[RESOURCE] What To Do About Fake Reviews | A SOCi Expert Guide

Everything multi-location brands need to know about handling fake reviews online.

Reputation management is more important than ever for multi-location brands. Currently, reputation is being dictated by online reviews and social media conversations and there’s one question that we see time and time again: what do I do about fake reviews?

Now, it may seem shocking, but every once in a while… People LIE on the internet.

How can brands stay on top of this new-age of PR without digging themselves a hole or leaving the online review scene altogether? We dug in deep to find answers, asked the experts for their advice, and put together steps any business owner can follow.

FAKE (OR EXAGGERATED) REVIEWS

Almost every business has encountered a negative review in its lifetime. But what action can you take if the review is exaggerated, from someone who isn’t a customer, or worse- just plain false?

Most review platforms, including Facebook and Yelp have a “flag” option that allows for the removal of inappropriate content. So dealing with these things should be simple, right? Just click “flag” and BAM! You’re polishing up those shiny stars again.

Unfortunately, these flags are mainly meant for posts that violate community guidelines. As there’s no surefire way to discern whether or not a post is fake, most communities will opt to leave negative reviews up in the interest of maintaining the neutral stance their platform relies on to be trusted. This leaves brands in a place where they have to take matters into their own hands.

So what can you do? For starters, don’t disable your review pages or delete accounts. Reviews are a powerful tool for brands and it’s important to have control of your online presence through this medium. 80% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, making them a revenue-generating piece of your business.

Instead, we begin by determining the issue. Social Media and Reputation Management Experts like the ones at SOCi say, “You can’t control what is being posted online, but you can control where the discussion goes.”  When responding, it’s important to remember 3 things:

  1. Avoid getting defensive.
  2. Don’t feed the trolls.
  3. Take the conversation offline.

[bctt tweet=”You can’t control what is being posted online, but you can control where the discussion goes.” username=”@meetsoci”]

SPAMMY REVIEWS

Now, if your page has been spammed with fake negative reviews, there are several steps you can take. Yes, this may seem like a daunting process but experts continue to recommend taking the high-road. Here are some options to consider:

Review the community guidelines for popular review platforms here:

Facebook Pages, Google My Business, Yelp.

If a network decides to not take down these reviews, you can reach out to your customers to let them know what happened and encourage positive feedback. Although it may be tempting, do not counter-attack by posting a high volume of positive reviews. Customers will be able to sense the inauthenticity, just as you did.

SOCi VP of Enterprise Sales leaves us with these last words of advice for dealing with fake or spam reviews:

Don’t Assume a review is fake

Don’t Respond Aggressively always be professional.

Don’t Threaten with Legal Action when you are responding.

Don’t Forget to Flag the Review if the review breaks site policies.

Don’t Ignore fake or spam reviews. Take action.

Want the whole guide to dealing with fake reviews? Download it here:

[Webinar] Sink or Swim: Why Multi-Location Brands Need to Be Working With a Facebook Marketing Partner

Facebook Marketing Partners demonstrate excellence in their industry. Here’s why that matters…

Not all social media is created equally. Some platforms like SOCi have a reputation for excellence in their field that can make a big difference when it comes to your Facebook Marketing experience.

Recently, we sat down with Will Price, Director of Earned Media, and Jacob Chappell, VP of Enterprise Sales, to learn more about how Facebook Marketing Partners affect brand marketing strategy in 2018.

Why Choose a Facebook Marketing Partner?

Essentially, Facebook Marketing Partners (or FMPs specialize in all things Facebook Marketing. They are the go-to resource to optimize all aspects of your Facebook campaigns. FMPs work with your brand to offer custom solutions to your social media marketing strategy, insights into optimizations and targeting, as well as overall better technological advancements that help to bring your campaigns to the next level.

We know, when you put it that way, why would anyone choose NOT to work with a Facebook Marketing Partner? But just in case you’re not entirely sold, let’s take a look at how Facebook chooses their partners.

How Facebook Chooses Marketing Partners

Facebook vets partners for excellence by industry, country, and 1 or more of 6 specialties:

  1. Ad Technology
  2. Community Management
  3. Creative Platforms
  4. Small Business Solutions
  5. Advanced Onboarding
  6. Advanced Measurement Techniques

In addition to a fairly rigorous application process, Marketing Partners must “demonstrate excellence” in several areas including proving themselves in a specialty area in at least one major country, resources to stay current with fast-moving technology and policy changes, a transparent business model, and a track record of client success.

Facebook also considers several intangible factors including whether the company brings something new to the FMP program, is aligned with Facebook’s vision and policies, and how they maintain strong relationships with clients and with Facebook.

So Facebook isn’t just looking for partners who they view as great, but whose clients would say the same.

So Why Does it Matter?

The process of becoming a Facebook Marketing Partner comes back to one thing: demonstrating excellence.

If you’re looking for a social media solution and you’re planning to allocate budget to a platform, there’s no doubt that you want that solution to demonstrate excellence to YOU. Chances are, if that company has already shown Facebook they are worthy of partnership, they’re more likely to impress you, too.

Furthermore, the social media landscape is changing daily in 2018. Working with an approved Facebook Marketing Partner can help to ensure your company has access to three things:

  1. Personalized assistance from professionals
  2. Insider-Knowledge of future updates to the platform
  3. Access to the Facebook API

The recent API lockdown tightened security on the Facebook platform and heightened the safety of data and user information. However, this resulted in all non-FMPs getting blocked out as public API’s were shut down. Losing access can devastate marketers using the Facebook platform for campaigns, making working with FMPs more important now than ever before.

No matter what you’re looking for out of your Facebook Marketing strategy, a Facebook Marketing Partner is guaranteed to increase your success and help you find the right content, strategies, and technologies to protect your ad dollars, boost engagement, and improve brand perception on social media.

Want to learn more about Facebook Marketing Partners and how SOCi can help you streamline your multi-location social media management? Check out the full webinar here.

[Webinar] The Science of Engaging Your Local Audiences on Social Media – Automotive Service Edition

How can marketers segment one of the most diverse industries in the world?

The automotive industry’s presence on social media is one of the most varied, complex segments a marketer can look to. Because cars and automotive-maintenance are just as much lifestyles as they are monetary drivers of the service industry, their reach online extends anywhere from gearheads, to speed-racers, to design and engineering enthusiasts. This wide reach can be a nightmare for social media marketers as they try to curate and craft content that speaks to all of these audiences at once

So how can marketers for multi-location auto-service brands scale their efforts to reach local audiences more effectively? SOCi experts Jacob Chappell and Will Price discuss in a new webinar titled The Science of Engaging Your Local Audience Using Social Media – Automotive Edition.

 

The State of Automotive on Social

Let’s take a look at some numbers. As of May 2018, these are the top Instagram hashtags for the auto industry:

#cars – 31,597,020 posts

#carporn – 15,389,070 posts

#motorcycle – 12,577,802 posts

So what does success on social media look like for the automotive industry? Jacob and Will gave us some insight into how fans interact with their favorite brands on social.

 

Subaru USA uses their specific fanbase to provide them with user-generated content that sparks conversations between other members of the “club” who love their Subaru. By cashing in on their already strong brand loyalty, they have garnered a network of 443k followers on Instagram.

 

The Twitter account @BadF1Stats plays on the “in-the-know” aspect of their audience to develop jokes that only members of the F1 subculture will understand. Playing on this feeling of exclusivity only adds to the fun.

 

Facebook is where multi-location businesses really have the opportunity to shine with the content they share. Through highlighting important information using Facebook’s “pinned” feature, as well as re-sharing content from your local audience and by posting content relevant to your local audience, you’re creating a community on your local page, rather than just gaining ghost followers who never interact with your business.

 

Social Media is a Service Industry Necessity

In addition to providing branding opportunities, social media also connects customers with other potential consumers through online reviews. Online reviews are essential to the success of multi-location service-industry businesses. For example, half a star difference on Yelp can increase business by 27%. When your business is providing great service to the local community, the more people you can reach with positive reviews, the better. 80% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, making this kind of feedback vital to your business.

 

Through visual highlights, location tagging, and hashtags, auto-service providers also have the opportunity to take part in their community online. This creates the kind of loyal following at the local level that leads to major brand success down the line like we see with AutoZone’s #getinthezone campaign. Think of it as the grassroots strategy to social media success.

 

How to Establish Your Social Media Profiles

#1: Your Username – Enter the name you want to be found under in search

#2: Profile Picture – Best practice is to use your business logo

#3: Your Cover Photo – Get people familiar with your location! Use a hero-image of where you are that will be recognizable to your community.

#4: Your Bio – If you have corporate specified language- don’t break the mold.

#5: Privacy Settings – It may seem obvious, but make sure your profile is public

Once you’ve got the basics set up, you can boost the appearance of your social profiles in small ways throughout the year. Creating seasonal cover images, adding contact and review buttons, and creating buzz with ad campaigns can show customers that you’re actively using your social media profiles and encourage their engagement on your page.

 

The automotive service industry has great opportunity to shine on social media. Want to learn more about engaging your local audience online? Check out the full webinar.

[Webinar] The Rebirth of Content Engagement

It’s a new age of content for brands on social media.

So… Remember when we declared the death of Facebook’s organic reach? Well, we still stand by that. However, we recently decided we should clarify a few things.

Jacob Chappell and Will Price got together to teach brands about the Rebirth of Content Engagement on social media. No, we haven’t gone crunchy on you, but things aren’t as doom-and-gloom as they once appeared.

Brands shouldn’t be looking at the recent algorithm updates as a death sentence, but an opportunity! We know… It sounds like something your mom would say about, “trying hard and believing in yourself,” but let’s face it… Your mom was always pretty smart.

Essentially, the updates boil down to a chance for brands to rethink the way they’re using each social media platform individually. There are new big-players online (Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) that are allowing companies to target new audiences in more specific and relatable ways. We see it over and over again that when a brand really gets their audience, their social media success soars. The same is true for multi-location brands who connect with local audiences, rather than trying to reach a national audience who isn’t likely to become a customer in the first place.

Chief Revenue Officer at SOCi, Warren Kay, puts it like this, “I like to think of the Facebook update like the encyclopedia. You rarely pick up the encyclopedia to read the entire thing. But you will go to a particular part of it that is of interest to you. Essentially that’s what Facebook is doing to your timelines.”

The reality is, most content engagement is happening on local pages, not on corporate brand pages. Relying on brand power to attract engagement is a formula for failure. Brands need to be focusing on a content strategy that encourages participation at the local level through comments, shares, and great reviews.

[bctt tweet=”Relying on brand power to attract engagement is a formula for failure. ” username=”meetsoci”]

Chances are, you’re seeing at least one of these types of engagement on your page, but if you’re looking to boost them (and you should be) there are several ways you can start building these connections as soon as you hit “enter.”

The 5 R’s of Engagement on Social Media

Content doesn’t have to be a mystery. It may be harder to “go viral” now, but viral posts don’t necessarily equate to more traffic to your locations. By taking part in the online conversation, going local with your content strategy, and creating the kinds of posts your audience wants to share and comment on, you’re setting yourself up for social media success in the current climate.

Yeah, it may be easier said than done. But think about your fans. Put yourself in their shoes. Before posting anything, ask yourself, “Would I read this? Would I share this with my friends? Why do I care about this?”

Ready for more? Watch The Rebirth of Content Engagement now.

[Webinar] The Secrets to Local Social Media Management for Your Franchise

78% of consumer purchasing decisions are influenced by social content.

In case you didn’t know, we’re pretty into social media content around here. More specifically, we’re interested in effective social media content. Trust us, there’s a big difference. (We know, groundbreaking stuff here.)

Essentially, social media has changed the landscape of the franchise industry by giving individual businesses a localized online presence. Corporate content has taken a backseat to a more audience-focused strategy that relies heavily on the reputation of franchise locations rather than their overall brand voice.

Industry professionals, Jacob Chappell (SOCi) and David Card (Street Fight) shared their thoughts on this subject in SOCi’s webinar, The Secrets to Local Social Media Management for Your Franchise. Check out the full recording here:

DID YOU KNOW: The franchise industry is slated to grow for the 8th consecutive year in 2018. Additionally, the industry, on the whole, added 250,000 new jobs in 2017 alone. Combine this ever-growing industry with 3 Billion active social media users and the result is a now massive network of content, reviews, and conversations around your business.

Social media has actually surpassed SEO and AdWords for generating new business. And the top contender? Referrals. 88% of people trust an online review just as much as a personal referral, meaning that every time your brand is mentioned on social media, an audience is listening.

A staggering $41 BILLION is lost by US companies every year due to poor customer service. Now that these experiences are taking place in front of an entire digital network, franchise locations no longer simply have the option of participating in their social media strategy, they MUST if they want to survive.

So, how can your franchise locations compete with the noise and stay on top of these online reviews?

  1. Know how to respond – keep it polite, professional, and if possible, take it offline.
  2. Respond in a timely manner – reply to all reviews, positive or negative, within 24 hours of posting.
  3. Keep reviews relevant and recent – if you know a customer has had a great experience, it’s the perfect time to ask for a review!
  4. Turn fans into advocates -Reach out to followers and ask them to spread your good word across their social sites

Franchise locations should also start looking at ways to grow their social audience in order to reach new customers and potential advocates.

Question: I don’t have a big Facebook following and my business doesn’t get much engagement from the platform. Should I even spend time on it?

Jacob’s answer was a resounding YES. From an organic perspective, sure, you’re reaching your small network of followers who may turn around and tell a friend or two about your business. Even that would be reason enough to stay with social. However, from a paid perspective, as you invest more dollars into your social media budget, you’ll watch that reach extend to customers who may have never been part of your network to begin with who can then turn around and become advocates to their network of friends and family— this reach can have an exponential effect that should not be ignored by even the smallest of franchise locations.

Franchise social media success relies on participation, not just from corporate offices, but from individual locations who connect with consumers on a daily basis, both online and in the real world. Ready to learn all the secrets to social media management for your franchise? Watch the entire webinar now.

Sources:

  1. https://www.vendasta.com/blog/how-to-respond-to-online-reviews
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-number-of-users/
  3. http://www.winmarkfranchises.com/blog/2018/february/how-does-franchising-impact-the-national-economy/
  4. http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/03/01/social-media-use-in-2018/
  5. https://www.disruptiveadvertising.com/social-media/facebook-marketing/

[Webinar] The Science of Engaging Your Local Audience on Social Media— Restaurant Edition

Learn to start using social media to turn customers into loyalists and advocates in this new webinar.

When was the last time you looked up a restaurant online? Over the weekend? When you were looking for a “special occasion” spot? Perhaps you saw a mouthwatering picture of a slice of pizza, looked up the place closest to you with the best reviews and a killer happy hour special, and decided, “Yeah. it’s time for some pizza and beers.”

If this sounds familiar, you’re part of the 80% of people who now look up a restaurant online before dining. Social Media and review sites have become a staple of the restaurant experience.

What does this mean for you as a franchise owner? Our latest webinar, The Science of Engaging Your Local Audience on Social MediaRestaurant Edition, will walk you through the current state of restaurant franchises and how social media is now the ultimate tool for customer attraction, retention, and loyalty.

Join SOCi’s Jacob Chappell and Will Price, as they walk through exactly how franchise restaurants can engage their local audiences on social media across 10s, 100s, and even 1000s of profiles.

Did you know? A whopping 68% of adults are on Facebook, 91% of whom also use Instagram. That’s 1.69 BILLION people. As of March 2018 there were 264,371,677 posts using the hashtag “food” on Instagram, a number that’s growing every minute. The posts span all types of food from the fast to the fancy, just look at the top 3 most posted cuisines:

#steak – 8,432,782 posts

#sushi – 20,507,036 posts

#pizza – 31,304,595 posts

 

Food is so popular on social media that it is no longer a marketing option for restaurants, it’s a necessity. 69% of millennials take a photo of their food before eating it, meaning every meal is an opportunity to make a connection with a potential brand ambassador who can start promoting your business online.

Easy access to online reviews boosts ratings, which increases the level of trust owners can build within their local audience. Business increases 27% with only half a star’s difference on Yelp, making social one of the biggest influencers of restaurant decision making.

 

In this webinar, we talk hashtags, stories, going “live,” and perfecting your business profile in order to attract the attention of the customers you want. You’ll get our 2018 predictions for organic and paid content, as well as learn the channels that can make the biggest impact on your business.

 

Remember: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal ones.

 

Ready to learn more? Listen in now.

[eBook] Using Social Media to Manage the Reputation of Your Franchise Locations

90% of surveyed consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand.

 

Ninety. Nine-Zero. Out of 100. It’s no exaggeration to say that customers now expect service via social media. And franchises in today’s modern social media landscape need to understand how to effectively connect with their target consumers, especially across 100s and potentially 1000s of profiles all over the globe. But how? How do busy franchisors and franchisees authentically connect with audiences expecting customer service, especially at the local level?

It’s certainly no easy task, but luckily, there’s a resource now for just this purpose.

DID YOU KNOW: When it comes to online reviews and social media posts, customers are 50% more likely to share a bad experience than a good one. This means emphasis must be placed on a cohesive and well-rounded social media and reputation management strategy; one that spearheads how many franchises need to start doing business in 2018.

The One-To-Many or Network Effect

 

Social media has created, what we call, the Network Effect. Essentially, social media has become an even more powerful platform where customers can share their opinions, have them validated by friends and family, reshared, sparking new conversations, until, essentially, everything, everyone, and every conversation is connected.

In our most recent eBook, Using Social Media to Manage the Reputation of Your Franchise Locations, our social media franchise experts outline the steps to social success for multi-location businesses, and how they can effectively manage their reputation across 100s and 1000s of social media profiles and pages. As you begin to further understand how to manage your online reputation, you’ll start to notice patterns in customer behavior and find that a bad review handled correctly can be just as meaningful to your business as a good review.

READ ALSO: How one franchise coffee shop managed their brand on social media to grow!

Today’s customers are looking for a great experience overall and your social strategy can be a key player in turning bad or even neutral brand experiences into great, memorable ones.

Start developing a smart social media system that works for your franchise locations and download Using Social Media to Manage the Reputation of Your Franchise Locations today!

[Webinar] The Death of Facebook Organic Reach & What it Means for Multi-Location Brands

The Death of Facebook Organic Reach & What it Means for Multi-Location Brands

The Death of Facebook Organic Reach & What it Means for Multi-Location Brands

In case you’ve been without Internet, holed up in a cave, or somehow just missed the biggest news of the Social Media world since the invention of the Like Button, Facebook recently made some changes that mean big things for businesses using the social media platform.

Recently, The Local Search Association hosted SOCi’s CRO Warren Kay who walked through the recent Facebook algorithm update in detail. Give it a listen below. 

Essentially, the Facebook 2018 update means big things for multi-location brands that were used to using metrics such as Likes and Reactions as a way to track content performance. While those indicators are now basically null and void, the update goes on to highlight:

Facebook 2018 Update

When you sit back and think about this, it’s actually a good thing for the Facebook experience. While many have come out and said this is a death knell for brands and publishers, it just forces you to think harder and be more cognizant of what you are posting to your location-level pages. Here are a few things to consider regarding the Facebook update:

Want to learn more about how your multi-location brand can navigate the new waters of Facebook? Give our latest webinar a listen and find out!

And remember: Meaningful content will always reign supreme!

Facebook 2018 Update

The Top 10 Resident Complaints (and How to Respond to Them)

Addressing resident complaints and managing your property’s reputation.

Keeping residents happy and retention up is a main goal of any property manager. Happy residents pay rent, leave great reviews, and generally make great tenants. However, as property managers know, there will always be complaints to address in order to keep resident satisfaction high. J Turner Research recently compiled a list of the Top 10 Resident Complaints. Check it out:

Top 10 Multifamily Apartment Resident Complaints:

  1. Rental rates
  2. Poor grounds/common area upkeep
  3. Disorganized staff/lack of communication with staff
  4. Quality of response to maintenance requests
  5. Overall customer service of management staff
  6. Quality of parking/parking availability
  7. Concerns over security/safety/lighting
  8. Lack of upgraded amenities
  9. Pets not on leash/poor pet waste removal
  10. General lack of preventative maintenance

Nothing too surprising here, right? Residents like affordable rent in a put-together community where they can rely on management and maintenance. It sounds so baseline.

But what we see from the top 10 resident complaints is a pattern— 8 out of 10 of these issues can be solved with the magic c-word: communication. 50% of residents are more likely to share a negative experience on social media, so it’s important to stay tuned into the conversation happening around your property and read between the lines of complaints to find out how to best serve your residents.

Keep in mind that every situation is unique and a personalized response can make all the difference in these awkward situations. SOCi Service Expert Marilyn says, “We’re not able to control what is posted, we can control where the conversation goes.”

Read and respond to every complaint made by a resident. When responding, make sure you are addressing the issue in a personal way, while remaining professional and offering to take the conversation offline to be dealt with face-to-face. Residents are often looking for their voice to be heard, rather than trying to destroy your reputation, so try not to take complaints personally and work together to find a solution that benefits all parties and address concerns in an up-front, transparent way.

For more information on creating your go-to formula for dealing with customer complaints, check out this SOCi Playbook where you’ll find everything you need to know about resident issues and helpful tips and tricks for communicating with your tenants, retaining them as renters, and managing your online reputation.

Want to learn even more about rewarding residents and increasing retention at your properties? Check out this webinar hosted by SOCi and Modern Message for an in-depth look at resident habits, fostering relationships, and developing loyalty in your community.

Big News for Multi-Location Brands on Instagram

Changes to the Instagram Graph API Mean Big Things for Brands with Multiple Locations

2018 started with Facebook giving social media managers a case of the cold-sweats. It seems Instagram is here to make it up to them with a key Graph API update.

On January 30th, the photo-sharing app announced a Graph API update that will allow select platform partners to implement seamless content scheduling workflows to Instagram business profiles without requiring the user to publish with the Instagram mobile app. Thanks to this update, brands and franchises can now, “schedule posts, view posts they’ve been tagged in, and view other business profiles.” SOCi has been selected as one of the first Instagram and Facebook partners to implement this very important update. 

As always, we want to take a deeper look into what this means for multi-location brands posting content on Instagram and how you can take advantage of this new update.

A Curated Look At Your Multi-Location Brand

Curated. More and more we’re hearing this word in relation to Instagram feeds. What started off as a real-time, “look-at-what-I’m-eating” app has evolved into its own visual medium for artists, models, and brands alike to grow a following by presenting a finely-tuned look at their brands. With the new update, everything changes. Brands can adhere to their regular social media broadcast schedule and create content for specific holidays and promotions, while styling their images in a more thoughtful, cohesive manner that draws in followers and creates a more positive brand association.

While scheduled posts are the biggest announcement of this update, they are certainly not the only new dish Instagram is bringing to the table. The Graph API update streamlines a brand’s scheduling flow by reducing the number of steps it takes to publish. This makes it more efficient than ever to secure their online reputations and stay in-tune with the conversations happening around their visual content. These features allow for better overall content planning now that brands can better understand the types of posts that resonate with their followers on Instagram. The best part: the update removes the need for employees to share login credentials for account access— it can now be accessed via the marketing platform partner your business relies on for posting.

Will SOCi Support the Graph API Update?

Good news! SOCi will be implementing the changes to their platform in early February so that all users can take advantage of the features. After this functionality goes live, you’ll be able to schedule and publish posts from SOCi to Instagram completely seamlessly, without any need for apps or manual publishing on your mobile device.

Not to toot our own horns, but SOCi recently won the 2018 Street Fight Local Visionary Award for Best New Solution for Multi-Location Retailers. Multi-location companies using SOCi can be confident that they will benefit greatly from the changes to Instagram and SOCi as they have even more control over posting schedules, social account management, and reputation management, all from one convenient platform.

“This is an exciting time for multi-location brands utilizing Instagram,” SOCi’s CEO and Founder Afif Khoury says. “By being able to reduce the number of steps it takes to post to Instagram, SOCi makes it more efficient for brands to increase their reach, build new fanbases, and spread their presence further across social media. We are very excited to be among the first social media software platforms to implement this functionality and important update.”

Interested in a solution for your multi-location social media channels? We’d love to get in touch and show you the best solution for your business.