Social media is relied on for product or service reviews. We are no longer just consumers, but we have taken the role as prosumers. “We are professional consumers and don’t want to be sold, tricked, or manipulated.” Social media has now created a forum to seek suggestions and tips on product and services.
The Social Media Bible says, “People want transparency, sincerity, and authenticity when it comes to product recommendations and advertising.” Publicists, brand employees and endorsers have come under scrutiny for leaving commentary on websites about products and services that they represent without stating that are contractual involved.
The FTC has recently set up regulations involving this issue. Now it is required for publicist and endorsers to announce their relations to a product when writing about it or tweeting about it. Ever see one of the Kardashian sisters’ tweets or a Snoop Dogg tweet? Celebrities have to be specific when endorsing on their twitter by using the word Ad or stating what companies they endorse on their website.
Many websites like Yelp!, CitySearch and Zagat are forums where you can look up a business and read its reviews from people who have been there. Some of these websites have been coined “Bad for Business”, because businesses cannot control their reviews and bad reviews are subject to be displayed. Yelp! have had many complaints about bad review removal and lawsuits over the issue of extortion.
I believe it is necessary to have good and bad reviews and I do not think that every bad review will turn people away. For example, when I was looking for an Atlantic City hotel to stay in for spring break, I looked through the reviews and made a choice based on what I’m looking for, what the reviews state, and the price.
I believe the use of these websites is important to the growth of businesses especially small ones. Now that mobile apps are available for these websites it is important to have a page on Yelp! to create a forum where you can engage with consumers. Check out this interview with Isaac Mogannam, the owner of Phat Philly Cheesesteaks and how he uses Yelp!
Google has recently launch +1 for their search. Now users can add tips and recommendations that can be found in your search list.
We are now in control and we are turning to our peers of recommendations and tips and there are now places for us to engage. All of this makes me want to be proactive and begin leaving commentary of my experiences at places for my peers. By the way, a bonus for your review is the discount or a freebie!