Do Consumers Read Online Reviews? Hold On to Your Hat!

Do Consumers Read Online Reviews? Hold On to Your Hat!

The 2013 Local Consumer Review Survey by Myles Anderson of BrightLocal was recently published on SearchEngineLand. There are several obvious and incontestable results that we can run with.

Four major takeaways from the study:

  • Far more individuals are saying that they trust online reviews as much or more in comparison to personal recommendations. A full 79 percent (up from 72 percent only a year ago!) answered by saying online reviews carry the same import if not more than a recommendation from people they know or trust.
  • Trust in online reviews is skyrocketing! An astonishing 72 percent now say that positive customer reviews make them trust a company more. This is up from 58 percent just last year! It’s abundantly clear that buyers take more notice than ever before and are trusting them more. Only 12 percent of respondents said they pay no notice of any online reviews (down from 17 percent in 2012).
  • Also, people are viewing far fewer reviews before they generate their buying decisions. Remarkably, 67 percent of consumers read 6 reviews or less, up from 52 percent in 2012. Consumers are also reading less than 7 reviews – 22 percent now vs. 35 percent in 2012.
  • It’s more critical than ever to manage your online reputation. Since people are reading fewer reviews, and basing their buying decisions on them more, it’s vital to ensure you are monitoring your online reputation carefully. Because the newest reviews are impacting the buying decisions the most, you’ll need to keep a watchful eye for anything cropping up that is negative and possibly damaging. Initiate a policy for dealing openly with negative reviews, and a complimentary system for generating new, positive reviews that drive those negative reviews further down the page and not as findable. Be sure to make these genuine, however, as people are ever more savvy when it comes to spotting fake and corporate-generated “reviews”.

Take this and run with it!

Information such as this is pure gold, and clearly actionable. Kudos to Myles Anderson and the folks at BrightLocal for this valuable and eye-opening study.


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Thought about Using Vine for Short, Sharable Videos?

Thought about Using Vine for Short, Sharable Videos?

Ever thought of using Vine for short, sharable videos for your business? If you haven’t, you should. Creating these videos is probably already within both your skill set and technology, as many are simply just using their smartphones and publishing these by the boatload.

So what is Vine?

So, assuming you’ve not yet delved into just what Vine is and just what it can do for you, here’s the short version: Vine is a video sharing platform on Twitter that enables you to create and upload 6-second videos to Twitter. So what good is a 6-second video, you ask? Well, plenty of good! Have a look at how a few companies are using Vine videos to help further their brand, promote their merchandise, and otherwise tout their business: RedVines, Urban Outfitters and Nintendo.

These companies found a way for videos to further their brand, advertise their products and services, and promote their businesses in other ways. They know that this service, which is trending incredibly hot right now, can do for them. One of the major attractions of a service like Vine is the fact that getting your content in front of people is getting harder and harder as people are less willing to take time to read. People are less willing to read, so a 6-second video is exactly what the doctor ordered, and you’d be impressed at some of the ways people are using Vine. As reported by, businesses are using them to introduce new employees, announce events, give an insider’s look into the business, and in some cases creating short commercials to demonstrate their latest product or service. offers more innovative ways to use Vine. Some of these include:

  • Recording customer testimonials
  • Recording short introductions from your company principals
  • Real estate professionals are finding Vine useful to present virtual tours of new listings
  • Restaurants are broadcasting daily specials. Picture a scrumptious plate overlaid with the link, “Click to Smell”, that takes them to the reservation desk. A lot of possibilities here!
  • Businesses are using Vine to display stunning before and after pictures

The possibilities are practically endless, and this is something that can be done quickly and make a difference in less than a day. Have a look at Vine today!


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New Foursquare Ad Platform for Small Business

Mashable is reporting that location based social networking company Foursquare is now testing a new advertising platform geared towards small business, by letting large advertisers like Burger King, Gap and Starwood Hotels to test promote themselves with the platform. These listings show up in Foursquare when a customer gets close to a business’ physical location. Small businesses already had the capability to offer discounts when a user checked in to a location, but this time Foursquare is giving them a way to attract geographically close customers by showing an image ad and/or review by a previous Foursquare user.


What’s in it for Foursquare?

Foursquare is a location-based social networking site for mobile devices, such as smartphones. Its users “check in” wherever they happen to be using a mobile website, with a text message or a device-specific app. Foursquare locates them through the GPS in their mobile device. While Foursquare has until now been an easy method for consumers to share their hangouts, favorite places and eateries, now they are allowing these places the opportunity to market themselves directly to consumers. Foursquare, while seemingly successful with more than 25 million registered users, they have been singularly unimpressive when it comes to earning money. They made a paltry $2 million last year, according to The Wall Street Journal, and are searching for ways to boost the cash flow.

How the new ads work

The way the new ad platform works is through targeting Foursquare users based on their locations and check-in histories. Merchants are able to attract nearby customers with specific tastes, say for example a hankering for Far Eastern cuisine, or simply just customers who had checked-in to their location previously. Merchants can stop their Foursquare promotions whenever they want, and the pricing for this is similar to a pay per click model, that is, they are only going to be charged on a “per action” basis (when a user actually taps on a promoted listing as opposed to merely looking at it). Initial ad prices are $0.50 to $3 per action, but that could change as it’s released to everyone. Foursquare CRO Steven Rosenblatt said, “Small businesses are willing to pay for local advertising if it makes sense.”


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How Are Businesses Using Google+

How Are Businesses Using Google+

Has Google+; become an afterthought in your social media marketing plan? When was the last time you took a look over there? You may also be asking yourself if Google+; is or ever will be a viable tool for your business. You’re not alone because many are still divided as to whether to even spend any time or effort on Google+;.

Why we think it’s worthwhile now and in the future!

It’s being shared that Google+; is now outpacing Twitter. Even though this in no way “feels” true, it quite possibly really is. Just the proliferation of Gmail and the convenience of having Google’s entire suite of web services available at the same time has probably sealed the deal. Not just that, but since Google Plus Local Listings already incorporates such small business services as Zagat, StreetView and Google+; User ratings, it has effectively replaced Yelp.

Also, Google Hangouts has a direct effect on where Google+; is headed as well. The advantage of using a Hangout, instead of perhaps Skype, to do video conferencing is a major plus (no pun intended). Yes, we know that Hangouts is still somewhat clunky and a pain to figure out, but when you do, it’s far and away the leader of the pack. Just the incorporation and automation that Hangouts shares with YouTube is worth the price of admission. (Which of course is free!)

So what are some ways businesses are using Google+;?

There are a number of uses of Google+; in your small business. Here’s just a few:

  • Build networks of like-minded individuals with Google+; Circles
  • Using #hashtags to help posts appear in Google search
  • Be sure and Link Google+; to your blog or site, and reap the Google Authorship benefit in the search pages
  • Do live video chat with Google Hangouts
  • Use tags in Google+; to reach out to people directly

To see a tremendous list of strategies and an incredible infographic for Google+;, see this post on Copyblogger. While Google+; might not enable you to get all warm and fuzzy just yet, our bet is that it’s worth the time both now and down the road!


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Should Twitter be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy?

Twitter recently announced that its paid ad platform is open to any who wish to use it. In testing for more than a year, Twitter has been gauging user feedback and refining Twitter ads. Probably the most noticeable difference in this ad platform vs. Facebook’s is that you are only charged when anyone follows your promoted account from your ad, or someone retweets, replies, favorites or clicks on your promoted tweets. So now that Twitter has ads, can it qualify as a valid alternative to Facebook? Who wins this battle?

Should Twitter be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

The Ultimate Social Media Smackdown: Facebook vs. Twitter!

Not so long ago, this would have been no contest. Facebook had it over Twitter in spades. However, now you can justify either or both. Clearly, there are numerous variables to factor into your decision of which platform to focus on, and the answer could be different for every business.

The Case for Facebook

While Facebook has become the undisputed King of social media, since it was the first huge network to use personal and business pages, in addition to a robust ad platform that frequently surpasses Google at its own game. Combine the ubiquitous Facebook pages and the reach of its network with more than a billion users and you’ve got a truly impressive platform. Facebook is now more than a site to find old friends. Now, with these elements as well as the growing groups feature, there is little more you can want from a social media platform.

Twitter’s Up

Twitter has always had the advantage when it came to immediacy, and has developed several very useful applications, such as advanced search for leads, as well as the opportunity to use embedded Tweets as testimonials. (Terrific social proof!) It’s a wonderful platform (though underused) for handling your company’s customer service. While the length of the content you can share is limited, Twitter’s speed and ability to reach out quickly have now got them breathing the same air as Facebook.

Now it’s just a matter of finding where your market is, (socially) and deciding which (if not both) are the best fit for your business!


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New Tools to Help with Mobile Marketing

As a marketing approach deeply entrenched within a fast-growing technology, we’re seeing that new tools are constantly coming around to help us either improve, keep up with, or use these new gadgets. Here are 3 new tools we’ve discovered that make a difference!


Red Stamp – Red Stamp characterizes themselves as being your modern-day social secretary. And they couldn’t be more correct! Red Stamp is a free Apple app enabling users to send wonderfully customized electronic and printed cards or notes in the blink of an eye. With lots of templates from which to choose, you are never unable when it comes to finding the perfect design or messaging to send out. Red Stamp integrates together with your contacts, and remembers your name and address. The coolest part is though, is that the cards sent via email, text or Facebook and Twitter are free! If you wish to send a printed card, it is physically mailed to the address of your choice for only $1.99 each. That’s good, because I can’t ever remember what I did with my stamps. Red Stamp is indeed a time saver!

Swipely – Essentially an online payments site, Swipely has branched out to incorporate a mobile loyalty program. Gone are the days of customers fumbling through their purse or wallet, trying to find that tiny loyalty card to the establishment they’re visiting. Swipely makes it simple with a text to join application allowing users to join with one easy text message. This type of program is invaluable for restaurants and retailers who are seeking ways to keep and win new customers. Mobile loyalty programs such as these are also great for list building, which can also expand your business. Swipely’s mobile loyalty program is free for existing customers. – More and more people prefer to text rather than talk (roughly 32 percent) found a way to fill a very real need for an affordable price. is an app that enables businesses to send and receive texts from customers via their computer, phone or iPad, everything from simple reminders to promotional sales messages. Your end users don’t even need to download the app! is completely free for the first 100 messages, and is very affordable afterward, even if you find yourself sending oodles of texts!