It used to be that personal recommendations solidified
decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company
travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a
primary source of feedback.
A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by
Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as
much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use
a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.
Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably
Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several
reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying
to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers,
you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building
The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans
and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to
a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are
multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow
these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.
Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults:When
a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your
business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re
responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and
provide solutions when feasible.
A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant
situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse,
suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes.
Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.
Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of
the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a
second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five
if your typing skills need work.
You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone
takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your
Don’t be a salesperson: When
a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with
your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.
If you have something new to share about your business, it’s
fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.
Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a
customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing
review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d
welcome the opportunity to do so again.
If you want people to continue to work with your business, you
need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.
Gone are the days
when branding was limited to simply promoting a product or a business.
Today, companies are
increasingly being challenged to incorporate a meaningful purpose into their marketing
and advertising campaigns.
research, 75 percent of consumers – here and abroad
– expect businesses to contribute to their personal wellbeing and quality of
life, while 84 percent expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells
stories, provides solutions and creates experiences and events.
Purpose is especially important when marketing to
percent of whom say they’re
partial to brands that implement environmental and social change into their
A new biometric
research report from Porter Novelli/Cone, published earlier this week, goes
even further in suggesting that purposeful content should lead the narrative of
“Purpose ignites physical and
emotional responses: Purpose-driven
advertisements were more effective in two-out-of-three brand categories tested,
with higher levels of attention, emotion and arousal from these advertisements
overall,” the study found.
other words, businesses that are searching for ways to build – and
maintain – customer loyalty would be wise
to focus on purposeful messaging that supports, for example, responsible
business practices, a charity or a social cause.
Purpose builds deeper bonds
Other key findings
in the report suggested that purpose builds deeper bonds.
A whopping 79
percent of Americans, noted the study, said they feel a deeper and more personal
connection to companies with values aligned with their own. Moreover,
respondents said they’d be more likely to feel better about brands with
And that’s not all:
brand advocates and amplification,” research showed.
viewing purpose-driven advertisements, those who were surveyed also said they’d
be more likely to talk about the advertisement and the brand with friends and
family and share and discuss the advertisement on social media.
the biggest takeaway, though, is this: Nearly 73
percent of respondents said that given the current social and political
climate, they feel an urgency to support social issues, while 76 percent noted
that businesses dedicated to addressing social and environmental issues helps
them feel like they’re doing their part.
About the study
The research combined an
online study of more than 1,000 American adults with the results of biometrics
testing among a select group of respondents.
It measured facial, heart
rate and skin conductance impulses that captured levels of emotion, attention
and arousal/stimulation upon viewing a randomized set of advertisements.
Respondents viewed two ads
from the same brand: a Purpose-driven advertisement (e.g., support of a social
issue, responsible business practice) and an advertisement focusing on the
functional attributes of the product (e.g., performance, features or
The research found that purpose-driven
messaging has a greater ability to capture the physical and emotional attention
of respondents compared to functional narratives.
If you’re exploring the rental market, it may be time to lower your expectations when it comes to landlord discounts, gift cards or complimentary amenities, writes Diana Olick, real estate correspondent at CNBC.com
As the rental market heats up and home ownership cools, rent prices are rising and freebies are falling out of favor.
Listings on HotPads, Zillow’s rental website, that mention at least one concession are down nearly 30 percent from the same time last year, and just one in 100 rental listings currently show any kind of move-in special.
Remember the days prior to social media? Nor do we. Just
about every business – big and small – has a designated social media manager or
consultant that’s responsible for tweets, content posts, audience engagement,
follows, shares, comments, insight and data reports and messaging.
It’s a big job that goes far beyond those “likes” and
shares. To be a social media pro, you’ve got to master some skills.
Be creative: To stand out among your competitors, you need to create a dynamic and persuasive visual content across all your social media platforms.
Images, polls, invitations, posters, graphs, videos and
illustrations don’t have to be in every post, but the eye loves visuals, and
the more visuals you incorporate into your posts, the better chance you have of
being noticed in what’s becoming an increasingly crowded field.
Inspire conversation: Interacting
and engaging with your audience (think potential clients) is crucial to social
media success – and that includes responding to comments in a
Whether it’s a simple
acknowledgement of thanks to someone who has responded positively to a post, a
call to action for someone posing a question or a conversation starter that
opens dialogue, you need to know how to foster communication.
That, in turn, encourages
your audience to share your content, which increases your post’s longevity. And
sharing content grows you audience and results in leads and “likes.”
To post engaging ads, take
advantage of Facebook’s Ads Manager, a powerful tool that enables businesses to
launch campaigns that reach a large audience.
Live video has the kind of human
touch that doesn’t exist in text, and social media audiences can’t get enough
Shooting spontaneous short
videos on your smartphone and streaming them live on your social media
platforms has become easier than ever with recent technological advances, and
the content can range from entertaining to informative (or both).
Live streams tend to be more personable and
authentic than text posts, and studies have shown that social media audiences
overwhelmingly prefer live video.
Sixty-five percent of homeowners nationwide view buying a house in their zip code as a “somewhat good” or “very good” financial investment, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Housing Expectations.
As well, existing homeowners are eager to
invest more in their homes, says the report, noting that the percentage of
homeowners expecting to invest at least $5,000 in their homes over the next one
to three years continues to increase.
No matter the size, mission, strength or success of your
strategies are necessary components to building trust, establishing
relationships and strengthening awareness.
But like everything else, branding practices are constantly
evolving, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and understand what
your future branding strategies should entail.
To help, here are three best-practice branding trends that need to be on your radar:
human: Technology is wonderful for increasing brand recognition,
and you should embrace it. But don’t forego human interaction.
At a time when
trust is precariously fragile, it’s vital for businesses to establish human
bonds. Strive to engage with your clients beyond social media platforms and
problem-solvers, aim for empathy, be an expert in your field, share knowledge
and insights and recognize that emotional, face-to-face communication tips the
trust scale in your favor.
Be authentic and transparent: When your business opens its curtain and
provides public visibility, it shows that you’re authentic and transparent.
And clients and customers
rank transparency above just about everything else. In fact, a Sprout Social
Report released in 2018 showed that 86 percentof Americans believe
transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.
Additionally, 73 percentof consumers are
willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency. The numbers
Businesses need to account for the public’s increasing
demands for transparency and develop practices and processes that convey honesty
is the key to content: A
compelling narrative that connects with your target audience is key to telling
your story, and a story without soul falls down the rabbit hole.
When creating branding content,
it’s all too easy to focus solely on promoting a product or service, but
falling into that formula potentially robs businesses of cultivating
relationships and providing meaningful value.
When you tell the story of your brand, aim to be
enthusiastic, inspiring and passionate—and don’t be afraid to show some
emotion. It’s good for the soul, and it speaks to your human side.
We’ve found three tools that make it easier to manage your social media platforms.
A strong social media presence is one way to increase the visibility of your business, expand your reach and generate new leads:
Buffer: Buffer is a relatively simple web application that allows users
to schedule social media posts across a variety of social network platforms.
Dually mobile and desktop friendly, the app optimizes posts for peak engagement
times (it also allows for customization) and best of all, its users receive salient
feedback, via analytics, to view social media post performance, improve results
and create data-driven reports for clients and managers.
Canva: That old cliché that a picture is
worth a thousand words rings true with Canva, an intuitive, easy-to-master
graphic-design creator that businesses can use to increase website traffic and
social media engagement. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides
access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. You don’t need a
background in design to use the tool, and with more than 50,000 templates to
choose from, it’s easy to design just about anything,including those all-important info graphics.
and buzz are key when it comes to social media, and with Woobox, an
increasingly popular marketing platform, businesses can create contests,
giveaways, polls, quizzes, brackets, photo contests and more, all of which
encourage your audience to engage. Bonus: It allows businesses to seamlessly
integrate several social media platforms while running campaigns, plus it collects
and exports useful data that stems from those campaigns, an advantageous perk
that all but guarantees robust leads.
According to a recent study published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), expensive home prices, coupled with high demand, are driving today’s youngest homebuyers to smaller cities.
long as supply keeps up to meet demand, and prevents costs from rising too high
and too rapidly, these identified metro areas are likely to see an uptick in
purchases from millennial homebuyers,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist
of the NAR. A robust job market and affordability are
two of the main factors that impact home-buying decisions by millennials, notes