Is your business being reviewed online? If so, it’s time to “hug your haters.” At Social Media Marketing World earlier this week, a talented panel of speakers including Daniel Lemin of Convince and Convert, Tyler Anderson of Casual Fridays, Martin Shervington of PlusYourBusiness.com, Jacob Sapochnick of Enchanting Lawyer, LLC, and Kari Embree of Green Flash Brewing Co. shared tips on attracting positive online reviews and addressing negative reviews.
Below are key takeaways from the discussion:
Dealing with bad reviews:
- If someone leaves a bad review and you can’t make them happy after two attempts, stop trying.
- Read the review and really understand what the customers wants. Don’t rely on a blanket reply. Take the time to understand what the customer is thinking and hoping to achieve, then respond to them. The panel suggested picking up a copy of Jay Baer’s book Hug Your Haters for more insight on embracing customer complaints.
- Don’t ask people to change a negative review, even if you fix their problem.
Asking for reviews:
- The employee on your team that worked with the customer should ask for the review. If the customer is interested and willing to leave a review, send them a link/survey to complete or a link to your review site (like Yelp).
- When asking for a review, focus on impact. Let the customer know that you’ve enjoyed working with them and want to help more people/businesses like them so you can make a difference. Make them feel like they’re helping you help other business owners/people just like them.
- Don’t send a review link to everyone you know. Be strategic about who you ask.
- If possible, get customers to write stories on your behalf. After all, you should be telling stories about your consumer, not yourself. In today’s age, content should be co-created with the customer’s input.
- Cards in the mail are a nice way to thank people and ask for a review.
- Don’t offer a discount in exchange for a review.
- Approximately 75 percent of Yelp traffic comes from people doing a Google search, then clicking on Yelp. There’s word that Google is pushing Yelp out or down in search results so that Google reviews appear first.
- Are your customers or former employees rating you on websites that you’re not monitoring such as the employer review and job search site, Glassdoor? Keep your eyes open!
Leveraging your reviews for PR:
As a public relations professional, I can’t help but add my two cents about leveraging customer reviews for PR. This wasn’t covered during the discussion, but it’s worth considering. If your customer leaves a glowing review, consider asking them for a testimonial. I often interview my clients’ customers, asking them about their journey and experience. These interviews can lead to wonderful customer stories — usable as blog posts or as storylines for pitching the media.
Yesterday, our team had the wonderful opportunity to attend an event celebrating the construction of two of the first memory care homes in the nation for adults with developmental disabilities. State and local officials, volunteers and supporters gathered at Noah Homes in Spring Valley, CA to sign an interior wall.
After announcing the $6.7 million project in January 2015, Noah Homes – a nonprofit supporting adults with developmental disabilities – partnered with more than 35 building and business partners including HomeAid San Diego, Brookfield Residential, Murfey Construction and others, who donated over $1 million in professional services, labor or materials. This was complemented by community donations and grants totaling $4.7 million, leaving Noah Homes with $1 million left to fundraise as the first of the walls go up.
The two 5,000+ square-foot homes will each house 10 residents, who will benefit from state-of-the-art technology, access to national research, and opportunities to participate in groundbreaking new techniques to fight Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other aging struggles. Noah Homes turned to Dr. Michael Rafii and his team at the UC San Diego Down Syndrome Center for Research and Treatment for input on the design of the new homes and the programming that will take place inside once they are built. The homes are scheduled to open in early 2017.
“The new memory care homes will allow those with developmental disabilities and dementia to grow old gracefully alongside their Noah family and friends,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “Many Noah residents develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia at a young age and these new units will ensure that they continue to get the special care they deserve.”
Studies show that more than 75 percent of those with Down syndrome aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease – nearly six times the percentage of people in this age group who do not have Down syndrome – yet there are currently no memory care homes dedicated specifically to people with developmental disabilities.
“I am proud that San Diego is giving a voice to people with developmental disabilities nationwide, who are living longer than ever and facing aging issues for the first time in history,” said Molly Nocon, CEO of Noah Homes and member of the California Health and Human Services Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee. “Unfortunately, people with developmental disabilities are entering a broken and ill prepared healthcare system with costly options, if any, and we are working to change that.”
Some of the many specializations that will be made include infinity pathways to avoid confusion and getting lost, wider hallways and doors, memory games, yoga and music therapy, air motion sensors, silent alarms, and other hidden medical features disguised in order to keep a home environment.
“It’s amazing to see the progress being made at Noah Homes,” said Dr. Rafii, Director Adult Down Syndrome Clinic and Assistant Professor of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego. “These buildings will serve as models for such homes nationwide, where there is a clear and growing need.”
Noah Homes is also working with Alzheimer’s San Diego to develop training guidelines and standards of care through a $1.5 million National Institute of Health grant. Not only is Alzheimer’s the 6th leading cause of death in the nation, it is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.
“Until a cure is found, good care is the best medicine we have. With more than 62,000 San Diegans suffering from Alzheimer’s today and a high correlation with those living with Down Syndrome, Alzheimer’s San Diego is proud to partner with Noah Homes to improve care in San Diego,” said Mary Ball, President and CEO, Alzheimer’s San Diego.
Project partners are hopeful that plans will be replicated by other organizations throughout California and across the nation, alleviating some of the burden of the estimated 44 million Americans who provide unpaid assistance and support to older people and adults with disabilities who live in the community. According to the Family Caregiving Alliance, the value of this unpaid labor force is estimated to be at least $306 billion annually, nearly double the combined costs of home health care ($43 billion) and nursing home care ($115 billion).
“We are hoping to prevent folks with developmental disabilities from joining the 10,000-15,000 homeless already in need of a permanent home in San Diego,” said Alexis Parker, Executive Director of HomeAid San Diego, a nonprofit dedicated to building multi-unit housing for San Diego’s at-risk populations. “And we hope to bring everybody into the fold to ‘join the journey’ with us and Noah Homes to make these homes a standard to replicate across the country.”
In addition to the memory care homes underway, Noah Homes has eight existing homes for 70 residents with disabilities ranging from Down syndrome to autism to cerebral palsy. In order to maintain high standards despite state budget shortfalls, Noah Homes raises more than $1 million annually from grants and community donations.
For more information about the project, please download the full press release announcement, courtesy of Noah Homes.
By Julia McCann, PR Consultant, WordPop Public Relations
For the past 10+ years, I’ve been in the PR industry and a yoga practitioner but it wasn’t until a year ago that I also became a yoga teacher. Balancing the schedule of a PR practitioner and yoga teacher got me to thinking…what do the two have in common. As it turns out, it’s quite a lot! Here are 8 PR skills that can be developed and honed through the practice of yoga.
- Discipline and enthusiasm – In yoga, the concept is called “tapas.” It’s described as a fiery enthusiasm or passion for what you do. By strengthening your core, you can tap into your innate sense of discipline that helps you get things done in your busy professional life. As a PR pro, you have to be so passionate about what you’re pitching that you can convince a journalist that their readers or viewers will be just as enthusiastic about the topic.
- Persistence – When I wanted to be able to do a headstand in the middle of the room (without a wall to save me from toppling over), one of my teachers suggested I practice every single day. I took his advice and in about a month, I was confidently standing upside down in the middle of a room full of yogis. PR can take similar persistence – often in the form of follow-up. Never underestimate the power of follow up!
- Cultivating a Support System – In yoga, it’s called the “kula” or community. If you’re used to practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home, try practicing in community and see how it can positively affect your practice. Additionally, yoga props like blocks and bolsters can help you to achieve poses in proper alignment that you might not be able to achieve yet due to your level of strength or flexibility, and these supports can be a vital asset to your practice. The same goes for PR. I once faced a tough PR problem but I luckily have a tight-knit group of brilliant PR minds to go to as a resource. They helped me to brainstorm solutions that worked.
- Flexibility – As a yoga teacher, I have to be not only physically flexible but also mentally flexible when it comes to class planning. Because I’m naturally on the more rigid end of the spectrum (I like things to go as planned), I manage this by giving myself a plan B, and sometimes a plan C. If I’m planning to teach a mellow, meditative class but students come in with high-energy, ready for a vigorous workout, I need to summon my flexibility and flip to another class in my notebook that meets the students’ needs. I also throw extra poses into my class plan in case the class goes by more quickly than anticipated. As a PR pro, there is such great need for flexibility and the ability to problem-solve. I apply the same flexibility principles in my day job – having a plan B (and maybe plan C) ahead of time. For example, if we miss a deadline, can we turn the information we’ve gathered into a blog post or tweak the subject matter and re-pitch it?
- Fostering a goal-oriented attitude and developing key messages – I almost always start yoga class by having students turn inward – closing the eyes, connecting to their breath and setting an intention for their practice. I introduce a theme for each class, choosing my words carefully and reinforcing the theme throughout class. It’s important not to forget this critical step at the outset of any PR task. Sometimes we learn about an initiative later than we’d like and we’re working a mile a minute to catch up. But it’s important to take a step back and identify the reason behind the initiative – whether it’s a press release or an event. By setting clear goals and taking the time to identify what you want to say, how you want to say it, and why, you can better determine whether that initiative was a success.
- Gaining inspiration from the primary texts – In yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are a series of 198 sutras or aphorisms that form the foundation of our modern yoga practice. One of the first is “yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ,” meaning that yoga is for quieting the churning of the mind. In the PR world, if you’re having a hectic day, you can find some clarity by taking a moment to close the eyes and breathe. Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, and breathe out for four counts. Repeat a few times and allow yourself to reset. Not only can PR all stars benefit from the primary texts of yoga but they should also be looking to their own primary texts. The AP Stylebook, Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style and Crystallizing Public Opinion by Edward L. Bernays are all good choices.
- Detachment from ego – As a yogi, one has to be able to detach themselves from their sense of pride. It’s not about competing with the people around you or comparing your body today to the way it was yesterday. It’s about accepting yourself as you are in the moment. As a PR pro, it can sometimes feel like your pitches are getting sucked into a black hole. But that’s why follow-up is vitally important. I’ve heard journalists say over and over how busy they are and to check back in with them. Even if you have a great pitch, it might be skipped over because the journalist doesn’t know you or they’re just extra busy that day. So detach from your sense of ego. As long as you are sending relevant pitches to the right people, be persistent and don’t let a lack of response get you down.
- Taking time to connect – I make an effort to speak with every person before I start class – especially to find out whether they have any injuries and if they’ve practiced yoga before. For PR pros, this means knowing the journalists who are interested in covering your clients’ industry, understanding what they write about, researching what’s going on in the industry – and making connections between what’s going on in the industry and what’s going on in the world. Take time to get to know these journalists – even when you don’t have a story to pitch or by asking them what they’re working on. This will help you to cut through a journalist’s cluttered inbox.
By: Julia McCann, PR Consultant, WordPop PR
Up ahead: Get to know six members of San Diego’s media community and discover five trends San Diego journalists have identified at the intersection of arts and media. Many of these trends are universal and can be useful when working with media in any industry or seeking to promote any cause.
This week I attended the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition’s Media Arts Panel event at the Mingei International Museum at Balboa Park. If you haven’t been to the Mingei Museum, you’re missing out! Right now, their “Made in America” exhibit features American-made crafts from each of the 50 states.
Wednesday’s panel included Kinsee Morlan of VOSD, Michael Rocha of the UT, Nina Garin of the 6-months young KPBS/ARTS, Chris Jennewein of Times of SD, Seth Combs of City Beat and Ken Herman of San Diego Story.
Here’s what I gathered from the lively panel discussion.
Five trends in journalism and the arts:
1. Engagement – This isn’t referring to social media engagement. Rather, reporters see arts organizations taking their programming to the audience, especially underserved areas and engaging with them that way.
2. Continuing the conversation – There was a time when interest in arts criticism waned, but it’s back on the upswing and people enjoy reading the opinions of others – especially because online publishing allows readers to speak directly back to the author through the comments. It also allows members of the media to respond to criticism of their criticism.
3. Advocacy journalism is accepted and welcome – Morlan at Voice of San Diego reminds us that people are inherently biased and any story will have some degree of slant. She welcomes arts organizations advocating for themselves and encourages them to show the public why their organization is relevant.
4. Collaboration – Team up with other organizations to make your voice louder, think big, hold your event on site at one of your partner organizations and invite media. Consider piggybacking on other San Diego trends that are receiving local and national recognition (we’re looking at you, microbrew industry).
5. Support – Arts media staff is shrinking! For example, the UT’s arts staff decreased from 80 people in the 1990s to a team of 4 today. And this trend isn’t exclusive to arts media. This means organizations and PR pros need to make the journalist’s job easy by being complete. Here are a few specifics:
– Reach out. Members of the media are so busy (think 100-200 emails/day) so they don’t know about your event unless you let them know.
– Don’t assume a Facebook invite will suffice – it can supplement your outreach, making sure a writer has a convenient reminder on the day of your event, but send them an email too, inviting them out to the event and explaining what they’ll be seeing.
– Include all of the relevant information upfront.
– Provide a horizontal headshot that gives the viewer context and insight into the subject (especially for online publications).
– Send high resolution photos (to hybrid print & online publications). Images can be sized down for online publications but they can’t be increased for print. (300 dpi is the high resolution standard)
– Give really early notice of your upcoming event and send reminders. For example, The UT works 10 days out so let them know about your event three weeks out.
– If your event lends itself to a photo slideshow, provide all of the relevant photos and captions.
– Don’t be afraid to revise. Once an article goes live online, contact the reporter if there’s a new, juicy quote, a better photo, or some misinformation that should be corrected. That article could live online for years to come, so it doesn’t hurt to send content that could improve the article.
– Be creative and help the journalists find new ways to cover you.
Get to know San Diego’s arts media
Below are some tips for working specifically with each of the panelists:
- Morlan explained that VOSD break out news items into three types: message (brief and to-the-point), story (more traditional format), and guide (breaks down a larger story). Know which type you’re submitting.
- Jennewein pointed out that The Times’ demographic is young (millennial and gen. x), so he’s looking for things that are innovative and new. The Times runs more previews than reviews. Jennewein recommends sending short articles of a couple hundred words. He’s also looking for more op eds – an opportunity to explain in your own voice why your organization continues to be relevant.
- Combs is energized by the thought of uncovering what’s underground, “what kids are doing.”
- Herman is excited about the ability to continue carrying on the conversation after the article is published, by engaging in dialogue in the comments section of an online article.
- Garin at KPBS is passionate about the intersection of kids and the arts. She pulls from a user-generated calendar so she recommends you take the time to beautifully fill out submission fields, properly link items and send her an email with photos.
- Currently, Rocha at the UT is curious about trends in attendance – what are the attendance numbers and what are organizations doing to keep those numbers high – he revealed that 9 of 10 large arts orgs in San Diego saw attendance go down this past year.
If you are interested in San Diego’s arts scene…some things to know:
- Barrio Logan has been ID’d as the next arts hotbed. If you haven’t checked out the experimental arts and culture center Bread and Salt, it comes highly recommended.
- The San Diego region is pulling together to have a unified arts movement – looping in North County and Carlsbad.
- VOSD hosts “Meeting of the Minds” quarterly. It’s a 6-minute “Ted Talk” style audio and visual presentation. Next up is a music theme.
- If you like what our city’s arts reporters are doing, consider supporting their publications by sharing their stories, buying an ad or pledging a dollar a month to the nonprofits. If you’re in PR, consider supporting an arts passion project with discounted or pro bono PR efforts.
- Penny for the arts. Years ago, a plan was approved to have one penny from the Transient Fund (vacationers) go to arts and culture in San Diego. Over the years, that “penny” has decreased to a percentage of a penny but there’s a movement to bring that amount back to a penny. More on Penny for the Arts, here.
- To keep up to date on the state of the arts in California, you can join the California Arts Counsel’s ArtBeat newsletter.
For more information about the San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition, visit them online!
April Harter Enriquez, Founder and Lead Publicist at WordPop Public Relations, has been elected President of San Diego Press Club for the 2016 term.
San Diego Press Club is one of the largest organizations of its kind with nearly 400 members including journalists and communications professionals. Throughout the year, the organization offers social and professional development opportunities, promotes integrity and ethics, and encourages collaboration between members.
Harter Enriquez has been on the San Diego Press Club Board of Directors for more than five years. Her duties include leading the club in its forty-second year, organizing and facilitating events, driving club membership and participation, and fostering connections among members.
The organization’s flagship event, the Excellence in Journalism Awards, is held each October and celebrates the best of San Diego journalism. Harter Enriquez was a second place winner for a bylined article in San Diego Metropolitan magazine.
To learn more about San Diego Press Club, visit sdpressclub.org. To contact April, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, Sept. 19, Hera Venture Summit will host its “Building Bridges” one-day intensive event for female angel investors and woman-led startups. The all-day event will turn the tables on venture investing by connecting women founders and funders so that more female angels invest in female entrepreneurs. University of San Diego will serve as the backdrop for the event, which starts at 8:30 a.m.
The Summit will bring together experts from both sides of investing to contribute best practices and lessons learned. Experts will share resources, trends, and hot topics around gender investing. Attendees can join an angel track or entrepreneur track and can benefit from blended sessions where both founders and funders can learn from each other.
“The event will allow women in all stages of business – from the pioneers in the startup ecosystem to venture financing – to present their collective knowledge in a powerful and rigorous one-day format,” said Dr. Silvia Mah, event chair and founder of Hera Labs, one of three organizations presenting the event. “The summit was created to support the unique needs of female angels and entrepreneurial women in venture creation and funding, while celebrating the progress we’ve made in closing the gender gap.”
In addition to bridging the divide between female founders and female funders, the event seeks to foster binational connections between the San Diego female startup ecosystem and that of neighboring Tijuana. Mujer Pyme International, Angel Ventures Mexico, Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, and Mind Hub are all working together to bridge female founders and funders in the CaliBaja region through the Hera Venture Summit.
Hera Venture Summit panelists will include San Diego and nationally-renowned innovators in the venture space: Navrina Singh, Head of Qualcomm Innovation Program; Angela Lee, Founder of 37 Angels in NYC / Assistant Dean of Columbia School of Business; Ciara Kennedy, VP of Shire Pharmaceuticals; Elizabeth Wilson, Managing Partner of Seed GC; and Kimberly Kovacs, Managing Director of Golden Seeds | SoCal; and keynote speakers will include renowned entrepreneur turned VC, Consuelo Valverde, Founding Partner/Managing Director at SV LATAM fund and Kaufmann Fellow and serial entrepreneur/CEO of JeKuDo Privacy Company, Elissa Shevinsky.
Who: Attendees to include female small business owners, women-run startups, San Diego business leaders and female angel investors. Men are welcome to attend the summit and there will be several male panelists. Students interested in startup and finance are also welcome to attend.
What: Panel topics to include: bridging the gap between entrepreneur and investor, trends in gender investing and female founder ROI, being a female angel investor, how to get funded, bridging binational resources, building your brand story, and more, with opportunities to network and connect throughout the day.
When: Saturday, September 19, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. PDT
Where: University of San Diego, 5998 Alcalá Park, Mother Rosalie Hill Hall: School of Leadership and Education Sciences, San Diego, CA 92110
Cost: $219.00 | $239.00 day-of | Free for students. Pre-summit workshops for angel investors and entrepreneurs will be held on Friday, September 18 for an additional fee.
Attendees can join the conversation around women and investing by using the official Hera Venture Summit hashtags: #HeraVentureSummit, #HVS2015, #PitchLikeAWoman, #InvestLikeAWoman. For more information and to register for the event, please visit www.heraventuresummit.com.
Sponsors of the event include University of San Diego, USBank, Rady School of Management, SCORE, RGL Legal, and OurCrowd.
# # #