was a misunderstanding. Other times, you’ll recognize the error that was made and what could’ve been done differently. Most times, the problem lies in the gray area between the two. Your job as the business owner is to make sure that the customer knows that it won’t happen again. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your staff in a kind and explanatory way. However, even in a situation where you want to defend your business, an apology can go a long way.

Even if no one is at fault, you want your customers to know how sorry you are that they were less than satisfied during their most recent visit.

If you could give a business owner one piece of advice for responding to reviews, what would it be?

Above all, remember that your Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, and other review pages are visible extensions of your business online. When you are responding to a review, whether positive or negative, you have the opportunity to connect with both the customer that left the review and the massive audience of potential customers who are considering whether or not to pay your business a visit.

By remaining calm, genuine, and appreciative, you will present your business as a welcoming environment where customer feedback is not only accepted, by respected.

Understand the importance of online reputation management, but don’t have the time to take care of it for your business? Main Street Hub can do it for you! Click here to get started.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to make sure that you never miss one of our local business resources!



Your Guide to Review Responses was originally published in Main Street Hub on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


Source: Main Street Hub