One thing we have a lot of these days is choice.
Want olive oil? There are a hundred to choose from.
Want to host your website on a reliable server? There are many, many options at your fingertips.
Choice is great.. until there’s so much choice you feel overwhelmed. My brother had a great line in one of his films from a few years back, which was “Why is it there are hundreds of cheeses to pick from, yet only 3 political parties?”. The political parties seem to be catching up with the cheese these days.. but I digress.
I’m sure many an article has been written about choice paralysis… not being able to make a decision due to too many options. This is what makes personal endorsements so powerful. If someone I know and trust recommends something – I am considerably more likely to get it. A friend’s endorsement offers needed guidance in a world stuffed with multiple choice.
This is why the latest evolution in Facebook Ads is so brilliant. This month Facebook started experimenting with friend’s ratings of ads.
This means people in one’s personal network can like an ad, rate it (out of five stars) and leave a comment. This allows friends to see what each other has liked – personalizing the advertising and making it more relevant to the target audience. Products or services endorsed by a friend you respect and like, are more likely to get your attention and your business.
You can read more about that here.
Google Places has enabled reviews of ads for some time – but this too is evolving. Now, business owners can respond to the reviews people write and post on Google Places. Additionally, business owners can now post real-time updates to their Google Places listings – to offer customers timely specials or deals, or even coupons compatible with mobile phones.
Yelp is another directory all about customer reviews. (Interestingly, Yelp was almost acquired by Google in 2009 when the deal fell through.)
It helps too when businesses respond to reviews. It’s only fair and I, personally, appreciate hearing the other side of a story. However, some people need to be reminded of just how publicly permanent their written words are. This particular Yelp response to a review is one that should be a lesson to us all. The business owner blasted the reviewer and accused him/her of being the competition in disguise.
Well, at least such a vitriolic response helps to eliminate that business from your basket of choices…proving any voice can shape your choice.