5 Social-Media Musts for a Winning ReputationSeptember 26, 2012 By: Alissa Ponchione
As a bar or nightclub owner, there is nothing more daunting than the social-media space. Each day it seems new networking sites enter the fray—and with every new iteration comes followers who are active on it. It’s not about juggling the sites as much as it is about maintaining your online reputation.
Review sites such as Yelp or social networking sites like Facebook make sure the user is in control of the content, but that doesn’t mean, as an owner, you cease it. Remember the most important thing is to be aware of what’s being said about you and responding to those reviews—both negative and positive—thoughtfully. Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s manager of local business outreach, gives advice on how to use the tools in your social-media toolbelt to ensure that a smart, savvy social-media strategy is in place.
1. Pay attention. Holloway explains that a recent study by Search Engine Land found that “85% of consumers use the Internet to find local businesses” and with a number that it’s likely to continue growing. Holloway says paying attention to what your customer is saying is key to maintain your bar or nightclub’s online reputation. “It can be rewarding to see what you and your staff are doing to make consumers happy, and it can also be helpful to receive feedback that you might want to take into consideration,” he explains “We’ve met with several business owners who go over Yelp reviews with their employees during staff meeting and implement constructive feedback accordingly.”
2. Respond to reviews diplomatically. “Generally speaking, most successful businesses place an emphasis on making sure their customers feel great after they walk out the door,” he says. “Needless to say, the offline experience you provide customers is what will dictate your online feedback.” If you choose to respond privately or publicly to reviews, Holloway reminds that as an owner you should “always take the high road. Remember, the Internet has a very long memory.”
3. Stay cool. Keep your feelings in check when reading reviews, he says. “If you find yourself getting too emotional over your reviews, you may not be the best person to respond.” Instead, he advises that you appoint an office manager or trusted employee as the point person to manage your establishment’s online presence.
4. Don’t be aggressive. “There is an important difference between aggressively asking for reviews and driving awareness about your business through platforms like Yelp,” he says. Don’t make customers feel like they’re doing the marketing for you, when you ask them to post reviews about your establishment. “That may leave some with a negative impression of your business,” he says. A better way of driving awareness would be to subtly mention to customers the review sites your business is on, but stopping short of asking for a review.
5. There is a measureable return on investment. Even if you can’t see the financial ROI, being aware of and tracking your reviews will help gauge how your business is doing and what people are saying about it. Holloway points to Yelp’s free suite of tools that they offer business owners. They can track user traffic and “show business owners’ engagement from potential customers on Yelp.” Keep up with your customers, listen to what they have to say and your business will benefit in the long run.