We have a lot of good programs that support shopping local and buying local. Many of us today take pride in seeking out locally owned and operated businesses. Clearly if we all spent at least 10% of our spending power in local owned and operated businesses we help our towns, our communities and keep alive the uniqueness of our area. Thank you, for all of you who buy local and shop local, please keep it up.
I am now asking you to make one more effort – that is to write reviews for local owned and operated businesses. As I speak and consult around the state I am often asked the question of how do I get more reviews? When I then ask them, “How many locally owned and operated businesses have you reviewed this month?” That is followed by a blank look saying, “I had not thought of that”. Why should anyone review your business if you don’t make the effort to be a “good citizen” and review other businesses? If you are a parent you can make this a teaching moment for your kids. Teach them to be a little reporter finding out great stuff about local owned and operated businesses and share it with the world.
How to write a good review is simple:
To start, you need to sign up for a few of the review sites. For example Yelp and TripAdvisor. For Google Maps/Google Business Listings you just need a Google Plus account or a GMail account. You will have that already if you have an Android phone, posted a comment on Youtube, “signed-in” to Google or “signed-in” to Chrome. If you can add your picture to the review site, do so. If you are self-employed, feel free to let people know what you do in your profile write-up area.
1) When you are at a locally owned and operated business notice what you like about it, what is unique about it, does it have some interesting history, what are they known for? If you can take a picture or two when you are there do so with your smartphone.
Note: If you have a negative experience with the business give them a chance to correct it while you are at their location. Don’t be the person that just whines to people who can not make any difference. Be clear about your concern.
2) You can upload a picture to the review site on location with your smartphone, but it is much easier to write the full review when you can sit down at your laptop or desktop computer. And some sites penalize you if you have the same IP address as the business, i.e. if you write the review while you are at the business using their wireless address. It takes an extra moment but you are making a real difference. If you are using Google Maps you can add pictures and/or write the review right from their local listing on Google Maps.
Note: Make sure the review is several sentences long, include something specific you liked and what you recommend about the place. My business associate, Karen Tiede, is a master at writing authentic reviews on Google and Amazon. You will get good ideas seeing what she writes: Google+:https://plus.google.com/u/0/+KarenTiede1/reviews and on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2ZHSXTQO831OS/
Here is one example of a review I wrote in a small town about a local restaurant. Someone told me they saw it passing through town and stopped in to eat because of my review and pictures (now that is making a small difference that can add up).https://plus.google.com/u/0/117627366935223851199/about
3) Let your friends know you write reviews and encourage them to do the same.Talk about it on social media. I invite you to use the hashtag: #ReviewLocal when sharing or discussing the fun and importance of reviewing local owned and operated businesses on Social Media.
Writing reviews on Google business map listing makes an extra difference to the local owned and operated business but it takes a little bit more effort. Where many local owned and operated businesses are missing reviews is one of the most important locations, Google Maps. Google Maps is one of the leading apps used on all smartphones and the reviews directly connected to Google Maps and Google business are now referred to as “Google My Business:”http://Google.com/MyBusinesses
Be a good citizen today and review a local owned and operated business!
Take the pledge to just review a minimum of one local owned business each month, you can do more! Have fun doing it and consider including some pictures was well.