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words by Finlease

If you simply add social media and client feedback, you have a recipe for either a stunning “free lunch” in marketing or your worst nightmare. It all depends what your clients think about you!

Done well, this is not only incredibly powerful marketing, its FREE!!

We all pay far more attention to “Social Proof” than we do to “Advertising”, in fact statistics tell us that people trust advertising only 14% of the time whereas they trust social proof over 60% of the time. That’s a whopping 4 times more effective!.

Most of us have checked out a restaurant on CHEAP EATS or EATABILITY to see what other diners have thought or used TRIPADVISOR feedback as a part of the process to find accommodation. These are just 2 examples of the way potential customers increasingly do their research before making a buying decision.

We all like to use a product or service which has been recommended to us and although the recommendation does not come from someone we know, we recognise that the feedback is independent and so feel more informed.

On many occasions we change our minds about certain restaurants or hotels as a direct result of this feedback. The term for this “social proof” and it is very powerful.

2 years ago we tried this for our company and asked our clients to provide very public, “warts and all” feedback on how we were going on looking after their needs. We did this through the public feedback site PRODUCT REVIEW .

Today we have over 200 items of individual feedback and this site now ranks on the 1 st page of Google under a general search of our company name, so many potential clients are looking at this prior to contacting us. What is amazing is that we are gaining many new customers as a direct result of this and it costs NOTHING!!

We have only used one site so far, however have just started with others such as Google Review and True Local as they all add great value in increasing your presence on the net and you only need 30 – 50 reviews on any site to show a good cross section of up to date reviews.

I started this note saying this area was either a “stunning free lunch” in marketing or “your worst nightmare”.

As this is an independent feedback arena, you need to be aware that you have no control over what your clients will say about you. If you did a good job, you can expect a good review, if you are crap then expect that feedback and it will be there for all to see!

Remember that everyone expects that not all clients will be happy, no matter how good you are, a tiny minority will always complain, however it’s the exception that makes the rule and people will judge you by the majority of feedback and not the “one off crackpot” plus most sites do give you the right of public reply so any small potential of damage can be managed.

Well worth having a quick look, you may be very pleasantly surprised at what a difference something as simple as this can make, so stop hiding those happy clients under a bushel, they are your best advertising if only you can allow them to share their good news stories, but remember if their story is bad news that will also be out there.

Finally, as this is a level playing field, if you do it well, not only will you benefit from what you are doing, you will benefit from what your competition isn’t. We compete against the banks in providing finance to small business and the feedback they are getting is always a good read. No wonder they stick to expensive TV & newspaper ads.

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