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Scriptwriting For the Newbie

 

It might seem like an easy task to create a video to put on YouTube, but they take quite a bit of planning and even some trial and error in order to make them flow naturally and get a point across. Sadly, so many videos out there leave something to be desired because the planning time just wasn’t there before the camera started rolling. In an effort to rid the world of unfortunate videos, we’ve put together this list of tips for making a great one.

Get ready for your close up!

Create a storyboard

The first thing you need to do is have a clear goal for your video. Do you want to sell a product, improve your engagement on YouTube, or demonstrate a skill?  Whatever it is, you’ll want to create a storyboard that maps out the following:

  • How long the video will be
  • The order in which things will happen
  • What will be said in the script

Not all videos will need a script. If you decide that yours doesn’t need one, it’s even more important to have a storyboard before you turn that camera on. It’ll help keep the flow of your video on track and act as your guide during filming.

Writing your script

If your video does require a script, make sure it’s written in language your audience will understand and relate to. For example, if you’re demonstrating something technical, but your audience is the general public, you’ll want to explain things in layman’s terms. Your script should say exactly what each person in the video will say, word for word and who will say it.

When the script is being read, it should sound natural and the people who are speaking should appear to be relaxed on camera. If folks in the video are nervous or aren’t sure what to say, it’s going to come across poorly, so try to choose someone who well prepared and comfortable in front of the lens. Practicing with a few dry runs with the camera turned off before filming is helpful in soothing the jitters too.

Get your visuals together

While you’re working on the script, think about what kinds of visuals you can add to your video. Any time you can use charts, photos or other graphical elements, your ideas will come across more easily. Visual elements will help reinforce your message so use them as much as you can. You can even script in some things to include in postproduction.

Include every detail

Even details like wardrobe, shooting locations, camera angles and types of shots belong in your script. Also, don’t forget to include the actions the folks in the video take and what kind of music or sound effects will be played.

Scriptwriting takes patience

Don’t be surprised if your script takes a lot longer to write than you thought it would. That’s totally fine. It’s a skill that takes a long time to master and some people spend their whole careers working on it. So, don’t worry and don’t be in a rush. Invest the time so that your script presents your message in a way that’s compelling and to the point. After all, you only have a viewer’s attention for a short time. Make it count!

 


	
		
		

 

Small business owners are always looking for a way to make a splash. You need something that will make a lasting impression without taking up a whole lot of your resources. Vine might just be your answer. It’s a new free social media app owned by Twitter where you can upload and share six-second video clips that play on a loop. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but in just six seconds, you can educate and engage your customers in lots of creative ways. Today, we’re going to talk about whether or not Vine is right for your business and how you can get started if you decide to give it a whirl.

Is Vine right for you?

With so many different social media channels out there, it can be incredibly overwhelming to decide which ones are the most important for you to be on. You can’t be everywhere at once, so it takes careful consideration before choosing what’s best for you. But the cool thing about Vine videos is that they’re easily sharable on Facebook and Twitter, so you don’t need to start a whole new account and be active in an entirely different place. You can use Vine to enhance what you’ve already got going on! Since Vine videos are so easy to share on your existing social media sites, we think just about any business can use it efficiently.

How to use Vine for business

Here’s where things get fun!  Vine videos literally take only a few seconds to create, so don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. Even though they’re easy to make, it might take you a few tries to get it just right before you’re ready to share. In terms of what kind of videos you can create, the sky’s the limit! Big guys like Ben and Jerry’s, General Electric and Lowe’s have all found ways to use Vine to entertain engage and enlighten their customers. If they can do it, so can you!  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Give your customers a behind the scenes look

People LOVE to get a peek behind the scenes. Ben and Jerry’s used Vine to do just that in this Vine video. Lowes has also used vine to show quick home improvement tricks.

You don’t have to give away all of your secrets, but just a little peek at how the magic is made will tantalize your customers.

Run a contest

Persuade customers to comment on your Twitter, Facebook page or website by having your viewers guess what’s happening in your Vine video. The winning guess gets a prize or a special discount!

Display your work

Did you create something you’re really proud of like a gorgeous confection or a really cool bag? Use Vine to show it off!

Introduce your team

This is a great way to establish a bond with your customers. By showcasing a member of your team who’s hard at work or just acting a little goofy for the camera, Vine viewers will have a chance to get to know and love your staff.

Share your good works

Is your team volunteering at a local animal shelter or collecting school supplies for kids in need?  Make a little video showing them in action, doing good for the community.

Get more bodies through the door

Take a video of something fun and special that’s going on at your place. Do you have live music in the evenings?  Are you doing a wine tasting?  Share it with Vine and spark some interest in coming to visit you.

We think Vine has a million great uses and we’re noticing that many big brands are taking full advantage of its potential to engage customers. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!

Oh, and here's our Vine video! :)

 


	
		
		

 

Last month, Facebook announced that status updates can now include hashtags that you can click on and search for.  Of course, folks have been using hashtags in other places for ages, sticking them in their posts as a way to summarize and describe their thoughts in one or a few words. Hashtags are a great way for users to track conversations on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google +, so it’s only natural for them to be on Facebook now too; even though Facebook is a little late to the #party.  Today we’re going to talk about what hashtags are (because we know some of you out there are scratching your heads right now), but we’ll also talk about how brands are using them and how you can too!  #LetsTalkHashtag!

GLAD WORKS, what’s a hashtag?

We’re so glad you asked!  A hashtag is a word or phrase with a # in front of it. Any combination of characters led by a hash symbol is a hashtag.  Hashtags are useful because messages can be tagged and conversations can be tracked through them.  So, for example, if you used #SummerFunRI to start a discussion about fun stuff to do in Rhode Island this summer, people looking for that kind of thing would search for #SummerFunRI to view or join the conversation.  Hashtags have all sorts of uses ranging from advertisements and promotions to talking about current events.

Hashtags on Facebook turn topics and phrases into links you can click on in your posts on either your personal timeline or brand page.  When someone clicks a hashtag, they’ll see a feed of posts that include it.  They’ll also see some hashtags that are related to it at the top.  Hashtags are searchable in the bar at the top of any page on Facebook. 

 

How do I use hashtags to promote my business?

Marketers are already all over this looking for ways to use hashtags to their highest potential.  We have already seen Starbucks’ using the hashtag  #strawsome where fans can tag fun pictures of drinks they created with fun straw art.  Other companies are using them to designate a special event or date.  Some are using them to rally support for a cause.  Use your imagination and you’ll certainly come up with a creative use for them!

Tips for getting started

Keep in mind that not everyone has hashtag capability yet, but you can certainly start  putting them in your public Facebook posts on your profile or page.  Everyone who does have the feature will be able to see your hashtags as clickable links.

1. Make them stand out: Try to create hashtags that will stand out and that aren’t too general.  A hashtag like #seminar isn’t specific enough and won’t do much to inspire a conversation about the special seminar you’re giving.  A better hashtag would be something like #GWSeminar2013.  That way, it won’t get lost in the hashtag sea.

2. Help them get seen: Promote your hashtags by sticking them wherever you can.  Put them on your website, all of your social media channels, add them to your email signature and your marketing materials.  If you use your hashtag consistently in a variety of places, people will recognize them and it will trigger a buzz. 

3. Find a way to motivate: Make sure you give users a reason to share your hashtag.  It could be anything from a contest, an event, a discussion, or a charitable cause. Think of a hashtag as a conversation starter and then start a conversation with it!

4. Control yourself: Hashtags have a tendency to get out of control.  Once you’re in the habit of thinking of them, you start coming up with a bunch and become tempted to use them all in the same post. Don’t. The limit is only one or two per post.  Anything more could be overwhelming and confusing for folks.  Write them down and use them another time.  #Andforgoodnesssakedontmakethemtoolongortheyllbetoohardtoread.

Most of what we have suggested here about hashtags can be applied to any social media platform that uses them.  If you’re going to experiment with them, use this as a guide but remember to be creative and have some fun with it!


	
		
		

 

Facebook recently opened up something called Graph Search to all its users in the United States. It’s been touted as Facebook’s answer to search engines like Google and Bing, but that’s not what it is. It’s a way to search through Facebook to see what your friends are doing, what they like, etc. Even if you’re not a frequent facebooker personally, there are a few ways for you to make the most out of Graph Search for your business. Today we’re going to talk about them, but don’t worry. It’s not going to be a labor-intensive thing on your part. It’s just something to be aware of—for now at least.

What Graph Search does

Like we mentioned earlier, Graph Search is not a place where you can search the web. It’s just a way to get access to things like people, places, photos and interests that are already posted on Facebook. You can see things that have been shared by you, your friends, and friends of your friends. If Facebook doesn’t know what to do with the results of your search, then it will refer you to Bing results to help you out.

How to do a Graph Search

Graph Search is not turned on automatically, so you have to activate it. Look for the white “F” Facebook icon next to your search bar up at the top. Click inside the search bar and it should say “New Graph Search is here!  Take a tour.”  Look at the list of things you can search for that drops down below the search bar. Then, think of something you’d like to search for like “Friends of friends who like ice cream and dogs who live in Providence” and type it into the search. Facebook will then turn up a few new friends for you. It kind of works like a dating website in that it matches up your specific criteria with a person on Facebook. 

It’s not a perfect system and it’s still got a long way to go before it knocks your socks off, but it’s still kind of cool. Play around with it for a few minutes so you fully understand the user experience. Once you’ve got that down, you can start thinking of ways you can use it.

How you can use this for your business

This new feature can be neat for business owners in a few ways. Let’s say you own a dog grooming parlor/ice cream shop in Providence and you want to learn more about the people who might be interested in your place. You can do a search for dog loving ice-cream-eating Providence residents and learn more about them. Is it a little stalker-ish, a little creepy?  Yes, yes it is, but it’s a great way for you to learn more about your demographic. Besides, you’re going to make the dog-loving ice-cream-eating people of Providence very happy someday because you know so much about what they want and need!

Right now you might be thinking: “how can I get my business to come up in these searches?”  Well, the first thing you can do is to make sure your business Facebook page is filled out as completely as possible. Check to make sure your location is clear and that you have indicated what your products and services are. Have a great looking image up too so that when you get visitors, you’ll look spiffy and professional. 

Continue to do your very best to engage your customers on your Facebook page because every interaction you have with your fans will form a sketch of your business. If you have a devoted following, you’re going to be bumped up in the search. This is an amazing way for smaller businesses to compete with the big guys. Basically, Graph Search gives you a chance to shine on Facebook that you didn’t have before.

Like we said earlier, this is not perfect and has a way to go before it will knock you off your chair in amazement, but for now, it’s pretty neat and it’s something to be aware of. As always, building engagement with your fans is a great way to ensure success on Facebook. Offer discounts on your Facbook page; respond to comments and post interesting stuff and you’ll be on your way to a successful appearance in Graph Search.


	
		
		

 

 

Recently, Twitter rolled out a new effort to build up their advertising business. Now you can purchase ads that will reach users based on the keywords in their recent tweets as well as the tweets they’ve interacted with recently. Today we’re going to go into some detail about this new feature and talk about how useful it might be to you. 

In other words, we’re going to tell you why you care.

We might also talk about ice cream because it’s May now and summer is coming!

What is keyword targeting?

Keyword targeting is a way for brands to show ads to users based on specific words in their tweets as well as words in tweets they’ve interacted with recently. In this way, people can be targeted based on things they’ve already said they’re interested in. As Twitter explains it, marketers can “reach users at the right moment in the right context” instead of trying to reach them on the basis of geographic location or demographic information.  

This does not mean you’ll see more ads on Twitter

Twitter promises us that this won’t mean that every time we tweet something we’ll see an ad for something related to it.  It just means that we’ll see more stuff related to things we actually care about. We’ll still be able to ignore Promoted Tweets, but we might not be as likely to ignore things since the ones we see will be more relevant to us. And indeed that is the hope behind these changes. Twitter hopes that this new feature will make people a lot more likely to engage with Promoted Tweets.

And this is why you care: people who are already interested in what you’re saying will see your tweets.

Pretty freakin’ sweet, right?

Speaking of sweet…

How it works

Twitter uses the example of advertising concert tickets to explain how this all works, but we’re going to talk about it in language that more of us can understand and appreciate: ice cream.

So let’s pretend that a user tweets about totally digging red velvet cake, and it so happens that YOU just added that flavor to your ice cream menu. You can run a geotargeted ad campaign using the keywords “red velvet cake” with a tweet that links to your ice cream shop’s website. That tweeter, having expressed an interest in red velvet cake, will now become aware of the glory and the wonder that is your newest flavor— red velvet cake ice cream. And it’s all because of this keyword targeting business.

How to do it

Setting up a targeted keyword campaign is easy peasy. First, you do your research and come up with the keywords you’d like to use (in our example that might be “red velvet cake,” “red velvet cake ice cream,” etc.). Choose whether you want to use phrase match or unordered keyword match. Next, you pick from other targeting options like geographic location, gender, and type of device. Your promoted tweets will then appear in user’s timelines when they mention any of your keywords or interact with other people’s posts that contain them.

It’ll be interesting to see how this takes off, but we think it sounds like it’s going to work really well. Folks who have already tried it are giving good reports, but we’d like to hear from any of you who’ve given it a whirl.

How did it work for you and would you do it again?


	
		
		

 

So, you’ve read our post about Google AdWords and Facebook Ads and you’ve decided to go with advertising on Facebook. But now what?  They have so many products!  There are Promoted Posts, Sponsored Stories, Page Post Ads and Marketplace Ads, but what do all these things do?  It’s overwhelming!

Not to worry, GLAD WORKS friends. We can sort this out for you.

Let’s dig in and take a look at Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories—the two things we think you’re most likely to be interested in to start out with. 

Promoted Posts

A year ago this May, Facebook rolled out Promoted Posts, which gives businesses a chance to pay to get their content in front of more eyeballs. Since only a very limited percentage of your page’s followers actually see your posts come up in their news feeds, using Promoted Posts makes sense if you’ve got something you really want people to see.

The cost to promote a post varies based on your geographic location and the number of people you’re reaching, but you can spend anywhere from $10 up to $100 to make the magic happen. If any of your followers interact with your post (by sharing, liking, or commenting), a higher percentage of their friends will also see it. 

Promoted Posts show up exclusively in news feeds and you can purchase them right there on the post. Just look for the “Promote” option at the bottom right hand corner of each post. You’ll have a few options for how much you want to spend as well as an estimate of how many people will see your post. 

Sponsored Story

Another way to get your content in front of more Facebookers is to use Sponsored Stories. Sponsored Stories are built around user activity. As an advertiser, you pay to highlight an action that users have already taken. That action appears to the user’s friends either on the sidebar or in their news feed. An audience that’s not connected to a brand page themselves or through a friend will not see a Sponsored Story. 

The goal of a Sponsored Story is to get more users to take the same action that a friend has taken. So, if for example someone Likes a page, the Sponsored Story will appear either in the news feed or sidebar of that person’s friends, hoping to inspire them to follow suit. Think of it as being like “word of mouth” advertising. 

There are different kinds of Sponsored Stories:

  • Page Like Sponsored Stories appear when a user has liked a page
  • Offer Claimed Sponsored Stories appear when users have claimed an offer
  • Sweepstakes Sponsored Stories show up when someone has entered a sweepstakes.

You can purchase most Sponsored Stories through Facebook’s self-serve ad tool. 

Which is right for you?

Well, that depends on your goal. If your goal is to remind your existing fans that you’re still alive and kicking, or to spread the word about something awesome you feel the world needs to know about, Promoted Posts are a fantastic way to do that. You have to have more than 400 likes on your page in order to use the Promoted Posts option. 

Sponsored Stories can help you grow likes on your page, but it can also help you when you’re running a promotion on your website or hosting an event. For example, if a user signs up to go to an event you’re hosting, that story will appear to their friend who will hopefully say “Oh! That sounds like fun! I want to go too!”

It’s tough to say which one is right for you since every audience is different and the answer isn’t so clear-cut. It might make sense to dip your toe in the water a little bit and go with a Promoted Post first. If you don’t have enough followers, then a sponsored story might be the way to go toward getting your message out while giving you a chance to attract more likes to your page.

Whichever you choose, be sure to use it strategically and then track your results. Not everything is going to work for every audience, so keep testing to be sure you’re not wasting your time, money and effort on something that’s getting you mediocre results.

 


	
		
		

 

If you’re thinking about investing in some pay per click advertising, but you’re not sure if you should start with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, then this is for you!

We can help you get it all sorted out so you’re on your way to a solid plan by the end of this blog post!

As it turns out, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are both good, but for different things. It all depends on what you intend to do with your ad. So, the first thing you need to do is establish your goals. They’ll help you determine what the best fit will be since even though there are many similarities between the two, the web audience for Google AdWords and Facebook Ads behave differently.

But before we get into how they’re different, let’s talk about how they’re alike.

Google AdWords and Facebook: more alike than unalike

Both advertising platforms share some basic things in common. Both have massive audiences and both offer self-service pay-per-click advertising. They’ve also got free marketing tools like Google Places and Facebook Pages.  But perhaps the best thing about both of them is that they each allow you to run highly targeted ads to very specific folks based on geographic location and other demographic data that they’ve collected about their users. However, as similar as they are, they work differently.

What’s your goal?

Having a well thought out goal for your ad is super important. If you’re heading into it with a shot in the dark approach saying, “I’ll just pick one and give it a try” it’s probably not going to work the way you want it to. So, ask yourself if you’re wanting to build brand awareness or if you’re hoping to get more visits to your website.

The answer to that question will determine if you should go with Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.

When to use Facebook Ads

Let’s say your goal is to build brand awareness or to get a specific message out to a certain group. Facebook Ads are your best choice here because these ads are highly targeted to folks who may be interested in what you’re offering at some point. Facebook users are generally there to catch up with friends and look at cute kitty pictures. Nobody is really looking to buy something right then and there when they’re on Facebook. This means that fewer people are going to click on your ad since they’re on Facebook for another purpose. With Facebook Ads, the demand is created by the ad. Think of it as planting a seed. Just as it takes time for a seed to grow, it may take time to see results this way. But as people develop a need for what you have, they’ll think of you because they saw your ad.

When to use Google AdWords

With Google AdWords on the other hand, the demand is already there—the seed has already been planted and the consumer is searching for what you’re offering. This means that more people are going to click through to your site and possibly purchase something because you came up in a search at the exact time they were looking for you. Google AdWords can capture their intent right away and send them over to your site. So, if you’re trying to get some traffic, this is a good choice.

What’s easier to use?

We tend to think that Facebook has the advantage on this one since more people are accustomed to Facebook’s user interface. Google AdWords can be overwhelming because of all the fancy features and functions, so if you find yourself crying in the corner after trying to do this yourself, you can always call us. Nobody’s going to think you’re silly for needing the help because it can be tough to navigate this stuff!

The short version

If your goal is to get some business quickly, then Google AdWords is the way to go. If establishing brand awareness and visibility is what you want, then go with Facebook. Of course, nobody says you can’t choose both!  That would be ideal, but if you’d prefer to be conservative for now and just dip your toe into the waters a little bit, use your goals as your guide and see what happens. You can always try your other option later.


	
		
		

 

When we tell you that as a business, not being on Google+ could turn out to be a big mistake, you’re probably thinking something like this:

“I’m having enough trouble keeping up with Facebook and Twitter!  I do not need another social network. Go sell crazy somewhere else, GLAD WORKS!”

And a little while ago, we would have told you to focus your efforts on Facebook and/or Twitter if that’s what’s been working for you. But things are different now.

Facebook has become difficult for brands to use, forcing them to pay to reach their own audience. But we’re not going to sit around crying and being poo poo babies about it are we GLAD WORKS friends?  No, we’re not. Because when it comes down to it, Facebook is really just a tool. If this one no longer works for you, there are other tools out there for you to use. Like Google+ for instance!

Here’s why it’s your friend: 

Second largest social network

Google+ is now the second largest social network, ranking second only to Facebook. It has about 90 million users. To put that in context, Twitter has about 100 million. Not too shabby, right? Rumors that Google+ is lame city are just that. Rumors.

Topical, not typical

Google+ is not a typical social network, it’s a topical one. It’s organized around content rather than who your acquaintances are. This makes perfect sense since Google’s entire reason for being is to organize information. So, naturally Google+ is going to be centered on that. This makes it a very hospitable place for anyone with content to share.

Google + IS Google

Recently, Google+ has been integrated with Google Docs, Chrome, Google Reader, Gmail and YouTube. The header featuring Search, News, Maps, Gmail etc., now incorporates Google+. It’s like all the other Google products are ingredients making up the Google + sandwich. This means that Google+ isn’t a stand-alone social network like Facebook is. Google+ is Google.

Search results heaven

Google search results now lead more and more to Google, which means that if you’re using Google+, your stuff is going to come up first when people search Google. If you have no Google+ presence and your competition does, guess who’s going to pop up first in a search?  Not you!

These are only a few quick reasons for giving Google+ a whirl. We’re not saying that you need to abandon Facebook altogether because let’s face it, Facebook can be very fun!  So use it for what it’s good at—talking to people who might become clients and customers. Just don’t feel like your success in the social sphere is totally dependent on Facebook. Because it isn’t. Not at all.

We hope you leave us today realizing that it’s ok to change directions if things aren’t working for you. Just because you’ve had a presence on Facebook doesn’t mean you have to keep pouring precious energy into something that isn’t doing its job. Direct more attention to building what holds promise for success. Whatever platform that stands on is up to you, but we encourage you to give Google+ a try.

After all, it’s up to you as a business owner to be flexible and willing to adapt as trends shift.  You’ve gotta stay on your toes!


	
		
		

 

Have you noticed that your engagement on Facebook seems to have dropped recently? You may be thinking that your followers have deserted you, but that’s not the case, GLAD WORKS friends. They can’t see you as much anymore because Facebook recently rolled out two new features that some say will have a devastating effect on brands, while others say it’s a chance to re-connect with truly passionate fans and followers.

The changes come in two flavors: Opt-in Notifications and a separate Pages Feed. Opt-in Notifications for page updates allow users to opt to receive posts from brands they like, allowing them to filter out posts by other brands. (To add a brand to your interest list, go to the brand’s page, click on the arrow next to “message” and in the drop down menu, click “add to interests list.”) There’s also a separate Pages Feed (click on "Pages Feed" in the left sidebar to view) where users can see all posts from pages they’ve liked instead of seeing them come up in their feeds along with family and friends.

Some say these new features offer brands a chance to re-connect with their fans, others fear this is a devastating blow to brands who have already worked hard to acquire and engage their fans, forcing them to pay to reach their followers since with the new features, Facebookers who ‘like’ a brand page will now only see about 10% of what that brand posts—unless the brand opts to pay to promote their posts.

To help us sort all this Facebook Tomfoolery out, we interviewed Adam Harvey, the social stallion (he totally made us call him that) in charge here at GLAD WORKS. Here’s what he had to say…

What impact have these features had on brands so far?

So far it looks like these two new features are negatively impacting brands. We see it happening on our own Facebook page. Our interaction with our followers has gone way down since the changes were rolled out—despite taking active steps so that fans know they need to add us to their “interests lists” to keep seeing our posts. I know this is true for other brands as well.

This is a big problem for many brands whose followers don’t know about the changes or who aren’t motivated to add them to their “interests list.”  Many brands are finding that they have to take active steps to get their fans to do that.

To continue to get posts in front of some eyeballs, brands have to pay to promote posts even though they’ve already spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to build a community of followers. They’re essentially shut out--Facebook has basically broken their own system so that brands now have to pay for the solution.

What can brands do to get around these changes and keep their communities alive?

We’re all going to have to find ways to be even more creative and engaging than we were before. Now more than ever “speak to, not at” is the golden rule of social media. We’ve got to be as interesting as possible—as interesting as family and friends if we want to get our posts seen.

This means no more random postings about “stuff.” Every post must be carefully thought out and planned, then supplemented with a paid promotion strategy. If you don’t know how on earth to do this, now might be the time to hire a specialist (ahem).

But how do we know what truly engages our followers if our interaction has gone down so sharply?

Take what you have and work with it. Learn from what is engaging that fraction of fans who do see your posts. Pay close attention and track what kinds of things are really getting them talking to you. When you’re sure you’ve got a good post, pay to promote that one. This doesn’t mean that you have to pay to promote every single post, but maybe shift your focus to quality rather than quantity.

I think you should still keep a regular posting schedule, and don’t lose hope. You can still engage followers; it’s just a bigger challenge. Facebook’s algorithm still tends to push posts that are more engaging (getting more likes and comments) onto users’ news feeds. The better the post, the more chance for engagement, the better the odds that people will see it. That’s one way to sidestep the paid posts issue, but you’re still going to have to pay to promote a post or two here and there.

Sorry Facebookers. It was going to happen to us sooner or later!

 


	
		
		

 

Greetings GLAD WORKS friends and welcome to the wonderful world of Yelp!  We’ve written about Yelp before, but today we’re going to talk about some stuff we bet you didn’t know about it. It looks like more businesses are getting on board the Yelp train lately, and if you’re thinking about it too, this is a good time to read up.

Yelp is cool beans, you guys.  Let us show you…

Not just for restaurants

When folks think about Yelp, most of them think of it as a place to look up a new restaurant before taking a risk and eating something expensive and gross, but the truth is that shopping is actually Yelp’s biggest category.  Restaurants are a very close second, but they have a natural advantage. We think it’s because it’s food related and people have very strong opinions about that. They also have strong opinions about customer service, which must be why shopping and dining experiences get so much attention on Yelp.

Nobody’s really going to go on there to review their dry cleaner, are they?  Maybe, but not as likely as the more fun stuff like eating and shopping. That dry cleaner would have to have some pretty spectacular customer service to motivate people to review them…

Customer service rules all!

Customers appreciate it when the people they encounter are nice, friendly, and helpful. In fact, great customer service is a big way to inspire people to write reviews. Even if the food was bad or the dry cleaner didn’t get that stain out of your favorite shirt, if the customer service was good, people are going to recognize that and their review will reflect it.

Asking people to write a review is naughty

Let’s say you own a hair salon and you have a customer who’s on his or her way out the door positively beaming because they looks so darn good, it might be tempting to ask them to write a review.  Yelp discourages this behavior.  Instead they want customers to come upon the idea on their own.  Perhaps they can be made aware that you’re on Yelp, but they shouldn’t be made to feel like promotional zombies.  Remember you’re there to serve them, not the other way around.  That said, we don’t see why you can’t plant the seed by at least making people aware that you’re on there.

You know, maybe you can slip into their houses at night and whisper “find us on Yelp!” into their ears as they sleep.

Something subtle like that.

If that makes you feel weird, you could just put the Yelp logo on your business card, put a sticker on your cash register, that kind of thing.  Yelp’s Flickr page has a bunch of free downloadable signage for you to use.

You can earn stickers!

Have you seen those “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers?  No?  Well that’s because they’re hard to get, GLAD WORKS friends. They don’t just go giving those out to people.  Instead, they give them only to businesses with high overall ratings.  You pretty much have to be a rock star to get them, but you know what?  It’s a fun thing to strive for and it just might help you motivate yourself to go above and beyond to inspire those great reviews.

If you get a bad review, you don’t have to shut up and take it

But for the love of all that is good and businesslike in this world, don’t respond with anger!  If somebody says something unpleasant about your business, Yelp is fine with it if you want to dispute it.  Just keep it professional because everything on there is public, meaning that everyone can see every word you type.

So are you guys ready to get on board with Yelp? It’s super cool, and if you want, we can help you figure out how to use it to your greatest advantage.  Maybe we can even help you get one of those fancy stickers!  How cool would that be?  Way better than the ones that say “my kid can beat up your kid!”