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If you and your competition are both publishing the same number of posts, on the same platforms at the ideal time of day, how do you stand out?  This series of posts will help your small business optimize your social media and take you beyond the benefits of mere “activity”.

GET THOSE 5 STAR REVIEWS

Cultivating reviews has an incredible psychological effect on your followers.  The first thing they offer is social proof.  Evidence to a new follower that you can deliver on your promises.  Those 5-star ratings make it easier to trust you, and easier for people to commit to buying.

If your reviewer has a high social status – this impact can be even bigger.  If people think that successful, popular or wealthy people are using your products, they may subconsciously believe that not only are your services or products valuable but by purchasing them, the client’s own status will increase.  This is a subconscious but nevertheless impactful effect.

IS IT TRUE?

How well does this work?  Well, techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explained in her 2017 TED talk “We are building a dystopia just to get people to click on ads” a very significant Facebook experiment.  On election day, Facebook showed the following post variations to a number of its users.  The first group saw an “I voted” ad, in a very simple format.  The second group of users saw the exact same ad but were also shown the profile pictures of friends who had voted that day.  Facebook determined that this simple variation of seeing whom else had participated, resulted in an additional 340,000 people voting.  This experiment was repeated in 2012, resulting in an additional 270,000 additional voters heading to the polls.

More people take action when they see people from their social circle taking a similar action.

A screen shot of lash educator, Marie Steven’s Facebook page. This is the first blog that comes up for new visitors to her page.

HOW DO YOU BENEFIT?

Small businesses benefit from sharing reviews in more than just 1 way.  For example, when your customer fills out their review, a selection of relevant friends and followers are notified that a review has been left.  This puts your business into new people’s feed.  Giving you a mini, free promotion of your business.  Secondly, when a client comes to your business, they are shown reviews along the side – increasing the likelihood that they will make a similar purchase.  Good social media practice invites you to offer a “thank you” or acknowledgment of a new review in its comments section.  When you do this, the client is notified of your note, and again, you put your company into the inbox of a valued customer, reminding them of their positive experience with your business.  This further deepens the relationship as well as delivers warm fuzzy feelings all around.

Finally, notice that when performing searches on Facebook or Google, that the star ratings (and faces!) of people are positioned to further help differentiate your business from the pack, and convince others that your services are valuable.  If you collect a poor review – take the opportunity to reach out to the client and correct the situation.  Reviews can be altered or deleted by the person leaving the review or averaged out if you can collect more positive ones.

LET THE TAIL WAG THE DOG

We encourage businesses to let social media influence other facets of your business. This is true technology adaptation. Establishing a process for managing reviews is a great example of a systematic benefit that can occur when optimizing for social.  Most companies do not have a system in place for collecting reviews and referrals.  These pieces of documentation and client feedback have always been valuable, but because of the visibility of social media, and Google My Business, they now have an even greater marketing impact.  Add to your business processes a system to capture reviews from your clients.

Your system might be a personalized phone call or email from a manager.  This works if you have high-value clients, and provides additional value as you can often get great strategic feedback from clients on how to make other improvements.  If you are in a high volume industry, you might consider offering online contests, social media posts asking for reviews, or requests on a receipt to share a review in order to be entered to win a small discount or prize. You can even run follow up ads to a custom Facebook audience requesting a review.

Collecting reviews should be a part of your marketing plan – in that you should design some kind of prompt at some stage of the process that encourages your clients to leave one. Its also worth it to commit a small percentage of your marketing budget (financial or labour) to collecting these valuable pieces of promotional juice. They will give your business a social and psychological edge online that you shouldn’t ignore.