How I Sold at Least One Book by Responding to a Bad Review

Posted by Patrick on February 2nd, 2015 in How Should I Participate?

Bad reviews represent opportunity. On Tuesday, I received an email that illustrated this clearly.

The message was from someone that bought my book. But they almost didn’t. They said that they were going to buy my book, until they saw this review on Amazon. After they read that it was “outdated,” they decided not to buy the book.

Until they saw my reply to the review. Because of my reply, they went ahead and bought it, telling me that it looks great.

The review was written more than a year ago. Just like my reply. But reviews can live forever. I’ve heard plenty of people say that you should not respond to reviews of your book posted by Amazon. But if you know how to respond calmly and kindly, I think that’s bad advice.

It would have been easy to ignore that review. It has 0 helpful votes. This might lead you to think it’s not an influential review. But that’s the trap people fall into. If I had simply dismissed that review and decided not to reply, this person would have never picked up my book. They wouldn’t have emailed me, and I never would have known.

Examples of Companies Engaging on reddit

Posted by Patrick on December 4th, 2014 in How Should I Participate?

When I published some examples of companies engaging in forums they didn’t own, I came into contact with David DiGiovanni of GroupSRC. They focus on helping companies engage on reddit. Dave had some great examples of organizations doing just that, and I thought it would make for an interesting guest post. Continue reading for insight from Dave.

I was excited to see Patrick writing about companies engaging in forums they don’t own. It inspired me to reach out to him on Twitter about companies doing the same on reddit.

Reddit is essentially the biggest forum on the web, and many companies have realized the value in monitoring reddit for mentions of their brand name. In the spirit of Patrick’s post about forums, I drummed up a few examples of companies engaging on reddit. Just like forums, reddit is a valuable place for companies to find communities related to their brand and learn more about their customers.

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How to Respond to Negative Reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp

Posted by Patrick on November 20th, 2014 in How Should I Participate?

TripAdvisor and YelpOnce in a while, a story will spread online of a business owner who has responded to a negative TripAdvisor or Yelp review in a pointed manner. The headlines for these stories include words and phrases like “epic,” “perfect” and “hilarious take down.”

I get it. It’s your livelihood. Maybe the reviewer was nasty or unreasonable. It was fun to give them a dose of their own medicine. To take them down a peg. But here’s a question: what’s the business value of doing so? Do you believe it nets you a profit or a loss?

Unfortunately, I would not be surprised if some restaurant and hotel owners and managers believe they will be the next “viral sensation” by responding rudely to an “unfair” Yelp or TripAdvisor review.

Good luck with that approach. You are winning the battle and losing the war.

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Examples of Companies Engaging in Online Forums They Don’t Own

Posted by Patrick on November 3rd, 2014 in How Should I Participate?

I was recently approached by someone who was looking for examples of company representatives that had engaged on an online forum that they didn’t own. This happens a lot, but as a friend put it, “I’ve seen too many examples to count but finding them is a real pain.”

There is a ton of value in forums, and many companies already take advantage of that value. However, others wonder how companies are doing it. To help with this, I asked around and put together a collection of solid examples.

My criteria in collecting these was pretty simple. A company representative must be engaging in an online forum that they do not own or manage. Their contribution must not be something that is simply expected. In other words, they don’t have to engage, it’s not the norm, but they chose to do so. Most importantly, they did so in a way that was accepted by the community and those who manage it.

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I Don’t Tell People to “Grow a Thick Skin” and “Ignore the Trolls”

Posted by Patrick on August 11th, 2014 in How Should I Participate?

Whenever someone talks about the abuse they are dealing with online, inevitably there are people who tell them to grow a thick skin and/or ignore the trolls. I don’t doubt that most of these people have good intentions at heart, but this advice just isn’t useful.

It’s not useful because we already know it. Chances are, when you say this to someone, they have heard it before. Thanks to the internet, I believe that we have thicker skins than ever before. If you know someone who is opening up about the sort of abuse they receive, chances are they already have a thicker skin than you do. You are just hearing about what they are choosing to share with you, not the entirety of what they have received. They don’t need to hear “grow a thick skin.” They already have one.

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Employee Advocacy: Don’t Inject Your Brand Into Another Brand’s Positive Story

Posted by Patrick on July 10th, 2014 in How Should I Participate?

I opened TweetDeck yesterday and immediately saw a tweet from someone I didn’t know, raving about the customer service that they received from a particular brand. The tweet itself had been retweeted by a friend, which is how it ended up in my stream.

The company he was talking about was not one I had heard of before, and I’m not likely to buy their products. But I clicked the tweet to check out the image that was attached to it. And then I saw this tweet (I’m paraphrasing, not looking to call out the individual):

“They do have great products and customer service! Their customer service could be even greater if they used [name of customer service related software].”

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I Was Banned From a Forum, What Should I Do? Change My IP Address? Come Back with a New Account?

Posted by Patrick on June 23rd, 2014 in How Should I Participate?
282/365 - Forbiden
Creative Commons License photo credit: EcoVirtual

If you run a search on Google, it’s easy to find people who have been banned from forums. Because they’re talking about it. Many are trying to figure out how to get around the ban or how to change their IP address.

But changing your IP address isn’t the best way to go about it. Not if you really enjoy the forum and want to return. If you are reading this and this describes you, my intent is to help you to get back onto this forum in the best manner possible, if that is what you are after.

I know this sounds crazy and it might not be the most popular answer, but the first step is that you should accept the ban and move on, even if they are being unfair to you. I have been on all sides of this and have been banned myself. Let me explain.

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If the President Used Your Community to Self-Promote, What Would You Do?

Posted by Patrick on March 27th, 2014 in How Should I Participate?, Managing the Community, Thinking

This is not a political article. I cannot stress that enough. Our comments section should remain free of general thoughts about President Obama, the Affordable Care Act or any topic that is generally political and not related to community management, moderation or the circumstance I am about to describe. Thank you.

President Barack Obama joined Quora earlier this week. His first two answers, posted Monday, were both to questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (answer 1, answer 2). They were of good quality, in my estimation. They both answered the question asked and did so thoughtfully. The only negative is that both included brief messages encouraging U.S. citizens to sign up for health insurance prior to next week’s deadline.

Those statements take up less than a quarter of the overall message and, since the discussion is ACA related and this is the President, I can understand how they may be generally forgivable. A tradeoff for getting the President on your platform.

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Elan Gale Didn’t Help the Flight Attendant and Online Community Members Like Him Don’t Help Community Managers

Posted by Patrick on December 2nd, 2013 in How Should I Participate?

On Thanksgiving, television producer Elan Gale live-tweeted his side of a contentious exchange with another passenger, on board a flight. If you haven’t heard the story, you should read this Storify post. Be sure to click “Read next page” at the bottom of the embedded tweets and photos, as there are a couple of pages.

There is a lot of speculation about this story and you can do a Google search for that. I don’t know that I believe the story (edit: looks like my suspicions were correct). But for the sake of this article, let’s assume that the story is true and that it is precisely as Mr. Gale described, from his notes, to Diane and her personality.

My family has spent a lot of time working in the service industry, but I don’t think much of Mr. Gale’s actions. It’s hard to take a high ground, as he attempts to do on his blog, when your actions are no better (and, in my opinion, worse) than the target of your criticism.

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Ask for Permission Before Using an Online Community for Research

Posted by Patrick on November 21st, 2013 in How Should I Participate?, Managing Staff
Cluster Computing Research
Creative Commons License photo credit: stwn

Once in a while, someone will pop into my community and ask members to fill out some survey. If the first time I hear of you and your survey is from reading a public post that you made in the community, that is not a good look for you.

I’m fairly protective of the community when it comes to people taking advantage of them. While our members are a great resource, the community doesn’t exist to fill out surveys for people. If you wish to utilize the community in this way, you really should ask the manager first and receive permission for doing so.

It’s a courteous, respectful thing to do. You don’t want to assume that your request is acceptable and if you post it and it is not, it’ll be removed. If your request is appropriate, having the stamp of approval from the manager can help you to get more responses as members know that it is alright.

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