Web.Search.Social Marketing Podcast
WSS #0132: Good Reviews Are Good, But Bad Ones Can Be Better

Say Goodbye To Cranky

We've been a little cranky lately on our podcasts. In retrospect, last week we did an awful lot of complaining about people who complain. Ahem.

So we're back with some positivity. Even if it comes wrapped up in a negative review because it turns out that's what we end up talking about.



SuperFred Shout Out

To my brother Kevin who heard that we named Tammie Rampley the Chief Executive Pride Officer and complained that we should have named him.

So Ralph decides to put them in the Thunderdome to fight it out. I suggest that we can have one pride officer for each color of the rainbow but Ralph isn't convinced.

In the end we decide Tammie's weapon will be the sewing machine and Kevin's will be the cocktail and that will be a battle worth watching.

Ello, There!

No, that's not a typo. Ello is yet another social network that seems to exist solely to be the anti-Facebook.

Neither of us is impressed but Ralph recently saw the "Social Media Bill of Rights" that Ello put out and decided to sign it. Among other things, it said that you have a right to privacy, but as soon as Ralph signed the document, his name was published publicly without warning.

Kind of odd for a social network proclaiming privacy to publicly post its users' information, huh?

The E.L. James Twitter Chat Is The Worst Disaster In The History Of Disasters. Ever.

Or not.

To read the dozen cherry-picked "mean tweets" that every publication printed with hateful glee, you'd think this was the worst thing to happen in marketing and PR since New Coke.

But nobody bothered to mention the large number of positive tweets she received from fans.

Now, look. We're no fans of E.L. James or 50 Shades of Gray (especially because it competes with Ralph's erotic fiction title 49 Shades of Beige) but that doesn't negate the millions of fans she does have.

You can't judge the success of a Twitter chat or marketing campaign based on the people who don't like the business or product.

Of course, positive headlines don't sell. "E.L. James Has a Great Time With Fans" doesn't get as many eyeballs (and subsequently ad revenue) as "E.L. James FAILS. Twitter Chat Complete Disaster!"

So if you're a business thinking of getting out there on social media and afraid of the perpetual nonsense that makes headlines, just remember that it's not you. It's the Internet.

You have to filter that stuff out and do what you do.

Ryan Hanley Gets His First Bad Review

We love Ryan Hanley and his Content Warfare book. He's been on our show three times so that should give you an idea of what we think of him.

But apparently someone disagrees!

Ralph tells a story of his last networking meeting when a member stood up and starting reading negative reviews about his own business.

While everyone looked on in wonder, he went on to explain that while he doesn't like negative reviews and they make him feel bad, each one had some kernel of truth that he could use to improve his business.

Are Negative Reviews Better Than Positive Reviews?

They can be!

If you just sit in the echo chamber of your fans you may never see the flaws and learn how you can improve and perhaps even gain more fans and earn more business.

Positive reviews are good because they let you know what's working but negative ones will show you how to be even better.

Our Bad Review

On last Monday's episode we poked fun at a review we received from someone who said that we talk too much without getting to the point. And that amused us a bit because, well, he's right… and that's ok with us.


And there's a big fat but…

One of our listeners thought we were making fun of the reviewer and sent an email to me saying that wasn't very nice.

And you know what?

She's right!

We were having fun with the review but we totally get how someone could see that as doing the exact thing we say we don't like, which is "being mean" and making fun of people.

That's the value of listening to people when they don't shower you with praise, but instead call you out on your nonsense.

And That's The Value Of A Fan

Yes, real fans shower you with praise and get on board your train wherever it's going.

But real fans also aren't afraid to tell you the truth, even when it isn’t pretty.

Real fans shake their head and forgive your transgressions and they stick around long enough to give you another chance to go back to being awesome.

Don't Be Afraid To Piss People Off

We certainly didn't make that particular reviewer happy but that's ok. On our recent episode with Katherine Kotaw about storytelling, she said that if you haven't pissed someone off then you're not doing it right.

Not everyone is going to like you or what you do.

Ralph Gets Blocked On Twitter

Social media can be tough to navigate because even the simplest statement can be construed as mean or negative without context, body language and tone to temper it.

This past week Ralph got a message from someone that said, "Spam."

Nothing else.

When he looked into it, he noticed that a Twitter automation tool was sending out auto thank-you messages on his behalf. He hadn't realized that this was happening but someone else sure did.

In an attempt to make light of the situation, he commented that spam tastes great on toast. And immediately got himself blocked.

Goes to show that nuance can certainly be lost on social media, especially on Twitter where you're forced to converse in 140 character increments.

It also goes to show that negative feedback (in this case via block) can be useful. It alerted Ralph to a problem that he could fix. We'll have to work on the humor thing next time.

Negative Vs. Negative

You have to recognize the difference between a legitimate negative review that you can use to improve and a negative review that isn't actionable.

In the case of Ryan Hanley's book review, the reviewer commented that he wanted to read a how-to book and Ryan's wasn't it.

In that respect, the review isn't actionable because Ryan never set out to write a how-to book.

On the other hand, someone saying that our automation is annoying is something we can change. Because automation is annoying and that's certainly not something to strive for!

So when it comes to negative feedback, don't go to extremes – you can't pack up your bags and crawl into a cave, but you can't dismiss it, either.

Your Marketing Action Item

From Ralph: Go online and print out all your negative reviews. Then share them with your key staff and find the truth in them. Figure out what's actionable and find the things you can improve on. Or conduct an anonymous survey of your existing customers and ask them to review your product or service. Take the feedback and learn from it and use it to improve your business.

From Carol Lynn: Pick a company that you had a great experience with or you bought a great product from and leave them a positive review online. Let's face it: we're more inclined to complain. When we don't like something we're quick to take it public but not as likely to say the positive. Take the opportunity to shower some praise on someone doing a great job.

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Direct download: 0132-good-reviews-are-good-but-bad-ones-can-be-better.mp3
Category:marketing -- posted at: 12:00am EST