When it comes to Facebook brand pages, every discussion tends to center on organic reach.  You stress over how low the numbers are, how the latest algorithm will affect that figure, what you can do to improve it….but have you stopped to consider that how good or bad your organic reach is may not really be worth the worry?

To be clear, we’re not implying reach doesn’t matter at all.  It does and we’ve posted and will continue to post techniques for increasing it (The Facebook Organic Reach Solution), but you shouldn’t be running for the lifeboats to abandon ship or pull your hair out worrying about it.  Why?

 

Why Organic Facebook Reach Doesn't Matter

Reach Is A Poor Measure Of Overall Visibility

“Your post counts as reaching someone when it’s shown in News Feed.”   Simply put, reach fails to measure views when people see your content by going directly to your page or views when navigating directly to your post.  Facebook is only reporting a portion of the actual visibility your content is receiving!  Since your page and posts are public and there are multiple ways for your content to be seen, it’s a poor measure of overall visibility.

  • The Takeaway:  Low reach does not mean your post wasn’t seen.  It simply wasn’t seen in the news feed.
  • Food For Thought:  What are you doing to drive additional views to your page and content to compensate for low reach?  If it’s nothing, you’re wasting an opportunity to leverage Facebook’s audience.

Reach Is A Poor Measure Of Post Effectiveness

Low reach doesn’t tell us your post (content) was ineffective – just ineffective at making it into the news feeds of or being seen by your fans.  Likewise, high reach doesn’t mean your post was any more effective than one with minimal reach.

One of the best ways to leverage Facebook is for branding.  Normally, this is one area where you’d think more is better: more reach means greater visibility and therefore better branding.  BUT there’s a flaw in the thought process.  You need to take into account HOW reach was achieved.

Reach is a measure of views within the news feed but isn’t restricted to views of your original content.  It includes views from shares.  While shares do indicate the source of the content (Robert Nissenbaum via Tactical Social Media or Robert Nissenbaum shared Tactical Social Media‘s photo) which does provide some branding, do people pay attention to the original source?  More important – do they actually take the time to check out the source?  

As for any engagement resulting from the share, it isn’t necessarily with your brand.  It’s with the individual or brand who shared it!  (There is a technique for properly leveraging other people’s audiences to drive engagement and interaction with your brand.)  Shares may get great reach, but if you’re not getting engagement, page views or page likes, someone else is getting the benefit from your content, not you.  You have high reach but are you really reaching anyone?  

Sadly, outside of likes, it’s extremely difficult to measure the benefit of reach derived from content shares within Facebook.   Even tracking the referring source of a page like is difficult. There’s no way to know for sure if it was the result of a specific content piece.

To illustrate just how poor reach is as a measure of post effectiveness:

  • Our Facebook post on May 11th discussing on one of our tactical social media tips reached a pitiful 30 people ( with 7 likes, 6 comments, and 1 share).  That same post, however, generated 6 referrals to our blog resulting in 2 conversions (accessing our contact page) and a new subscriber to our e-newsletter.

From a reach perspective, the post performed poorly, yet it was clearly effective.

  • The week prior we ran a post on our Facebook page late on a Sunday evening (well outside the timeframe we’d expect to see any reach).  As of Monday morning, reach was at 5.  We then had it shared by one of our admins to their personal timeline.  The net result – a phenomenal reach of 256!  The downside – not 1 like or comment on our post.  All of the activity was on our admin’s post.  We saw no engagement, no new page likes, no traffic driven to our website.

From a reach perspective, the post performed amazingly well, yet it was clearly ineffective.  To be fair, the content wasn’t from a blog post designed to drive traffic as the goal was to illustrate a point (and past experience has shown sharing ‘quality content’ doesn’t raise reach as drastically and still results in only limited effectiveness).

Just to make sure we covered all bases, we did have the May 11th post referenced above shared by the same admin and, true to form, total reach only jumped by 35 and resulted in only 1 additional blog view.  Again, while reach more than doubled to a reasonable level, the post wasn’t any more effective.

  • The Takeaway:  High reach doesn’t mean your content was effective, just that it was seen by more eyes within the news feed.
  • Food For Thought:  Are you paying attention to where the reach is originating?  Are you getting engagement from the increased exposure?  Are you doing anything to try to drive more reach or engagement on your page?

 

A Better Measurement

Reach is a good benchmark, but our preferred (Facebook) measurement is engagement per reach. The old adage ‘work smarter, not harder’ is our prevailing thought here.  Given more reach doesn’t always translate to more engagement, we’d rather reach fewer people and interact with them than spend more time tweaking content and timing posts to get more eyes on it.  At some point, there’s a diminishing point of return in your efforts to increase reach.

If your intent is to leverage Facebook to generate prospects and leads, the foundation is your content, but the critical piece is building trust and relationships.  That comes from engagement and interaction. Rather than continuously focusing on getting more reach, focus on generating engagement from the reach you do get.  To maximize this, leverage outside tactics to drive eyes to your content (cross-platform promotion, driving traffic via a newsletter), something you CAN control.

While engagement per reach is a better measurement for post effectiveness, it still falls short.

Measuring Post Effectiveness

Facebook is a valuable branding tool and using it solely as such is perfectly OK, but most small businesses can’t afford to spend their time (or money) on branding alone.  At a minimum, they need to see a conversion to prospects from those who see their content.  Sales and contacts via social posting does occur, but for most of us, it’s not the norm.  The best source for turning social media viewers to prospects though is still your website.  The most effective posts – or posting strategy – is one which drives traffic to your website  The best way to measure the effectiveness of your content is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Behavior Flow To Measure Social Media Post Effectiveness; Tactical Social Media - A Tacoma social media marketing agency, #BeTactical

Unlike reach, Google Analytics provides a more complete picture.  We can see the amount of traffic driven from Facebook (or any social platform), determine landing pages, exit pages, time on page and even determine what content was accessed.  We can get a good picture of how effective the post was, not only at driving traffic but also at converting that traffic.

The Bottom Line

So should you focus on reach?  Yes.  While more doesn’t necessarily mean better, more provides a better opportunity.  If you can get more feed views, you are ahead of the curve.  Just don’t get too caught up in it.  Reach is still a vital measurement about the overall health of your Facebook activity but it’s only one measurement that, on its own, tells us very little about your overall of visibility and post effectiveness.

Will (Did) Your Brand Benefit?

Facebook gets some heavy criticism from brand and pages admins on algorithm changes.  What was a great tool to get visibility for just showing up and posting morphed into a “you need to work hard at it and maybe add a few of your hard-earned dollars” tool?  Most saw this as a negative, for those brands that did social media right, it hurt but certainly wasn’t a death-blow.  The latest Facebook algorithm change (there are three significant changes) looks to be no different.  How brand pages will be affected depends on several factors.  For some brands, this latest Facebook algorithm change will be a major benefit.

 

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma, WA / South Sound Social Media Consulting Agency

 

Facebook Organic Reach

The primary measure Facebook has given us to measure post effectiveness is “reach” – how many saw your content in their feed (not that this in and of itself was a good measure).  Initially, liking a page meant seeing content.  That meant good reach.  Shifts over the years have limited content from ‘liked’ pages being seen in favor of content and activity from your friends.  Facebook assumed this was what people wanted.  It went so far as telling us what our friends were up to with Open Graph and details in our feeds.

Organic Reach took a deep hit unless brands provided timely, relevant content or paid to have their content show.  It seems Facebook got this ‘half’ right.  People complained about sponsored posts they didn’t want to see and being shown content friends liked or commented on they could care less about.  People, it turns out, don’t want a play-by-play of what their friends do.  They want content FROM their friends and pages.  Afterall, that’s why they connected with people and liked pages.

 

Enter the latest Facebook algorithm change.

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Posts about friends liking or commenting on a page’s content will be pushed down the news feed.

What does it mean for pages? Brand pages who relied on a couple of engaged fans to leverage reach through likes and comments will mean a further drop in those already dismal reach numbers. Unless you have other methods in place to drive fans to your Facebook content (if you want to know more, contact us now), this will have a significant impact on Facebook’s value for your brand.   

 

A larger fan base that isn't actively engaged has no value. You still need numbers, but you need active numbers. How you get those fans and who they are matters.Click To Tweet

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Trying to balance the content you see in the right mix.

Facebook seems to have taken the stance that if you engage, you want to see it.  While the change is designed to show more of “content posted by the friends you care about”, we cannot help but think ‘friends’ includes ‘pages’ – “If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed.”

What does it mean for pages? Brand pages with good fan bases that are active, who post quality content will have that content seen by their fans.  While reach will increase, but only within your core fan base.  Expanding your ‘Reach’ will now require more sharing by your fans.   Now, more than ever, your better content needs to be timely, relevant and shareable.  If your content is already there, this change is a major win for you.

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Facebook will allow multiple content from individual publishers to show in your feed.

What does it mean for pages? Previously Facebook had rules in place to essentially prevent individual publishers (friends and pages) from monopolizing your feed.  While that meant seeing more content from your entire network it also meant missing out on content from those you interact with the most.  While we don’t suggest leveraging this as a tactic to purposely drive more reach, when you do have additional content, it will get seen.  Again, if your content is up to par, this is a win for you as well.

 

My Take

The latest Facebook algorithm change might be the first I’m happy to see.  Brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.  Like Google’s algorithm changes designed to weed out ‘Black Hat’ SEO practices, this change should have the same effect, reward those who are doing it right.

The only downside we can see initially while being social and relevant are still key, as they always have been, smaller pages will be hurt more than larger ones.  Expanding your reach will require a bigger and more active (bigger alone is not enough) fan base.  For some brands, who were seeing good numbers in the past without having to ante up, they may now.

Again, do it right, and you may just see some big rewards.  Of course, while more organic reach is good, we still caution of focusing too much on it.

UPDATE:  It does appear that those brands ‘doing it right’ should have seen a big uptick in visibility a result of this particular Facebook algorithm change.  Did YOUR brand?

 

Getting More Organic Reach From Your Facebook Posts

Organic reach for Facebook brand pages is down.  Gone are the days of post and they will come.  It’s is one of the biggest social media frustrations I run into when talking with small business owners.

I’ve been seeing a number of posts in our personal feed lately requesting people to like, comment and share as a way to make sure “our posts show in your feed”.  It may help, but it’s a bandage.  It’s not a long-term strategy.

The Pay to Play Mentality

There is no need to pay for reach.  This “pay for play mentality” is actually a hindrance to your efforts.  Ads and boosting posts are a great way to drive reach, increasing page likes and drive traffic to your website.  Used correctly it’s an excellent tool, but it’s not required.

The following images from a client’s Facebook Insights clearly shows plenty of organic reach.

Facebook page insights showing significant organic reach for a small page.

Clearly great reach for a small page.  If you’re not seeing results like these, it’s not a lack of payment. Your content is at fault.   Crafting and posting good content starts with understanding why what you are posting now isn’t working.

Why has organic reach dropped?

According to Brian Boland, VP Ads Product Marketing at Facebook in his 5 June 2014 article on Declining Organic Reach on Facebook, it comes down to 2 simple points:

  • Too much content. We’re at a point that so much content is being created by individuals and businesses now that space in the news feed is at a premium.  There’s only so much you can see, especially if you have a few friends who post incessantly.  Facebook simply decided to filter what users see.

Before you get on the “I should be able to see every post” bandwagon, consider the fact that Twitter doesn’t filter your stream.  Following just shy of 2000 people, we amassed 186 new Tweets in a 5 minute period.  That’s 1.62 Tweets per second!  On a Friday afternoon!  What would it have been being peak Tweeting time?

The point?  Even if Facebook allowed every post to find its way to your feed, you’d probably still not see every most posts and that means your page posts aren’t being seen by others.

The idea of not showing posts may seem unfair, but as a business, unfair can be good for you.

Update: The latest Facebook algorithm change (April 2015) has made significant changes to what content appears within the news feed.  Much of what appears below is still has an effect on what is seen.

  • How the news feed works. This is where what we see from the overabundance of posts and why we see certain content gets cloudy.  The short answer from Brian: “To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.”

So Facebook narrows down what you see based on 1000s of factors relative to each person.  If you read this like we did, it appears Facebook is behaving like Google.

When you perform a search for a keyword, phrase or full question, what Google returns in its results is based on factors including location, who it sees as your influencers, previous search history, an attempt to understand the meaning in your search query and likely your email content – all in an effort to return results best designed for you.  It’s effectively a personalized search result.  (You can always log out and run the same search to see a completely different set of results.)

Facebook, it appears, is factoring in your interests (those movies, shows you watched, the books you’ve read) what you like and comment on, what you share and who you engage with to determine what you are shown.

Added into this mix is the quality content factor. Facebook is working to show more high quality content.  According to Varun Kacholia high quality content is defined as:

  • Timely and relevant
  • From trusted sources
  • Genuine (think not overly promotional, click bait)

Facebook also takes into account how users might feel about the content.  Is it something shareable, something that could be seen as spammy, something others might complain about or hide?

The 3 bullet points are easy to work with, while the last 3 are subjective, if you hit on the other items, you’ll likely avoid any news feed blacklist issues.

There is little doubt Facebook’s news feed weighs far heavier to personal content than business content.  We can’t fault them either.  Facebook is still predominately a tool for keeping in touch with family and friends.  While users do support business and do searches for businesses within Facebook, it’s a secondary role.  Facebook, in skewing feed stories to friend’s posts shows they are aware of and protecting the user’s main interest.

What this leaves in an already concerned feed is even less space for business posts.  Add in paid posts and we wind up with a game of extreme musical chairs.  Think 25 people playing but instead of a scramble for 24 chairs when the music stops, there’s only one.  Rather than only one being excluded, only one gets included.

If you’re not seeing good organic reach, your content likely isn’t relevant, timely, trustworthy or less genuine than Facebook would like (no pun intended).  I’ll add content type and when and how often you post will affect organic reach, but will leave those for a later discussion.  Why?  The organic reach above was derived from 3 or fewer posts per week and primarily relies on links.

Footnote: knowing a better mix of post type drives even more organic reach, especially when using native video, we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg.  Ramping up our client’s content strategy should mean even better organic reach.

Getting More Organic Reach From Your Facebook Posts: Why organic reach has dropped & how to craft your Facebook posts for better organic reach in 2015.

Crafting Your Content for Better Organic Reach

Now that you know what Facebook is doing (as well as anyone can outside of Facebook) and where your current posts are missing the mark, you can design that more effective content strategy.

So where do you start? Facebook made part of your job easy.  They told us content should be timely, relevant, come from trusted sources and not be overly promotional.

Timely and relevant – If you tend to write and schedule posts weeks in advance, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  Scheduling out is a great tool for your general content but you need to keep up and be able and willing to post ‘on the fly’.  If a news story breaks and it affects your business, you need address it, post it and reschedule your next few posts.  This not only applies to the news but also trending topics within Facebook and those items your fans deem important to them (the relevant part).

Facebook-page-analytics-showing-it-is-possible-to -still-get-significant-organic-reach.

The last 2 updates our clients posted See  where highly successful.  One was written leveraging a trending topic (#TheDress) tailored to their audience and message.  The other involved sharing a trending viral ad.  A post written about a controversial Super Bowl Ad just before the big game was so successful organic reach was 1357!

At Tactical Social Media we use a number of scheduling tools, but we don’t rely on them.  We are actively engaged daily in each platform and maintain a daily pulse on the news to catch the trending topic or story.  You need to do the same.  If you have or are looking to hire, a social media marketing agency to manage your account, they need to be able to monitor for news and other relevant content, creating new posts as necessary.  If they simply schedule content for you and can’t or aren’t willing to monitor and react in real-time (reasonable time), consider another firm.  

Trusted sources – Facebook now puts far more weight on links over images.  While Facebook’s desire to keep users within the platform was a major reason links were poorly weighted in the past, it also boiled down to where those links took users.  The current algorithm resolves the issue as Facebook can determine via domain authority which sites are trusted, better controlling what is seen.  Make sure the article you share, if found on multiple sources, is linked to the most trusted source.

#BeTactical: We check the domain authority of each source our client uses when sharing links. 

Genuine – make sure your posts aren’t promotional.  The more they’re geared to advice, information and helping others, the more likely they’ll make the cut.  This isn’t to say you can’t promote, just that it should be done sparingly if you want posts seen.  We already know Facebook is cracking down on click baiting and overly promotional content.

Most experts insist all of your content should have a Call-To-Action (CTA).  Since a CTA is actually promotional, though not as blatant as “Buy Now”, CTAs in too many posts could negatively affect organic reach.  Our recommendation – limit the number of posts with a CTA.  Your mix should be only 20 – 30% promotional. Save the CTAs for that content.

#BeTactical: Our client only posts promotional content once every week or two.  CTAs are limited.

While fans will follow for content about your business, there is only so much they want to hear about your widgets.  If they hide your content or unlike your page, No one said you needed to only post business content. As a matter of fact you might just be better off posting less about what you do and even business in general.  Consider being more social.  More shareable.  More personal.  Have fun. Post about what peaks your fans’ interests.  If they love coffee, take advantage of that fact.

Remember, this is social media, not direct marketing.  You need to connect with your fans on a personal level.  Social media, when used correctly, builds relationships and brand awareness (yes, direct sales too).  That awareness and those relationships, that turns prospects to leads when the decision to purchase is made.

This will take some work, but the rewards are worth it.  You need to find out what appeals to your fan base and post that content.  Facebook provides some of the demographics data on your fans.  The rest requires a little strategy to obtain.

Takeaway

If you want organic reach, your posts need to play by the rules.  Focus on crafting content that is timely, relevant and genuine.  Limit the promotions and the CTAs.  It will take some work but figure out what your fans want to read.  What peaks their interests.  What content they’ll most likely share (without asking).  This will require some time and effort but you will be rewarded.

Your Turn

Are you still seeing good organic reach?  What have you tried that worked?  That didn’t?

I’d love your hear your thoughts.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

If you’re at your wit’s end and need help creating Facebook posts that generate good organic reach,  contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Tacoma or South Sound Area, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content.

Customer Service Via Social Media

We came across a very good article by +Brandwatch on this very topic we wanted to share (and highly recommend you give it a read:

How to Provide Great Customer Service Via Social Media

#BeTactical: Why you need and how to to provide great customer service via social mediaWhy you should be offering social care

Response time expectations:  Customers want answers right.   They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read.  Nor do they want to wait on hold for 30 minutes.  Social Media has the ability to provide real-time and faster response rates.

Like it or not, people talk about you:  It’s where your customers are mentioning you and discussing, complimenting or criticizing your brand.  They’ll also likely attempt to contact you through social sites which leads to……

Avoid unpleasant actions:  “….most customers (74%) believe that if they take to social media to criticize a brand, this leads to better customer service.”

#BeTactical: Your customers are using social sites for customer service.  Shouldn’t you be there to address those comments?

Loyal customers spend more:  “But just as social media gives dissatisfied customers a bigger voice, so too does it give retailers an opportunity to not just diminish problems, but turn a disgruntled customer into an even more loyal one.”

A perfect, real world example of this can be found in the article by Robert Nissenbaum on Social Media Today: Handling the Negative Social Media Post

Best practices for great customer service via social media

Humanize your brand:  Great point.  “….the key to delivering great customer service on social media is to be speedy, personal and empathetic in your response.”

Respond in a timely manner:  This goes back customer response time expectations mentioned above.  Failing to respond quickly means more negative publicity and a more irate customer.  At the very least, delayed responses mean less chance of turning that negative review into a positive result.

#BeTactical: Have a monitoring plan in place to catch mentions and reviews as they occur.*

Choose the right avenue of communication:  #BeTactical: Addressing customer service via social media is great as a tool for others to see how you  issues when they arise but…. “there are occasions where a conversation should remain private.”  You need to know when the conversation should remain or be shifted off social sites.

This also involves knowing WHEN to shift the avenue of communication.  Nothing is worse than making a bad situation worse and doing so publicly.   For the real world example in the article on Social Media today, the customer was addressed on her public post, handled privately (via the polite request to call her), then resumed publicly for the thank you.

Respond appropriately:  How you respond (and you should respond to EVERY mention and review good or bad) can say more about your brand than the initial posting.

*Set up alerts, listen and speak their language:  If responding timely is critical to handle customer service issues on social sites, you MUST have a monitoring plan in place.  Without it you may never realize you have an issue or could far too late to help.  Failure to acknowledge the issue at all further creates a bigger issue – not only didn’t you resolve the problem, you didn’t care to respond to it.

Make helpful suggestions & point back to your brand:  We love this!!

  • “If you can’t provide a 24 hour customer service, make sure your social media profiles state your operating hours clearly.
  • List your company’s other contact channels and link back to the different social accounts for different regions where possible.
  • Where possible and relevant, you can also include links to your website, research and other content to provide more detailed information.”

Social media channels offer small businesses a means to gain exposure they simply couldn’t afford through traditional avenues.  It’s the customer service role social media plays, however, that may just be the best source of ROI.  From providing support to resolving issues creating happy, loyal customers to just being available when needed, social care can have a significant impact in the bottom line.

Your Turn

Are you handling your customer service via social media?  Have you found it effective?  Do you have a monitoring plan in place to keep up with mentions and posted reviews?

I’d love your hear your thoughts.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content.

If you don’t have a monitoring plan in place,  aren’t monitoring your customer service via social media or if you need help crafting responses to issues, we need to talk.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle or South Sound Areas, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

The Value Behind Content Curation

Content is king.  Whether for a blog post or social media channel, and regardless of the SEO effect, without regularly updated quality content, you’re providing no value.  Potential customers have no reason to return to your site.  No reason to return means not building a following and little chance of turning your visitors into prospects and leads.   The issue for many is creating a content strategy that delivers the quality material their audience wants without overwhelming themselves.

We recently met with a client struggling with this exact problem.  He was continually trying to create original content for Facebook and his blog.  The time involved was removing him from other areas that needed his attention.  We was frustrated and, quite understandably, burnt out.

We laid out a plan that would reduce the demand for original content, allow him to shift his focus while still retaining a consistent posting schedule.  We created a schedule for posting involving a mix of original material, curated content and leveraged content.   In addition to reduced stress levels, this strategy provides several tactical advantages.

5 Reasons You Need A Content Curation Strategy

#BeTactical: The Content Curation Strategy: Is content curation missing from your strategy? by Robert Nissenbaum, Tactical Social Media (image by Jeremy Karelsen Photography)

The ‘Go To’ Resource

People spend a great deal of time online looking for information.  Over time they gravitate towards sites that provide them the most useful information possible on the topics they’re researching.  It’s smart. Less time finding sources means more time getting answers.  How many sites have you bookmarked for reference because they had plenty of content you needed?  We’ll bet you’re not even aware how much of the information on those sites was original versus curated.

People search to find solutions.  When they have a problem, who provides the answer is more important than whose answer it is.

Why not make your blog, Facebook or Google+ page that site?  Why not provide the best content someone would need to make a buying decision regarding your industry, your product or your service?  Your page becomes the trusted source.  YOUR page becomes the ‘go to’ resource.  Over time this will increase your fan base, reach and ultimately your revenue.

The ‘Expanded Reach’ Factor

Content curation requires acknowledging the source.  Whether it’s a backlink in a blog post, a website link or tagging in a social media post you’re alerting the author.

If you tag us in a post, we’ll make it a point to thank you.  That interaction is an excellent means of increasing exposure and reach.  If the content shared was from an influential source, it can also put you on their radar.

The ‘Credibility’ Factor

Being the expert in your industry doesn’t mean you know everything or you’re the only expert.  It also doesn’t mean you have all of the answers.  Sharing curated content acknowledges that fact.  You become more credible by sharing the work of others (especially that of a competitor).

The ‘Expert’ Factor

This tactical use of content curation, the “leveraged content” we mentioned in our strategy.  Sharing the work of others makes you a great resource, it provides you content when there isn’t time to create your own and it increases your visibility but it’s WHAT you do with that content can and will define you as the expert.  Don’t simply share what you’ve curated.  Add value to it!

Look at the content from another angle.  Build on the work already done.  Add additional points, especially if the content is a list.  Maybe your experience can fill in gaps.  Even the experts see content differently.  We are always learning ourselves.

A great example of this strategy was how we used content curation in sharing a recent Google+ post by Mandy Edwards.

We built upon her original list, adding value to the reader.  The approach allowed us to create ‘original’ content without starting from scratch, provided (targeted) reach and overall exposure.  It added credibility by validating someone we recognize as a true social media expert and provided the opportunity for collaboration on a future article on the topic (see the comments).

The Customer Service Via Social Media Necessity is a good example of how to leverage content for a blog post.

The ‘Collaboration’ Factor

Sharing content from more influential sources (and even competitors) provides a great opportunity for collaboration (especially if you follow the advice in The ‘Expert’ Factor above on how to tactically use Content curation).  When you share another business’s or individual’s content, they will (or should) know.  While they may not actually engage on that particular piece of content, you may just grab their attention.

The primary role for your content is prospecting tool.  It’s designed to find potential clients / customers (the upper level of the marketing funnel).  At the same time, that content serves the role of prospecting for collaboration and partnerships (as it did in our post – see the comment string).   If you can grab the attention of a leading industry expert and if your content resonates with them, you’ve created the prospect for a working relationship.  Those relationships, especially if with another industry influencers, are priceless in terms of exposure, credibility and learning.  The right project could catapult you or your brand to the next level.

One added benefit our client received – the reduced time creating daily content not only meant time to focus on other pressing matters, but allowed him to create more in-depth articles.  His content mix now includes short, original content, shared quality content, value added leveraged content and in-depth articles providing more detailed solutions.

While this customer needed a means of reducing reliance on original content, tactical use of curated and leverage content is a recommended strategy for any business.

Value Add Versus Aggregation

The Museum Correlation

While many feel content curation has little value without your own voice (good article by The Social Masters), it’s not our stance.  Without question content curation should focus on adding value, there is a place (and value) for simply creating a collection of quality content as part of your mix.

Consider any of the Natural History Museums.  They curate pieces from hundreds of sources.   This pieces may be displayed as individual specimens or as a collection of like items such as “Sue” (‘…the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found.’)…

The world-famous fossil known as “Sue” is the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found, Chicago Field Museum

Image courtesy of the Chicago Field Museum

 

…or be arranged to create a ‘scene’ providing a more detailed look into the past.  In some cases these scenes may involve the combining of pieces from multiple sources.

Display of wildlife survival in the vast area of Africa, Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Image courtesy of the Las Vegas Natural History Museum

The latter is the valued added exhibit.  The former simply a re-posting if you will.  The value in a curated display with no value added in the form of Sue being placed on display?  It’s a ‘high draw’ item.  It’s the content that will bring in visitors who will then likely check out the rest of the exhibits.

Simply curating high quality, timely content on your blog or social sites has the same potential effect.  The key is to not abuse it.

Our advice:  #BeTactical.  Make sure your content curation strategy is balanced.  

Your Turn

Is curated content missing from your strategy?  If it’s included, are you simply sharing or do you add value?

I’d love your hear your thoughts.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content.

If you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place, if you have no idea how to find content or if you have a plan but could use some help to #BeTactical in leveraging it, we need to talk.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle  or South Sound Areas, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

#BeTactical: Tagging by Exploiting Facebook’s Sharing Feature

#BeTactical: Tagging by Exploiting Facebook's Sharing Feature, Tactical Social Media, Greater Seattle social media

One major disadvantage Facebook has when compared to Google+ is the inability of Brand Pages to interact with personal profiles.  Your brand cannot Like, follow, comment on or share personal posts.  They cannot, by default, tag individuals.  This severely limits a page’s ability to organically drive reach.  Rather than being able to ‘call out’ fans, page admins need to rely on the fan seeing the post in their feed (something we know Facebook is limiting) OR private message a fan and request they ‘check out’ the post.  Neither is a great option.

Tagging is still the best method.  When people are tagged in posts, notifications are prominent and generally result in engagement on some level. Those tags are the catalyst to large reach numbers.  Fortunately there are two methods you can use.

#BeTactical: Facebook brand pages can tagging individuals and other pages in images.

Image tagging:  If you use an image in your post you have the ability, as an admin, to tag friends and other pages within the image the same way you can on a personal status update.  It’s great for photos were the individual’s tagged are actually IN the photos.  Otherwise it does appear spammy.  The tags also appear at the end of the post so they’re less visible. Consider using  the method for event photos,  selfies taken in your place of business or any posted image featuring individuals.

The share:  Facebook allows you to post to your brand page as your brand page when using Facebook as yourself. This allows you to share content from another page, a friend’s or your own personal profile and from any other site using a share button.  The advantage here – when you share the post, the content you add in the body of the post is written by you and NOT your brand.  That allows tagging of individuals.  The big advantages with this method – the tags appear inline and it can be used with links, videos, images and text only posts!

The one big limitation is the inability to schedule shared posts natively.  You’ll need a third-party application if scheduling is a must.

#BeTactical: The share method for tagging individuals in page posts is a great way to share your own blog posts leveraging Facebook to drive blog traffic.

  • Locate the content you want to share
  • Select the option to post on a page you manage#BeTactical: How to share a post on your Facebook page for the purpose of tagging individuals
  • Select the page (if you manage multiple pages).  By default it will automatically post as the same page#BeTactical: How to share a post on your Facebook page for the purpose of tagging individuals by posting to your page as your page to drive reach and organic views.
  • Say something about this:  Enter your text tagging the desired individuals.

The brilliance in this method – not only is the individual tagged on your brand’s page in the post (serving as a that ‘reach’ catalyst), your brand’s post will also appear on their timeline. visible to their audience.  Any activity on the post on their wall will reflect on the post on your page.

#BeTactical: The power of tagging individuals in Facebook brand page posts

If you go to my personal page you can see the tagging benefit – this post appears in both there AND on Tactical Social Media’s brand page drastically increasing visibility and organic reach.  

The downside to tagging?  Tagging the wrong person can lead to the post being blocked as spam (and negative feedback) and/or result in losing fans.  Keep in mind there is a reason Facebook opted to prevent brand pages from tagging individuals.

#BeTactical in how you use tagging on Facebook pages.  

Use the feature to only tag those individuals you know have a true desire for the information you are posting and don’t over do it.  As noted above, and unless they have opted to review posts first, any post you tag an individual in will show on their profile.  The last thing you want in an effort to gain some organic reach is to upset a fan.

Are you getting the organic reach you want from your Facebook posts?  If you try tagging individuals I’d love to know your results.

I’d love your hear your thoughts.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

If you need help getting more organic reach from your Facebook posts or have any other social media issue you’d like to discuss?   Contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle Area, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content.

7 Tips to Drive Blog Traffic From Facebook

Social media has enormous potential to drive blog traffic.   How you post has a tremendous impact on whether you get those views.  The tips listed, while written with Facebook in mind, can be applied with a few tweaks to Google+ and even LinkedIn.

The Blog Traffic Commute: 7 Ways to #BeTactical and leverage #Facebook to drive blog traffic

1.   A well written blog on a topic your fans have an interest in reading.

Let’s face it.  If no one wants to read your post, nothing below will matter (or work).  If you do get clicks, your bounce rate from a quick ‘abandon ship’ will hurt your SEO and does nothing for your authority or credibility.

2.     Grab their attention with a catchy title.

It doesn’t have to be the first line or title from your blog.  It could be a question or a quote from your blog.  Frankly it can be anything  that gets them to linger just long enough to read the post.  A small piece of advice though.  Don’t use typical “click baiting” phrases like “You have to read this.”  You’ll likely find those viewed as spam.

3.     Give them the highlights from your blog.

Now that you caught their attention, HOLD IT with the highlights, then the reason to click.  It may seem counter intuitive not to simply post a link to read your blog post but I’ve found the best way to drive blog traffic is to not actually force the click-through.  Give them the choice and enough of a taste of your message and they’re more apt to WANT more.  Write the post correctly and they WILL want more!  People use Facebook to stay in touch with friends.  They follow pages for businesses they frequent or like for specials, the entertainment and helpful information.  Forcing them to leave the platform is a turn off.

This tactic has some fringe benefits:

  1. #BeTactical: Bounce rates also tend to drop when users want to click rather than need to click.  They’re more apt to read additional content. That’s a win for our SEO.
  2. I have an opportunity to drive engagement on the post itself leading to greater reach and more opportunities to drive clicks.

Author’s Note: Personally I take this a step further.  I’ll occasionally write the content for our Facebook posts so there is no reason to click-through.  Yes, I do realize I’m writing about how to drive blog traffic and I’m telling you I structure posts that don’t lend to that goal.  There’s a tactical method to my madness though:

It’s my job to provide the compelling content to make the reader follow us, and more importantly, want to hire us.  Getting the reader to click-through when there is no need – that’s a win.  I know the content was a hit.  

Done right, your post can be a win-win-win.  It’s a risk/reward scenario.  Risk a few clicks now for the reward of more later.  “The Post Save Methodology” blog post generated great engagement on Facebook AND still drove a fair amount of blog traffic.

4.     Make it easy to click-through!

You’ve hooked them, now set it.  Rather than relying on  a small link to the post in your status update with an image,  use the Link-Share method by entering the link into the status.  It will pull a larger, ‘Full Bleed’ link image, along with the post title and a snippet.  Just make sure the image pulled from your blog is sized correctly.  (Facebook will pull the first image in the post OR the featured image if set.)

#BeTactical: Facebook suggests that the minimum image size be 560×292 pixels, but in order for it to work for everyone, it should be 1200×627 pixels. When posted, the entire image and text box will become a giant link that will point people to the respective website. – thenextweb.com

Better visibility and a giant link means more blog traffic.

Facebook is taking a closer look at how pages are sharing links, and they’ve found that users generally like to click on link-format posts because those give more information.

If the link does not pull the larger size image, when it does and the image does not display properly (I’ve seen this with longer vertical images optimized for Pinterest), or if the correct image doesn’t appear,  you have the option to upload another image without breaking the link.

The Blog Traffic Commute: #BeTactical How to change the image pulled with a shared link on a #Facebook post without breaking the link; Driving blog traffic

5.     Like and Comment!

When you like and comment on your own posts as yourself, that activity shows in the ticker.  This greatly increases your visibility, potentially driving more eyes to your page and the post.  The more connected you are, the greater the visibility of your post.  Take advantage of it.  If you have employees, make sure they are supporting your efforts (your business should always strive for teamwork) and make sure they like and comment as well.

#BeTactical: Comment on your #Facebook post as a potential client. Try to encourage more comments.  If appropriate, tag a friend.   

6.     Share it!

As with likes and comments above, sharing your business page posts to your personal wall is a phenomenal way leverage your network to drive exposure.  Just be smart and don’t overdo it.  Ideally, share posts that will have value to your friends.

#BeTactical: I created lists for my #Facebook friends. I’ll share posts strategically to lists. Keeps me from spamming my friends.

If you manage other pages or are a member of groups, you have additional opportunities to share your post there as well.  Just know the rules.

#BeTactical: Find the groups/communities your customers are involved in and JOIN! It’s a great way to connect personally.

7.     Boost it!

I am not a fan of paying for the sole purpose of engagement.  (I’d prefer you do that organically) but when we’re talking about driving clicks to your website or blog, Do It!

#BeTactical: Boosting a Facebook post with well thought out targeting is a very inexpensive way to drive large volumes of traffic.

The Blog Traffic Commute: #BeTactical: How to use Facebook to drive blog traffic

Does It Work?

This blog was about a week old when I pulled this report.  I’d say Facebook has driven more than it’s share of traffic.  When you factor in Google+ and Twitter it becomes quite clear how powerful social media is at driving blog traffic.

Your Turn

Are you leveraging Facebook to driving blog traffic?

I’d love your hear your thoughts.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

If you need help leveraging your Facebook posts to drive blog traffic or have any other social media issue you’d like to discuss?   Contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle Area, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content.

Protecting Your Brand’s Reputation

Before you ReTweet, repin or share that content – READ IT!

We should all aware by now that what we post online, especially public content, will live forever.  What you post can have profound, long-term effects on your brand reputation.  Even a single post, tweet or comment can take on a life of its own.

Where am I going with this?

 

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#123517″ class=”” size=””]While it’s generally sunk in that we need to be careful WHAT we post, it seems that isn’t necessarily the case with what we REPOST. [/perfectpullquote]

 

TBefore you ReTweet, repin or share that content – READ IT!  We should all aware by now that what we post online, especially public content, will live forever.  What you post can have profound, long term effects on your brand reputation.

I was dumbfounded recently when I read an article that was heavily repinned and RT’d.  The content discussed how to drive more reach for your Facebook Fan Page and ultimately your website or blog.  Catchy headline, catchy image.  The issue was the actual content.  The author was advocating click baiting – something in itself I find unethical – but more importantly, something Facebook discussed in August: ‘Facebook is announcing the pursuit and war against attempts to entice clicks through headlines that are misleading.’


I couldn’t believe so many people were sharing content that would actually HURT others in their social media efforts and was exactly what Facebook was working to stop!  Regardless of why the content was shared, it was obvious it wasn’t read first (though I will concede that some share may have been from those that did read it and agreed with the Black Hat practice).

 

Since our brand reputation is affected by what we post, both our own and curated content, it’s imperative that we read everything we intend to put our name and stamp of approval on, even if that takes time, regardless of the source.

 

When discussing this topic with a colleague it was mentioned that content from a trusted source may need less scrutiny and maybe none.  It may be true that the source may will be far less likely to share or post such content, even the experts make mistakes.

 

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#123517″ class=”” size=””]It’s not just about whether the content is true, the link legit or the image authentic, it’s as much about what is said.[/perfectpullquote]

 

Sharing great content (even from a trusted source) doesn’t mean your brand reputation won’t come under fire.  Sharing content counter to your beliefs, what you advocate, what your followers / fan base expect can be just as damaging.  I have generally have no desire to share the content of even the best known / trusted social media or marketing experts (or experts in any field) if I do not agree with their position.  Would you give someone who’s views are counter to yours access to your audience?  Unless you’re looking for a debate, no.  Yet sharing their content on your social media profiles is doing just that.

 

Four Simple Takeaways:

 

  • Read first, then share, regardless of the source (& do it every time).

 

  • Don’t Share, re-post or ReTweet without following all links.

 

  • Don’t repin without tracing the image back to its source.

 

  • If you’re unsure of the content or it’s source – DON’T SHARE IT!

 

It may take longer, but a few minutes now can save your brand reputation (and the time to repair it later).

 

A Post Save Method for Social Media Platforms

This post originally appeared on The Archived Blog on 29 July 2014 as How To   Save Any Social Media Post And Content for Later; Moving Beyond Facebook’s Save for Later.

My Post Save Methodology

Have you ever come across a post scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed you wanted and wondered about saving it for later?   Going back and finding it later is near impossible, even with a search feature.  There are just too many posts to filter or scroll through.  MAYBE if you’re lucky you’ll stumble upon it.

Most days I barely have time to scroll through my feeds, let alone have the time to  read or comment on a post I find.  (One reason I hear from business owners on why they don’t engage on or curate content from others).  Since content is posted at all hours, I’ll skim my feeds throughout the day, saving any that may be of interest.  This allows me to effectively manage my time as well as read a post and provide a quality comment if I so choose.

The Save Post Methodology: How to save post from any social media platform by finding the URL.

While there are methods specific to each platform and several additional options (an excellent article by Mike Alton for The Social Media Hat on saving Google+ posts), I prefer to leverage my browser’s bookmark tool.  The beauty of the method is it’s simplicity.  An added benefit: my newly curated posts in one location and I can create folders to organize that content in a manner that works for me.   Simply locate a post’s specific URL and bookmark it!

Author’s Note:  When I consult with business owners needing help on curating and saving content for use later, I always recommend this method.  It’s simple.  They’ll already have the browser open, they’re familiar with the bookmark feature and they can easily bookmark social media posts as well as other web pages.  

If you want to go a step further,  Look at OneNote or Evernote.  You can clip or copy the URL and save it to these programs.  While there is an extra step, the advantage is the ability to add notes for later reference, either when saved or after reading.  It’s not my preferred method, even for myself though I do clip URLs to save in OneNote.  Much of my finds come from scrolling on a mobile device.  It’s far faster for me to simply open the link in a browser and bookmark it.  I can always go back to OneNote and save what I find useful with notes later, deleting the rest.  

Finding the URL in a Social Media Post

Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

You’ll either be able to click (or right click) on the timestamp to open the post in a new tab or window.  The Full URL will be in the address bar.  If you choose to save the links externally (see author’s note below), you can right click and simply copy the URL to paste it.

The Post Save Methodology: Locating the URL of a Facebook post by Robert Nissenbaum or Tactical Social Media, Greater Seattle Area

The Post Save Methodology: Finding the URL of a Facebook post

The Post Save Methodology: Locating the URL of a Google+ post by Robert Nissenbaum or Tactical Social Media, Greater Seattle Area

The Post Save Methodology: Finding the URL of a Facebook post

The Post Save Methodology: Locating the URL of a Twitter post by Robert Nissenbaum of Tactical Social Media, Greater Seattle Area

The Post Save Methodology: Finding the URL of a Tweet

 

Pinterest and Instagram

These services  make the process simplier.   Just click on the image to open it up in a new window The URL will be in your browser’s  address bar.

UPDATE:  The method still works but if you want to actually pin your Instagram image, things do now get a little trickier.  It seems as if Instagram has decided to make sharing an issue.  As of this weekend I discovered it wasn’t possible to pin an Instagram image or schedule a pin via Tailwind.  Doing so now requires a 3rd party program link Ink361.

LinkedIn

For Pulse articles the actual article will open with the full URL in the browser.  Just bookmark it.  It gets more difficult for status updates in your feed.   In your feed most of the status update will either include a link or an image.   Obviously saving the link is straightforward.  For images you can simply right click and one in a new tab to reveal the image’s specific URL.  

The one downside to this method on LinkedIn?  There is no ability later to reference the exact post or individual who posted it.  You’ll have the content to read but it will be difficult at best to engage with the person or business that shared it.   Since much of the content I save is for the ability to interact with the individual posting the content, I’ll try to take a few moments to respond to LinkedIn status updates when I see them rather than save them.  

Your Turn

How do you save social media posts for later reading?  Is there a platform I missed or should add?

I’d love your thoughts on saving or curating content you find on social sites.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content!

Need help with your content curation, implementing a post save method of your own or have any other social media issue you’d like to discuss?   Contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle Area, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

Guilty Of A Gut Reaction To A Negative Review?

I’m going out on a ledge here, even willing to stand on the edge on one foot to say; every business makes a mistake once in a while. From minor to major offense, from customers to ex-friends and family, you might have some bad reviews out there.  The point is, like it or not, either you have them or you will.

Once you accept that, as I’d hope once you decided to hang out the shingle you knew you would, you can move on from worrying less about how  receiving a negative review  and focus on how to minimize the chances of getting on and to how to deal with a negative review when it happens.  It’s all about brand reputation management (related article: The Brand Reputation Discreditation).

The Negative Review Reaction: How to handle a negative review and protect your brand's reputation, Brand Reputation Management

Handling The Negative Review – The Wrong Way

The usual responses I’ve heard from business owners (not to mention countless blog posts) on how to deal with negative reviews (including posts and comments) are either to bury it or to delete it.  The idea being that apparently if they’re not seen, they’re not really there.  Neither is a professional approach to managing your reputation.

Bury It

Reviews left on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List (and no, I am NOT a fan of Angie’s List) as well as other sites there leave no option to remove the post, The ‘Bury It’ approach seems sound.  You usually don’t want that negative review at the top when potential clients are looking for your product or services.  While it may be one in a handful of good reviews, if it’s the most recent, it could mean trouble.

When looking at a restaurant last week to grab a bite for dinner I didn’t focus on the rating but rather the reviews.  A 4-5 star rating means nothing if all of the positive reviews are years old and the few bad ones are weeks old, the rating is somewhat pointless.  I can expect to experience the service pointed out in the recent ratings more than those older ones. – Robert Nissenbaum, Tactical Social Media

The idea then, that having a number of positive reviews posted to ‘combat’ a negative review would seem to be a good idea.  Not so; I’m smart.  If all of the reviews are staggered in terms of when they are posted and suddenly after a few negative reviews there are several positive in quick succession (while it’s possible that it is a coincidence) it’s not what I’ll be thinking.  Now I see the bad reviews and a desperate attempt to deceive me.

In the case of Yelp, those ‘positive’ reviews can and do get filtered.  Other sites are employing software to catch these as well, especially if they truly are false positive reviews.  The end result is far worse than a few complaints.

#BeTactical: Don’t bury a negative review with fake positive ones.

Delete It

On one level, it works.  If there are no poor reviews – all is good.  Quite honestly there are plenty of businesses with nothing but stellar reviews and ratings. Not having a negative review isn’t bad – unless someone saw it BEFORE you had a chance to delete it!  The same goes for a post on your page and especially a comment in a thread with others (those who previously commented have definitely been notified).  Again, you are faced with trying to cover it up.

Handling a negative review; online reputation management, monitoring and response; The cover up is usually worse than the crime. image credit: http://www.shelburnenovascotia.com/CARTOONS/Worse yet, if the reviewer sees the post removed, there’s a good chance it will be reposted and probably with the added admonishment of having it removed.  Users are also more likely to post the new review in more locations including private profiles on social networks where the visibility will be greater with no chance to respond.

#BeTactical: Don’t delete a negative review. The cover up is usually worse than the crime itself.

Handling The Negative Review – The Right Way

Be Proactive

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.  Since we know, at some time, you will get a poor review, it’s a well-known fact people are more apt to report the negative than to heap on the praise, ASK FOR GOOD REVIEWS.  This is the positive and ethical way to Bury It.

It’s also a great opportunity to follow-up with your customers.  I love this postcard I recently received from South Tacoma Honda after we had the airbag recall performed.  They not only followed up but asked for a review AND gave us directions to make it easy! (And yes, we did return for additional services.)

The Negative Review Reaction: Avoiding a negative review: Brand Reputation Management: I love this postcard I recently received from South Tacoma Honda after we had the airbag recall performed. They not only followed up but asked for a review AND gave us directions to make it easy! #BeTactical

The value in asking for positive reviews – when you do get that pummeling, it will be one in a bunch of positive remarks.  They’ll also be staggered so they won’t look contrived (not to mention the posts themselves will read well.  Hastily posted ones in an effort to bury negative ones will almost always sound rushed and lack authenticity).

#BeTactical: Ask for positive reviews. When there is a negative one, the impact will be minimized.

Helpful Tip: One great idea is to get the review BEFORE your customer leaves.  Technology is your friend.  Add a QR code to the bottom of the receipt or have them login to any social site on their phone, offering a cookie or coupon for their next visit when they do.

Respond 

If (when) bad reviews appear, they need to be dealt with immediately and professionally.

  • Make a mistake? Acknowledge it!  

Own up to it and work out the most courteous solution possible, PUBLICLY.  Sending a personal response is still recommended where possible but while handled offline, not doing so publicly means others do not see how you handled it.

Since I know there is a chance something can go wrong in the sales process as a customer, knowing it will be handled professionally, fairly and in a timely manner is a big plus. It provides me insight into how your business operates and adds an element of trust and respect.  – MJ Jensen, IdeaMagic Visionary Marketing

Consider the case of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ.  A proper reply to the negative review on Yelp (in 2010) could have been leveraged to create a positive spin helping her business.  Instead Amy’s rant turned into a complete meltdown.  While the business is still open, their reputation will always precede them.

We can garner much more about a business based on the way they handle a negative comment, post or review than we can from a positive one.

Excellent advice on handling a negative review from @Kim Garst: Own your mistakes and your community will LOVE you for it! #BeYou http://bit.ly/realyoubook

Amazing advice from Kim Garst

 

  • The Unfounded Rant

So, what if the post is just a rant?  You handle it the same way – with class and professionalism.

While class and professionalism are a must, keep in mind, not every complaint, negative review or rant is valid or worthy of amends.  Plenty of people will use the threat of a bad review to get something free or give a bad review when a business owner doesn’t play their game. It’s common practice amongst a certain demographic. I consider them a low-grade reputation terrorist.

“While looking at my reviews on Facebook I noticed a one star review. It was from a person who continually sent me things to review and respond with suggestions. He wasn’t a client and never was a client. When not getting free services, there was a temper tantrum and this person was removed from contacting me again, then the bad review. I have worse stories of angry leeches and reputation terrorists, but I’ll save those for another time.” – Tamara Lee Taylor, Show Up StrongThe Restless Successful 

As business owners, we cannot be distracted by the reputation terrorist.  While a response is still required, a simple “Thank you for your feedback.” Is sufficient.  Experience has taught me customers will see past the unfounded rant (especially if you were proactive in acquiring positive reviews).

The Advice

As a business owner and consumer, I highly recommend doing your very best to deliver the highest quality product/service possible. Never over promise and under deliver; if you do, your customer/client deserves a humble and gracious remedy in a timely manner.

Hire quality people and train them well.  The best way to handle bad reviews is to not get them.

A Final Thought

The mark of a good business is one that responds to ALL reviews, not just the negative ones.  #BeTactical: If someone takes the time to write a review, the least you can do is take the time to acknowledge it.

Your Turn

As a consumer, how much value do you place on a negative review or testimonial?

You can comment below or you can find The Negative Review Reaction on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!  

If you like what you’ve read, share it and get yourself on our mailing list for more valuable content!

Do you need help with your brand’s reputation management or monitoring?  Do you even know if you do?  If you’re not sure, you do!  Contact us today to see how we can help.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle or South Sound Area, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.