The number of social media users has jumped considerably in recent years, meaning more and more people are sharing their opinions online about nearly everything under the sun− including their experiences at local businesses.
Wouldn’t it be advantageous for business owners to transform favorable customer opinions into powerful word-of-mouth marketing? Well, there’s an app for that. It’s called Social Raves.
“When I started Zengo Networks, I wanted to find a way to make it easier for small businesses to get the referrals and recommendations they need to grow,” says its founder and CEO Robert Bolongaita. (Zengo Networks owns and operates Social Raves.) “At the same time, I also saw an opportunity to take those same referrals and recommendations, and have them be available socially, so consumers can find and discover trusted local businesses through their social network.”
It’s arguable that simply building awareness of what your business does is not enough these days, that word about your product or service, your expertise, or your specialty has to spread in this new social environment for your business to succeed.
“Marketing by default today has to be social by design and it’s our mission to help business owners integrate social media into their broader marketing efforts, and make customer or client referrals and recommendations a key part of how they achieve their business objectives,” he says.
There are three components to the Social Raves platform: the Social Raves Facebook app, the Raves page on the Social Raves website, and a metrics dashboard for tracking, managing and growing your raving fan network.
Further, business owners can use a free version or a paid version of Social Raves.
With the free version, business owners can integrate the app to their Facebook page, which results in a “Recommend This” tab being added on the left sidebar of the page. With the tab, business owners are able to give their fans a highly convenient way to “talk the business up” to family, co-workers, and friends.
“Through the app, business owners get valuable exposure for their businesses each time a satisfied customer or fan raves about the business in Facebook,” he says. “Customer recommendations are automatically ‘shouted out’ to their wall, as well as their friends’ news feeds. Considering that close to half of the average Facebook user’s time is spent browsing the news feed, it’s imperative for local businesses to get exposure there any way they can.”
The free version of the app also helps business owners attract new customers, as customer raves and recommendations are retained and published on their Facebook page. That allows business owners not only to build and manage their social reputation, but also to grow conversions, increase traffic, and generate leads from those who find the page.
In addition, business owners can engage with their best customers by reposting recommendations or responding to them personally. By leaving comments on positive feedback from fans, business owners have the opportunity to create engaging conversations with clear calls to action.
“What makes Social Raves unique is that the free version of the app also comes with a search-engine optimized Raves page that’s hosted, also for free, on the Social Raves site at www.socialraves.com,” he says. “We’re the only app out there, at least to my knowledge, that takes fan recommendations in Facebook and pushes them out to search engines. Every recommendation made by customers using the app is published automatically on this page, so consumers looking for the product or service that a local business provides will not only find and discover that business online, but also read about all the great things customers say about the business.”
Close to 100 percent of consumers who are in the market for a local product or service start the process with the search bar in Google, Yahoo!, or Bing before buying, so it’s critical for a small business to show up when prospects are looking, he adds.
The metrics dashboard gives business owners use of analytics and tools to stay up-to-date on what’s going on with their raving fan network, as well as gather insights on how to grow it.
In the free version of the platform, the dashboard has limited functionality and restricts the business owner’s access to the size and growth of their promoter network, the number of views on their page, and a view of their raves or recommendations segmented by customer rating− information that, in and of itself, is useful and valuable.
In addition to all the above, the paid version of Social Raves features a direct referral functionality on the Facebook app that lets fans refer their friends to the business directly via email from the Facebook page.
Paying customers also get to customize their Raves page on the Social Raves site with photos, videos, a custom URL, business description, Facebook and Twitter integration, status updates, searchable keywords, and tags. Plus, they also get an enhanced dashboard that includes full fan visibility, private messaging, and Net Promoter Score analytics.
The paid version costs $1 per day or $30 per month. Those who subscribe annually get two months free at $300 per year.
To learn more about Social Raves, visit SocialRaves.com.