Why is it, we all find it so hard to ask for praise? Even in a professional capacity? Gathering online recommendations is an ideal way to create social proof that can exhibit just how good you are delivering your services.
In today’s world, we’re more inclined to trust the word of whoever we meet in the pub over what is presented to us by a brand online. Realistically though, who can blame us? There are several websites out there that proudly boast testimonials they’ve received from clients without any information on who may have left those complimentary words.
Social Proof is highly valuable, but it’s hard to get
There is little more valuable to a brand than social proof. In order to receive it unsolicited, you have to really, really wow a customer or client. That customer also needs to be aware that it’s possible to do more than just tell their friends about it too. And, although they may have decided that they’ll leave you a review, it’s not going to be high on their priority list. So, without a little encouragement, you’ll probably find that they’re few and far between.
If you’re offering a product or service, you might be able to incentivise your clients to leave you reviews. If you’re in a business to consumer business, it is, in my opinion, easier to do this. Offering discounts, entry into competitions or free ‘stuff’ to customers who leave reviews and or feedback works nicely.
However, for a Business to Business organisation, it is often not quite as simple. You need to build habits to ensure you are asking often, monitoring your requests – while also keeping your expectations low! You’ll likely ask a lot of people before you receive a response. You’ll get promises from them too, many of which will then not come to fruition. You will need to be hard-skinned and not take it personally when you receive silence in response too!
Where is the best place to receive a review for my business?
Tough question to answer in a blog because it really depends on where your target audience is most likely to hang out! There is a whole range of options too. But if I focus on social media review platforms, from a brand perspective – Google and Facebook are excellent places to receive reviews. From a personal brand perspective, you can’t beat LinkedIn recommendations. You really need to gather a number of reviews everywhere – so be focused. Work on receiving them on one platform at a time – and be careful not to keep asking the same people to review you in different places all the time!
In each of these cases, you can click through to the individual leaving the review and get an understanding of who they are and how genuine (or not) the review actually is. (Of course, you never know, so there is a certain amount of being totally ‘judgy’ involved!)
Why are Google Reviews hard to get?
This question is easy – you can only leave a Google review if you have a Google account. Most people don’t realise they have one (even though most of us do!). It isn’t totally obvious how to do it either so without some direction – it’s not the place you’re most likely to receive them. Especially if the demographic you serve isn’t particularly tech-savvy!
Is it rude to ask for LinkedIn recommendations?
Depends on how you ask! If you don’t ask you don’t get. As an individual, you can reach out to your connections on LinkedIn and request a recommendation from them. LinkedIn takes you through a ‘wizard’, which makes you identify the relationship you had with that individual for the period they are recommending you for. (Things like they were my client, I was their client, they worked for me, etc.).
You then get the opportunity to personalise the request. I highly recommend doing this, the text you can enter is limited, so greet them, acknowledge their time is limited but how important this is for you, and tell them what you want recommending for! Yep – spell it out if you can! I wouldn’t ask you to simply recommend me. I’d ask you to leave a few words about how you found working with us during the launch of your social media management account. Or ask you to leave me a few words in regard to the seminar I delivered at your event.
If you don’t spell it out – you’ll get recommendations that just say you’re great… Awesome. But what are you great at? Who knows? Context is everything.
I would recommend that you diarise and ask for LinkedIn recommendations on a regular basis (either weekly or monthly depending on your business). As part of that process, you can look at the requests you have out there already, perhaps send some reminders. Or, if you think you’ve asked and chased and the recommendation still hasn’t appeared you can revoke the request too. (You can always ask them again in the future – Maybe asking now was just a bad time?)
Are LinkedIn Recommendations public?
The one thing I LOVE about LinkedIn recommendations is that you have the option of publishing them or keeping them private. You also have the option of requesting edits! So, if you do receive one that is a little limited (i.e. Christina was great.) you can respond and ask for some context to be added. (i.e. Christina was great at delivering a clear and concise social media strategy plan for my team.) Equally, if you are asking a client for a recommendation but you don’t really want to publicise who that client is – just don’t publish it online. You have it – and you can use it throughout your marketing while still protecting the identity of that client in the public domain.
I just realised there’s a second thing I love too about LinkedIn recommendations. You can screenshot them and use them as social media posts on any of your social media platforms. They’ll display the name of the individual who left the review along with their headshot, so it’s nice and personable too.
So, online recommendations… where do I end this? Be brave and ask for them. It’s not rude to suggest someone put a few words together to describe their experience of working with you. Make it a habit, and do not take it personally when they don’t all suddenly arrive within 24 hours!