Tag Archive: digital marketing

  1. Facebook Best Practices for Businesses

    Marketing on Facebook continues to evolve before our eyes. With the most recent and seemingly ongoing algorithm changes, agencies and marketers are being forced to roll with the proverbial punches as they navigate the uncertain waters of drafting paid and organic content strategy plans and tactics for each new quarter. Businesses are constantly being challenged to increase followers, foster engagement, (ultimately) generate leads, and stay competitive and relevant amongst the changes that Facebook continues to throw our way. All this in an attempt to justify ROI and ensure that the platform is benefiting the business.

    So, what does it take to succeed on Facebook and see results from tireless efforts and the countless (billable) hours of content development and paid ad spends? Starting with a solid foundation and getting back to basics can help answer this question. Throughout the year we’ll be identifying best practices on each platform to assist in your marketing approach to help put (or keep) your strategy on the right track.

    But first, let’s dive into the top five practices your business needs to master in order to get the most out of Facebook marketing.

    Facebook Best Practices

    • Know Your Target Audience: Utilize Facebook insights or a third-party social media management app to get to know your audience demographic inside and out. Doing so will help you focus on developing content and advertising for those who are most likely to engage with and benefit from your brand.
    • Keep It Short and Sweet: Keeping your audience’s attention is critical. When developing content for Facebook, you want to keep in mind that your sole purpose is to educate, inform and entertain your audience about your brand with the objective of increased brand engagement or conversions. While the Facebook character limit caps out at 500, sources suggest maintaining characters at 100 or less. Let the visuals do the talking through dynamic images and videos. Also, remember to keep the hashtags at bay.
    • Be Engaging: This holds true for both the type of content that you post and when responding to your customers. Asking open-ended questions, posting interesting and fun live videos related to trending topics–these are the cornerstones of content tactics on the platform as they exist today. Being social on social media and communicating with your audience is what develops trust and loyalty, inviting referrals and new customers to buy into who you are as a brand and what you can do for them.
    • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: Taking chances on social is an approach countless brands are making to differentiate themselves from the competition and garner interest and intrigue. Utilizing the tools that boost organic engagement (Facebook Live, anyone?) will put your brand and spokespeople on center stage to reach your audience in the moment with live chats and behind-the-scenes moments exclusive to your brand. Giving users a sneak peek into what you’re all about humanzies their experience and interaction with your brand.
    • Pay to Play: Even with the recent changes to the algorithm, paid advertising on Facebook continues to be one of, if not the most, beneficial and measurable forms of digital advertising. With over two billion users, the opportunity to develop brand loyalty and awareness and eventually acquire new customers and conversions is staggering.

    Knowing your audience, keeping your messaging concise, engaging your fans, experimenting with live streaming, and dabbling in the Facebook Ads platform are all perfect ways to leverage the power of this social media behemoth. Even through the recent controversies over suspicious data collection practices, Facebook will continue to be a valuable resource well worth leveraging for years to come. With these best practices in mind, your business can craft content that breaks through the marketing filter and reaches fans on a more personal level than ever before.

  2. Findsome & Winmore Announces Plans to Occupy and Remodel 8,000 Square-Foot Building in Winter Park

    Orlando digital marketing firm enlists help of local clients to relocate headquarters ahead of anticipated agency growth

     

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients find and win new customers, announces today plans to relocate its headquarters to an 8,000 square-foot, full building located at 1550 South Lakemont Avenue in Winter Park. This announcement comes as the company prepares for continued strategic growth in 2018 and beyond.

    In searching for and finalizing the purchase of its new space, Findsome & Winmore enlisted the help of clients Foundry Commercial, Fountainhead Commercial Capital, and Sloane & Johnson. Additionally, Baker Barrios Architects, another Findsome & Winmore client, will oversee the remodeling of the building.

    “We have always considered ourselves to be an extension of our clients’ teams, so involving them in the process of finding our new home was very special for us, ” said Matt Certo, CEO and principal at Findsome & Winmore. “With their assistance, we have found a space that will not only allow us to grow our agency significantly over the next 18 months, but will also provide our team members with a creative, interactive environment they can thrive in. We thank Foundry Commercial, Fountainhead Commercial Capital and Baker Barrios Architects for their continued, invaluable insight as we embark on this journey.”

    Findsome & Winmore’s decision to relocate its headquarters comes just two years after the company expanded its current office space, increasing office capacity from approximately 15 people to 25 people. Now, the company is moving to a building that will sustain its steady growth trajectory while permitting extra room for a kitchen, coffee bar, multiple meeting spaces and more.

    In 2017 alone, Findsome & Winmore’s growth involved the onboarding of multiple new clients, including Virgin Produced, Tijuana Flats, Children’s Home Society, onePULSE Foundation, Park Square Homes, and more.

    Following a five-month construction period, the Findsome & Winmore team will relocate to its new office in May 2018.

  3. Findsome & Winmore Continues Momentum In Third Quarter of 2017

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients “find and win” new customers, completed a successful third quarter with the addition of new employees and new projects for clients. The company, which is currently in its fourth quarter, announced today the addition of a new client within the real estate industry and the completion of two client rebrands.

    Park Square Homes, a residential real estate company, enlisted Findsome & Winmore for various services including public relations, website maintenance, and digital marketing. Additionally, the agency completed rebrands for Bourne Financial Group, a real estate private equity company, Spectrum Global, a telecommunications firm, and Tews, an employment agency. Both Tews and Bourne Financial Group also hired Findsome & Winmore to create their respective company websites.

    “We are pleased to know that our clients continue to put their trust in Findsome & Winmore in their digital marketing endeavors,” said Matt Certo, chief executive officer of Findsome & Winmore. “We had a very solid third quarter and are looking forward to ending 2017 on a high note, with additional clients and new projects. As we move through our fourth quarter, we anticipate helping even more clients find and win new customers.”

    Findsome & Winmore also added three new employees to its growing team with backgrounds in creativity, marketing and public relations. Moreover, the company continued to expand its content presence through its email marketing series, entitled “Marketing Tip Monday,” providing subscribers with tips on an array of business growth topics, http://www.marketingtipmonday.com

  4. The Roll Out of Twitter’s Increased Character Limit

     

    Soon, we could all be saying goodbye to the days of reading and re-reading our would-be tweet to find out what words are actually necessary to convey our important thought. In a surprise update, Twitter has announced it will begin to roll out a 280 character limit to some users, doubling the original 140 character limit.

    The micro-blogging platform provided some pretty sound reasoning for the update, namely, equality across languages. Users who tweet in Japanese, Korean and Chinese are able to convey more information using fewer characters. In other words, they can say twice as much while using half the characters as users who tweet in most other languages. According to Twitter, Japanese users hit the character limit only about .4% of the time while 9% of tweets in English use all 140 characters.

    How does this change the way we use the platform?

    Twitter will always be about brevity, but the 140-character limit was conceived at a time when flip phones and SMS messaging reigned. As society has moved on to smartphones and data plans, the platform has been hesitant to adapt, slowing user growth, and scaring away some investors.

    This shift to an increased character limit will hopefully invigorate user growth on the platform, leading to more meaningful and engaging conversations between users.

    The formula is simple:

    This increase is especially helpful for brands that routinely feel the pain of links depleting their already scarce character count within tweets. While links will still count toward the character limit, an increase from 140 to 280 characters leaves more room for brands to tweet without skimping on their message or leaving out an important link.

    So this sample tweet about our client:

    We are loving all of our new apparel options. Are you? Shop the collection and show the world that #WeWillNotLetHateWin http://bit.ly/2r9qft0

    No longer has to be this:

    We are ❤️ all of our new ?? options. Are you? Shop the collection & show the ?  that #WeWillNotLetHateWin http://bit.ly/2r9qft0

    Social media is a constantly updating medium, so, only time will tell if this change becomes the official standard, and for how long. For my money, the promise of major benefits and ease of use for countless users around the world just might make Twitter’s increased character limit a big winner by allowing people and brands more “real estate” to get their messages across. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a close eye on whether this change is worth a “like.”

  5. Email Design 101: Tips for Better Email Marketing

    email design

     

    We’ve all been there. You go to check your email and BAM, that eyesore of an email newsletter comes through and you immediately want to unsubscribe from ever receiving it again.  

    No one likes to read a lousy, long email, so how can you prevent yours from being categorized as one? We’ll walk through the steps to ensure that you are on top of your email design game so that you can send something to your audience that is worthwhile and engaging.

    Why is Email Design Important and How Can It Play a Factor in My Overall Results?

    If your email design isn’t easy to follow, chances are, your audience will quickly “x” out and possibly unsubscribe from your emails completely. Your email design should help navigate users to main call-to-action (CTA) areas of your email. Ask yourself, “What are the most important parts of my email and how do I attract users to these specific buttons or articles?” When you address these questions in your email design, you’re promoting areas of clickability, which help your overall click-through ratings. Another item that is often forgotten is linking your imagery and headers. You wouldn’t believe the number of areas where your users will click. It’s important to capitalize on this in order to make your email as engaging as possible. This practice also prevents users from being able to download your imagery.

    Check out this feature example showing the number of clicks (green bubbles) our newsletter, HOT AIR, received on its June 2017 issue. Users clicked on every available link, especially imagery.

    email design

    Design for Your Audience, Not (Necessarily) You

    Understanding your audience and clientele will help determine what works and what doesn’t work. Not everyone wants to read pages of your company updates and read about Suzy Q’s birthday (sorry Suzy). Think about what they’re looking for and design for that. Keep your content quick, easy, and on point. Information that is highly visual, easy to read, and of interest to the user are emails that tend to perform very well.  

    Beyond design, emails that produce positive results are ones in which the user knows what they’re signing up for and can expect the type of information they receive.

    What We Can Learn from Recent Email Design Trends

    • The use of GIFs

    With our current HOT AIR newsletter, we’ve incorporated a moving hot air balloon to provide playfulness and visual appeal to our newsletter logo:

    email design

    We’ve even changed it to incorporate the holidays:

    email design

    Nike does a great job of employing this tactic into their emails by taking snippets of their video content and turning them into GIFs. The one shown below was created to inspire Crossfitters to buy their equipment:

    • Clean design:

    Mineral Emporium: 

    email design

    • Using color & large imagery

    Handy:

    email design

    Elements of Creating a Clean Email Design

    Have clear CTAs. Buttons that are descriptive and visually clear:

    email design

     

    Keep your content brief and to the point. If you provide all of your answers in your email, then why would anyone click for more information? Keep in mind, your objective is to have users engage. Give them just enough to interest them in hearing more about what you’re discussing:

    email design

     

    Providing imagery will keep users intrigued.  Full-width imagery is a trend for 2017 and 2018:

    email design

     

    The result? It could look something like this clean and intriguing design:

    email design

    Email Design Done Better

    If an email is not aesthetically pleasing or not easy to read, the likelihood of having a good open rate or click through rate will be slim. In addition, you may have users opt-out of your audience list. Email, after 30 years, continues to be the king within your marketing deck of cards as it allows you to interface directly with your audience and not be hidden amongst an ever-scrolling social media news feed. Make sure you put the time and thought into designing not just for your brand’s needs, but, for your users interests too. The end result may surprise you.

     

  6. How to Go Viral: The Science and Social Media Behind Creating Online Epidemics

    How to Go Viral

     

    It hits you when you least expect it. There you were, picking up your annual report from the printer when you notice a few of your coworkers crowded around Bob-from-accounting’s smartphone. Intrigued, you peer over their shoulders.

    “What are you all watching?”

    “Wait, you haven’t seen this yet?”, a coworker jeeringly asks, “It’s SodaStream’s new ad campaign with Paris Hilton.”

    Oh yes, you had seen it. How could you not? In a matter of days, every one of your social feeds was inundated that ridiculous video, featuring a reality star trying to vaguely sell you that odd contraption you pass by at the superstore. Despite the video’s vague, soft sell of the actual product, it worked–they gained your curiosity and your attention.

    The video in question is quite perplexing. One drop of a miracle liquid is said to have the hydrating effect of one full glass of water, putting an end to the disastrous environmental effects of plastic bottles. The claim is preposterous, but you are thirsty for more information and follow the link to purchase a SodaStream, the in-home soda and sparkling water maker.

    The question is, how did a campaign that was intentionally misleading and only tangentially related to the actual product become so pervasive on social media? Why do some campaigns go viral and others never seem to reach the ever-important untapped target audience? There really is no one-size-fits-all solution that will tell you how to go viral. However, successful viral marketing campaigns have a few commonalities that can be replicated and turn ripples into waves. Viral marketing campaigns act very similarly to their etymological counterparts, viruses.

    • Attachment: Viruses are useless without their host and must identify, then attach themselves to a living cell in order to reproduce. If you want your social media campaign to spread, you must identify, and “attach,” to the target audience who is most likely to engage and spread your message.  

      In the case of Soda Stream’s campaign, their target audience was the environmentally conscious and social-media-obsessed millennial. SodaStream not only ensured that the subject matter, messaging, and aesthetics of their campaign appealed to their target audience but also understood the economics of that audience. SodaStream understood that a larger portion of the millennial audience is beginning to acquire more disposable income to spend on products they want, instead of just need. To put it bluntly, SodaStream’s Nano Drop is essentially how to go viral 101.
    • Entry (Into the Market): In order to spread, viruses must enter an unsuspecting host cell by penetrating the protective membrane and then releasing the nucleic acid that will facilitate further growth and development.

      In order for a social campaign to penetrate the market and begin proliferating the brand’s message, one must take the information gathered in the stage above and ensure that it is released at the most optimal time. Start too soon and the message will fizzle, too late and you’re simply riding in the wake of someone else’s success.

      Timing is vital. If you want your campaign to go viral, you have to be willing and able to follow and seize the opportunity that comes with popular trends at a moment’s notice. SodaStream understood that millennials LOVE their reality stars, past and present. SodaStream also understood that millennials value brands that are environmentally conscious. By taking a non-essential product, packaging it with a socially conscious mission, and using a pop culture icon to spread the word in a tongue in cheek way, SodaStream capitalized on phenomena particular to the times we are living in.
    • Replication and Assembly: Once a virus penetrates the host cell it must replicate to ensure it spreads. In order for social media content to go viral, just like the virus, it must be replicable. In other words, it must not only attract the attention of the audience but also be engaging enough for it to be shareable.

      All viral content on social media has one thing in common: It’s enjoyable enough that users want to share it with the rest of their peers. This piece is vital. Unlike most traditional marketing tactics, the success of viral content is not rigidly tied to the amount of money behind the campaign but rather the intrinsic likability of the subject matter. It’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about creating the right content that moved the company’s target audience to like and share the content for FREE.

    The bottom line is, the question should NOT be how to go viral, but how to produce beneficial and relevant content that appeals to your target audience.  If you do it right, the audience will do the work for you!

  7. Web Content Done “Write”: How to Craft Web Copy

    How to Craft Web Copy

    Whether you realize it or not, you’re a writer. From a catty comment on a Facebook post to the embarrassing email you almost (tragically) forwarded to your boss, in one form or another, you’re committing words to page or screen.

    Fortunately, many considerations taken when writing even the most trivial of texts can directly help you better understand how to craft web copy for your next website. Stay with me here: When texting a friend, responding with, “lol, omg,” may be acceptable. However, when writing an email to a colleague, the same message may be better suited as, “Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious.” You are crafting your message not just for the audience (formal vs. informal), but also the delivery vehicle (email vs. text). At its core, these are also the salient considerations when crafting effective web copy.

    Understanding the above point, it should come as no surprise that writing web copy like you might write a blog post or company newsletter will not fly. Crafting web copy is its own unique beast. Before trying to conquer your website’s content, consider the following factors:

    • Who are You?: What is your company’s persona? Is it clearly defined? If your company were a person, do you know what’s on their Spotify playlist, what car they drive and who their favorite Beatle is? Though it may sound (and feel) a bit silly to get this granular with your brand’s persona, it helps to clearly paint a picture of how to craft web copy in a voice that’s pitch perfect. Whether it’s playful, formal, whimsical or a mish-mash of all of the above, defining your brand’s persona is key. For example, Findsome & Winmore is generally characterized as professional, yet with a touch of whimsy and approachability.

    • Who are They?: Second only to knowing your own brand’s persona is knowing your audience’s. In all forms of writing, you must know your audience. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, chances are you’re writing for no one. Especially when writing web copy, there is a natural tendency to write towards one’s own interests instead of serving the target audience. Do not fall into this trap. Your audience should be top of mind at all times and take precedence over personal preferences. I may love early 1990s hip hop, describing Findsome & Winmore’s services as “phat” just won’t play for our target audiences. 

    • What’s the Point?: Though this is partially to do with the larger discussion of website design, you must ensure that every page of your site has a purpose. Moreover, ensure that this purpose is served by the content provided therein. Make your intentions known early and with gusto, especially if the page’s primary objective is to get them to click a link, “buy now,” or otherwise jump through a fiery hoop. Call to actions should never be subtle. Our site opens with a simple, direct question in all caps and red font that nearly glows off of the page: “LOOKING FOR A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY TO HELP YOU FIND AND WIN NEW CUSTOMERS?” If so, you know to read on.

    • Keep it Short: Brevity is the soul of wit. Though most creative writers are guilty of getting a bit overly verbose for the fun of it, a website is not the place. Your audience is rarely looking to read a novel. Instead, it’s your job as a content writer to walk the tightrope between conciseness and creativity. If you proofread your web copy and think the same message can be conveyed in fewer words, chop chop chop. In promotion for our newsletter, we wrote, “Our monthly e-newsletter, HOT AIR, is chock full of advice on how to FIND and WIN more customers.” Balancing our defined voice with conciseness, this single sentence conveys that 1) we have a newsletter 2) it’s called HOT AIR 3) it’s full of marketing advice 4) you should subscribe (pushed by the subscribe button just adjacent to the copy).

      But hold on – there is one notable exception to this rule. Though conciseness is often golden, there are some notable SEO benefits to long-form content as well. Such content has been shown to sometimes rank higher in search engines, produce more backlinks and increase conversion rates, according to one article from 2015. The solution? Consider including a bit of both shorter and longer content to your site, monitor your performance and decide the best length for your audience moving forward.

    • Work with Web Design: Design and content face the same quandary presented with the chicken and the egg: what comes first? In best-case scenarios, both are developed in tandem, allowing both the form and function of the site to fit the content within it (and vice versa). However, if the design is already built, ensure that you are writing with this context in mind. Copy should fit the page like a glove.

    Even for well-practiced writers, writing for the web can be a real challenge. Take a deep breath–we promise, it will all be OK just as long as you keep a firm grasp on who you are as a brand, who your website content is targeting, and what the purpose is of each page. Then, you can edit for length and ensure the copy matches the design.

    Last, but not least, always, and I repeat, always, have someone proof your website copy. The internet is as big as its memory is good. From one writer to another (even if your specialty is texting), you have it in you to craft copy that works for the web. However, if you need help along the way we may be able to {Findsome} one up for the job.

  8. Findsome & Winmore Maintains Growth During First Half of 2017

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients “find and win” new customers, had a successful first half of 2017, adding eight new clients across numerous industries during the first two quarters of the year.

    Clients enlisting the services of Findsome & Winmore during the first two quarters of 2017 include Orlando Health, a network of community and specialty hospitals, Tijuana Flats, a national Tex-Mex restaurant chain, onePULSE Foundation, an organization dedicated to honoring those that lost their lives in the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, Westgate Resorts, one of the largest privately-owned timeshare resorts in the world, Kore Alliance, an investment group, National Christian Foundation, a Christian-based non-profit organization, Centurion Business Finance, a financial lender, and D+H, a global payments and lending technology provider. D+H was later acquired by Finastra, the third largest Fintech company in the world.

    In addition to the successful onboarding of each of its new clients, Findsome & Winmore also launched two websites, including Children’s Home Society and Lake Nona. Findsome & Winmore also added four new employees with backgrounds in event planning, social media, and website maintenance to its growing team.

    “We definitely got off to a great start in 2017 and are excited to have new clients from such diverse backgrounds,” said Matt Certo, CEO of Findsome & Winmore. “Having such prominent businesses turn to us for assistance in accomplishing their goals gives us a great feeling. As the year progresses, we look forward to continued growth and expansion of our portfolio.”

    In addition to Findsome & Winmore having a successful first half of 2017, Certo also published a book, Formulaic: How Thriving Companies Market From The Core, in January. Formulaic reveals the ordinary things that even one-person firms can implement to achieve the extraordinary over time and brings to light several key elements that drive brand marketing momentum.

  9. How to Monitor Your Business’s Online Reviews

    Blog Update 8/28/18:

    As social media continues to be ever-so integrated into our everyday lives staying on top of your online reviews is more important than ever. Since the publishing of this blog post, we have seen platforms like Facebook continue to utilized location-based services and their handy algorithm to not only suggest your business to nearby or like-minded users but also remind them to tell their friends about their experience and let them know if they recommend a visit… or not.

    What people have to say about your business means just as much as the narrative you craft through all of your marketing channels. Though it might seem like you can’t control a narrative told by your audience in the form of online reviews, that’s simply not the case. As this blog post states, by consistently engaging with reviews (good and bad), you are showing the public you value and care about the experience of every customer. Moreover, you’re listening. And that sentiment can go a long way in saying thank you to your fans and promising better for your detractors.  

    -Anthony Charmforoush, Digital Marketing Manager

     

    Let’s time travel. Do you remember the feeling you got as soon as you finished a big test? Regardless of how you think you did, there was still a bit of excited tension (mostly panic in my case) in not knowing what your grade would be.

    Think you did terribly? Maybe you got lucky with the Christmas tree pattern technique on that Scantron sheet. Pretty sure you aced it? Well, I had some past teachers who were known to grade without mercy, so you never know.

    Online Reviews

    Many business owners and managers feel waves of the same anxiety when it comes to being reviewed by their customers. Unlike the school days, however, whether your customers give you an A+ or a big, fat F, you have to respond to online reviews or risk looking uninterested or uncaring. You see, these “grades” are being posted on the largest public corkboard on the planet – the internet.

    However, simply responding is not enough; according to a recent study published by the Americas Conference on Information Systems, “Our findings suggest that managerial intervention should be strategic…” There must be strategy and thought put into each response you provide.

    Let’s look at the best ways to handle the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to your business’s online reviews.

    Three Ways to Respond to Online Reviews

    The Good

    In the best case scenario, your fans are so happy they feel the need to share just how awesome your brand is with the world. By leaving a positive review of your business or product on the slew of social channels out there, your customer is providing something that no amount of advertising can get you: AUTHENTIC WORD-OF-MOUTH MARKETING. This public praise is a valuable gift that should be treated as such, and with every gift a thank you card should be received.

    Happy Customers

    You may let the good reviews and feedback take a backseat to negative reviews, but this is a rookie move. Ignoring a positive review is something like getting a compliment, staring the nice person in the face and walking away without even a smile. Talk about rude, right?

    Instead, respond to all positive reviews and thank the reviewer for their kind words while referencing any specific product, feature or employee that they encountered. This shows that you took the time to read their response (a.k.a. showing you care) and also provides the bonus benefit of highlighting what they loved about your business for others to see.

    For a bit of added branding and SEO kickbacks, you may also want to reference the name of your business before asking them to come back soon.

    The Bad

    We have all been this person. You know, the one who after a bad experience has to immediately write that fiery Yelp review, because your voice needs to be heard and everyone needs to know about what happened.

    Annoyed Review

    The unfortunate truth is, stuff happens. Mistakes are made, accidents occur and sometimes, there is just no pleasing people. Though you have to operate understanding that not everyone will be your biggest fan, it is a mistake to pretend your company’s negative reviews don’t exist, especially if these criticisms are valid.

    If you receive a negative review from a customer, treat them with care and courtesy. Though you may not be able to fix their negative experience, you still can improve the situation by being kind and understanding in the aftermath. According to a 2015 report by TripAdvisor, 83% of guests in the U.S. who had a negative hotel experience would consider returning to the hotel if they received an appropriate management response. The numbers don’t lie.

    Start by apologizing for their experience, mention that this is not the standard that your company strives for and ask that they contact you directly (provide your contact information of course) so that you can resolve the issue with them. The last thing you want is for the entire negative experience to be hashed out in a public forum for all to see.

    Keep it short and sweet – there’s no need to bring more attention to a mistake than necessary. Remember, you get more catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    The Ugly

    Both good and bad reviews can be great learning experiences for your company. They enable you to easily see what’s working and what isn’t, straight from your customers’ mouths. If you want to improve in anything, constructive criticism is pretty much mandatory.

    However, the internet is a big place, people aren’t always the best and sometimes things can get weird. From explicit language being used to threats, chances are you’ll find something difficult to deal with on your business’s social pages at some point.

    Angry Customers

    When this happens what ever is a brand to do? Well, it’s tricky. Each situation should be taken on a case-by-case basis, as upsetting an already distressed customer may end in a PR nightmare.

    In most cases, it’s best to open with the same consideration you would with any disappointed or angry customer: apologize for their negative experience and ask them to reach out to you directly via email or phone. If the commenter uses abusive, vulgar or inappropriate language, you can request from the review site that the post be deleted, but note that it is up to the admins of the review site to do so. They are the final judges of if a review post should be deleted or not due to inappropriate language. However, only proceed with this course of action as a last resort. People absolutely hate their comments being censored or deleted, and it may appear to customers that you are trying to cover up your mistake or hide something. At the end of the day, if reviews or comments violate your brand’s ethical standards, are offensive or violent, they may have to go.

    You may also encounter those lovely internet trolls, whose only goal is to get a rise out of your customers or your brand itself, offering no constructive or even valid criticism. Always respond professionally. In some cases, you may be able to hide these posts. Facebook, in particular, has the ability to “hide” comments, which doesn’t delete the comment but makes it invisible to the public. This means the reviewer may never even realize his or her comments can’t be seen by anyone but themselves. Never “feed” the trolls by playing into their games. It never ends well.

    Passing Grade

    Whether you’re given an A+ or F-, it’s important to find the value in the direct feedback that online reviews provide your company. Moreover, you should seize the opportunity that online reviews allow for interaction with both those who love your company, and those who your company has let down. It also provides the opportunity to better your product, service, or experience. Just remember: though you may be responding to one person, your conversation is potentially being seen by everyone that may come across your page.

    Bottom line: don’t ignore your online reviews. After all, you’ll never know if you passed the test without seeing your grade.

  10. Does Your Business Belong on Wikipedia?

    You’ve heard it before: “Wikipedia is not a credible source.” Five years ago as a diligent college student, hunkered down at my corner library desk, I would have agreed with this statement. (Side note: yes, only five years ago. Stop judging.) But after having many clients ask me, “Should my company have a Wikipedia page?” I now beg to differ.

    With the amount of time, research, and editing that goes into creating a new Wikipedia page from scratch, you might as well be hunkered down at your own library desk, writing a final term paper with at least seven credible, third-party sources cited in a detailed bibliography. If you’re thinking about creating one for your own business, be prepared to work. Take it from someone who knows: venturing into the world of Wikipedia is not for the faint of heart.

    Is Wikipedia Right For My Business?

    If you’re a small mom-and-pop business with no digital footprint, probably not. Lest we forget, Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia; its purpose is to provide factual information on a topic of interest. It’s not here to tell everyone how great you are. We’re proud of you for having recently celebrated your fifth anniversary or having the best ham sandwich in town, but if you don’t have any of the following, you won’t have any luck on Wikipedia:

    1. A Strong PR Presence: This goes a long way. Wikipedia relies on citations by credible, third-party sources in order for content to be published. “Best prices in town, 10/10 would shop again” by Anonymous User on Yelp ain’t gonna cut it. If you already have a good stockpile of articles published about your business, you’ve got a good head-start.

    **Pro Tip: A credible, third-party source is not StillettoSportingMommyBlogger.com. Try local and/or national news publications, magazines, or well-known media websites to get your content published.

    Strong PR Presence

    2. A Notable Employee: This one’s a hit or miss. If the head of your company has already gained their own notoriety, and this fame plays a major part in the business, Wikipedia may accept the article for publication. However, if their notoriety is far removed from the operations of the company, Wikipedia may suggest creating a page for them and including your business as a portion of that article instead.

    3. A New Product or Idea: This goes hand-in-hand with having a strong PR presence. If your business is promoting a brand new product or idea that is new or “ground-breaking” in your industry, you may be an eligible candidate for a successful Wikipedia page.

    Bottom line, if you attempt to create a page for self-promotional reasons, spouting information that cannot be backed up anywhere online, Wikipedia’s Editors will find you, and they will end you. Ok, you, personally, are safe — but your page will not be.

    Ok, I Think I Fit These Categories. Now What?

    I’ll break the news to you now: Don’t spend hours writing a heartfelt memoir about your business’s many accomplishments and journeys (unless you have the sources to back it up, of course). Wikipedia’s got guidelines, and they are lengthy. Check this out. And this one. Don’t worry, there are more, but here are some highlights:

    • As stated before, content must be 100% unbiased. Opinions are unwelcome.
    • Facts must be backed up by credible, third-party sources (newspapers, books published by large publishing houses, magazines, peer-reviewed scholarly articles, etc.). No anecdotal evidence allowed.
    • If you want to upload a photo, you must own it or use Wikipedia Commons.
    • Self-promotion is a guaranteed method of getting your article banished by the Editors.
    • Basically, don’t use any adjectives to describe your business. “Sal’s Sandwich Shop makes sandwiches so delicious, you’ll slap yo’ mama” is obviously a claim that cannot be backed up unless first published in Orlando Weekly.

    Wikipedia’s guidelines are long and detailed, but you have to follow them or doom your hard work to Wikipedia purgatory with the rest of the articles that did not meet the Editors’ strict standards.

    Wikipedia Editors

    Wikipedia Editors: Serious Business

    I Still Think I Qualify. How Do I Get Started?

    My first tip here is to hire someone to do it for you. You know how “entry-level” jobs require five-plus years of industry experience? Wikipedia is pretty much the same way. Your articles/edits are more likely to be approved if you’ve got a lot of wiki-editing history on your resume. But if you insist on trying for yourself, here are some need-to-knows:

    • Create an Account: You have to sign in in order to edit or create a page. Your account has to be under an individual’s name — it cannot be under your company’s.
    • Learn Wikipedia’s Guidelines: Just throwing this in there again because, trust me, you have to know what you’re doing before you jump in.
    • Learn Wikipedia’s Editor & Language: Yep, Wikipedia has its own editor system that works in unique ways. There are templates for different kinds of pages and they even have their own markup language (wikitext).
    • Be Wary of Launch: Whatever you do, do not hit publish on your page until you have ensured that everything is correct and had at least two other people do so as well. As soon as your page is made available for public consumption, the Editors will emerge.

    I think it’s important to take a moment to discuss the Editors. Much respect should be given to them, as they are the Wikipedia Gods, deciding the worth of pages with the click of a mouse or tap of a finger. Anybody can become a Wikipedia God, but it takes five-plus years of industry experience and three credible references. It’s better to just hire someone who knows the ropes — trust me.

    Wikipedia: An Awesome Resource, but Not Worth it for Everyone

    If you’ve got the goods, Wikipedia can help out your business online. While it doesn’t give you any backlink authority (links to your website are marked as “no follow”), Wikipedia is an extremely high-trafficked website that will increase your own website’s visibility in search engines. Google pretty much anything and there, sitting at spot two, three or sometimes even one, will be a Wikipedia article just waiting to be cited on college students’ term papers.

    Wikipedia for Business

    But if you remember anything, remember this: Wikipedia sounds like “encyclopedia” for a reason. You won’t open up the Encyclopedia Brittanica and find “Eat at Sal’s Sandwich Shop for Sandwiches So Good You’ll Slap Yo’ Mama” on page 445. The same thing goes for Wikipedia; it is not a platform for advertising your business with self-promotional material. Do yourself a favor and think about the tips above before opening yourself to possible Wiki-page heartbreak.