Archive for May 2012

Saturday Social: What’s better than a Like?

Here’s something you knew even before you set up your Facebook fan page: A Like is a good thing—the first step towards having a nice off-site relationship with your customers.

But what happens after they’ve accepted your invitation to Like your page? Are you giving them a refreshing nibble and conversation, or are you giving them the silent treatment?

One of the keys to knowing whether they’re bored or not is to check out the number after “talking about this.” (It’s under your business’s name, next to your number of Likes).

Don Coqui seems to be doing a great job of engaging its FB fans. A quick scan of their page shows that not only do they do the usual “Come visit us, we’re doing xx tonight,” posts, they also share a fun assortment of items they think their customers will like, from local news bits and jokey e-cards to this “LOL” on men, women, and drinking:

Can you see a national restaurant chain doing this? I can’t. But Don Coqui probably knows their patrons well enough to know this would fly. Those who commented were amused, not offended. (For more on the importance of taking a stand on your brand, check out this thought-provoking post from yesterday’s MediaPost/MarketingDaily commentary: “Simply being liked is not really the point of branding.”)

CAVO Café Lounge also has a good number of people “talking about this,” and one of the ways they encourage it is by posting pictures of their patrons having a great time. People see their pic on CAVO’s page and then share it with their friends.

You don’t have to be a large place to have robust “talking about this” numbers. The Queens Kickshaw and Queens Comfort are pretty small, but they do a nice job of engaging their fans. Both get good press from local blogs, which encourage visitors both to their pages and restaurants. (I visited Queens Comfort last weekend, thanks to an amazing review by Bradley Hawks in WLA’s blog.) The Queens Kickshaw also often features live music—hurdy gurdy, anyone?—and the musicians tell their friends where and when they’re playing. Both Queens Kickshaw and The Queens Comfort allow “Recent Posts by Others” which encourages further sharing.

And then there’s SITE, a design shop on 34th Ave by the Kaufman Astoria Studios. Without the benefit of photos of happy revelers OR food porn, SITE has a good number of fans and fans talking about it. Why? Because the posts include, again, not just stuff about the store, but engaging posts like this one, which was shared, liked, and received 2 comments (not shown):

To recap: Likes are good. Likes AND “people talking about this”  = even better.

Related post:

People talking about this is “a much more valuable metric than likes alone… When users engage in this brand-related activity, it becomes a mini-endorsement of the company or piece of content and offers immediate visibility to their friends.”—from “The World’s Most ‘Liked’ Brands” on CNBC.com. Post can be found here.)

Are you on board with Pinterest?

Does it make sense for a small local business owner to spend time on Pinterest?

With more than 20 million users pinning and re-pinning and linking like crazy, you’d think big-league marketers would need no nudge to join the Pinterest party. But it seems that some of them still do, and if Drew Neisser’s MarketingDaily piece in MediaPost doesn’t interest them, I don’t know what would:

 “[T]he photo-sharing phenom now refers more traffic to other sites than LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ combined. This means that by adding more photos to their Web site and blogs, and then “pinning” them on Pinterest, which automatically creates a link back to the images’ origin, marketers can count on more visitors dropping by without paying for the privilege.”

The question is, does it make sense YOUR business to be on Pinterest? In other words, is it worth the time and effort to create nice boards of your own when only a teeny-tiny portion of Pinterest’s millions will walk into your store?

My gut feeling is that there’s very little return on your investment of time in terms of people “discovering” you and dropping by. That said, it is a free virtual billboard. As such, it can be used to create a really nice visual representation of what you and your business are all about—and it’s in a layout that 20 million people like to look at.

• Another positive to pin to the “pro” column, according to MediaPost: “[N]ow that Pinterest is encouraging brands to pin their own images (for copyright reasons among others), marketers can feel free to share every image they have on relevant “boards.” 

Question: Are you on Pinterest, primarily for your business?

If yes, how much time do you spend on it, and do you feel like it drums up any local interest you wouldn’t have gotten any other way? What are the benefits?

If not, what are your reasons?

Look for a follow-up to this post sometime next week.

A chance to have the experts review your fan page

FB post from Wildfire Interactive. Only 61 entries as of 10:53 AM this morning. Definitely worth a shot!


When Yelpers attack

This past Friday (May 11) on Yelp:

Blossom in Astoria got a lovely 4-star review. Butcher Bar got two lovely 4-stars reviews, one of them saying that the only reason it didn’t get five was that it was her first time there (“I’m sure this will get bumped up with our next visit :)”).

AT&T on Steinway got a 5-star review, as did Green Curry Thai Cuisine, which included this from BamBam B in Brooklyn: Whoever’s reading my review, ignore the hater’s, the food here is great and worth coming back.”

Unfortunately, not everyone felt the “People Love Us On Yelp!” love. Three businesses received scathing 1-star reviews, although only one got through Yelp’s enigmatic auto-filter. Key phrases in Jordan D’s review of Broadway Vacuum include “Dude was just straight up shady looking,” “Tons of busy signals (call waiting, anyone?)” and the dread “Who trained this guy?”  

I’ve never been to Broadway Vacuum and I don’t know Jordan D, so I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with her comments. But from a digital reputation standpoint… OUCH!


First, you have to know you got one.  Have you “unlocked your business account”? I spent several hours poking around on Yelp yesterday and there is an astounding number of Astoria businesses that are not monitored by the owners. If you haven’t done it yet, you should. It’s free, and it only takes a few minutes to do the initial set up. Go to Yelp> Help> Business support> Unlocking a business account.

OK, you’ve unlocked your account. You now have the power to dress that Yelper down with the powerful “Add owner comment” button. But of course you should not. Ever. First you should ask yourself, “Is it true?”  If the Yelper says she saw sweaty rats dancing with dust bunnies on the floor of your restaurant and in fact you know that’s a problem… Fix the problem.

If the claim in the review was true and you’ve addressed the issue, say so in an “owner comment.” Let the Yelper (and everyone else) know that the AC’s fixed, or you’ve switched tequilas—whatever the problem was—and invite him to try you again. You can also sweeten the apology by offering a discount next time (and provide the details privately in a DM). The only exceptions to this are problems of a sketchier nature. For example: If the complaints were about your Uncle Joe leering at girls from the back, give Joe a talking to and continue to monitor future comments. If he took your lecture to heart, comments on “creepy staring guy” will peter out.

Sometimes reviews aren’t true or false; they’re a matter of opinion, and the Yelper’s opinion of what you’re offering is low. For the most part, you have to leave these people to their own musings. (Not that it makes you feel any better, but some mediocre to poor reviews are actually necessary to the credibility of the site. No one can please everyone 100% of the time, so it’s a given you’ll probably get your share.)

That said, if you think an opinion veers towards the unfair (and you’ve given yourself time to consider your words), you can certainly speak up. This is what Kathy K. of Butcher Bar did back in February, in response to a nasty review by Darlene W. from New York, NY.

BfffOverall it’s a fair and measured reply. She says she’s sorry Darlene didn’t enjoy her experience, that they’re working on the online ordering system, and that Butcher Bar’s primary passion is ethical meat—a standard they’re proud to uphold. She didn’t attack the Yelper; she focused on what is good and special about Butcher Bar.

Keep in mind Yelp will not mediate disputes. The only way they’ll remove a review is if 1) the person is describing a second-hand experience (i.e, “They were rude to my mom at this place, she came home crying!”) or if 2) racial slurs were made. In either case, go directly to Yelp> Contact Yelp> choose “Questionable content” from the drop-down menu, and let them know what’s happening.

Final thoughts: Yelp isn’t a one-way conversation. More often than not, customers (even disgruntled customers) want to hear from you. As for the trolls, well…. People have a way of sniffing them out and disregarding their opinions. Remember:

“Consumers look at the big picture. No business is made or broken in one review, they’re looking at the overall rating.” —Jazmin Hupp, Director of Awesome for Tekserv and an expert in social media and responding to customer complaints. {Read the full article here.}

Are you annoying your FB fans?

Amy Kattan is the SM Strategy Director at Likeable Media, and a fan and passionate advocate of all things social. That being said, she writes in Likeable’s blog, “There are appropriate ways to use it, inappropriate ways to use it, and tactics that are just plain irritating to those of us following your brand.”

Here is #4 of her post, “The 6 Most Annoying Things You Do with Social Media.”

“Reeeeeallllllly loooooonnnnnnng Facebook posts: In case you weren’t already aware, Facebook users aren’t particularly interested in reading much text. Most hop on Facebook to get a quick overview of what their friends are doing: you should be happy they’re even looking at your brand’s posts. If a post is more than 2-3 sentences, I probably won’t read it and definitely won’t engage with it.”

I did a little checking around to see who’s getting this “briefer is better” thing right (I like to keep things positive), and found William Hallet (36-10 30th Ave.) does it well. (They get assists from Astoria’s food bloggers, who often share photos that look like they should be framed and exhibited in the Museum of Food Porn Hall of Fame.)

Here are a two good (brief) posts. If I had seen the first one on May 1st I would have made a beeline to the restaurant that night. The second is a very cute “soft-sell” post. I can’t believe only 3 Liked it. I’d Like it now, but I hate to be a late Liker.


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