Last week we published our 19th annual Wicked Local Readers Choice Awards. Congratulations to the more than 20,000 establishments throughout Eastern MA who were chosen by local consumers as the best in their town or region.
We talk a lot about reputation, and what small businesses need to do to protect it, but let’s talk about how to “talk” about all the positive things you’re doing, let’s brag about your business.
Your unique brand is what defines you among your customer base, and helps drive business through your door. Everything
you do drives your brand. So if you sponsor the little league team in town, or you’re letting the Girl Scouts sell cookies in front of your business, or if you’ve just won a Readers Choice Award, tell people about it! It defines who you are. It defines your brand. It markets your business.
If you’re one of the Readers Choice winners, then chances are you've got a happy, active and engaged customer base who are out there talking up (and voting for) your business. Keep them talking. Engage them on social media, encourage them to give you an online review, and you’ll probably pick up a few new customers along the way.
One of the benefits of being a Readers Choice winner is that you not only receive an award certificate, but you also earn the rights to use the Readers Choice logo in all of your advertising, marketing, social media, signage, etc. Take advantage of that. After 19 years, consumers recognize these awards. It’s your seal of approval. And don’t forget to thank your customers. They are the ones who voted for you. Let them know you appreciate them. Incorporate that into your advertising and marketing, and let them know you appreciate their support. It’s as simple as “Thanks for voting us #1….”
Did you win “#1 Restaurant for Breakfast” or “#1 Hair Salon”? Run a “winning promotion” inviting new customers and thanking your existing customers to come in and see why you’re a winner.
Still a little shy? You don’t have to initiate it all the time. Join online groups or social media threads and get involved. If you’re talking about other businesses or products, they may talk about you. You’ll add to the value of their content while creating your own. Businesses and consumers can join our Readers Choice conversation on Facebook and Twitter (#wickedfavorites), or get involved with our online Share Your Favorites Contest.
And What If You Didn’t Win?
If you didn’t win an award it doesn’t mean your products and services aren’t worth it, but it may mean you’re not engaging your audience enough for them to help you talk (brag) about all you do. It’s particularly important for you to engage your customers. Using social media to do this is easy. Do you think you have the “Best Burger” or do you have a unique product or service? Run a special promotion inviting customers to come in and try you out. Give them a reason to talk about you.
In today’s media you get to control your brand’s reputation. You can control whether you provide top-notch customer service, or if you are offering a quality product at a competitive price. Take advantage of all today’s media has to offer small businesses.
The fear of receiving a negative comment or review shouldn’t prevent you from taking control of your brand’s message. Get your story out there. Get your business noticed, and build your brand. If someone doesn’t agree with how great you are, then take the steps to protect your reputation and move on.
Does it all still seem overwhelming? We can help you. Simply click below and an a multi-media representative will contact you to help with a social media plan.
Robin Lorenzen is Vice President of Marketing & Promotions for Wicked Local Media Solutions and can be reached at email@example.com.