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McCord Web Services Where the Focus is on Your Success

January 2011 Features » Handling Reviews, Social Media More Than Fluff, Google HotPot

Nancy McCord, Owner of McCord Web Services LLC.Dear Friend,

Your downtime during the holidays can be a great time to start thinking about and mapping out your business strategies and goals for 2011.

Will you create a new service offering, add a referral incentive program, or work over your website?

When you are ready, we will be too! We are looking forward to a terrific and fun 2011. How about you?

Best Regards,

Nancy McCord

Connect with me online on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Plaxo | Naymz | Our Blog

Handling Online Reviews | Social Media More Than Fluff |Google HotPot

Handling Unfavorable Online Reviews

Handling reviews online is an art.Getting a bad review online can be maddening, but don't make it worse by responding without putting in a lot of thought to how your own response will be perceived by other future customers.

I have a client who had a very poor review. When you are in business, you can't please everyone, but in this case the office manager shot off a rebuttal that when I read it, I cringed. It made a bad situation much worse. It portrayed the office staff as angry and argumentative. OUCH!

Sometimes a bad review can be a wake up call. When you get a bad review, step back and look at it, could it be truthful, or have a grain of truth to it? It is very important to take a careful look to make sure that there is not a change needed on your part such as a change in office policy, customer service, or staff retraining.

If you feel that a rebuttal must be made. Focus on the positive, express concern for a problem, offer special attention from top management to repair the situation. Encourage the reviewer to recontact the office for a refund, redo, or credit on future service. Don't write a hot rebuttal that trashes the reviewer or accuses them of being unfair or dishonest. This will only work to hurt you and make it look like the review was really true based on your hot angry response.

You can't fight unfair reviews, but you can work to soften the blow and maybe even become better by taking the review as constructive criticism. Be careful in your response and work to repair a poor situation not to make it worse with your own comments.


Social Media More Than Fluff

Danny Sullivan, a pillar in my industry and writer for Search Engine Land, just interviewed Google and Bing engineers about what they use from Facebook and Twitter in regards to signals that may impact organic placement. I found the article extremely interesting and I think you will too. You can read the full piece here.

The huge take away on the article is that both Bing and Google evaluate and use information, popularity, and activity on both Twitter and Facebook. This is particularly good news for clients of ours who were early embracers of social media and have now built up popular accounts and do regular status updates. The pay off of social media has not been fully realized yet, but the impact on future organic search placement is huge.

More than fluff!Both search engines are now evaluating both PageRank and now SocialRank or HumanRank or SocialRank. Neither have determined a name yet, but are clearly watching, gauging, and weighing social media activity of businesses on both Facebook and Twitter. It is now boiling down to Web Authority and Social Authority (how many updates you do, frequency of updates, number of followers or friends) will now appear to impact positively organic search results.

Both search engines revealed that the links on Twitter and Facebook, even though they are nofollow, do mean something to their search algorithms in regards to Web Authority. Twitter links may in the very near future even be considered as some version of acceptable link building program.

If you are not involved with Twitter or Facebook at this time, you had better take a careful look at this insightful analysis that Danny Sullivan has done as I would recommend at this point you get in the game and do so quickly. Early embracers should give themselves a big pat on the back for seeing a trend and the importance of it and acting to take advantage of the new technology which has now given them an edge over their competition.

We do offer social media services at very affordable rates. We invite you to review our own Twitter and Facebook services.


Google HotPot: a Great Idea with a Silly Name

Google released HotPot about four weeks ago and so far I have used it several times and like it. I have to say if you have not checked it out you definitely should. If you are a local selling and serving business, you for sure need to come up to speed with HotPot as it will be incredibly important to your business in the months to come.

First check it out here: I think it has a stupid name and should have been named something more indicative of the service, but if you think about it, reviews stir the pot of attention so maybe HotPot works. Not sure who was at what bar with what drinks under their belt at Google when they dreamed up the HotPot name.

Google HotPotNever the less, once you start to use HotPot you will understand the this is one powerful tool that you will definitely want to encourage others to use to help your own business. First HotPot is very similar to Four Square. In fact so much so you may say – hey did they steal this idea.

If you have a Google account, you have a HotPot account. The great thing about HotPot is that it is a web interface and not solely a mobile interface like Four Square. Additionally, HotPot ties in directly with Google Places. Have you wondered how reviews appear now on your Google Places account? Well they are now going to come in via HotPot as well as other sources.

I personally just reviewed two restaurants that I ate at in the last two weeks. Both got 5 stars from me. Not only can you star rate a local business or place, but you can leave a comment and rate service, ambiance,  and value. When your review is done, you get another review registered on your HotPot account. You can add friends to your HotPot network automatically with which you will share reviews. I think that Google is pulling your GMail address book contacts for this, but I am not positive.

The important take away on this is that HotPot feeds reviews to Google Places. For local businesses, HotPot activity will be key to getting reviews and plenty of them. No longer will Google need to rely on City Search, Yelp, or Google Maps, they now have their own “Four Square” like tool to garner reviews and build up activity on Google Places so they can further monetize local search.


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