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User Reviews: How Much Do They Matter


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How User Reviews Of Your Brand Can Have A Huge Influence

Your clients have always been in control.  Ultimately they control whether you’ll be in business or not.  But these days they have even more control than they used to.  It’s because of a thing called the Internet.

Okay – duh – right?  But what compelled me to write this was a nugget I stumbled upon online. First a disclaimer – this example is not about photography, but the lesson impacts your photography business.  There are a ton of books about word of mouth, content marketing and branding in the age of social media.  I have blogged at length about what I’ve learned from these books and the authors, especially here at MCP.  I apply the lessons to my photography studio daily.  One thread that runs through everything I do, whether it’s philosophical or tactical, is the understanding that the Internet has shifted the power to the consumer.

The Impact of Online Reviews

If you play your cards right this helps you.  Anyone can set up a blog or write a review on Yelp and have their voice carry in ways that weren’t available 10 years ago.  This makes it more important than ever to take GREAT care of your clients.  Do the little things.  I spoke recently with a User-Reviews-Matter-600x6661 User Reviews: How Much Do They Matter Business Tips Guest Bloggers Social Networking new business owner who was reluctant to claim a Yelp page and set up a presence there – what if people said negative things?  I explained to him that you cannot run from Yelp – nor can you control your message online anymore.  If you don’t set up a Yelp page someone will try to check in and write a review and when they don’t find you they’ll just set it up themselves.  They will completely control the message and you might not even know it.  You might as well set up your own Yelp page so that the right info is there with your logo and your message.

Control information when available because ultimately your clients have the real control.  If you do a horrible job you will get horrible buzz online, so just make sure you don’t do a horrible job!  And if you do an amazing job this will bring you more clients faster than before.  It’s that simple.

If you don’t believe this is the case maybe this will help hammer the point home…

Screen-Shot-2013-06-07-iGoogle1 User Reviews: How Much Do They Matter Business Tips Guest Bloggers Social Networking

I use iGoogle as my home page on my Mac.  I have it customized with my own widgets, and it’s the first thing I see when I launch my browser.  As it turns out iGoogle is being retired on November 1st but that’s neither here nor there.  If you look in the bottom right corner under the heading “Detroit News” you’ll see an item about Slows BBQ, how a Detroit neighborhood is rebuilding, and how Slows has “grown to the point of bursting.”  You may or may not know that there are exciting things happening in the Motor City, but this article seems to confirm that there are and makes it clear that Slows is the place to eat, right?  Well here’s where it gets interesting…

If we click on the story it ultimately takes us to which happens to be one of my favorite sites for finding great little local eateries around the country…  Let’s take a look:

Screen-Shot-2013-06-07-roadfood-600x3781 User Reviews: How Much Do They Matter Business Tips Guest Bloggers Social Networking

A rebuild in Detroit?  Slows BBQ grown to the point of bursting?  Absolutely…….. says Dave O’Ball.  Dave to the best of my knowledge is a random fan on this website who wrote a review – that’s all.  I don’t know anything about Dave, but this isn’t just about Dave – it’s about all the Daves.  Anyone can have a big influence and a big reach, even by mistake.  What I do know is Slows BBQ impressed Dave, his review landed on my iGoogle home page along with thousands of other people’s home pages and someone ate there as a result.  Guaranteed.

So to recap, here are two main lessons for your studio:

  1. Make a point of monitoring all popular places online where people might post reviews of your business and engage in the discussion there.  Foursquare, Patch, Yelp and/or any others in your community.  Keep your presence on these sites current.  Sure the example I used was about food, but if you think these types of reviews only happen for restaurants think again.  We recently booked a family portrait session with someone who saw a positive review of us on Yelp.  I was so happy to get that call!  And remember, a negative review can be an opportunity to make something right that went wrong.  Someone who posts something online will want to be heard right?  That’s why they posted it – so let the first person who listens and shows they care be you!
  2. This should go without saying but don’t take your clients for granted and treat them badly or even with mild indifference.  You need to do this from the first phone call or visit to your studio until the last canvas is hanging on their family room wall.  If there is a step in the process you aren’t doing well with your clients fix it NOW, because they will take their experience and relate it with comments and reviews online and THEY CAN HAVE A HUGE INFLUENCE!

Doug Cohen is a co-owner of Frameable Faces Photography with his wife Ally in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, MI.  Ally is the photographer and Doug handles the sales and marketing  You can also find Doug personally on twitter in addition to the studio at dougcohen10.  He writes for their blog and sings in a rock band called the Detroit Stimulus Package.Doug-profile-pic-125x125px3 User Reviews: How Much Do They Matter Business Tips Guest Bloggers Social Networking


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  1. Adam on August 9, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Very insightful! Thank you for the article.

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