Leveraging Blog Comments & Reviews

November 9, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

OMG, I MADE IT! I just hauled serious, well, you know, to get here on time. Luckily, Mike D. held the session for me by stalling and telling stories until I could get set up. THANKS, MIKE!

So up on stage we have Michael Dorausch, Warren Whitlock, Adam Proehl, and Arienne Holland.

Up first is Michael.

He’s checking out reviews for dentists here in Vegas because he likes to keep it local.  If you looked at them, you might say, great, there are lots of dentists with nothing but five 5-star reviews. But he knows better because he knows how to study reviews. He knows their anatomy. If you see that all reviews are written on a Tuesday around the same time, that’s staff.   If you are going to have your staff write you fake reviews (which you shouldn’t do) at least teach them how to do it better.

He shows a particularly nasty review from a guy named Chad and mentions he might want to flag it as inappropriate.  The notes how the owner responded with something that was really impersonal. Mike says I (like, me) would have done it differently. I think he gives me too much credit. ;)  He shows how the business was coming to respond months after negative reviews were being post and were basically cut and pasting the exact same response. It tells us the business is kind of crappy at social media. As a consumer, that’s a red flag for pretty much anyone.

If he has a negative review that is legitimate, he will go online and respond to that.  He’ll take his punches and be transparent about it. If it’s a hater, his approach and his thought is that the person doesn’t exist. Chad’s just a hater and he’s not going to play the game. One of these days if Google is going to clean it up, they’re more likely to get rid of stuff he, as the owner, isn’t responding to. By responding, he lends credibility to the bad review.

After some more research into Chad’s review, Mike find that Chad ONLY writes one-star reviews so maybe he’s just a hater or it’s a Mechanical Turk kind of thing. Most of the reviews he’s seeing in bulk, they’re churn negative reviews that if you really read them, you can tell.

Mike wishes that instead of being able to flag comments as inappropriate we could flag them as moronic. Heh.

How can you Ask For Reviews?

He mentions how Google is incentivizing reviews at the McCarran airport.  When you take advantage of the free Vegas airport wifi, a page jumps up that says “hi, why not review your favorite business while you’re here?”  That’s incentivizing reviews.  That’s also kind of awesome.

  • URL Shorteners
  • Page w links (your URL)
  • Business Cards
  • Postcards
  • Emails
  • Receipts

When his clients ask him what he wants for Christmas, he lets them know he’d love a review. They don’t ask for it, per se, but they do put up a small, friendly flier that asks people to leave reviews.

He mentions how the last time he got a really nasty review, he printed it out and hung it up in the office so that everyone could see it.  The result was that new clients read that review and they felt the need to defend Mike by leaving positive reviews.  He called it Review Bait, heh.

Next up is Adam Proehl.

A review really is user generated content, and that’s what he wants to talk about. Which, is good, since the session is on reviews.

Consumer World

  • Usually simple transactions
  • Discretionary income purchase
  • Reviews not a new thing

70 percent of users trust consumer opinions posted online
80 percent of reviews are positive
97 of customers find online reviews to be accurate upon evaluation

B2C Habits -> B2B Behavior

  • Also consumers
  • Carryover of B2C habits
  • Some key differences – cycle length, pricing, approvals, agreements/contracts

Quickbooks Study – 555% Better

They did a study about 18 months ago.  They have a Pro Advisors Program and they found they businesses with reviews received 555% more clicks than businesses without reviews. DUDE!

When you think about sales, its important to think about the buying cycle and where reviews might come in.  They could come into play in the discovery stage, they could come into play when you’re doing pricing, when you’re telling people about it, etc.  93 percent of B2B buyers start the buying process with search.  What does that mean? It means that Google Instant is making it really easy for people to find reviews since they auto-populate it in the search box.

63 percent of B2B C-level execs turn to search to locate information during the approval process. This is one area where the long tail could be useful.  You can’t optimize for all of your long tail terms, it’s just too much to put on your product detail page. Your customers can do that for you in their review. They can say how they use your product, where they use it, etc. This helps you capitalize on long tail SEO.

80 percent of IT decision makers said word of mouth recommendations are the MOST important source when making buying decision. IT touches pretty much everything in your business. You want to win them over.

Longer cycle means more due diligence, more touch points and multiple decision makers getting involved.

Industry prediction:

B2B will take advantage of social commerce tools and adopt at scale within 3 years vs B2Cs 7-year adoption page – Cathy Halligan, Power Reviews

9 out of 10 reviewers say they will find you when they’re ready to buy. You need to be there for your buyer. This may grow bigger than reviews.

Some Tactics of the Pros

  • Engage with post purchase surveys
  • Find your Evangelists/Advocates
  • Ask them to write a review

Not To Do

  • Don’t Fake
  • Don’t keep begging for reviews if you get no response

Next up is Arienne Holland.

She starts off talking about her #littledog and all the lessons she’s learned about marketing from her little dog.  Okay, let’s go with this.

At some point, we’re all the little dog and we have big dog competition.   Comments are things.  Commenting is an action that you can take on other sites and can benefit you and your business. You need a commenting strategy.  There are strategies you should avoid and strategies you should have.

Ball L*cking: If you spend your time on your own site in your comments, you’re just dealing with comments, you are not commenting. You are a ball licker. OMG. Is this really happening. DAD, DON’T READ THIS POST!

Puppy  Humping: You go and you just blast everywhere.

There are 5 things that little dogs need: attention, attention, attention, attention and toys. In terms of blog commenting there are things you want attention from.  You want attention from potential customers. How do you do that? Go answer their questions.

She was at a conference earlier this year and Sony did a presentation about how they  had done two years on extended social media monitoring to find that people were asking questions about how to use the Sony camera. It took them two years to figure them out. That’ show the big dog did it. The little dog can find out where the potential customers are and answer their questions honestly.  You can do it even if you’re recommending a service that is not your own? Why? Because you’re behind a hero and establishing trust.

You can use blog comments for social monitoring.  People who have blogs and forums of their own and start creating relationships with them.

Use them to get attention for industry influencers. Comment where your customers are, not where you will get the ego boost.  That’s called preaching to the congregation, not the choir.

Another way to use blog commenting is to get attention from journalists. A lot of time we think getting noticed is going to cost too much money or take too much time, but it’s actually just about complimenting a reporter.  Be kind, be helpful and be smart. Over time, cycles are long, they will know your name and they will know you as a source. And that’s a very helpful person to be.  Be as specific as possible about who you are when commenting on news stories (not in a jerky way).  Be specific about how you are in terms of your expertise.

The final thing a little dog needs is toys. Toys are tools.  Things like MuckRack, Fuego, etc. If you’re looking for places to comment, go where they gather. Use Meetup.com to find people.  If you’re looking for big thinkers, go search whose talking at TED.  Check out trade associations and conference sites. Don’t just look at the speaker list, look at the attendee list. Because you know they’re looking for something.

Next up is Warren.

He wants to do something different. He doesn’t have a PowerPoint. It’s a session on reviews, so he wants to get some reviews. He asks how many people are here to leverage comments. He asks how many people want to get rid of bad reviews. How many people want good reviews. How many people want a lot more customers to their business. The secret is that each person you interact with wants the same thing.

Social media makes a whole lot of difference right now. The reason it’s a revolution is because the future is not about broadcasting out your message better, it’s about listening. The tools we have available today make it possible. You can find out exactly who is saying something. You can find people who are fans. Find out whose not really sure. Most problems can be solved by listening. People just want to be heard. He knows thats true of him. He complains a lot on Twitter.   He talks about Dell Hell…which is the first time I have heard anyone mention Dell Hell is probably four years. :)

And he’s done.  He just wanted to make a few comments.

Internet Marketing Conferences
Internet Marketing Conferences

Creating Conversion-Friendly Mobile Landing Pages

on Feb 28 by Lisa Barone

WE’RE BAAAACK! Now that we’ve gotten ourselves all caught up on how to be hardcore about local, it seems only…

Online Marketing
Online Marketing

6 Ways To Grow Unhappy, Resentful Employees

on Sep 30 by Lisa Barone

Once you hire smart local talent it becomes your job to train that local talent and give them the tools…


Is An Over-Optimization Penalty Coming For You?

on Mar 19 by Lisa Barone

One of the big news pieces to come out of SXSW was from the Dear Google & Bing: Help Me…

^Back to Top