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    Hotel charges guests $500 for bad Yelp reviews

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    In a recent article by VentureBeat, a hotel in New York attempted to bribe or threaten their customers with a $500 fee for every negative review posted on any internet site. Ummm, what? This goes against the very essence of social media: free speech. Social media allows for a two-way communication between brand and customer. If you look at the hotel’s Yelp page, it has quite a bundle of negative reviews. Mostly due to dog feces everywhere and overcharging hotel guests up to $1000 or more! The hotel failed to utilize social media in their favor. They tried to bully their customers from posting negative reviews rather than listening to their customer’s complaints and offering a solution to build loyalty. Business owners need to have thick skin because there will be people who dislike your brand– but, there will also be those who like, or even, love your brand! However, your social media presence should have an overall positive and well-liked image. The best way to do that is to acknowledge a customer and present a solution that suits the customer’s needs, which will benefit your business because you just got yourself a loyal and happy customer!

    They tried to bully their customers from posting negative reviews rather than listening to their customer’s complaints and offering a solution to build loyalty.

    With that said, here are a list of things not to do on social media.

     

    1. DO NOT ignore your customer– unless they’re a troll. ignore-customersSounds like a simple and quick solution? Well, no, that’s not how the world works, fellas. Think about it… as you are scrolling through any site and find testimonials or reviews that are unbecoming, it may cause you to wonder if perhaps the comment is indisputable as the company doesn’t chime in to reclaim their reputation. Secondly, it may cause someone to think, “Do they care about this consumer or is it just profit-over-people? Do they let the weight of their positive reviews outweigh and subsequently override their negative ones? Deleting a customer’s post is only going to infuriate the customer and you’ll most likely end up losing their business. However, there are spam trolls, users who intentionally attempt to anger and bully others online, that may come across your social media pages. You can delete and ban those users from your pages. The best response is to have a genuine, non-generic response back that gives them a call-to-action where they can reach someone directly for conversation and compromise/credit. For example: We understand …. was not up to your standards. We’d like to understand your experience better and come to an agreement that satisfies all involved. Please contact customerservice@brand.com directly.
    1. DO NOT blame or disrespect your customer. rude-personObviously, it goes without saying that “social” media is all about expressing and sharing socially our unique experiences and perceptions. With that said, social shaming should be kept at bay. When a customer leaves a complaint about services, they are spending time – likely after spending their money as well – to express where they felt the exchange of goods and services wasn’t warranted as equivalent or fair for what they gave in the transaction. Blaming or disputing on social media can appear to be not only a black-and-blue battle between you and a customer, but also a black-and-white e-trail that other potential consumers can see and ultimately decide not to embark on. What works well is acknowledging their response to services rendered, whether there is truth or not in their claim, and then forwarding them to someone who can dive deeper into the circumstances. Without admitting guilt yourself, you can certainly share a timely response that shows you are willing to work with your customer, but not play the blame game across the internet. Example:  “We understand you are …
    1. DO NOT take it personally. Take it professionally. taking it personallyRespond from either a neutral stance or seek an objective mentor’s suggestion for response. Of course, you are passionate about the line of work you are in and the services you offer as you have chosen to embark on making a living pursuing such. To be challenged may internalize quickly as “not good enough” which can hurt our pride. Leave pride out of it if possible and bring COMPASSION in. If you are truly passionate about what you do and those who help you co-create your dream (your customers) respond back from that emotional space. This way, your response gives value to their opinion. What’s even better, is if you can respond in a humorous, lighthearted manner such as JCPenny did in the example below.

    jcpenny-tweet-funny-response

    1. DO NOT bribe or threaten your customers for positive or negative reviews online. That’s just downright shady. Additionally, this will most likely get your account suspended or terminated from the outlet.

    Businesses such as this need to wake up and realize that the success of their business ultimately depends on the customer. See negative reviews or comments as an opportunity to save your brand’s reputation and build a rapport with on-lookers, as well as, increase higher ratios of retention with the customers you respect through corrective attempts. This is what makes social media such a long term investment. It takes time to build trust with your customers. In the long run, social media pays off when you know how to optimize its resources and capabilities.

     

    Written by StevieAnne Petitt, branding strategist, and Alyssa Guzman, social media manager.

    The Art and Science of Social Media

    The Art & Science of Social Media

    Social Media is both an art and a science. To get quantity, you must have quality. Sure, there are algorithms, equations and mathematical calculations involved in how big your brand is and how great the ratio of your reach. Yet, even with the most sophisticated software and strategies, numbers will only grow your online presence so much.  The large majority of your brand’s reach and continuing rise to social stardom is to add the unseen, immeasurable and priceless factor – the energy that comes from speaking from passion and with purpose.

    Everything is energy. Proven by the Law of Physics and shared often by the great, Albert Einstein.  With like energy attracting like energy, below is a list of ways the energy and intention behind your social media posts will work to draw in like-minded professionals, ideal customers and opportunities in alignment with your brand’s presence and voice.

    • Join, Create and CONTRIBUTE to Relevant Groups. Utilize group networking on media outlets, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Communities, etc. that are either pre-existing or created by you, tailored to your niche topics. Ensure the ‘About’ section is filled out completely and with words that best describe the overall essence and intention of the group. Not only does this attract similarly interested parties, but the ‘About’ section appears on Google when people are searching specific key terms – leading them straight to the top contributors in that inquiry.

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    • Ignite authentic EMOTION through imagery. When you’re tweeting, posting, sharing a call-to-action, etc. be sure to add images that are relevant to your posts. Take the time to produce quality images and to watermark such with your brand’s logo. Mashable’s Social Media department’s Facebook post is a great example.

    mashable-social-media-facebook-example

     

    • Post from PASSION. Keep a running journal or log for whenever you feel inspired. Of course, sharing this with a tone that is relevant to your business and passion either in the moment or at a later time. The key here is to perhaps capture the energy and emotion behind your moment of inspiration, as this can certainly come across through written word and through images – connecting you even more to those who share in the same interests as you.  Not to mention, this humanizes your brand.
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    This is our expression the majority of the time at work.

     

    • Think PROACTIVE, not PROMOTIONAL. On the topic of inspiration, draft a content calendar that gives you a general framework for what to post and when – The focus of social media is to build rapport and relationships with others so steer clear of solely posting promotional content. Rather, post out consistent content that engages, inspires, educates and entertains. For instance, a coach or consultant may use #MondayMotivation to highlight their own drafted affirmations for clients with specific goals. This will INSPIRE. #TuesdayTips may empower your followers to try something on their own while giving you credibility, not only as an expert in your field, but also as a generous and trustworthy business owner as well. #FridayFunnies can be a comical behind-the-scenes look at your business or even personal life as you deem fit. Doing so will humanize your brand and once again, builds value and credibility among your growing community.

     

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      Listening intently.

      Genuinely be CURIOUS about your Audience. What’s in it for them? Ask your connections what they’d like to know. Or ask them more about who they are. Get to know your customers personally and professionally so you can provide the optimal services for them but also earn their referrals. With nearly 95% of purchases contributed to peer recommendations, the old adage, “Ask and you shall receive” is certainly true here.

    These above-mentioned strategies are simple because they are human nature. Social media and brand building doesn’t have to be a numbers game. Rather, it can be an easy-to-manage, effortless and energetically-rewarding journey! Remember, if you’re going to put your time and energy into your business, rest assured that the energy you post out will almost certainly return back in similar form. Post from passion – receive passionate customers! Engage with customers – stand by for inquiries about how your business can benefit them. Share free and valuable information generously and anticipate the many people who will then request more from you at an exchange of energy (likely currency) that meets and exceeds your initial investment of time. Like energy attracts like energy.  What you POST is what you get. Make it quality. Make it Genuine. Your brand will expand and you will not just gain respect but retention as well!

     

     

    Article written by StevieAnne Petitt, branding strategist at Social Ally and Begin Being life coach.