Is Your Business Using Social Media Recommendations?
After reading Ed Keller’s article on Forbes.com, Recommendations are What Drives Your Business. Remember to Ask for Them, I wholeheartedly agree. Recommendations are at the core of each of the current crop of social media channels. They are so common to our daily lives that we take them for granted. How many of us frequent a favorite restaurant, mechanic, barber or bar on the basis of an initial recommendation? The same rules apply online.
It comes as no surprise that social media is built on recommendations. There are the simple and quick recommendations of “likes” or retweets, and then there are the more significant personalised recommendations. It is the latter, that somebody thought about and went to the effort of writing specifically for the recipient, that really count. This could be sharing a recommended link with an explanation on a friend’s Facebook page or writing a professional recommendation for a colleague on their LinkedIn profile. These are the recommendations that draw attention and elicit a response.
As Keller argues, there is no doubt that a face-to-face recommendation is best of all, but this is not always an option and the internet is full of effective imitations. A popular genre of YouTube videos is product reviews, allowing prospective buyers to see the product in action and demonstrated by a neutral party, usually on their webcam at home. In the case of a LinkedIn recommendation, this is a face-to-face recommendation posted on the Internet for the benefit of a recruiter to encourage them to meet with the recommended. We at WebServes operate our own referral program so that people can receive a reward for recommending our services to a friend.
If you are starting out on a new venture or growing your audience, getting recommendations is a great route towards expansion. Peer-to-peer recommendations are a highly effective form of advertising and they’re free! Recommendations from strangers can even lead to a purchase, such as Amazon product reviews. While these lack the strength of a friend’s recommendation, praise from multiple strangers in agreement can be highly effective in leading new customers towards a purchase, as evident on Amazon, Zagat or eBay.
If you are a small or new business, take Keller’s advice and make the most of recommendations. Make sure you have a Facebook page so that customers can “check-in” or “like” your business, raising awareness among their friends. Make the process of recommending you as simple as possible to encourage customers to do so. If you are providing a product or service that delights customers, then don’t be afraid to ask for a recommendation and reward customers when they do. Delighted customers are your most trusted salespeople and will be only too happy to share the experience with family and friends.