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Business Marketing

The little voice… reputation management on and offline

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When I was a little girl…a long, long time ago, I remember my daddy saying to me, “Remember who you are.” He never failed to say this just about every time I walked out the door for a night of fun with my friends.

He knew that once your reputation is lost it is hard to get it back. This wisdom applies for both our online and off line reputation.

Everyday we deal with agents who when we get an offer from them, there is either a happy dance or a cringe. It will either be a smooth transaction or touch and go the whole way.

In a multiple offer situation, I’ve had agents tell me they would like to work with me because 1) they know I will work and negotiate to the death, and 2) I will be nice about it.

Online

Recently I finished up a transaction with an agent who shouts from the first page of her web-site about what a great communicator she is, including returning phone calls and her top of the line customer service. Ummmm… I don’t think so…One part of me wanted to shout out a status update on Facebook pointing out the discrepancy but the little voice inside me said, “don’t”.

She is on FB and in the midst of a transaction could have recognized it.

Right now there is a big push for management of your online reputation. Most of us have Google Alerts set up for our name and company to get an alert when we are mentioned online (or to see when the never ending splogs steal our content). That is easy to do and the easiest way to monitor our online reputation.

Occasionally on Twitter someone will ask,”anyone know of a good Realtor in______?”

Recently, Zillow opened up their platform for clients to give us reviews. Yelp has been doing this for awhile but at least in my area, I’m not seeing too many Realtor reviews.

Monitoring

Regardless of what method(s) we use, it is up to us to be monitoring our reputation on line. If someone leaves a negative or a not so shinning review, we can respond back.

I use to at the end of every transaction, send a survey out to my past clients. I asked for their honest opinion because I told them I was trying to improve my service.  We included a self addressed,  stamped envelope and we had a good response from our clients.  The last couple of years that ROI decreased on folks mailing them back so we stopped doing it.

Your Google Profile is an awesome place to ask people to review you. I have a couple on there, one was a surprise and one was solicited.

One thing I checked recently was I went Google and put in my name+reviews. It was so informative I even set up a Google Alert for it. The data was different than just doing a search on my name.

In digging down about 10 pages…I found some very old comments indexed where I had commented on different blogs. Now Activerain supposedly has <do not follow> links in the comments but there sure was a lot of comments in that reputation search.

I even found one where I asked someone for a Seafood Recipe!

Managing In Real Life

Managing your name in real life is a lot easier. We either bite our tongues, or loose it with people. We either do a good job of customer service and get referrals, or we don’t serve them well and we never hear from the again.

I can’t count the times I have hung up with a Short Sale negotiator and screamed my head off.

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp said, “I think we live in a new age of transparency, which is a great thing if you’re fantastic at customer service. Customer service is the new marketing.”

If that statement is true and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then it is even more important that we provide great customer service and monitor our reputations. We know blogging and social media is just our voice going out to a larger audience.

People like to do business with people they know, that they feel are like them, that they can trust. Trust… being discrete. Trust…not doing anything or saying anything online we wouldn’t say or do in person. Trust…not just saying you give awesome customer service but actually doing it.

Or as my daddy said, “Don’t forget who you are!”

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    January 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Love-Love it. I’ll be sharing this with our tribe at our next team meeting. Thanks.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

7 ways Instagram Stories get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

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Instagram

Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

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Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

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instagram

If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

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