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  1. 1. reviews Kjhkj SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDE FOR 2010 How is Social Media Shaping Review Sites? Social Media is an evolutionary distributed through social media strategy is an integral part of any development that has transformed the platforms and their own websites. By review site’s modern marketing efforts, way that individuals, organizations, synchronizing the messaging across whether that is for travel sites, product and review sites are able to each social media platform, reviews, or entertainment review sites. communicate. Popular travel review promotion, and their individual As the medium and technology sites such as TripAdvisor, CruiseCritic, websites, they are able to solidify continues to progress, more and more and OntheSnow are defining the use their prominence amongst other review online review destinations will of social media for review sites. As sites. Even more important was the leverage the medium in new ways to opposed to previous years when way they encouraged and enabled give them the edge in gaining reviews review sites were found primarily travelers to share their voice from and becoming a trusted information through search engines or word of small interpersonal recommendations source. mouth, individuals are now able to to online forums reaching hundreds of connect with these review sites in a convenient and viral way. thousands of other travelers worldwide. contents: how review sites are changing 1 For example, these sites have created Social media represents a turning custom applications, integrated point in how individuals and common uses and benefits 2 multimedia content, and use traditional organizations communicate with their case studies 3 marketing methods, such as contests influence groups and customers. Given and sweepstakes, to generate this information, it is clearly why mistakes and next steps 4 motivating, engaging content that is deploying an effective social media social media solutions Why not… Rethink your Audience? guide for review sites While golfers may be Forelinksters’ primary market, targeting golf courses 2010 themselves could result in increase site traffic, guest blog posts, ad dollars, r and more reviews.
  2. 2. Review site checklist Five things your social media team should be doing 1. Develop a Facebook Page Create a Facebook page, and be sure to continuously add new content and respond to posts. 2. Join the Conversation on Twitter Actively involve yourself in a Twitter account, & show participation by following, re-tweeting, and mention others. 3. Communicate With Your Audience Create a blog where citizens can find Most Commonly Uses CruiseCritic, Yelp, UrbanSpoon, more information on your industry TravBuddy, Epicurious, and more. Types of Social Media such as tips and trends, destination spotlights, or other interesting and for Review Sites The most common types of social relevant news. media used for review sites include: In ways, review sites are their own  Social Network Pages on 4. Don’t Forget Multimedia breed of social media. Their Facebook Use sites such as Flickr and YouTube to audiences create user-generated  Media Sharing sites such as promote your message by uploading content as they write excerpts, assign YouTube or Flickr photos and videos for the public to rankings, and share photos and videos  Microblog Profiles on Twitter access and encouraging others to do of their experiences with foreign  Industry blogs the same. destinations, local restaurants, their  Custom applications favorite band, or a less-than- 5. Remember it’s a Conversation Talk to your readers like you would satisfactory product. Key Benefits of Social talk to real people. Bring in your own Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Media & Review Sites personality, and use content that is and other popular sites for publishing open-ended and inviting. online have become ubiquitous in the As the industry continues to progress news media, if not in everyone’s actual more and more, review sites have seen day to day lives. Recently, review the impact it can have on their Don’t Forget… sites have successfully made it onto the websites. The following is a list of bandwagon by adopting these tools in possible benefits that can result by the Using these tools incorrectly, such as order to increase web traffic, use of an effective social media faking posts or spamming, can damage encourage reviews, and boost strategy: your site’s reputation, and that damage revenue. isn’t easy to undo. As review sites  Provides a cost-effective way reach into the social media tool bag, TripAdvisor enjoyed blog mentions to boost site traffic they must be aware of the impact of and increased chatter after creating  Has a viral effect – their actions and understand how these Facebook and mobile applications for passionate reviewers will tools work. on-the-go, tech savvy travelers. spread the word through their social media accounts Other review sites considered social  Engages reviewers in a new media hybrids or using social media way effectively include OntheSnow,
  3. 3. Review Sites Using there were only 100,000 restaurants points for photos and photo captions. on TripAdvisor and these received a Gift certificates are awarded at five Social Media paltry number of reviews. Within thousand, nine thousand, and fifteen four months of launching the thousand points with $25, $50, and The presence of review sites in the Facebook app, TripAdvisor got more $100 gift cards respectively. social media realm or incorporating reviews than the previous 4 years! social media features into their sites is Today they have 410,000 restaurants Through its efforts, OntheSnow is becoming increasingly high across all worldwide with over 1, 500, 000 used by more skiers and review site categories – travel, reviews. snowboarders to research and plan consumer goods, entertainment, food, their ski trips than any other source. etc. In fact, many sites consider social The site reaches 2,250,000 unique media a must. In a 2009 interview, skiers and snowboarders each month Christine Peterson, CMO of and has advertising partners such as TripAdvisor, strongly emphasized the American Express, Chevy, Cliff Bar, importance of social media for the and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. company and the success of Facebook apps in building brand awareness and increasing reviews. Case Study: Cruise Critic, By evaluating review sites’ Engaging content participation in social media, we can clearly establish a positive relationship Cruise Critic is a cruise review site that between level of involvement and Case Study: OntheSnow, reaches more cruise vacationers than any other print or online publication. It political success. Listed below are a Viewer’s choice & points also claims more visitors than all of its few examples of review sites how have effectively implemented the use competitor’s sites combined. OntheSnow is the number 1 visited of social media strategies to improve snow sports website with over 46,000 Cruise Critic posts at least once each their current position among their members. The site uses Facebook, day to their Facebook and rarely audience. Twitter, and Flickr to share the latest receives less than 20 comments per ski information and promote special post. How are they getting their Case Study: TripAdvisor, site content, such as “Visitor Choice audience involved? By promoting Awards.” The awards let users vote Facebook Applications on categories like “Favorite Overall engaging content such as polls and questions. When Cruise Critic links to Resort,” “Favorite Downhill Terrain,” TripAdvisor’s most notable forays into an article or review on their website, “Favorite Family Friendly,” or social media involve the custom they often include a follow up question “Favorite Terrain Park.” The awards creation of Facebook applications. that piques interest, but requires results provided a great informational The site’s “Cities I’ve Visited” lets clicking on the link and reading resource for travelers, gave users a users create interactive maps reason to revisit the site, and create a through the article to fully understand. showcasing where they have traveled public relations opportunity while Cruise Critic carries the consistent and to share on their profile. It has been serving as a user-generated review engaging posts strategy to their widely adopted on Facebook with source in itself. website where content is frequently 4,973,605 monthly active users. updated and users are encouraged to OntheSnow also uses a points system When TripAdvisor decided to delve take a quiz, participate in a poll, or to encourage members to post into restaurant reviews, the idea had add their photos to a user gallery. reviews, photos, and blog posts. a little trouble catching on. After the After members accumulate several With over 51,000 reviews and a success of their first Facebook thousand points, they are eligible for million unique visitors each month, application, they created another. a gift card towards REI.com. By Cruise Critic’s content keeps users The Local Picks application allows registering and completing a user engaged and coming back. users to view restaurants in their profile, members start off with 500 area, rate them, view the top rated, points. They then receive 100 points and share with friends all without for reviews and blog posts and 5 leaving Facebook. Before the app,
  4. 4. Mistakes Review Sites are Making with Social Media Given the viral nature of social media, it is inevitable that some individuals or entities may find that the incorrect use of it has actually damaged their reputations. One of the most widely known examples of this is with allegations that Yelp hid user-generated content that reflected negatively on certain brands for money. Using these tools incorrectly, such as How Should YOU Use What started out as persistent rumors ignoring rules about transparency, for Yelp have now turned into lawsuits honestly, and trust, can do more Social Media? and anti-Yelp groups and websites. damage to a site’s reputation and Social Media is an excellent tool to The allegations claim Yelp manipulates media attention than taking the extra positively promote your review site to its reviews in exchange for advertising time to understand your audience’s your desired audience, by allowing dollars. While Yelp has aggressively expectations and remaining patient as them to become actively involved. denied the claims, the questions about social media contributes to your long- We have created a list of tools that the site’s integrity remain, and a term growth plan. As review sites we recommend you consider engaging review site without authenticity isn’t of reach into the social media tool bag, in, which will increase your site’s much benefit at all. This is the second they must be aware of the impact of popularity and reviews. time Yelp has landed in hot water their actions and understand exactly over transparency issues. Not long how these tools work.  Create a Facebook page – after the site’s creation, the public be sure to continuously add questioned the use of paid reviews. To help review sites understand the engaging content and respond At that time, Yelp said the paid potential pitfalls of social media, we to posts. reviews came from marketing have identified common guidelines  Actively involve yourself in a assistants who were helping to get the that review sites can use to thwart Twitter account, & show ball rolling with reviews. negative feedback from their participation by following community: others. To combat its most recent reputation  Be upfront about any  Create a blog where your problems, Yelp has changed its review advertisers or sponsored audience can find industry- posting policy. Reviews flagged by content. related tips and trends while Yelp as overly-complimentary or  Don’t use manipulation or communicating their opinion on especially malicious, and therefore bribery to gain reviews or current topics. likely fake reviews posted by a advertising.  Use sites such as Flickr and company’s owner or competition, are  Be transparent about your YouTube to promote your site, now available for anyone to view in a mission, motives, and methods. by uploading photos and special section of the Yelp site.  Don’t add your personal videos for your audience to So what does this all mean? While it’s opinion as the site’s owner as access and link to their own clear that review sites are constantly it may sway reviews. accounts. looking for new ways to generate  Provide consistent, valuable reviews and provide increased value content and interact with your to their audience, there are pitfalls audience. that these sites need to be aware of.
  5. 5. Many social media campaigns transcend across channels such as marketing, public relations, and about us sometimes eve customer service, depending on the goals of the campaign. To effectively manage these needs, a social media agency must essentially be an extension of the client, involved with various communication channels within the client’s organization in order to communicate the right content and the right time. Social Media Solutions prides itself on becoming an extension of your business. Not only will we work your account as if we were promoting our own business, but we will also continue to brainstorm and develop new online marketing and social media strategies to optimize your business. Social Media Solutions | www.socialmediasolutionsllc.com | Orlando, FL | p. 407.256.9233 | f. 407.539.6191