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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
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
themselves could result in increase site traffic, guest blog posts, ad dollars,
r and more reviews.
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
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
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
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,
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,
Mistakes Review Sites
are Making with Social
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
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
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.
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