yourmessengerjason

Do You Know What People Are Saying About Your Business Online?

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2010 at 4:31 pm

When we stopped in Rawlins, WY, around 8:00pm, a few days before Christmas, we had one thing in mind: find a place to stay for the night after driving from Spearfish, SD, on our way to California.  We didn’t have lodging reservations and planned on driving into whatever town we came to, then catching some WI-FI and going straight to Tripadvisor.com so that we could choose the best place to stay for our family (had to have an indoor pool!) based on customer ratings.

Now, it’s not like there are hundreds of motels to choose from in Rawlins, but based on the 20 reviews on Tripadvisor, we choose the Holiday Inn
Express which was the 2nd highest rated motel.  The reason we didn’t choose the #1 rated hotel?  We happened to be in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express so that made the choice very easy.  We were not disappointed either.  By knowing the average room rate, the fact that we saw the great photos of the pool, knew that breakfast was included and the fact that we were there late, we were able to negotiate a great deal and enjoyed our stay.

Why should marketers care?  This is only the tip of what is possible as far as online customer ratings and, even more importantly, opportunities for mobile location marketing. Say, for example, while I was jumping onto Tripadvisor.com and checking out the reviews for the Holiday Inn Express, a pop-up window came up on my laptop that said, “Thank you for using our free WI-FI.  If you come in within the next 30 minutes, we’ll give you a room for $79 and a free pay per view movie?”  As a consumer looking for a great deal, that would have been perfect!  Maybe too Big Brother?  Perhaps, but we will start to see the incorporation of more ‘social’ marketing occurring in our day to day lives and it will become more and more acceptable.  Smart businesses take note.

Consider foursquare.com where users share cool things to do and see in their hometown.  Your business wants to be listed here!  Foursquare.com is a platform that is a cross between a friend finder and a social city guide, according to the website.  It’s new but growing and should be considered.

As well, think about Yelp Monocle, the first Augmented Reality (AR) for the iPhone. Yes, business owners, perk up!  Once you shake your iPhone three times (and clap twice, and whistle once – not really, but you do have to shake your iPhone three times!), you have access to a free app that allows you to point your iPhone down the street and up pops business names, addresses AND customer generated reviews overlaid on your camera screen.  Robert Scoble, of scobleizer.com, makes some interesting comments as to why Facebook should buy Yelp during an interview with Mark Evans (Social Media Minute) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UelHjkxX-w where he talks about the concept of taking the Yelp model further with Facebook. In Scoble’s scenario, he ponders seeing businesses your friends really like – because they clicked ‘like’ in Facebook, as you point your iPhone down the street.  Imagine how interactive decision-making would be!  For example, you could be in a city 500 miles away yet see on your phone that an old high school pal of yours loved Hotel A for it’s hip bar but suggests to ask for a room away from the street while a past co-worker recommends the spicy tuna roll, at a new sushi restaurant two blocks away.  All of this from your phone and from your friends.  Will this make the static reviews from sites like TripAdvisor from ‘people you don’t even know’ seem unfriendly and old school?  Only time and technology will tell.  It’s coming and businesses, particularly in the restaurant and tourism industry to start, should take note.

Five quick things marketers can do now:

– Know where your company or product is listed online

– Set up a monitoring program for consumer online comments and input

– Respond in a timely manner to online criticism

– Encourage loyal customers to provide online reviews

– Keep up to date on new technology that can help your business.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming but the consideration and planning of online and mobile reviews and ratings should be another part of your businesses marketing mix.  Your competitors are doing it or they will be, so why shouldn’t you?

Over the last 20 years, Michelle Kane, has held leadership positions in marketing, advertising, management and process improvement and is currently the Marketing Director for the law firm of Lynn, Jackson, Shultz & Lebrun, P.C.  She contemplates daily on new media, environmental issues, human dynamics and believes that through true collaboration and commitment, anything is possible.


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