Outlets your Business should be using

SM for Business

Whether you’ve mastered your social media outlets and are conversing with thousands or not interested in checking out Facebook and Twitter just yet, you’ll want to take a look at these three sites.

More importantly, you’ll want to make sure your customers are looking at these sites:

Yelp.com

Yelp is currently the most popular online review site, from restaurants, to convention center facilities and everything else. If a business or facility exists, someone can write up a review on it for others to see. I’d recommend that anyone who has friends, family, colleagues or business partners that have visited one of our managed locations be asked to post their remarks on the site.

Google Reviews

While this site is a little clunky to those who don’t constantly explore the world of all things Google, every time a location is mapped via Google Maps you have the option to review the facility. For example if you mapped the San Jose convention center, you can select on the highlighted space “A” and choose “Write Review” from the information bubble that pops up.

ECompliments.com

This site is my least favorite of the three, but may be a place some of your clients may already frequent. While all reviews on this site have to be complimentary to the business in order to be posted, it’s still worthwhile, especially if you’re looking for people you may want to contact for testimonials.

Niche Social Media Sites for Business

While many Social Media sites will talk about why you should be using Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter I wanted to bring attention to a few minor niche sites that are specifically geared towards businesses and their owners.

The first is Merchant Circle; a site I find very promising. While its user base has only recently broken the million member mark it offers businesses a place to connect with other local businesses in their area. More than this though, it gives you the opportunity to connect with customers in your neighborhoods and allows for Q&A’s from those looking to learn more about your business. A great social media tool that really helps to qualify your followers rather than just hoping that the exposure you have is really interested in you.

Another one you may already be familiar with is Plaxo. While my personal preference is LinkedIn as I believe it offers more tools and definitely has a larger user base to connect with, many people enjoy Plaxo as it offers the same professional networking, but with a smaller pool of people. It’s definitely easier for those starting out in the social media world to get noticed here.

Another site similar to LinkedIn is Fast Pitch! Networking, which focuses more on user profiles promoting their business rather than just their expertise in certain areas. Because of this, the site includes a lot of built in marketing tools for its users to use including press release, classified, event and video pages for your profile. I really think this site has a lot to offer and I’d keep an eye on it, even if you aren’t ready to join just yet.

Paid Services

I’m a big fan of free resources, and I believe there is much you can do with the online resources available that do not come with price tags. However, if your budget has room, the two following sites may be something worth looking into.

The first is QAlias, which allows you to create an online profile for your company, you and your employees. While this alone doesn’t justify the $9.95 a month charge, what they also include are Google Ads for your profiles. This can help whether you’re already running a Google Adwords campaign or don’t have the time to set one up on your own.

The next site is BizNik, which is strictly for Business to Business networking. While they offer a basic membership that is free to create your profile and connect with other businesses, you’ll find you won’t be able to really network with anyone until you pay for their “Pro” or “ProVIP” services which start at $10 a month.

2 thoughts on “Outlets your Business should be using

  1. Thank you for your insights. I wanted to comment on the eCompliments.com site. It is much more than just a review site. While you are correct, the site, hence the name does focus on the positive reviews people have to give to a business (Compliments) – a consumer can also post complaints if they have a less than satisfactory review of a restaurant, doctor, salon, lawn service, etc. The Share the Good tag line is the highlight of the site. Why not share the good when you have a great experience about a place or person you do business with rather than being so quick to post a review when you have had a bad experience only? So as stated, eCompliments does allow people to post both compliments AND complaints. And while the site is free for businesses to have a profile (which by the way, if a business is listed in the yellow pages, they likely already have a profile on the site and may want to check it out), there is a PRO upgrade for businesses which is more of a Relationship Marketing tools to help businesses strengthen their brand and credibility, enhance their customers experience and loyalty, turn their customers into a volunteer sales force in spreading positive word of mouth about the and help increase SEO and their online web presence.

    There is a monthly price or a discounted price for a 12 month commitment and is extremely affordable for all businesses….especially small business owners that do not have much of a budget these days for advertising and marketing. The PRO package is especially great for those that have no website of their own or a way to provide coupons to their consumers. Also – the PRO upgrade allows business owners to communicate privately to those who posted compliments or complaints. And finally, if a complaint has been posted about a business the owner has the opportunity to publicly post an apology about what may have happened for all other users to see. People know mistakes happen or there may be a night that was an off night at a restaurant but if they see that the owner is committed to customer service and is posted an apology or a way to rectify the situation it shows that the business does care about their customers.

    • Well there is a plug if I ever saw one 😉

      While I have seen the red circle with the line through it for “leave a complaint” your site really does promote sharing positive reviews so much that it’s rare for a bad review. The problem I have with this is that it doesn’t feel legitimate. I’m not saying anyone is making things up, I’m sure all of those people had great times at whatever place they visited. However, I think critical reviews can often be more beneficial than positive. For example I like how most Yelp reviews are not solid 5’s. There are a wide range of opinions on places. In addition I like the aspect that while someone may have hated a place because of one reason that reason may actually cause another person to visit. Obviously, your site allows people to tell their story and you can divulge this same information, mostly, but it’s a lot easier on other sites.

      For example look at your “top complimenter” http://www.ecompliments.com/custom/myPosts.cfm?PostedBy_ProId=187 – While I don’t want to say she’s being dishonest I just can’t help but wish I had this type of luck that every place I visit would be 5 stars (though she does have ONE 3 star and about five 4 star places, but it’s in a sea of 5’s)

      Besides that, your site has very few reviews on it when compared to Yelp and Google Reviews, so unless someone was really interested in becoming a top reviewer on your site and getting their profile on the front page – it doesn’t offer as much benefit (yet) to consumers looking for reviews as other sites.

      In general, I think your site is worth looking at, and if a business has a customer who is a member, then ask them to post a compliment is great, but I wouldn’t direct people to your site over Yelp or Google reviews as it doesn’t offer anything over the other sites, instead it’s a bit less.

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