Social Media on Steroids
When Bad News is Good
Negative reviews. Sooner or later every small business owners or
entrepreneur faces the wrath of a vocal critic but when combined
with the power of social media marketing, bad news seems to take
on an exponential growth curve. However, negative reviews may
not be as bad as expected…in fact, according to recent
research conducted by Cone, negative reviews may be just as
persuasive as positive reviews. Keep reading to learn how to tap
the full potential of reviews -both positive and negative – to
increase sales and customer satisfaction ratings.
Social Media on Steroids
Reviews, client testimonials and other forms of feedback have
long been recognized as one of the most powerful forms of
marketing available but thanks to social media, word-of-mouth
marketing has reached all new levels of importance. What
originally may have taken months or even years to reach the
majority of the population can now become a firestorm nearly
overnight. That type of outreach is a double edged sword when it
comes to consumer feedback since it can literally make or break
a business almost instantly.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Once upon a time in the early days of online reviews, positive
testimonials spurred the sales of new products and services. The
vast majority of information posted was positive with few people
taking the time to share negative experiences. The old adage “if
you don’t have anything nice to say then say nothing” seemed to
prevail. In fact, social media consultants quickly found that
positive reviews became the cornerstone of shopping criteria as
consumers searched for those products that gained the greatest
feedback and reputation for excellent among users. Nearly 90
percent of shoppers claim that positive reviews were responsible
for their buying decisions. The more expensive the item, the
more feedback matters.
Negative reviews have long been feared and are often a major
reason cited by small business owners for lack of integration
with social media marketing. The inability to quickly respond to
criticism, failure to follow-up with negative response or just
the fear of negative publicity has kept more than a few would-be
beneficiaries from exploring the full potential of social media
marketing. However, the data doesn’t justify the concern. Yes -
negative reviews are indeed becoming more pervasive with over
80% of clients reporting that a negative review would change
their mind about a service or product. Today, negative reviews
carry as much weight as positive reviews as consumers compare
cost versus quality and other considerations.
Demographic Edge – Who Shares More and Why?
When it comes to social media marketing, the ability to target
thought leaders and early adopters can make the difference
between a campaign that sizzles versus one that merely fizzles
out. But how can small business owners distinguish between
demographic segments that matter most in order to create
compelling campaigns that elicit exponential growth? According
to recent research by Pew, it’s all in the demographics; with 65
percent of online adults actively engaged in social networking
sites, casting a wide net isn’t necessarily the best method.
Instead, niche marketing yields the most impressive results. Who
are the Biggest Social Media Users?
• Women use social media more than men.
• Younger users (aged 30 and under) use social media more than
• Daily users typically consist of younger women under the age
Does Sharing Matter?
If younger women are the biggest users then it is only natural
to wonder where they interact and why; Facebook remains the most
popular destination among all demographic segments but Twitter
actually gets more shares. Consider these alarming
facts…Roughly 1 out of every 2 of the top 10,000 websites fail
to integrate social media links. This is especially disturbing
when you realize that… • Websites that integrate a Twitter
share button receive 7x more social media traffic but are only
integrated on 42% of top websites. In fact, Facebook is more
popular but Twitter gets shared more making both imperative in a
properly designed social media campaign.
• Google+ links have only been integrated on roughly 10% of top
• Facebook like links are only used on approximately 1/2 of top
.Despite clear evidence surrounding the effectiveness of social
media marketing, roughly half of the top websites on the
Internet still do not offer social media sharing tools. Even
fewer than half of regular websites have adopted sharing tools
on a consistent basis.
Make a habit of integrating social media sharing tools on all
content published to the Internet then go back and add sharing
applications to older content. At a bare minimum, Facebook and
Twitter should both be part of your strategic plan of action.
The High Cost of Gaming Google
As Google+ continues to gain ground in the social media
stratosphere, marketing experts, social media agencies and small
business concerns are scrambling to find the fastest and most
effective way to move to the top of the heap. It doesn’t take
long before a few try to game the system but does it actually
How to Boost PageRank via Black Hat Tactics
For those that are not familiar with boosting PageRank via black
hat tactics, here is a quick refresher. In the “old days”
content farms were hired to place links to a site; today they
are back but with a new twist. Instead of linking articles to
the website, they ask hoards of users to “like” or hit the +1
button in order to increase ratings.
What’s the Problem?
Boosting ratings by hiring throngs of users to “like” or +1
seems innocent enough and a fast way to climb to the top of
ratings so what could be the problem? Plain and simple, Google
and other major websites like Bing don’t approve. In fact,
Google has taken steps to backtrack sudden explosions in rating
data to the original source. When it locates a “node” or obvious
pattern responsible for an artificial boost in traffic it is
automatically discounted from the equation. The obvious
implications are two-fold; not only may small business owners
pay for a method that may do more harm than good, the resulting
traffic might actually go down over the long term rather than up.
What’s the Solution?
The solution is simple. According to Google and other search
engines, grow traffic organically and you will have no problem.
Rather than paying people to like your content, issue content
that is relevant and informative. Unlike artificial growth,
organic growth shoes a chaotic response rather than systematic
patterns making it quite simple for search engines to identify -
and eliminate – artificially generated social signals.
Instead, make it easy to share information by integrating social
media buttons and links into all content. According to recent
data, nearly 1 out of every 2 websites still doesn’t use social
media tags, buttons or other applications on a regular basis.
Good content and available tools are the best method to grow
Maximize Social Media, LLC
Copyright Maximize Social Media LLC 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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About the author: Mike McLaughlin is the COO & President of
America’s top social media agency for medium-sized businesses,
Maximize Social Media.
* As a television producer, he was a key player on several
nationally televised shows and worked side by side with
celebrities such as Ed Koch, Mills Lane, and Harvey Levin.
* He also used his creative talents to support Fortune 100
companies Lockheed Martin and Publix Super Markets, as a project
manager of large-scale training and communications projects.
* At Maximize Social Media, Mike supervises a team of over 200
social media professionals that provide consulting and
management services to businesses in more than a dozen verticals.
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