In today’s world, small businesses have nothing short of an extensive array of options when it comes to social networking. Five years ago, being social online was seen as something for young adults and teenagers. In 2004, Facebook was only available to a select number of college students. It did not become available for all users until 2006. Now, Facebook is not just for personal use. Individuals, bloggers, and everything from small home businesses to large corporations have a Facebook page. Another popular source for social networking is Twitter, which was also launched for all users in 2006. Twitter is now the 10th most popular webpage on the internet. These are just two examples of ways your small business should be connecting to customers.
This social networking connection provides you with a very important type of marketing: online reviews. Users are quick to share their opinion of your business with their followers and “friends.” Many small businesses shy away from this type of publicity for fear of the negative things clients will post about them but consider the alternative. First, for every bad thing you find on the internet about your business, you have the opportunity to learn and grow. Future potential customers will read the details of the reviews and research the legitimacy of the customers’ claims. For any bad reviews, contact the writer if possible and try to correct the situation if it hasn’t already been done. And always be sure to post a reply on the review so readers can see that you take customer concerns seriously.
For the greater part of your reviews though, you will find a lot of positive remarks and feedback. However, there are three things customers can say that will really give you a boost.
1. “I’ll definitely be doing business again.” When customers promise to do business again, this automatically implies that your product, service, and business as a whole are at the top of their list. When looking into a company they’ve never used before, customers will appreciate seeing that others are loyal to you. They may even hope to be loyal to you themselves one day.
2. “I can’t wait to share this with my friends.” Word of mouth marketing is truly key to your success. Any customers willing to provide free advertising for you shows that your company was worth it to them.
3. “Something went wrong but the company was amazing to work with and resolved it quickly and to my liking.” Let’s face it, things happen. We are all human so mistakes are inevitable but quickly fixing your mistakes when you are running a business is important to the future of your business. It does not hurt your image for someone to say that something broke. It will hurt your image if you do not show care and concern for these claims though. A customer review telling others just how great you were to deal with in fixing the problem is exactly what you want others to see.
Take advantage of every means of free marketing out there. There will be plenty of things you’ll need to pay for to reach out further to your customers but do not think that the lack of cost it takes to have Twitter followers or Facebook fans means these things do not have a major impact on your business.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan also specializes in writing articles about common-sense business best practices, from finding printing services to hiring accounting firms.