If you've never used a particular product or service before, one of the first things you might do is check Amazon, Yelp or one of the other usual suspects to see if people have good or bad things to say about whatever it is you're thinking about purchasing.
Those two websites are sufficient, and still commonly used, but many businesses are also realizing how important it is to encourage people to give their feedback about products and services across social media feeds.
People Can Be Gently Reminded to Leave Reviews
When the level of service or the quality of a product is either excellent or very poor, people usually need no prompting when it comes to speaking whatever is on their minds. However, some individuals may still need reminders to leave feedback, even if they might only comment that they're satisfied.
In that case, it's worthwhile to have a prominent link or button that connects people to a company's social media hubs. To see how this can work well, check out this website. The bright green "Review Us" button near the bottom of the page is instantly noticeable, and the first link on the corresponding page goes directly to the company's Google+ profile.
Screenshots as Social Media Reviews
Some retailers have gotten even more creative and used screenshots of social media mentions to promote particular things. CelebVideoMessages is a website that's gotten coverage in the United Kingdom, and it seems poised to take off in other areas of the world, too.
The concept behind the service is that you can pay money to have one of more than 40 famous people record a message for you. Current celebrities who have signed up include David Hasselhoff and wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
In an attempt to put a social media focus on its promotional efforts, the company uses a scrolling section of about ten screenshots from the social media profiles of satisfied customers. Some of them have used the service to wish people happy birthday or mark anniversaries. This strategy works well because the screenshots may be seen as more realistic than mere words on a screen. That's especially true because some customers decided to thank the respective celebs by adding the correct social media handles to a post.
Sometimes, Feedback Can Become Furious
We've already seen how it's sometimes important for people to be urged to leave social media reviews, and that, in some cases, the product being sold is so unique, people will gladly do so. This past Valentine's Day, 1-800-Flowers quickly got exposure to the other side of the customer review spectrum.
After weather delays caused holiday bouquets to get delivered behind schedule, hundreds of livid customers took to the company's social media pages to speak out. While doing damage control, representatives reached out to people via Facebook and Twitter asking that customers use social media to provide details like order numbers.
Although company representatives might look back on the entire event as a fiasco, it also demonstrates how well social media can be used to connect with people quickly and calm furious tempers as thoroughly as possible. If there's one thing people hate, it's complaints that aren't adequately addressed, or maybe even completely ignored.
Companies that respond proactively and make sure social media channels are well-staffed during projected busy periods could help steer clear of PR nightmares if feedback turns foul. It's also good to have social media representatives monitoring respective pages so even positive comments get quickly acknowledged.
When customers know someone's out there and cares enough to type a genuine response to a positive comment, that helps nurture the strength of the future relationship between a business and customer.
Image by JoshSemans