Your Reputation – Your Everything
Your reputation in business is crucially important. A good reputation takes time, consistency and several data points of satisfied customers, acknowledging their positive experience with you, your product or service. It sets the standard for new and existing customer expectations and deliverables and can lead to business opportunity. A bad reputation, on the other hand, can ignite and spread quickly, severely limiting sales growth and potential.
Testimonials and reviews are one of the most powerful marketing tools to help promote and sell you and/or your business. Simply put, they serve as written, public affirmations from satisfied clients. Testimonials and reviews support the development of a good reputation and can be highly influential among customers’ social networks, albeit online or in-person.
Whether you like it or not, your customers talk about you, your products and services, and your business, all of the time, especially online and via social media. They are an extremely vocal bunch. The online/social media platform allows them to publicly share personal, and, some times, explicit, information with friends and even strangers, or those you have not yet engaged with. This chatter, unsolicited by you, is usually based on their most recent experience and reads ‘for better or worse.’ In comparing social media to in-person, if you had a good experience with a brand and wanted to tell a large group instantly, you’d likely feel embarrassed to hop on a table in the middle of the town center and scream of your content (or malcontent to the contrary). Furthermore, your message would extend only as far as you could be heard, or listeners were willing to pay attention to, at that moment. When customers are online, however, it’s much easier to broadcast a message to many, instantly. This message is further amplified and extended by accessible mobile devices.
Managing and monitoring social media chatter is time intensive yet necessary. Specific tools such as Klout, ChatterGuard, SWiX, and Google Trends, for example, provide instant access across most platforms that retrieve valuable data. Searches for your brand and even your own organic monitoring tricks like symbols “: )” or “: (“ added to your Twitter hashtag keyword, as one example, can also help you quickly find positive and/or negative testimonials or reviews. It’s always advised to respond and address chatter while closely monitoring it. Of course, this is dependent on the time you have to do all of that – but it’s highly recommended to pay attention to what your customers are saying at all times.
In addition to managing your social media reputation, smart marketers make it a point to market theirs. In other words, they actively leverage the positive feedback they receive, and promote it socially and virally on social media platforms. One important reason for doing this is to improve your search engine results. Surely, when most customers do their due diligence, they will likely Google you, your brand and/or your business. If you and several stakeholders consistently broadcast positive reviews and testimonials on various social media platforms – that are picked up by major search engines – it is likely those comments will rise to the top of popular search engines pushing the singular negative ones (assuming they exist and they’re singular) to the bottom.
Following are a few tips to leverage and promote testimonials using social media.
- Actively encourage customers to share feedback on their positive experience with you and your business, using Facebook. Feedback can take the form of surveys, case studies, customer quotes and/or interviews. It can all serve as valuable customer testimonials. Pose questions often and solicit this feedback using Facebook. With permission, share this content on your own website, as well as post/re-post it on your Facebook, LinkedIn and/or Twitter accounts to drive new traffic and leads.
2. Be sure to include share buttons on your site as well other electronic marketing communications. Recommendations and shares (i.e. tweets and retweets) of your own content are as good as written testimonials. By using social media share buttons on your site and various communications, with a call to action, you’re encouraging customers and prospects to, in turn, share with and promote among their own networks.
3. Use video testimonials to drive personal testimonials and reviews. Capture quick clips of customers and upload them to YouTube or Facebook or pin onto Pinterest. Consider doing this where you can get several clips in one shot (i.e. tradeshow, business networking event). The company Square (those little white extensions of phones that support mobile credit card processing) does a good job of this on their website as they feature customers from various market segments helping to identify with new would-be prospects that are most relevant and targeted. Video testimonials from cache clients are very powerful, if you can get em!
4. Consider setting up a separate board for your business and pinning quotes on Pinterest. Pinterest has a few serves that allow one to do this easily including Pin a Quote, Pin, or URL2Pin.it. By simply having a Pinterest board for your business, it serves as yet another page that ranks in the Google search engine. Adding quotes to that further helps market your reputation and extends the chances of getting it more noticed.
5. Convert email and other constituents of your business to become Facebook friends. Make it easy by sending them the Facebook like link to your business in your communication to them. Their liking of your business and a good quantity of likes helps your reputation with a pseudo endorsement.
6. Encourage customers to name-drop you and/or your business on Twitter with a “@” symbol preceding your name. Provide a mini-case study with a tiny url making it easy for customers to do this. You will be notified when someone does this and it’s likely the Tweet will be re-Tweeted adding to the viral element of this message.
7. Solicit endorsements on Linkedin. Endorsements on LinkedIn are a relatively new layer of recommendations. It’s pretty much understood that all endorsements are good endorsements, yet a large quantity of them from well-known and respected clients could say so much more.
Social media is powerful yet takes time and understanding. The more efficient you are with monitoring and marketing your reputation using it, the greater impact you can have on your business. Remember marketing is all about creating, growing and/or sustaining profitable customer relationships. Use these tips and you’re likely to do that!
- Smarty, Ann, “3 Ways Companies can Leverage Social Reviews,” Mashable, May 10, 2012.
- Contino, Criss, “Build Your Reputation with This Social Media Marketing Advice,” November 2, 2012.
- Souza, John, “How to Get More Testimonials with Social Media,” June 4, 2011.
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Florida and New York since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over six years. He has been quoted and/or featured in USA Today, Mobile Marketer magazine, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Marketing magazine, BNET TV and Business Currents magazine, to name a few. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com, call him at 239.963.9396 and follow him on Twitter @angbiasi.