How to Handle a Negative Review

If you are a business with a presence online, which you definitely should be, more often than not you have experienced a negative review. These can be some of the most heartbreaking things to see online. Not only do negative reviews make you feel bad about your business, the review might then be there for other people to read. The hardest part about a negative review is how to respond in a mature fashion. Hopefully, your business is something you are passionate about and you may feel the urge to respond in a manner that defends your business, as seen in this response to a negative review.

While this is a very cute song and it drew attention to this food truck, they make some jabs at the person that wrote the review. I think it is safe to say that with this video, they lost that customer forever. The purpose of a negative reviewer is not to be deliberately cruel, rather, they are hoping that the business can improve and fix the error. With that in mind, here are some tips for dealing with negative online reviews:

  1. Respond in a Respectful Manner:

The negative reviewer wants to feel heard. They wrote a negative review because there was something genuinely wrong with their experience. Let them know that they are being heard and that their opinion is valuable to you, because it is. Recognize their concern and let them know that you will do your best to fix the problem.

  1. Don’t Engage in a Negative Conversation:

Say you respond to a negative review in a respectful manner, as laid out above, and then the negative reviewer responds with something increasingly negative or rude. Don’t continue to engage with them. Sometimes there may be nothing more you can do. This doesn’t mean you can disregard his or her original concern but you just have to accept that not everyone is going to love you. Stay calm and stay on the high road. Don’t let these negative comments bring out the worst in you.

  1. Encourage positive reviews.

When customers have a good experience, try to get them to tell others about that. Hopefully, your good reviews will outweigh the bad ones. And know that there will always be bad reviews, but if you handle them the right way, these reviews can be an opportunity to improve and not just a stain on your online record.



Is Twitter in Decline?

Recently, we have heard about the “decline” of Facebook. (It is important to keep in mind that the “decline” of Facebook means that their usership has remained stagnant at 58% of the population 12+.) There have been many reports about Facebook no longer being “cool” and young people abandoning it because their parents are joining. Then there was the decline in organic reach for businesses, which propelled the marketing world into a frenzy for a couple of weeks. While Facebook seems to be becoming less appealing (comparatively speaking), it makes us ask can anyone fill its place, and who will be the next great social network to fall? To me, Twitter seems to be the logical answer to both questions.

You may have read a recent article in The Atlantic entitled “A Eulogy for Twitter” and if you haven’t, you can probably guess what it is about. The article outlines the history of Twitter and how it has transformed since its genesis. Furthermore, it discusses how Twitter has seemingly been losing its excitement. Twitter, according to this article, is no longer the fun forum where you can meet and engage people. It is now filled with fake users and promoted tweets. Another article, published on Convince and Convert, about the lack of growth on Twitter compared to the growth seen by other social networks. Twitter grew from 15% to 16% from 2013 to 2014; Facebook remained stagnant at a whopping 58%, while other sites such as Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Vine have increased by 3% to 10%. So what does this mean for Twitter? Is it becoming obsolete or is this just the natural life cycle of a social network?

I would argue that Twitter is not obsolete and it will take a very long time for people to get rid of their Twitter accounts. While newsfeeds are over-crowded to the point where you don’t have the chance to read most of the tweets there, the ability to connect with so many people at one time is still quite fascinating and should not be discredited. In addition, Twitter is still an excellent space to have discussions and find interesting and relevant content. While the growth of Twitter seems subpar, I think it is very important to not lose faith quite yet.

However, the social media sites that have been growing are the ones that focus around video or photo sharing, such as Vine, Instagram, Snapchat etc., which is an area where Twitter has always lagged slightly. But they are working to change that. The new layout of Twitter gives users a lot more space to express their creativity by designing their background and header, making their page more unique. The ability to adapt to a changing consumer and market is what has kept Facebook around for so long and why it has managed to keep over half of the population interested.  If Twitter continues to take steps in the right direction by adhering to the wants of the public, they will have no problem carrying on.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing twitter? Any thoughts about the future of Twitter?

Why Social Media Is Important: Student Edition

The other day on Twitter, someone threw out the question “What are good tips for students looking into social media as a career?” (Of course, since it was on Twitter there were fewer characters and more #hashtags.) People then responded what they thought, which demonstrated the beauty of social media, but this conversation completely blew me away. Social media is now a viable career option where ten years ago, no one was completely sure what social media was and now it’s an occupation.

The difficult part of social media as a job is that the field is changing all the time with new sites and concepts rising above the old ones. In this constantly changing environment, it can be difficult for students to learn all of the ins and outs of social media. However, students, commonly referred to as “millennials”, are thought of having more experience with social media because they have grown up with it and are constantly connected to the online world. While this may mean that they understand how social media works for them, in regards to making plans with friends or posting pictures of their hobbies, they may not completely understand how social should work for businesses.

The biggest tip I could give to students looking to make a career in social media is to hone their writing skills. Social is all about communication and you communicate through you’re writing, particularly with the boom of content marketing. This is where the dissonance comes in between school and social media. In school, students are asked to write extensive papers about one topic and for anyone that has recently graduated or is currently in school, you learn quickly how to take something that could be summarized in a paragraph and expand for days in order to reach the page minimum (please note that this is not a recommended practice but sometimes, it just has to happen). On social however, you need to take something you are, hopefully, passionate about and shrink it down to fit into the allotted amount of characters. When doing this for a business, it becomes increasingly difficult because you need to be engaging, honest, thought-provoking, human, informative, self-promoting, and humble all without going over 140 characters.

Unfortunately, this is not something that can be easily taught in a college classroom. Students need to learn by doing and, more importantly, listening. There are tons of great brands out there that have somehow managed to master social media. Follow these brands and follow people that are already in the field because there are many social media experts out there that have learned by doing and are now influencers in the field. Take advantage of the fact that you have the ability to communicate with these influencers and see how they got to where they are.

Social media is no longer just a tool to communicate with your friends. It is now a place for brands to engage with their customers. In the constantly changing world of social media students must stay observant and learn to go with the punches because, if we have learned anything about social media up to this point, we know that it will not stay the same for long.

What do you think is the most important lesson for students interested in social media to learn?


5 Mistakes on Social Media

In the vast wild-west world of social media, it can be difficult to know what behaviors are unacceptable. Here is a brief list of the five biggest offenses on social media that you need to avoid (or stop doing).

  1. Not being social:

The worst mistake a business can make is using social media for totally selfish reasons. While social can of course be used to advance and advertise for your business, that should not be the main focus of your account. Do not spend all of your time promoting yourself. Take the time to engage and mention others; it is noticed and appreciated.

  1. Not being grateful:

Even though it may not take a lot of energy for someone to Retweet, Favorite or Mention you, they are still promoting you and they deserve to be thanked. Furthermore, they also want to be engaged. When you thank them, ask them a question so you actually embrace the social aspect of social media.

  1. Repeating yourself:

People will follow you because they think that you have new information or content that might appeal to them. Don’t waste their time by repeating the same update over and over again.

  1. Unappealing profile page:

The new layout for Twitter tries to help you make a more visually appealing page. Use this to your advantage, particularly if you are in an industry that can advertise yourself using images. Social media allows your brand to have a more human side and your profile page is an excellent space to demonstrate that side. Also, use your profile page to entice your followers and get them to want to learn more about you and your business.

  1. Posting too often (or not enough):

No one wants their feed to be clogged up by one person that never stops posting. Particularly if that person is actually a business. Don’t become a nuisance to your followers. On the other hand, someone is following you for a reason and wants to hear what you have to say. Don’t neglect your social media platforms and never post anything. Provide helpful and thoughtful information on a regular basis. Depending on the social media platform, you should post around 2-3 times a day.

What do you think is the worst offense on social media?

Social Media in a Word

sm word tweet

Marji’s orignal tweet with some of the first responses.

While there are so many advantages to social media, my favorite is the conversations that happen amongst different influencers. This is the basis for Growth Hackers, which is filled with interesting discussion forums with brilliant people sharing ideas. No matter what the industry, you can always find an interesting discussion going on between people you may otherwise never have the chance to talk to. The other day, I came across a conversation started by Marji Sherman, a social media specialist. She posted the question asking, “If you could define social media in one word, what would it be?” This question generated a lot of response from people all across the “Twitterverse” and they ranged from “addictive” to “spastic” to “pivotal” to “community”. This interaction reminded me what social media should look like, people sharing their ideas with others that are genuinely interested in what they have to say, which leads me to my word for social media: conversation.

Here we see Marji Sherman starting a conversation amongst her followers with one question. While a lot of these people probably don’t know each other and they all view social media in different ways, they are all able to share their opinions and thoughts with each other, a feat unimaginable without the power of social. Twitter, and other forms of social, gives individuals and businesses the opportunity to have all their customers, or fans, in one space and say, “This is what I am about.” It is an incredible opportunity that should not be ignored. Not only are you able to tell everyone what it is you stand for, you can also talk directly to these people about what they stand for and why. You, as a business or individual, are able to start conversations with people that are interested in what you do. Social media has put the world in a constant conversation with one another that allows, us as a business, to further understand who is listening to us and why. At our fingertips, we have an incredible, mostly free, tool that allows you to be part of these conversations. Use it. Talk to your customers and followers, not at them. Don’t miss this opportunity to really engage with those that are interested in you and what you are doing.

What is the one word you would use to define social media?

Building Your “Brand”

There is a lot of talk lately about your “presence” on social media. There is advice about how to stand out from all the others and make your brand unique. But, what makes up your “brand”? Your brand is a compilation of all the different things that represent you: your product, your employees, your content, your customers, etc. By building your brand, you have to get your knowledge about all of these things out to the public, mostly through social media.

Customers are not always going to be invested in you for simply a product or service because more than likely, your competitors can offer something similar. They are invested in you because of your brand, that something that you have that no one else does. However, it is up to each individual business to determine what sets them apart from others. It could be your witty sense of humor that allows you to be clever and appropriate in the 140 allotted characters. Or it could be your customers, and your brand’s main job online is to shine a spotlight on your truly extraordinary customers.  Or you may have extreme knowledge about your field, evident through your blog posts. Whatever makes you and your business unique use that to “build your brand.”

This can all be boiled down to having a personality. In order to get people invested in your business, they have to know who you are and what you represent. For really the first time in history, businesses are able to connect directly with their customers on a large scale. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Social media allows you to tell the world who your business is and why you matter. Build a brand that people love, and they will come.

The Value of Word of Mouth

We all know that word of mouth marketing is important. It is the simplest way to get new customers in the door: have your happy customers talk about you to their friends. The problem though has always been how to control it. When word of mouth happens off-line, there is no way to track it; you are just left to assume that people are saying nice, or not-so nice, things about you. And when it happens online, the same problem arises only now that nice or not-so nice review can be seen by the world. Word of mouth was always this intangible buzzword that seemed to have little measurable impact on your business, and if there was any impact you couldn’t tell.

Thanks to a recent study by ShareThis, word of mouth finally has a value assigned to it. When a referred customer walks in the door, their purchase intent increases by 9.5%. In addition, recommendations are more influential in the customer’s purchase decision than anything else, including the price of the product. No matter what the product, when there is a social share, the perceived value and desirability of that product increase, which is what leads to the 9.5% increase in purchase intent.

This is great news for businesses. Not only do we now know the true impact customer-generated referrals can have on a new customers, we know that your business is more desirable after a social share. This then ties back to acquiring these social reviews. How do you get people to write about you online? And this is not just referring to Yelp or review sites, but to talk about you on the customer’s own newsfeed so it is directed at people they actually know. This is where ModernComment comes in (sorry for the self-promotion but this is for your benefit). By getting your customers to write reviews on their newsfeeds, you can increase your customer acquisition in a measurable way.

What do you think is the best way to get customers talking about you?