Conversation marketing has proven to be a powerful player when it comes to business strategy. Social media is now a huge game-changer, providing businesses of any size the ability to foster awareness about their goods and services and facilitating a two-way connection between the brand and consumers.
We have spent endless hours evangelizing about the importance of online engagement through online reviews (and review responses), check-ins, and promos served by using popular review sites. Today we want to segue into a facet of business marketing with tremendous potential to help businesses cultivate an outstanding online reputation. Grab a chair, and let us show you how social media integration across all marketing tools is greatly underutilized, and how you can make it work in your favor.
When it comes to rants, customers tend to seek out the path of least resistance in hopes of obtaining quick resolution. A customer who is dissatisfied with your product or service is three times more likely to connect with you via Facebook or Twitter than any other platform, inclusive of popular review sites.
The reason behind this type of behavior on the part of customers is to reach out to the merchant and obtain remedy or compensation commensurate with the shortcomings experienced. Tracking your social media in tandem with your reviews creates a healthy early-alert environment. This can protect your brand and help you nip the issue in the bud before it escalates into a situation that is visible to the public and can’t be resolved without significant damage to your online and offline reputation.
Direct Two-Way Engagement
Review sites provide businesses with the opportunity to be reactive to feedback, whereby social platforms allow them to be proactive and provide their closest followers with alerts and announcements relevant to the customer experience.
A smart and socially engaged business could, for example, post an alert about an early closing due to weather, saving the business from the possibility of a negative review of a customer who encountered closed doors. Additionally, social platforms allow businesses to promote deals to a captive audience. A deal, if delivered properly, can influence the opinion and likelihood of a consumer posting a highly positive review.
Increased Potential for Virality
If you want good news to travel, then there is no better vehicle than social media. Newsletters have a historically low open rate. Great reviews are only valuable in the context of aggregation, and direct word of mouth is slow to amplify. A tweet, a great photo shared on Facebook, or a fantastic story highlighting how your business is able to create memories or experiences is best shared if framed in the context of social media.
This is perhaps one of the most important features of a well-integrated social media strategy. Many popular review sites have partnered with social platforms to allow their users to have cross-platform engagement. For example, Facebook Connect results in a direct share of any Yelp activity by a user into their Facebook profile.
The moment a reviewer on a popular review site pushes their activities such as check-ins or reviews to their social profile, you have just amplified your reach. For better or for worse, that review now has a social endorsement, and for all intents and purposes it becomes a word-of-mouth recommendation.
When it comes to business development, one of the most effective loyalty builders is having the ability to build community and create connections with your customers. Sound social media integration provides your business with the tools to connect with your customers and drive your marketing message in such a way that it becomes part of the DNA of your customer’s preferences.
Now that you know what good social media integration can do to your online reputation, let’s take a moment to review key implementations that will increase social engagement and provide continuity across all your online marketing tools:
Make Sure Your Site Is Socially Integrated and Features Engagement Icons
This is a basic move that many small businesses fail to make. When designing your site, make sure your customers are able to engage with your business across review sites like Yelp and Foursquare, and social sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Failure to tie in your site experience to your social experience results in poor usability, and it can adversely affect how customers can engage with your brands. As a quick reminder, social tools of engagement are only useful if you have made the determination to be active and engaged. Don’t point your site visitors to dead or abandoned social pages likely to only disappoint.
Incorporate Relevant Review Apps like TripAdvisor to Your Facebook Identity
Connect your Facebook followers to your branded review site buzz. Integrations like the TripAdvisor app allow businesses to directly display their reviews onto their Facebook page, making the reviews shareable in a social context and providing Facebook followers with a live feed that gives them insights as to the way others are engaging with your brand.
Tweet and Share Positive Reviews Identified by Using Your Review Management Platform
If you are using a centralized review management tool, then you will be able to identify excellent reviews originating from a variety of sources. For busy business leaders, our platform allows you to watch reviews coming in by using Hootsuite, allowing you to take advantage of the best of the best in real time. Imagine how appropriate it would be to highlight a review about your happy hour via a tweet, while your followers still have time to join in and enjoy the deals.
Use Your Social Media for the Common Good and Be Engaged Beyond Your Niche
One of the best ways to achieve full social integration is by taking on relevant and trending causes that appeal to your customer base and helping disseminate messages that are taking advantage of your social reach.
Customers appreciate businesses that are willing to be a hands-on part of the community. Bank on this, and amplify your reach by finding causes that matter. Before you dive into this strategy, we do want to give you a caveat: when selecting a cause, make sure it is not controversial or likely to have a negative impact on your reputation or marketing strategy. In short, think before you tweet.
Celebrate and Acknowledge Your Social Media Connections by Name
The best of the best know that personalization in social media integration matters. Be intentional about acknowledging your best social advocates by their real name or Twitter handle. Answer questions and concerns with a sense of urgency, and be empathic when handling escalations via social media.