Posts Tagged ‘@timstansky

02
Jun
12

Yelp Town Hall and How One Star Increase = 5% to 9% Increase in Revenue

I attended Yelp Boston Town Hall, billed as a forum for the fourth in a series of cities hosted by Yelp offering businesses best practices in how to engage online critics and exchange ideas with other local businesses trying to harness the best in Yelp.  Yelp Boston Community Manager, Damien Smith quarterbacked a panel conversation with two avid local Yelpers, Darnell Holloway, Yelp’s Manager of Local Business Outreach, and two local businesses who are faring quite well with Yelp – Renee Eliah of Saus, a Belgian waffle and pommes frites place near Government Center and Brian Poe, chef of Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake and Beacon Hill newcomer Tip Tap Room.  And though the event was held in a restaurant with two restaurants as the businesses on the panel the folks from Yelp noted that restaurants account for only 23% of the reviews on Yelp.  Note to anyone holding a social media event in a downstairs section of a venue – make sure there’s working wifi to use an event hashtag such as #yelptownhall on social media or to check in on Yelp.  Does that belong in a Yelp review of hosting an event at the Back Bay Social Club?…

Renee shared anecdotes that Yelp worked as a marketing tool for Saus to channel pre-opening anticipation of pommes frites-philes and curiosity to build buzz when the doors finally opened.  Renee also believes that the majority of their business in the beginning was attributable to Yelp and that helped keep the business going.  Yelpers actually came to Saus’ defense from online harsh reviews of growing pains common to lots of new restaurants.

Brian talked about a real-time turnaround when a guest shared the status of a bad experience on social media while it was happening and from afar he and his team were able to figure out who the patron was and made things right for that patron before he left the restaurant.

The Yelping Yentas had earnest intentions in offering frank reviews to business but it’s hard not to feel for the business owner who spoke from the crowd equating bad reviews as graffiti on one’s home or the tattoo studio entrepreneur contending that competitors might be the source of staged reviews or inflating their own reviews manufactured by friends and family.

The event did not offer a magic elixir to remove the digital stains of bad reviews on Yelp, but it did offer some key takeaways:

  • Bad reviews are nothing new.  Attention and resolution of reasonable customer complaints can turn things around.
  • Consistently good customer service and attention will pay off in the long-term.
  • Yelp reviews can be considered focus groups for feedback on your products and services.
  • Higher ratings and great reviews grow organically.  Pushing non-Yelping customers to write a review leads to less-than-raving reviews and fewer stars because people feel obliged and may not even be familiar in how to write a great review in Yelp-ese.

    Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com
    Michael Luca, HBS
    Working Paper

The most delicious part of the night was a serendipitous conversation with Chantelle Karl, Yelp Senior Public Relations Manager when I asked about how much, in dollars, a good Yelp rating is worth when Michael Luca just happened to join us.

Michael is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School and author of  “Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com”.  Mike studied the impact of Yelp reviews on Seattle area restaurants through Washington State Department of Revenue data.  His Working Paper demonstrates that a one star Yelp rating increase can lead to a 5 to 9 percent increase in revenue.  Pretty cool to meet someone who can put it into dollars and sense.

Yelp did a good job taking their own advice listening to business owners’ side of their model for feedback.  And for those business owners who obsess over tough criticism, there are many bigger priorities in running a business and plenty of customer marketing options if Yelp is not one’s choice.

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06
Nov
11

#entrepreneurs … no, make that #womentrepreneurs

In the short time I’ve been working at Exhale Lifestyle Magazine for Women I’ve encountered some very impressive groups that foster female leadership in organizations and strive to pave inroads for girls and young women across a number of industries.  Among my favorites so far are The Commonwealth Institute, WEST – Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, The Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, and Mass Innovation Nights.

Yes, Mass Innovation Nights is a woman-led entity and I’m writing this to give Bobbie Carlton her props for building this monthly gathering where products launch to market.  @BobbieCThe companies involved have ranged from major corporations to kitchen-table startups.  Bobbie is a community builder for innovators to connect and promote each other through the power of social media in the stone soup theory of creating a delicious meal with a place for everyone at the table.  For a woman who has built a career in public relations she’s modest about what she does for others.  That’s why I want to give Bobbie her props for being named one of Mass High Tech’s All-Stars of 2011.

If you’ve attended a Mass Innovation Night or launched a product at one of the 30+ Monthly Launch parties here’s your opportunity to give her a shout:

23
Oct
11

My Twitter account was hacked. Here’s what I did.

I’m giving a shout out to Bobbie Carlton for her message sent just after 4am last week suggesting that my account might have been hacked.  I thought I was the early, bright and shiny one at 5am reading email, news and trades.  But she was up and at it before heading to the gym.  I did not know about the secure settings option.

Your friends will tell you in very creative ways that your account might have been hacked.  Some of your Followers will think you’ve lost it. Try these easy steps.  Go to your Settings.https://twitter.com/#!/timstanskyOn the Account tab, scroll down to HTTPS Only, check the box “Always Use HTTPS” and Save changes.https://twitter.com/#!/timstansky

Share this with your followers.  They might eventually need it.

Now I have to ask this question to those of you who have been hacked…..  what’s the funniest thing that came back to you when your followers told you that you might have been hacked?  Please share.

10
Oct
11

QR Codes for events

Mass Innovation Nights is a monthly Launch gathering where ten new products display to a couple hundred people at various locations around Boston.  The locations rotate including the IBM Innovation Center in Waltham, Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge and last month at SCVNGR‘s headquarters during Boston’s FutureM.

These Launch gatherings are the culmination of a common ballot on which companies, friends, family, fans and customers vote over four weeks for the participating Launch Innovators to win one of four 5 minute presentation slots to the crowd.  There’s a lot of collective social media in the form of Tweets, blogs, emails, newsletters, video and posts in the voting process leading up to the event and a big blast of it on-site.

In early 2011 I cobbled together two products to create a unique QR code for each participating Innovator to have at their display.  The scanned QR code launched unique pre-loaded Tweet with a shout out for that Innovator.  We named it a QR Click To Tweet, QRCTT.  When you do this at your event remind your guests to sign into Twitter on their smartphones before they QRCTT. 

After a couple of beta tests at Launch gatherings I enlisted the help of Nirmal Parikh of Digital Wavefront, Dag Holmboe of Klurig Analytics, Jim Henderson of VizConnect and Bobbie Carlton of Mass Innovation Nights.  In one short conference call we figured a simple refinement of my cobbled project to generate QR codes to produce better analytics.  Few of us knew that was possible.  Props to Nirmal!

http://slidesha.re/qr_codes_for_events

Click here to view slides.

The use of bit.ly-generated QR codes will allow us to analyze the Tweets, measure collective social media and give us a baseline to figure out how else we can optimize social media exposure for all the participating Innovators who launch products at Mass Innovation Nights.

Here are the steps to create your own QRCTT, a one click Tweet through a QR code scan that allows for analytics.

23
Jul
11

Swype the Poltergeist television screen?

I read a great article in Mobile Marketer this week “The correct relationship between apps, mobile Web sites and Web sites” by Alan S. Knitowski that offers a good perspective on the adoption and integration of mobile in a post “we-need-a-webiste” era.  In it Alan references a child intuitively trying to “swype” a television screen.

A good point to consider in a marketing plan is the point of contact between a company’s marketing message and its intended buyer/user (read David Meerman Scott’s buyer persona blog).  Where are the buyer/user’s fingers and eyes when they are connecting with the message?  Smartphone screen?  Tablet?  Keyboard/monitor?  Are those the fingers of a generation that grew up on rotary dial phones and graduated to touch-tone or are they on the hands of those whose parent allows the phone to double as a toy?

http://www.classicmoviepostersblog.com/horror-movie-posters/horror-movie-posters-poltergeist

Carol Anne swyping in 1982

There are distinct generational differences in how a buyer/user is going to intuitively and comfortably use new technology or revert to old, more familiar ways to eventually open their wallets.  Imagine that little girl in Poltergeist being able to “swype” away the messages from the tv and surf to something she really wanted.

Where are the buyers’ fingers that lead to a wallet when exposed to your message?  And how old are they?

Where have you seen success and “learning experiences” in generational use of technology in marketing?  Please comment.

image: www.classicmoviepostersblog.com




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