On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.
So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?
1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.
Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone. “But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”. If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.” -David Kelly, IDEO.
2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.
If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.
Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!? Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…
3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.
If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.
*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success.