Why You Shouldn’t Fear Bad Reviews on Facebook

Want to know the difference between doing business 20 years ago versus today? Customer service has become the make or break of most small businesses. It can build you into a local hot spot, or it can crush your hopes and dreams in a weekend.

One of the most frequent customer service related questions that we get from business owners who are [still] reluctant about building a social media presence is something like “But what if someone writes bad reviews on Facebook?”

That question still haunts an unbelievable amount of [mostly old-school] business owner – and with good reason.

A couple of days ago I spoke to a small group of business owners about adding more social media to their marketing plans for several reasons. Among those reasons is the fact that they can see what customers think of their brand. This is a very important part of social media, but it is what most businesses are afraid of. They are afraid that their social media profiles will turn into a virtual comment boxes. They are afraid that too many people will complain about their brand to the point that it will make them look bad.

One reality you have to think about is that if people have a bad experience, they are going to talk crap about your brand. If they don’t write bad reviews on Facebook or another social media network, then they are going to go to their friends, family, co-workers, their kids friends parents, and the person behind them in line at the bank. I will agree that social media will allow bad publicity to spread much, MUCH quicker than traditional word of mouth, but if your business sucks then it will get out eventually.

This concern is valid, however, and has happened to some of the largest brands out there.

Just take a look at the 11 Biggest Social Media Disasters of 2012 from Mashable

But there is a sure fire way to turn this around so that a nasty comment actually helps build your brand in a bright shiny light.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but it’s actually an awesome thing when someone gives you a bad review (unless you’re in a pickle like Hobby Lobby – then you better have some expert PR people on your social networks). But this allows businesses to explain their position and try to rectify the issue.

Example:

  • Customer: Hey I don’t like your product.
  • Business: I’m sorry you feel that way, what don’t you like about it? – Suzie
  • Customer: It broke the first day I used it.
  • Business: I apologize that the product you received broke, our defective product return rate is only 10%, so as an apology I would like to send you two products at no cost and a refund for the one that was broken. Is that Okay with you – Suzie
  • Customer: Wow, thank you! ‘
  • Business: Absolutely! And again I’m so sorry that this happened, after all awesome people like you are why we are here! So thank YOU! – Suzie

The issue was resolved, the customer is happy and that person shares their satisfaction with friends.

So moral of the story is don’t be afraid of social media embrace it. Use it to see what your customers issues are, and if it is a common problem you know that I needs to be addressed immediately.

Engaging Customers And Going ‘Viral’

Probably 99% of us have seen the insanely popular “Honey Badger” video that has spread across YouTube with over 45 million viewers in a year. If you haven’t, ‘Google’ the phrase ‘honey badger’ and you will find the first page filled with references to the hilarious viral sensation.

So what do businesses and brands stand to learn from the honey badger? Well, first off, that he doesn’t give a sh*t. But mostly, it’s that he shows us the power of going ‘viral’ on the Internet. If you want to truly engage your customers as well as potentially gaining mass amounts of viewers to your brand, the honey badger can give us some tips.

  1. Keep your message simple: We now know honey badgers are nasty and aren’t scared of anything. Keep your message simple and you will have a better chance of engaging customers.
  2. Be unique in your delivery: Randall, who is the voice behind the honey badger videos has a very unique voice and has a humorous delivery that is memorable. Think of how you can be unique in your messages so that you increase your chances of being remembered.
  3. Tell a story: The video tells a story about the honey badger, what he likes and doesn’t like, how he acts. Telling a story about your brand makes it more likely for people to connect with you.
  4. Keep the viewer guessing: Although it is useless information, we can’t help but watch because we want to see  what craziness the honey badger do next. Keeping the viewer on the edge of her seat is a great way to increase your chances of going viral.
  5. Create a character: Because of the video, the honey badger now has a personality of it’s own – nasty, vicious creature who doesn’t “give a sh*t”. Humans tend to relate emotionally to characters more than things, so make sure that your brand is relatable to your target audience.

With today’s information sharing capability using social media and internet marketing, almost any company or brand can succeed engaging customers. Social engagement is the practice of marketers creating conversation about industry-related topics and news, and by encouraging customers to share conversion via social networks.

Social media is nothing new. In fact every business across the globe is embracing networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But we need to learn from the honey badger; everything that we do on these platforms has to be simple or unique, tell a story, be exciting, hilarious, controversial, etc, etc, the list goes on.

Simply put, think about why your message will be remembered.

There are several different ways small businesses can promote social engagement. One of the easiest ways to do this is a blog. Blogging has been around for years, but the emergence of social media has exploded it into a giant pipeline of sharing knowledge, information and entertainment. There are virtually unlimited ways that you can show that you are an important part of your industry with a blog.

You can write about:

  • industry news
  • your opinions on new products or practices
  • ways you can save your customers money
  • ways that you can make it easier for your customers
  • valuable industry tips

Just think of why people hire or buy from your company, then write about it. And don’t forget to make it easy for people to share these posts via social sharing buttons such as ShareThis. ShareThis is a great tool to help engage customers by allowing them to share your content with many different social media and content channels. With free and paid options, ShareThis makes it super easy for people to help your message to go viral.

Another hugely successful way of getting people talking about and sharing your company brand is video. YouTube, is the uncontested champion here with about 1 billion views a month. If used correctly YouTube not only can get you a lot of attention from viewers, it can increase your search results due to it’s parent company – a little company called Google.

Video gives you the power to not just tell your customers that you know your stuff, but actually show them that you do. Video is one of the best ways to advertise your company; consequently it is one of the most underutilized vehicles by small businesses.

Check out our study on YouTube use by local businesses in Syracuse, NY

There are many ways that video can increase your brand recognition, but there are two very effective strategies that I would like to highlight. One is to create a very regular (daily, weekly, bi-weekly) video series that helps your viewers solve a problem, shows your expertise and puts your company brand in their minds. The other is to create emotion-evoking videos that work on engaging customers and viewers either because they are funny, shocking or emotional in some way.

There are many factors that go into making a message viral. The steps outlined in this article can greatly increase your chances of engaging customers. Just take a few pages out of the honey badger’s book.

So watch the nasty Honey Badger