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Inorganic Social Media: Buying Reviews

Your restaurant might be guaranteed organic, but your reviews might not be!

Gone are the days when social media was guaranteed organic. When you could count on feedback and opinions being the genuine article, and when a friend gave a good product review it was because they stood behind the product. Gone are the days when you talked all your friends into liking your page and writing you good reviews. Now, if you want it, you can buy it.

Want Facebook Likes? Go buy them.

Want Twitter followers? Go buy them.

Want Youtube views? Go buy them.

If someone can like it, follow it, watch it, or somehow boost a number by simply clicking a button then you can buy the button click.

These popularity buys have been empty numbers, meaning they are often bots or people being paid pennies to click your like button. They are not real fans. They do not care about you, your page, your product. They will not buy what you are selling, read your posts, tell their friends about it or comment…or will they?

The newest trend in buying popularity is buying reviews. Restaurants have be “faking” reviews for a while now by writing positive reviews for their restaurants on review sites. Often times their reviews were relatively transparent, especially if their glowing review was the only really good review in a sea of mediocre or bad reviews. But now there is a way around that.

Companies are paying people to write good reviews on sites like yelp.com or tripadvisor.com. They buy these good reviews from a company, and that company goes and writes a number of positive reviews on the review sites. The reason for this is due to the success of crowd sourcing.

Crowd sourcing has been a powerful byproduct of social media. Ask about a restaurant, store, product and hear what your friends have to say. Basically turn to the crowd to see what they like. This word of mouth advertising is the primary power of social marketing. But with being able to buy that crowd sourcing, will it lose its effectiveness?

According to a new study, by 2014 10-15% of online reviews will be bought. The FCC is trying to regulate these false testimonies, but will not likely be terribly successful. After all, how will they differentiate between real reviews and fake ones?

With an inability to effectively regulate false customer testimonies and an increase in purchased testimonies, will people continue to rely as heavily on online reviews as they have in the past? Will sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor lose their relevance? Likely not. People will still turn to these sites to see what customers have said, because even if 15% of the reviews are bought, the other 85% are real.

Of course, while a company can buy itself good reviews, what is to stop them from buying bad reviews for a competitor?

Lauren MacEwen Business to Consumer Logo Read original post on Business 2 Community

Top 7 Ways to Use Cyber Monday to Grow your Social Media & Make the Sale

What could be bigger than Black Friday?  Cyber Monday.  This has been the Internet’s alternative to the biggest shopping day of the year.  However, the popularity and reach of social media has the potential to really make Cyber Monday a huge selling phenomenon.

From a business perspective this is an excellent way to work on your social media efficacy.

  1. Promote your promotions!

    Tell people that you are going to offer special deals just for Twitter and Facebook. Build the buzz around what you are going to do.

  2. Use your upcoming deals as a way to grow your network.

    Tell people to spread the word. Use growth benchmarks to give special secret deals, like “When I hit 500 fans I will give away a ….”

  3. Exclusive Deals

    On Monday, offer special deals that are only available on Facebook and Twitter.

  4. Post deals constantly throughout the day.

    This will encourage people to stay tuned to your updates. You can even schedule these tweets so they keep coming on a regular basis and you can focus on engaging with your new and massively growing network!

  5. Set up an auto-DM

    Create a one day direct message that sends a promo code to new followers….and promote the fact that you are doing this.

  6. Re-Tweet Promotions

    Tell your followers that you will do a special giveaway to the people who retweet your offers.

  7. Get people to blog about you

    Tell people if they blog about your deals and your business that you will give them a special deal or promo code that will last beyond Cyber Monday.  This way you carry your promotions longer.  You can even promote that between your Cyber Monday promotions on Monday!

Why Blogsites are better than AOL Hometown

spinning peace sign

As a consultant people often ask me about their website: should they have one? What should it look like? What kind of site should it be?

I admit it. I am biased.

I have been doing web design since AOL came out with their personal web pages and a spinning gif felt like advanced graphic technology.

I have used a variety of web design programs and have always defaulted back to basic code editing.

Now I use blogsites.  I still code, but I can do that in an easier interface.  The tools are much easier to use and really help you create dynamic sites.

Most people think of a blogsite as a website for hosting a blog. It is actually a completely customizable website that is easy to edit and easy to update. It solves a lot of the utility issues presented by traditional websites and can save you a ton of money on design costs.

Updating your website…

The reason this is important is to drive repeat traffic to your site. If your site is static or unchanging then people have little reason to come back to it. To really drive traffic to your site you need to be a source of information. Give them a reason to keep coming back. This is where a blogsite excels! You can incorporate dynamic content through various widgets, making it easy to automatically stream content from sites such as Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. You can also easily update your content through blog posts and site updates.

It’s almost too easy…

You don’t have to be a web designing wiz to be able to set up beautiful blogsites. Themes are the easiest way.  A theme is a preformed site that is installed on top of your blog. It comes pre-loaded with widgets designed to make your site dynamic and highly functional. For the most part you can drag and drop the widgets and easily customize your site. If you are wanting something a little more complex, the CSS style sheet is easy to edit and the web is full of support sites to help you learn how to edit the code.


Yup, blogsites are making that easy too.  With plugins like Scribe SEO, it is easy to optimize your posts.  These plugins analyze your writing, identify keywords, give you tags and give you advice.  It is like having a personal SEO consultant looking at your every post.

Back in the day of AOL Hometown, I spent hours scouring other people’s sites, pouring through hundreds of message boards, teaching myself HTML and learning to read source code.  In the end I had a site with a pretty night sky background, some spinning gifs and text in blue writing that I now know is nearly impossible to read.

Blogsites are superior to AOL Hometown – and they are also much better than a lot of standard wesbites.  If you want a site that is easy to update and gives you the option of having dynamic content, then this is the way to go.

The blogsite theme I use is Genesis by Studiopress. I find it easy to work with and easy to customize. It gives a great start to a beautiful and unique site. If you are going to get noticed on the web your webpage is your first impression.

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

5 Sources of Inspiration for Bloggers

Comic image of two people talking about finding things to write about

Blogs can be a source for – or a source of – inspiration. Blog writing is something we come to in many different ways. Some people write out of a deep interest in a topic; they have a passion about a subject that they want to share with others.  Others have expertise they want to pass on.  Some people do it out of professional intrigue or professional necessity.  The reasons for blog writing can be as varied the topics covered.

Regardless of the reason for writing, sharing is one of the key elements that unites bloggers. One of the things they most want is for others to read it.  We all want to acquire an audience.

There are various ways to promote our blogs, drive traffic, and build revenue and subscribers.  But before you can focus on these things you have to face some primary technical questions – like how often are you going to post?

How often can you write on your topic?  How frequently can you find sufficient inspiration?

Is once a week enough?  Twice? Three times?  What about daily? Oh my god, daily! Yowza. Let’s not even talk about the nuts who post twice daily (ahem…Chris Brogan)

If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, then Brogan summed it up nicely when he said, “the more you post, the more traffic you get.”

So now you are blogging three times a week, or maybe you have even gone hell bent for leather and are blogging daily. So how do you do it?  How do you find motivation?  How do you find your topics?

  1. Read other people’s blogs!
    This is one of the best ways to find inspiration. See what other people are writing about; perhaps respond to what they have written.
  2. Read the news
    Many of us don’t actually blog about mainstream news, so what is the news in your industry?  You probably have thoughts and opinions on trending topics.  Share your opinion. Stop worrying if people agree with you, or if you are right or wrong.  Put your thoughts out there, and then if the response you get changes your point of view, well then you have another post topic!
  3. Follow Twitter
    Twitter is a beacon of discussion.  What are people talking about?  How are people interacting? Twitter is ripe with inspiration seeded in the conversations.  If you pay attention to what people are talking about you will see what people are interested in…write about that!
  4. Watch a movie
    Sure, it is a great form of procrastination, but if you are feeling stagnated then challenge yourself with a movie.  Watch a great and notable title and see how you can apply your writing to that movie.  Integrate buzz words from your industry into movie liners.  Have fun with it!
  5. Just start writing
    Occasionally we are just blocked. Blocked for words, topics, creativity. Sometimes sitting down and just typing whatever comes to your mind will lead you into something.  Think of it as an active meditation.  Just write what comes, no matter how goofy or nonsensical.  Many times finding inspiration is a matter of discipline, which may means committing to writing even when you can’t think of anything to write.

The more you write the easier it will become. When you first ramp up your frequency it can seem really daunting.  But the old adage is true; the more you write the more you will be able to write.  If you focus, the inspiration will come!

What inspires you? Tell me about it!