5 steps to help influence prospective customers
Whether you realize it or not, your current and potential customers are being influenced about their choice of dining/drinking location by factors that you may not be in control of.
2010 brought social networks like Twitter and Facebook more into the mainstream than they had ever been. 2011 and 2012 took those social networks to the next level for business and 2013 looks to be an even more prolific year for these networks. Add into the mix location based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places, coupled with review websites like TripAdvisor, CitySearch and Yelp and you may find you have your hands full keeping up with everything online.
You have a few options. You could choose to ignore these websites and dismiss them as a fad or you could pay attention to the conversation that is ALREADY taking place out there about your business. And it IS taking place. To prove this to yourself, all you have to do is Google search the name of your business and the results will most likely yield a set of reviews with star ratings as part of the results. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
The mobile savvy user now actively reviews your business while there, taking pictorial evidence in the process, leaving a tip about what was good, what wasn’t good, all the while blasting this information out to his/her legion of friends and followers.
If you have watched the fascinating short video Social Media Revolution (and we strongly recommend you do), you’ll know that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations (while only 14% trust advertisements). But what recommendations are your customers listening to? Are they positive or negative? Could the $5,000/month print marketing/advertising budget be destroyed by a handful of negative reviews? Not only is this possible, but it’s happening every day of the week.
With so much information available to prospective customers, the focus is now on you, the business owner – which means it’s your job to convince customers to try your establishment through online efforts.
Follow these steps to help influence prospective customers:
- Encourage satisfied customers to review your business online.
- Regularly search review websites for comments about your business. Even better, set up Google Alerts to notify you when a mention is made of your business.
- Stop being “Salesy” in your Tweets and Facebook posts. No-one uses social networks to be pitched at constantly. Ask yourself if the customer was sitting across the bar counter from you, how would you talk to them. See? It’s different isn’t it? Well it shouldn’t be. Be social online as if the audience was sitting in front of you.
- Engage with negative reviews by thanking them and asking if you can help make it right for them. If necessary take the conversation to the telephone for added brownie points and quicker resolution.
- Be an active participant on the social networks where your customers participate. It might have been MySpace five years ago, but it’s most likely to be Facebook today so keep up to date and earn their trust and business on THEIR terms, not just yours.
It’s time to take back control of the conversation before someone else does.