In this edition of Wash Wisdom, discover effective ways to overcome a poor Yelp rating, 10 fundamentals of social media marketing and how to utilize the consumer buying process to grow business.

How to handle negative reviews on Yelp

No business wants to see a negative review or poor rating on a customer review site such as Yelp. However, instead of stressing out over how this review will hurt the bottom line, owners and operators should take control of the situation by turning this negative review into an opportunity to boost business. Featured on Forbes’ website, “How To Overcome A Poor Yelp Rating,” the article discusses how businesses can effectively handle negative reviews on Yelp.

  • Claim the page. If a Yelp account has been made for your business, request to claim the business as your own to gain a level of control over the page. Once claimed, make sure to activate the account and complete its profile. The Forbes slideshow, with tips pulled from AJ Agrawal’s “A Marketer’s Worst Nightmares How To Overcome A Poor Yelp Rating,” recommends including in the profile: a business description, link to your website, hours of operations, method(s) of contact and specific rules for interacting with your business.
  • Don’t get angry with customers. Refrain from replying to negative customer reviews with “a smart remark.” Make sure to respond in a professional manner; this should include an apology and provide a means to the customer for him or her to discuss the issue further with a business representative.
  • Stay ahead of reviews. Make sure to regularly track online customer reviews. There are companies now that specialize in helping brands maintain positive online reputations by using data analysis programs to track reviews by keywords or ratings.
  • Be active on social media. If your business has taken some hits when it comes to poor customer ratings, try “fighting back” with new marketing campaigns. Stay active on social media platforms and regularly engage with your customers. The Forbes slideshow explains, “When a brand takes a few negative reviews, the way that [it responds] and [continues] to press forward is what helps the negativity become almost invisible.”
  • Know Yelp’s rules. Make sure you are familiar with Yelp’s rules. For instance, this customer review platform does not allow businesses to pay for reviews. If a business compensates consumers for high ratings, this is a violation.
  • Be professional and present. How your business handles negative feedback influences your overall reputation. Be professional, regularly interact with customers and keep marketing.

Read more on how to handle Yelp reviews here.

10 social media factors business owners need to know

Susan Gunelius discusses 10 key fundamentals of social media marketing in the article “10 Laws of Social Media Marketing,” featured on Entrepreneur’s website.

  • Listening. To be successful with social media and content marketing, you must listen more and talk less. Join discussions and read your target audience’s online content to learn what matters to them.
  • Focus. Make sure to have a focused approach. Gunelius explains in the article that a highly focused social media strategy intended to establish a strong brand will most likely be more successful than a broad strategy that attempts to be a “jack-of-all-trades.”
  • Quality. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to social media. It’s better to have 1,000 connections who regularly engage and share your content than 10,000 connections who don’t interact with your brand.
  • Patience. In most cases, social media success won’t happen overnight. Practice patience and remain committed to “the long haul to achieve results.”
  • Compounding. Publish quality content and build a strong audience of quality followers who will share your content with their own social media network and other online platforms. “This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches,” asserts Gunelius in the article.
  • Influence. Connect with industry/market influencers who have quality online networks and aim to build relationships with them. These connections are vital, because they may share your content with their loyal followers which can help promote your business to new audiences.
  • Value. Add value, and don’t just promote your own products and services. Focus less on conversion and more on creating quality content and building relationships with market influencers, advises Gunelius in the article.
  • Acknowledgement. Don’t ignore people online. “Building relationships is one of the most important parts of social media marketing success, so always acknowledge every person who reaches out to you,” says Gunelius in the article.
  • Accessibility. Be present. Make sure you are always available to your audience. Regularly participate in conversations and publish quality content.
  • Reciprocity. Share and discuss content published by other sources. Gunelius explains in the article that you can’t expect others to share your content and discuss your business online if you don’t do the same.

Read the entire article here.

How to utilize the consumer buying process to grow business

In the article “The Six Stages of the Consumer Buying Process and How to Market to Them,” featured on Business 2 Community’s website, contributor Shane Jones discusses how businesses can effectively market to customers by understanding the different stages of the consumer buying process.

  • Problem recognition. You can start the buying process by taking the time to “create a problem” for the customer, even if he or she is already aware of this problem. You can help push a prospective customer to realize he or she has a need that should be solved through content marketing. Share product/service testimonials and facts, and ask questions.
  • Information search. After recognizing the problem, the customer will begin to search for a solution. To make sure this customer turns to your business, establish your brand as an industry leader or expert.
  • Evaluation of alternatives. “Just because you stand out among the competition doesn’t mean a customer will absolutely purchase your product or service,” says Jones in the article. “In fact, now more than ever, customers want to be sure they’ve done thorough research prior to making a purchase.” They will want to compare products/services to make sure they are getting the best one of the best price. Why not offer this “comparison” to customers by showing them how your competition compares?
  • Purchase decision. By this stage, the customer has compared his or her options and is deciding which product/service to buy. Provide as much information related to the “problem” established in stage one and why your brand is the best option to provide the solution.
  • Purchase. Even if the customer has decided to purchase your service/product, this doesn’t mean it’s a sure deal. If your business offers e-commerce, make sure the online purchase process is quick and easy. Also, consider how customers are making online purchases. Consider how your e-commerce works for desktops, tablets and mobile devices. If the process is too difficult, you could lose potential customers and revenue.
  • Post-purchase evaluation. Even if a customer has purchased a service/product from your business, the process to “winning” this customer isn’t over. Build customer loyalty and ensure repeat business. Try sending follow-up surveys and emails that thank the customer for choosing your business.

You can find the entire article here.