Facebook’s New Advertisement Engagement Tools are Great for Small Businesses

As a small business, it can be challenging to get noticed in the sea of other businesses. How can you make yourself heard and seen by your target audience?

Facebook announced during Small Business Week 2019 three new key features for small businesses to gain traction.

Facebook has always been a great platform to advertise businesses because of the 2.4 billion active monthly users. And now it’s even easier to use.

Here are the brand-new features for small business to take off with!

Automated Advertisements

Instead of just making a regular ad, now you can automatically create multiple versions of an ad. Up to six different ads can run across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

How does it work?

Well, this new tool provides users with some questions regarding their business and the overall objective and goal of the ad. It uses this information and creates useful suggests for Call to Action (CTA) buttons, keyword text suggestions and other creative details specific to your company’s Facebook Page.

Automated ads will save people time and effort to change the advertisements for each platform.

Embedded Appointment Bookings

Across all Facebook owned platforms, you can now embed appointment booking software.

This feature allows for customers to automatically book your services without you personally having to talk to them!

It is completely customizable for your business’ services. You can display your availability and manage any and all appointments directly. This could even go hand-in-hand with the Facebook Messenger Bots. The bots can handle the bookings too!

It’s a free service already built into Facebook. This could be an excellent option for those who haven’t already invested in a third-party appointment booking service.

Video Editing Tool

Video is the biggest drivers of engagement by far for Facebook advertisements. These posts actually get about 59% more engagement than other types of posts.

Is it time to roll of the DSLR cameras and sound board? What if you don’t have these things?

Small businesses might not have the budget for a whole production team to shoot and edit advertisements. And that’s okay, Facebook now has you covered!

The new video editing tools released by Facebook now gives the opportunity to crop, trim and add overlays to videos. For each ad, it automatically crops and trims to the correct lengths for different platforms.

While the features don’t replace the flexibility of editing software, such as Adobe Premiere, it allows for small edits to be made quickly. Some text or logo overlay may just be all you need.

The Future of Facebook for Small Businesses

So why should we care about this new update from Facebook?

Facebook is really pushing for accessibility to the resources they offer. In 2019 alone, Facebook plans to run over 200 training events.

Their goal is to train as many small entrepreneurs’ digital skills needed for the business world today. There will be online and offline events hosted to educate the masses.

Combined with Facebook’s other tools, such as the Pixel, businesses with smaller audiences can get a farther reach. An example would be using the Custom Audience tool for retargeting viewers who have watched your videos. You can provide different ads to those who watched more than 50% of the video. It allows for a better conversion rate at a lower cost.

Facebook hopes that this update, as well as the additional Blueprint courses, will help those who lack the technological resources and the budgets to get off their feet.

Targeting on LinkedIn Is the Newest Way to Grow your Audience

There are so many ways to define your audience that finding the “perfect” one for your company can be overwhelming. How do you know if you’re reaching the right group?

LinkedIn’s newly released audience targeting system could provide you with the right connections.

In early 2019, LinkedIn released an exciting new advertising model that uses three main methods to help expand your business reach and propelling your business further:

  1. Lookalike audiences, which finds people who look like the audience you already have.
  2. Audience templates based on commonly related characteristics such as job titles and skills.
  3. Interest targeting for the most relevant topics or themes to your ideal audience.

Here’s a quick introduction to how you can use LinkedIn’s targeted advertising to reach your perfect audience.

1. Lookalike Audiences

A lookalike audience is similar to your core audience with one important difference: these individuals are not completely dedicated to your brand yet. But the potential is there because they have visited your website or engaged with your mobile app.

By enticing this audience through ads that reflect their interests or professional careers, you can expand your audience and grow. Those who are already engaging in mild ways with your site are the most likely to convert and grow your business.

Getting Started with Lookalike Audiences

The best step to begin this process is to find a specific starting point within your audience and develop the group from there. It’s important to not make overly broad audiences such as “all purchasers”. How would you know if they were one-time purchasers or consistent buyers? Identify your important customers.

After you’ve identified segmentation of your core audience, determine if you want to optimize based on similarity or reach. Typically, between 1%-5% of the target demographic will find you a group closely resembling your core audience.

For reach optimization, aim for anything near 10% of the target demographic. While you are targeting a greater number of users, they will be less similar to your core audience.

Why LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences?

What sets LinkedIn apart from other companies that help develop lookalike audiences?

  • Ability to reach farther with active users and convert them.
  • Scale results not just with a wide reach but with quality conversions.
  • Find audiences you may not have considered before.

With 500 million people actively using the site and 9 million companies, you have access to a huge pool of people to expand your audience from. This software was built on their information, where people are motivated to keep their information up to date so they can network for future job opportunities.

Only active members within your target audience receive the advertisement campaigns. Meaning you are more likely to get traction on your ad from active users that are going to engage. During their pilot testing, companies were able to tailor their ads to their desired demographic and received 5-10 times more reach while still having quality customers.

Prior to any campaign launch for your business, LinkedIn has developed a system that predicts the general outcome of the ad. You can then make improvements before it goes live, which results in even more success with your campaign.

2. Audience Templates

LinkedIn provides a variety of different pre-set packages regarding their targeted advertisements. They are based on commonly related audience characteristics such as:

  • Company size, name or industry
  • Job title or function
  • Seniority level
  • Schools
  • Degrees
  • Skills
  • Fields of study
  • LinkedIn member groups

Businesses can easily begin their reach campaigns but don’t have to spend hours setting up the specifics.

3. Interest Targeting

Interest targeting is the idea that you are serving your ad campaign to people who are interested in that topic or a general theme.

The initial pique of interest, followed by content that they engage with, helps create a receptive and responsive audience. In the future, they will seek your content, products and services.

LinkedIn ads offer interest targeting based on content that users are responsive to. Relevant ads and content match a user’s interests using at least one of the 200 professional interest categories, including:

  • Arts and entertainment (music, visual arts, literature, television, and film)
  • Business and management, (company acquisitions, business funding, and human resources)
  • Finance and economy (the stock market, corporate finance and financial matters on a personal, state, or federal level)
  • Marketing and advertising (market research, advertising strategies, and brand management)
  • Politics and law (law practice, social issues, and activism)
  • Sales and retail (sales channels, lead generation, and retail merchandising)
  • Science and environment (human health, social interactions and infrastructure, engineering, and consumer electronics)
  • Society and culture (religion, family and personal relationships, and social issues)
  • Technology (biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and internet technology)

There are also sub-categories within these broad categories. ‘Top’ categories will widen your reach, while sub-categories will find you more similarity.

Finding Your Audience on LinkedIn

Ultimately, customers care about their interests. They won’t purchase something they don’t like.

Businesses can shape their brand perception and appeal to the target audiences by associating ads with the interests of the people they wish to reach. You can reach many communities through targeted interest advertisements.

LinkedIn is a platform all businesses should consider utilizing when they wish to expand their core audience and get more traction and engagement. They have made ads user-friendly for both the business and the customer.

How Smart Businesses Are Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Win Over Customers

As we increasingly shift toward a digital world, new technologies arise that promise to be the next new way to save time and money. Chatbots, specifically Facebook Messenger Bots, might be able to do just that. 

Are you interested in implementing Facebook Messengers Bots into your digital lead generation strategy? Here’s all you need to know about what they can do and how they can improve your business.  

What is a Facebook Messenger Bot?

Generally, bots are described as a program that simplifies or automates a task.  

Simply put, a Facebook Messenger Bot is software designed using artificial intelligence for automated communication with people. It reads ordinary language as structured data, which it then uses to understand and learn from. Additionally, it can store relevant information about the user. 

Bots can communicate quite seamlessly with customers using friendly and sophisticated language. Instead of calling, emailing or searching, customers can just message the bot like they would anyone else they want to reach. 

What Can Messanger Bots Actually Do? 

Providing customer service and saving customers time are the main functions of such software, but bots can be used for a multitude of services, such as: 

Customer Service and Qualifying Leads 

Bots can answer inquiries customers have and assist with issues at any time they need. For example, being able to change reservations at a restaurant or learning about redeeming points directly.  

Messenger Bots can also collect any preliminary data that the company needs from users. They can identify and advance the most qualified leads for human representatives.  

E-Commerce Transactions 

A bot can deliver special promotions and advertisementsMarketers can use the data bots to collect from a customer’s purchasing history and send the customer relevant information such as personalized coupons.  

Collect Data 

From an SEO standpoint, bots can help support organic results. They track commonly used and reoccurring searches or keywords to identify how customers phrase their inquiries. This information can then be incorporated into the site copy. This can also be used to identify frequently asked questions to form a foundation for blog content, videos, etc.  

Increase Loyalty with Customers 

One of the most important things Messenger Bots do is develop a connection and relationship with customers. Customer loyalty can be built through two-way conversations and providing helpful, relevant information to the customer. It can also build brand awareness by letting people know what your company does and what its core message is.  

Why Messenger Bots are the Future

With Facebook Messenger having over 1 billion active users every month, it is no wonder that Messenger Bots can provide a unique service for so many customers and businesses. Being able to access the audience of one of the most-used apps in the world is indispensable.

The customer builds the business, especially when it comes to customer service. And with Messenger Bots, customers can access the services you provide more easily than ever:

This mean two important things:

  1. Customers are more likely to move down the marketing funnel of your business
  2. Transactions are less likely to be dropped off

Your business will have more sales just by making things more accessible and automated.

Messenger Bots can also use the data they have stored to reengage with customers. Did the shoes they purchased fit well? Are they interested in the latest promotion that has a similar style?

Bots can deliver relevant content that is personal to the customer. They can even remind users that they sent their aunt something for her birthday at this time last year! It is with these types of interactions that loyalty and connections are formed between the customer and business.

Customization for You

As a business, you can customize everything your bot can do, right down to the questions it can answer. If you find it daunting to start setting up your own Facebook Messenger Bot, here are some tools that can help (that vary in difficulty):

Bots are still a new technology they are still learning and improving today. You will still have to monitor your bots to some degree for questions it can’t answer, and you may need to help customers understand how to use them.

By monitoring the overall experience your customers have with your bots, you can add and make changes to improve the quality of your bot which can make your business run smoother and make users happier.

4 Reasons to Include Social Media Video in Your Business Marketing Strategy

No matter what size your business or what niche you’re in, you’ll need to take social media video marketing seriously. Though it’s not the only tool in your social media toolbox, it definitely is a major one. The ability for a business to tell its story and engage its audience is a powerful sales tool, and video is helping to tell better stories.

Two men holding a laptop, editing an online video.

Video content can help businesses reach 4 specific goals:

1. Web Traffic

Social media video content is an effective way to drive traffic to your website. Video content continues to grow and drive the internet. It plays an integral part of the online social lifestyle. Demand for social media video content is continually growing on social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and especially YouTube. A successful social media video campaign will include a CTA (Call to Action), the most popular being “Visit our Website”. Other CTAs include “Learn More”, “Sign Up Now”, “Book Now”, or “Shop Now”.

Gaia.com is an online resource that streams videos about alternative health, yoga and inspirational films and documentaries. This brand knows the benefits of using video on social. Their video on Facebook had 248 shares and 6.3 M views with a clear CTA to visit their website to learn more.

2. Engagement

When social media videos showcase your brand and tell your story effectively you connect and engage with your audience. When that video content is not only worth watching but also worth sharing, you increase your audience reach.

Canadian Tire™ successfully showed its support for the Canadian Olympic team during the summer 2017 Olympics with this inspirational video that only subtly shows its product: tires. It turned out to be one of the most viral videos of 2017. It just goes to show that your businesses’ story is not just about showcasing your product. It’s also about the things your company believes in and supports.

3. Brand Awareness

More and more brands use social media videos to tell their story and give their brand personality.  It’s that personality that followers want to see, and what makes your brand stand out from the crowd. Recognition is a key element to your product’s story.

Taking a similar marketing approach as Dove™, Always™ came out with this video as part of their “Like a Girl “campaign. They used a powerful message of empowerment for women to gain attention and respect for their brand. Their campaign went on to win numerous awards including an Emmy.

4. Generate Excitement and Educate

Leveraging the power of short social media video content by creating instructional how-to videos, showing off a new product from every angle, or simply using text to tell your product’s story creates interest and excitement while getting your message across. If you create content that’s both informative and useful, you’ll create trust in your brand, and a set of loyal customers.

Today’s Parent shows off an easy Ikea™ hack using one of their products in this cheerful video with a “Back -To-School” theme so relatable to families that want to avoid the common entryway clutter.

Are you looking to optimize your digital marketing strategies using video? Contact us today and let’s get started!

7 Tired Social Media Tactics to Retire in 2019

Social media is constantly evolving, so the life expectancy of any given tactic is usually relatively short. Unfortunately, some tactics don’t seem to die when they should.

Cartoon hands holding up social media action signs.

These techniques can become a significant problem, since they’ll likely lead to a waste of resources and advertising budgets. No matter how simplistic the strategy, it still takes some level of time and effort to execute, meaning that resources spent on tired social media tactics could be re-allocated to something more effective.  

Furthermore, tactics that don’t properly reflect your brand could cause you to make unnecessary or even detrimental changes to your strategy.  

Here’s a look at 7 of the most tired social media tactics to leave behind in 2019.   

1. Gaining a Following by Following the Masses

Although this used to be one of the most popular ways to gain followers at a rapid speed, there are big problems with this technique.   

These days, consumers are increasingly selective about who they follow. You may have been able to gain followers quickly years ago by following massive amounts of people, but today, potential followers could flag you as a fake account. This will in turn hurt your brand reputation and social value 

Mass following will not work anymore. In fact, gaining followers this way will ensure that most of them don’t have any interest in your product or service, and will also lead to a feed that’s full of irrelevant posts.

2. Using Automatic, Impersonal Messages

Consumers are putting a huge value on personal contact and attachment when it comes to how they choose to spend their time and money. Obviously, no one feels attached to an automated message, especially if it’s clear that it hasn’t been modified in the slightest.  

In the past, a potential customer would hit “follow” on a brand’s social media page, and their inbox would immediately light up with an automated message to welcome them and invite them to make a purchase. However, consumers are becoming less keen on being treated like a faceless prospect.  

Instead, wait some time. Once the relationship has been fostered, and the consumer is familiar with your brand, you can then begin to send messages that may come across as promotional. Better yet, tailor your messages to each potential customer.  

3. Fluffing Posts with Backlinks

Very few people ever seek out advertisements. Most people try to avoid advertising as they scroll through their various social feeds. Quality content is important. Your content should be creative and make you stand out as a leader in your industry.  

Unfortunately, many brands tend to stuff their content full of backlinks to their products or services or fill up social posts with hashtags in hopes of attracting more attention. Both of these are drained tactics that make your content less appealing to followers. In 2019, it’s more about selling your brand by selling your authority, not your products or services.  

Offer people a genuine value in exchange for their attention, and they’ll come to you without much pushing.  

4. Publishing Duplicate Content on Multiple Platforms

Cross-posting is no longer effective. 

In past years, you may have gotten away with posting the same content across multiple platforms without any real issues. Things have changed. You can no longer cross-post without swapping out copy or content. 

Audiences are becoming more and more segmented. This year, your posts need to be optimized to each platform to maximize your engagement and customize your approach. Learn which platforms work best for your needs and how to leverage them based on your objectives.  

5. Trying Things Once and Giving Up

Advertising is an ever-evolving process. Social media campaigns take time to garner leads, and they’re not an overnight, one-time effort.  

Have you tried: 

  • Sponsored Content on LinkedIn?  
  • Video content on Facebook?  

Many people try things once, ‘fail,’ and never give them another chance. It takes time and experimenting to discover what does and doesn’t work for your brand on social media.  

If you tried LinkedIn ads and didn’t see results, perhaps it’s time to try them again and track your process to review later.  

6. Asking Users to Share Content

Remember the ‘Like and share’ campaigns popular in the past few years? This approach has gone out of style.  

Although these types of posts may appear to have an effect, most of the time, they’re not receiving any more engagement than a regular post. More importantly, they can make your brand come across as needy or desperate.  

Although this technique is still acceptable when running promotional giveaways, there are other ways to gain a solid following and potential leads.  

7. Relying Solely on Organic Posts to Reach Your Audience

The days of exclusively organic content has diminished rapidly. Social platforms – Facebook in particular – are constantly updating their algorithms to favour paid content.  

Your brand cannot simply set it and forget it. It’s important to incorporate a paid advertising strategy into this year’s marketing plan.  

Do your research. There are many variations of social media ads. When thinking about which social networks to use for advertising, look at which ones are performing well organically and go from there. 

Of course, we’re here to guide you through this year’s marketing trends. Contact us today to discuss your marketing goals. Let’s chat!  

Beyond LinkedIn: Why Other Social Media Platforms Still Matter in B2B Marketing

There’s no denying it – LinkedIn is one of the most effective tools for lead generation for B2B marketers. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only effective tool.

Sure, you may be thinking – other social media platforms only work well for B2C marketers. Well, let us explain how to look beyond LinkedIn and find out how Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can work for your B2B business.

Socual Media Marketing

Facebook

Did you know that Facebook has 16 million business pages? If your company isn’t on Facebook, you’re missing out on all those opportunities to market to millions of possible leads.

Facebook isn’t a professional platform like LinkedIn, but Medium says that “the most successful B2B companies on Facebook provide fun, interesting, and helpful posts but ensure they remain relevant to their mission statements.” This is important as many people scroll through in their timelines during down-time and engage more often than on other social media. Although LinkedIn users may be using the platform in a more professional manner, Facebook has many more eyes on their content. So, if Facebook hasn’t worked in the past, keep in mind that Facebook and LinkedIn are two different beasts – meaning they require adapted messaging.

Also, Facebook has its own advertising platform that shouldn’t go unnoticed. It garners attention from outside your follower base and can be tweaked based on your desired age range and location. Bonus: Facebook’s advertising costs a lot less than LinkedIn’s.

Instagram

According to Media One Creative, 80% of Instagram users follow business platforms. Instagram has a large following at 1 billion active accounts – and although 80% may have a clear B2C focus, even 10% is 100 million users.

Now if you’re not convinced that Instagram may be the right platform for you, even with the large user base, it is an important supportive tool. The great thing about Instagram, aside from their growing popularity, is their visual content focus. This is an opportunity to support your brand by showcasing who you are and what you stand for through a visual story. Whether it be through their different styles of ads – photo, video, and carousel, it can put a relatable face to your name.

Instagram may not be the place to push sales but focusing on creating a friendly/relatable brand face or story and make all the difference between choosing to do business with two similar companies.

Twitter

The majority of B2B marketers use twitter as a part of their content strategy – 87% to be exact. With 330 million active users per month, many businesses are taking advantage of this quick response platform. Are you?

Twitter is another excellent example of putting a face to your brand – but more specifically, a voice. A great example of this is Wendy’s. They have done an excellent job of putting a human voice to their brand. With consistent posting, a distinctive brand personality, and an immediacy in responses, Wendy’s is showing us how Twitter can be an effective social strategy. Granted, your brand personality may not need to be as “spicy” as Wendy’s, but working on creating a conversational tone, engaging with your followers, and even using a little humour, can make your brand feel more “real”.

The only catch with Twitter, is it is an extremely busy platform. Like in the Wendy’s example above, the business side of this platform requires any queries to be answered quickly. If you can keep up and not fall behind, Twitter can be an excellent supportive social tool for interacting with and landing future clients.

The Bottom Line

If you only leave with one takeaway from this article, let it be this: Don’t be self-serving – think of the content that your audience would like, and deliver “shareworthy” content.

If you’re not sure about this, Sprout Social says that a good way to know if you’re putting out good social media content is to ask yourself “If I didn’t work for this company, would I look at this post?”

Ultimately, LinkedIn may be the king of B2B marketing, but don’t forget that your strategy is strongest with supportive marketing on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Create or update your social strategy to include every social platform as an extra layer to strengthen your B2B marketing strategy and your brand.

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How Can Blogs Expand Social Media Reach?

What is a blog?

Essentially, a blog is a piece of content written for your website that keeps users up-to-date with your products, services, or industry. It can range from a small informational piece to an interview, a news story, or a post highlighting an upcoming event.  Blogs are an effective tool in expanding social media reach and should be written, posted, and shared across your social media frequently.

Crafting the perfect blog by using suitable keywords and ensuring that your blog is fully optimized is crucial. But how else can blogs work for you?

blog for social media

In this blog, we’ll teach you why blogs are an important part of your overall SEO marketing strategy and how they amplify your social reach.

1. Maintain Your Position as An Industry Leader

Publishing blog posts is one way for your business to maintain its position as an industry leader. It shows your followers that you’re interested in keeping up to date with the latest developments and that they can trust you as a reliable source of industry-relevant updates and insights.

You should aim to post a blog article at least once a week in order to maintain a presence. Blogs provide value to followers; sharing them across social media reminds followers of your expertise and know-how.

For example, if there’s a new update in your industry and a reader learns about the change via a blog post that was posted to your social profile, they’ll value your presence and likely follow your page to keep up-to-date.

2. Increase Social Referrals Back to Your Website

Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms are extensions of your blog. By sharing your blogs through these various channels, you’re expanding their potential reach and even reaching a new demographic of readers/potential customers or clients.

You’re also going to increase overall social referrals back to your website. Social referrals are the number of page views coming specifically from social networks and are composed of both paid and organic traffic. Posting website content like blogs across social platforms increases the likelihood of click-throughs to your website and thus leads to an increase in overall traffic.

3. Social Signals Improve Organic SEO

Social media marketing and SEO are interwoven strategies that produce outstanding results. Both are organic, inbound strategies that focus on building an identity that naturally attracts users.

A strong social media presence relies on high-quality content. Done properly, it can greatly increase your search rankings.

Using methods like social media and blog posts can continuously drive search engine traffic your way. Increasing your reputation on social media through increased engagement and high-quality content will lead to an overall increased brand presence. This will lead to an increase in branded searches on Google and an increased ranking for non-branded keywords.

4. Blogs Can be Broken Down into Pillars

Blog content can be used over and over again. That’s because blogs contain a plethora of information that can be broken down into pillar content and distributed in various ways across an assortment of social media channels.

For example, a blog post could be distributed across all basic social platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Next, the blog could be re-formatted into microcontent. Microcontent consists of short-form pieces of content that’s turned into memes, quotes, stories or graphics. These can then be distributed across pillars. You can then listen, engage and monitor insights to see what content is performing best.

Once you have a solid understanding of what’s resonating with your audience, you can apply these insights into more microcontent. The cycle is never-ending and all it takes to get started is a relevant, optimized blog.

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The Smart Way to Deal With Fake Negative Reviews on Google, Yelp and Other Sites

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in damage control-mode. Your business has been hit with a fake negative review on Google, Yelp, or another online platform, and you want to deal with it ASAP. Preferably by wiping it off the face of the Internet.

Fake negative reviews are all too common. It’s trivially easy to create an account on these sites and write feedback for all the world to see. For business owners who’ve worked hard to build their reputation, these types of reviews are exasperating.

It is possible to get fake reviews removed in some cases. But that’s not always the case. Dealing with fake negative reviews is a delicate process, and it’s one you should prepare for before it becomes necessary.

We’ve laid out a step-by-step process for how to deal with fake negative reviews of a business, including how to report fake reviews and what to do when removal isn’t possible.

How to Deal with Fake Negative Reviews, Step-By-Step

Dealing with fake negative reviews is easier when you have a plan of action. The process will differ between businesses, but the basic steps are as follows:

  1. Verify that the review is fake.
  2. Determine if the review violates the rules.
  3. Report the fake review through the official channels.
  4. If the review stays up, decide on the best course of action.

1. Are You Sure the Review is a Fake One?

When we say ‘fake negative reviews’, we’re talking about reviews that are either:

  • Written by someone who was never a customer, client, or associate of the business; or
  • Making claims about the business that aren’t true.

It does a business no good to conflate bad reviews with fake ones. Do your research before alleging a review isn’t genuine.

If you have a very small customer or client base, it’s easier to tell if a review is coming from someone the business has never dealt with. Otherwise, some tell-tale signs of a fake review include:

  • Review was authored by a brand-new profile with no other reviews and a sparse profile
  • Tone is overly aggressive or threatening and clearly meant to provoke
  • Language includes industry jargon that actual customers or clients rarely use

2. Does the Review Break the Rules?

Suppose the review comes from someone you know has never dealt with the business. What next?

You can tell that to Google or Yelp. Trouble is, they don’t know who your customers are. Should they take your word for it?

People don’t even need to be customers to leave a valid review; they just need a customer experience. That can mean reaching out to the business by phone or email, or dropping by the premises.

It’s seldom possible to get a fake review removed simply because the reviewer wasn’t a customer. The most promising route to taking down fake reviews is to report them for violating the site’s terms of use.

Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites each have their own separate community guidelines. In general, the following behaviour is usually grounds to report a review:

  • Demonstrably false information
  • Current or former employees reviewing their employer
  • Business owners or their employees reviewing a competitor to manipulate rankings
  • People posting the same content repeatedly, or reviewing the same business from multiple accounts
  • People claiming to represent an individual, company or organization without permission
  • Obscene or offensive language that goes beyond ‘colourful’
  • Threats, harassment, bullying, or discrimination

If you believe the review in question violates the site’s rules, proceed to step 3; otherwise, skip to step 4.

3. Will Google/Yelp/Facebook Remove the Review?

Don’t call out the reviewer as a phony in public. Go through the website’s official reporting channels. While awaiting a verdict, decide how to proceed if the review stays up.

To report a review on Yelp:

  1. Locate the review in the Reviews section of your Yelp for Business Owners account.
  2. Click the button with the three dots, then click Report Review.
  3. Submit your report.

To report a review on Facebook:

  1. Locate the review in the Reviews section of your Page.
  2. Click the button with the three dots, then click Report Post.
  3. Submit your report.

To report a Google review:

  1. Locate the review on your Google My Business page.
  2. Move your cursor over the review and click the flag icon that appears.
  3. Submit your review.

4. Should You Respond to a Fake Review?

It’s never a good idea to ignore fake negative reviews.

51% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within seven days. Posting a response gives you an opportunity to demonstrate you’re responsive to customers, even if they have nothing nice to say.

How best to respond to negative fake reviews can be tricky. It’s not smart to accuse the person outright, because it makes the business owner look petty and defensive.

A better tactic? Take the high ground. Write a courteous, professional response. The most important thing is for customers to see that the business is willing to acknowledge negativity and do something about it.

If there’s a clear sign the review is fake (talking about products or services you don’t have, or an experience that couldn’t have happened), there are subtle ways to address the discrepancy.

Don’t say, “We don’t sell ice cream, liar.” Say, “We’re sorry to hear you had a bad experience, but you may be confusing us with another restaurant, as we don’t have ice cream on our menu.”

Don’t say, “You never once used our service and we know it.” Say, “We’d like to investigate, but have no record of a client with your name. Please provide more information about your experience.”

Bad reviews hurt; fake reviews can hurt even more. But don’t give into frustration. The worst thing you can do is fight fire with fire, responding inappropriately or threateningly to someone who’s trying to bring you down.

Dealing with Fake Reviews

We’ve helped various clients navigate the process of dealing with fake reviews, and it’s never fun. But with a solid plan and a clear head, you can minimize the damage.

As always, the best way to overcome negative reviews is to surround them with positive ones. Don’t forget to let your happy customers know how much you appreciate their feedback.

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Use Google+ To Its Full Potential

At first glance it might seem as if Google+ is the underdog when it comes to having a powerful company presence on social media and the Internet as a whole.

However, Google+ is the perfect platform to bolster your business’s social media presence and overall legitimacy. This is especially through posting original content, since it is the best way to help position your business as an authority in the industry.

When it comes down to it, Google+ is Google. They use this social media network for rankings in Google by indexing every page and post. This is a major reason why using hashtags and optimizing your keywords are both essential to improving your SEO ranking.

Ensuring you use keywords appropriately on your business’ Google+ page allows for more results to appear in Google search—each post will often receive its own listing in Google. This is strong reason why you should only be posting original content on Google+. Take every opportunity to turn people towards your business!

It is also important to note many consumers place a lot of weight on business reviews, both with the comments and ratings a person leaves as part of their review, as well as the social proof the simple existence of reviews provide. Google+ gives your business the chance to have reviews appear directly in Google search results, e.g. with Google My Business, which is the best place for the reviews to gain positive attention from potential consumers.

So how can you help ensure your business has the best chances at success on Google+? Let’s review!

Relationships Through Hashtags

One of the major ways Google connects topics on Google+ is through the use of hashtags on each post. Every time you search a hashtag, you will also end up with some related hashtags—the connection between these topics is something your business can actually have a hand in teaching Google.

Consider the keywords you want your business to rank for and include two of them within each post (or at the end). Do not leave any post without a hashtag! Adding your own means you ensure the hashtags are relevant, and you target the people looking for those things, thus expanding your reach.

Targeted Headlines

Did you know the headlines you put on Google+ posts actually act as mini posts themselves? The headline is what you will see when the post appears in Google search results, which is the first thing that attracts a reader.

This is a great place to put your most important keyword for the overall post. Incidentally, this main keyword can also make for a good hashtag at the end of the post.

Use Google+ To Its Full Potential

Optimize For Engagement

There are many opportunities for engagement on Google+, such as through the commenting system, +Post Ads, and interactive posts. The commenting system, for instance, allows the commenter to easily share the post with their own followers on Google+, which greatly increases your chances of getting more comments, shares, and link clicks than if the original user only commented without sharing.

The +Post Ads gives your business the chance to change the most successful organic posts into ads Google then shows across its vast display network—otherwise known as a world of opportunity! This opens up interaction beyond Google+ itself, and allows sharing to continue long past the paid promotion period.

Want more interaction on a simple Google+ post? You have the power to automatically embed a wide variety of call to action for your audience, including: watch a video, sign up for a mailing list, make a reservation, et cetera.

Making Social Media and Content Marketing Work Together

Social media is a powerful marketing tool, helping businesses of all sizes and in all industries, reach their target audience. It’s the most effective way for a brand to connect on a more direct and personal level. While simply having a presence is good, developing a plan and tailoring your social media content to your industry and audience is the best way to optimize these platforms.  

What is Content Marketing?  

Traditional marketing tactics have become less and less relevant with the emergence of today’s digital landscape. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a “…strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”  

So, instead of traditional practices like pitching your product, content marketing allows you to provide truly relevant and useful content to your audience like video, blogs, etc. By focusing on sharing quality content on social media, a business can achieve great things.  

Building Relationships  

Posting quality content on social media can help a brand establish and build relationships with desired audiences.  

In life, the best relationships are built over time, based on mutual interests and philosophies, and grow strongest when tended to. The relationship between your brand and its audience isn’t much different.  

By doing your research, catering to your audience’s interests and producing quality content, you can build strong and long-lasting relationships.  

Amplifying Your Message  

Content marketing allows a brand to connect to its desired audience and build relationships by providing valuable information. The beauty of using social media platforms to share your content is that once it is out there, there are few limits to where it can reach.  

Brands can use social media to encourage users to share content in a variety of ways. Visual content usually gets more views, clicks, shares and likes than text-based material. So, turning that lengthy blog post into an infographic or finding the perfect image to accompany a post are two tactics that can further your content on social media.  

Quality content is meant to be shared and social media is the perfect vehicle to get your material noticed.  

Trust & Credibility  

Posting quality content on social media can help establish a brand as an industry leader and expert. 

Credibility online comes from a mixture of visibility and opinion. If your audience sees your brand out there, beyond your website, they will naturally find it more credible.  

When you take the time to educate, help and share through quality content, it reaffirms that your brand is trustworthy and credible. Using social media and content marketing in unison can significantly increase brand authority.  

Gain Valuable Customer Insights  

Brands can leverage social media to better understand consumers and gather insights to improve content. Social media has made it possible to glean information from authentic, real-time conversations that audience have with one another.  

As well, using these platforms to see what other brands are talking about lets you stay atop of industry trends. When developing quality content, it is important to develop ideas that are on trend and align with your audience’s interests – social media can help you gather these insights. 

At the end of the day, your brand should make social media and content marketing work together. By doing this you can build stronger relationships with your audience, amplify your messaging, develop credibility as a brand and gain valuable customer insights.