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Google Authorship: How to Get Your Picture Next to Search Results

Want to improve your #SEO? Then you definitely need to add Google authorship to your blog or website. Find out how, and see up to 35% spike in your websites traffic.

Ever search for results on Google and found faces next to them on the left hand side? This is no random coincidence. Those photos are placed next to those results because they’re the authors of the content. When an author is credited and linked to a specific blog post, or website content, then their picture shows up beside it.

Google Authorship looks like this in the results pages. I decided to use my friend, Vancouver marketer, Kelvin KC Claveria, as an example.

Google Authorship Example using KC Claveria, a Vancouver Marketer.

What are the Benefits of Having Google Authorship?

Google Authorship Establishes Trust:

Since we are such visual creatures (look how big Pinterest has grown), any time we see a face in the middle of a sea of text, we’re most likely going to look at the photo first and not the text. Throughout human history, we’ve always had a subconscious trust when seeing a human face. Placing a human face on products and brochures have been known to increase the purchase intent for a service or product, compared marketing material that don’t use faces.

When we see a photo next to our search results, we often automatically give it credibility. This face next to the website gives it an extra boost in the trust factor.

Helps with Click Through Rates:

The benefit of Google authorship is that it allows search results to stand out and increase click through rates to your particular site compared to one without a Google Authorship photo.

One informal study done by Cyrus Shephard, showed how using the right photo for Google Authorship (which is linked to your Google + account) can increase click through rates for a website by 35%.

And you can easily see why with the example below, if your eyes are scanning, which ones are brought to your attention first?

Google Authorship is vital to ensuring that your click through rates improve, as well as standing out in search results.

It Helps with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Results:

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, was quoted saying this:

““Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

It May Play a Role in AuthorRank

AuthorRank doesn’t exist yet, but there has been a lot of buzz about AuthorRank. The concept is the same as PageRank, in which a webpage is assigned a numerical value for its authority and relevance to users of the Internet. For example the Wall Street Journal has a high page rank compared to my local newspaper the Vancouver Sun, because the Wall Street Journal is seen to have more authority than the Vancouver Sun.

It’s believed that Google AuthorRank will play a role in the future, in the sense that authors that are tied to specific content and have established authority through writing for different sites with high page ranks, or have a lot of social activity, will be a factor in ranking higher for search results. At the time of the writing of this blog post AuthorRank hasn’t been implemented, but this shouldn’t hinder anybody from signing up for using Google Authorship.

How to Implement Your Google Authorship:

Step 1: Verify Your E-mail Address

If you don’t have a Google Plus profile, then you need to set one and up go through all the necessary steps. You can learn how to set up your Google + profile here with a step by step guide by Wordtracker.

The first step to starting your Google Authorship is to ensure that you have a verified e-mail address for the website that you are writing your content on. Mine is vince@mcngmarketing.com.

Ensure that the name you use for your Google Plus account is also the same name for the byline author of the content you create. You don’t want to have the dreaded, by “Anonymous” tag in your content. The name you use should be consistent across all the content you create across the web.

To verify your e-mail, make sure you are logged into your Google Plus account and then visit this site and follow the steps: https://plus.google.com/authorship

Step Two: Add Your Websites to the Contributor Section

When you’re logged into your own account, click on “Home” and then right below it you should see “Profile.” Click on that, and then on the top bar near the left hand side you should see the “About” tab. Click on this. Scroll down to the section titled, “Links.” When you click on it, a pop up will appear. Go to the middle of the “Contributor To” section. This is where you can add custom links and tell Google what websites you write content for.

Contributor for Google Authorship. Ensure that you add the websites that you write for in this section of Google Plus.

What if you don’t have a verified e-mail on the domain?

It’s important to add the websites that you are a contributor to mentioned in Step Two. If you don’t have an e-mail address at that website, then this can easily be solved by using the rel=”author” tag.

If you write a blog post, then ensure somewhere on the blog, or in a designated author box, that you link back to your Google + account. When you do link, you want to include the rel=”author” tag and so your link back to your Google Plus page should like like this.

https://plus.google.com/108571815996159278806?rel=author

The numbers will be your profile ID.

A common practice is to put the link in the author box, so that you don’t always have to do it manually. An example is in the picture below.

Author Page and how you can use it it link to your Google Authorship.

If there are two rel=”author” tags on a page, Google will only take the firs one. I’ve had this problem guest blogging, and since mine is second, my picture won’t show up in the rich snippets of Google.

Also if you are guest blogging for a site, you need to add the specific blog post added to the contribution section. This is probably the best way to guarantee you will receive credit for the work. The downfall is that you can have a very lengthy list if you’ve written a lot of different content.

For more info, or to find another helpful guide to authorship, feel free to visit our friends at MKG Media, their blog post, Google Authorship: A How-To Guide.

If you need to test out to see if it works then visit Google’s rich snippet testing tool to see if what you’ve implemented now works.

Social Media Introverts versus Social Media Extroverts

Should you Hire a Social Media Marketer That’s Extroverted or Introverted?

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Social media can be time and energy intensive. For some, the use of social media drains them, for others, it can do the complete opposite, which is fuel a person to new heights of social media engagement.

Marketing, as a whole, has rather been an isolated activity with the exception of experiential marketing.

Traditional marketing has allowed marketers and creative advertisers to be with our own thoughts as we think of campaigns. This is why for many, whether a marketer is introverted or extroverted has little influence on the type of marketer to hire.

However, this has all changed with the prevalence of social media. It’s important to understand how each type effects social media campaigns and which type of personality you need to hire for your business.

Your company needs to know whether you’re hiring a social media introvert, or a social media extrovert, and knowing the difference can assist in creating an integrated and powerful social media marketing team. One of the core strengths we have at MCNG is that we have both extroverts and introverts that work on our social media campaigns for our clients which has led to excellent results such as a reach of over 3 million in two months on our social media channels for the Vancouver Christmas Market.

What are Social Media Introverts Like?

Introverts are more likely to get social media burnout from continuous interaction with customers. Introverts are not shy, a common misconception, as many introverts are quite social. Introverts don’t do well being actively social for long periods of time or stretches.

I find myself quite exhausted after networking for 3 hours in a row, or if I’m attending 3 different networking events in a week for 1 hour a week if there’s no “me” time to recover.

Introverts need time to be quietly on their own and just recover from feeling drained. Too much interaction, whether it’s real life or on social media causes introverts to feel exhausted. Of course that’s not to say that it’s not exhausting for anybody to manage a social media account for 7 days in row for months on end.

The best way to use an introvert, is to have them work with social media engagement from time to time. And they work well with businesses that don’t need to a Twitter presence every 15 minutes, but instead can check once a day and not worry about the social media accounts on weekends.

What are Social Media Extroverts Like?

Extroverts work differently. They get their energy from socializing and engaging in fun conversations with others. This is for real life socializing as well as social media conversations. They generally aren’t the type of people who feel exhausted after a long day on social media, and are much more likely than introverts to go out and have a drink with some friends after work and tweet and Instagram a photo while socializing with friends.

Extroverts work very well in situations that require continuous engagement with fans where what is being monitored and said does need to be checked on the hour.

How Can Introverts and Extroverts Work Together to Create an Awesome Social Media Campaign?

What I find is that introverts enjoy pondering and reflecting. Therefore they make great social media marketers to help schedule tweets and plan out campaigns to get people engaged, as opposed to actually engaging. While those that are extrovert are able to engage while still following the guidelines of branded engagement.

Often extroverts don’t like to do scheduling for tweets nor plan out too much for the long term. It kills the spontaneity that feeds them their energy.

These are of course generalizations and should be taken with a grain of salt.

While I’m not saying that a person can’t do both, what I am saying is that by having both types of personalities available to manage social media accounts then you can utilize the strengths and the creativity of both introverts and extroverts for your social media marketing.

What are your thoughts, do you feel that introverts generally get more exhausted with social media, and extroverts tend to thrive?

For more about using the introverts and extroverts at MCNG Marketing, contact us, and we’ll happy to get back to you.

How to Attract More Customers or Clients with Blogging


Blogging Requires Strategy

I love blogging, because it allows you to develop credibility for your business while you’re starting it, and also allows you to attract more customers that are in need of your service or product. However, blogging for the sake of blogging is a huge waste of time. It’s like walking for the sake of walking. You still need to know what your final destination is.

Like all marketing activity, you have to ask yourself how does blogging fit in with your overall marketing strategy?

Blog About Problems Your Customers Need Solutions Too

In order to successfully plan your business blog, you need to sit down and think of your customers’ pain points, or your customers’ curiosity points.

What would you write about that will help them solve a problem? What will you write about that will peak your client’s curiosity? While it’s great that your blog may be talking about your company, and that is important, but it’s more important to show them that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy in your field.

A pain point that many of our clients have is that they want to be able to attract more online customers, and they want to be able to target the right customers that are looking for their specific solutions. This is why we’re writing this blog right now. We know that there are potential clients out there that need new customers coming into their restaurant, salon, or retail business, but they just don’t know how in this digital age.

Let’s say that you own a retail women’s clothing shop, and you want to attract new customers into the door. Obviously the style of clothes will play a huge role, but think about all the problems that your customers in your target audience are having. Since most people search for important issues online privately, you can write about topics that really matter to people who are afraid to talk about it to their friends and to the public.

Here are some examples of topics related to women’s fashion:

1) You’re BBW, What to Wear to Create a Knockout Impression on Your Date. (Then give advice on what to wear, and offer suggestions available at your store).
2) Do you have a Darker Skin Tone? These Fashion Colours Are Right For you.
3) Accessories to Make High Heels more Comfortable.
4) The Top 10 Fashion Trends to Avoid this Summer (a curiosity and education piece).
5) How to Choose the Perfect Shoe for Your Perfect Dress.

Blog About Problems that Customers are Always Having

The best blog articles to write about that will drive the most traffic in the short and long run are the ones that solve a problem that customers consistently have.

My now unactive conversation blog has an article on there that discusses funny conversation starters. That one article alone generates between 100-300 page views a day. It’s the number one landing page on that site. And the reason why it keeps driving so much traffic is because it’s a universal conversation problem that people have. People want to know how to be funny from the start.

But I also know that that people who have trouble starting their conversations are also potential customers of my published book. I wouldn’t write a blog post on how to start a conversation while you’re in the washroom, because nobody finds that as a pain point in their life that needs solving.

I also know that many businesses have trouble getting employees engaged in low paying jobs. Part of marketing is the ability to deliver customer service and ensure that the business has happy employees, and so I wrote an article about gamification and how it increased sales by 30%.

How to Apply a Blogging Strategy to Your Business

1) If you know your target audience and the customers you are aiming for, create a list of all the problems that they are going through that you can help them with. Don’t worry about getting it right, just write down as many problems as possible.

2) Going through the list, identify the ones that you believe are on your customer’s minds a lot. Especially if you can write about a topic they may be embarrassed to ask about, or really get their attention to solving their problems. For example if you run a fitness centre, you may blog about the topic, “How to Improve Your Sex Life through Exercise.”

3) Start blogging about the top problems that people are having. If you’re content is relevant to your customers, and it’s a good read, you will slowly see more traffic come to your blog. And not only that, if you create blog posts that help solve people’s problems, they will emotionally connect and identify with you. And when they need to think of an expert in a particular field or need to recommend one, you and your business will be at the top of their mind.

If you are having trouble finding out what to blog, take the time to ask your best customers what sort of problems they have. I guarantee you’ll start to see patterns that many of them share.

The goal of a good business blog is to ensure that you’re providing great quality content on a regular basis. Being consistent is extremely important and is probably the number one reason why blogs fail to attract new customers or clients. If you’re business needs a great blogging strategy to drive more traffic to your site and bring in the customers you want, than feel free to contact us at MCNG Marketing.

6 Best Practices for Facebook Restaurant Marketing

Facebook Eating a Person

With Facebook reaching the mark of 1 billion users, it’s hard to ignore this social media giant. The biggest questions isn’t whether Facebook is useful for restaurant marketing, or how it affects a restaurant’s profit, it’s the debate of how long it will be before Facebook makes changes to their Facebook Pages.

Facebook Pages are different from personal pages. Personal pages you get to add friends, and you can restrict who sees your profile. Facebook Pages are designed more for businesses, brands, personalities, and are easily differentiated from personal pages because you have the option to “Like” them.

With the several different changes that have happened with Facebook changes over the years, there are still some great practices that have remained throughout Facebook’s algorithm that will help you get noticed by your “Likers” and those that happen to drop by your page.

Here are 6 Best Practices for Facebook Restaurant Marketing:

1) Respond to your Customers

I can’t stress this enough. Facebook wasn’t designed as a static website where you just post updates. It was designed to create opportunities for fans to engage with their brands and vice versa.
What does engagement on Facebook really mean?

For the restaurant business it means when people compliment your photos that you’re thanking them for their compliment. It means that when someone tells you that they had an amazing experience at your restaurant that you don’t just respond with a click of a “Like,” you respond with a warm response such as, “We’re really glad to read that you had a fantastic time at Timbo’s Restaurant. And most of all appreciate you taking the time to let us know, we hope you have a fantastic upcoming week.”

Clicking the like button is poor customer service, and just plain lazy. After all, you wouldn’t just hold your thumbs up if someone said they loved your duck confit in real life right?

2) Start Conversations on Facebook

Start conversations that get people wanting to talk to you. Ask them questions about what makes great customer service. Ask people for the opinion on what type of free goodie they would like for liking the Facebook page. Do they prefer a dessert, do they prefer an appetizer or a percentage off of a main menu?

One of the worst parts about starting conversations is that nobody responds. And I want to assure you that it’s not the end of the world. There are a few factors involved such as the time of day, how many other messages you may be competing with in the users Facebook newsfeed and so on.

That’s okay, not everything you’re asking is going to be a big hit. But the great thing is that you’ll start to notice what has a great response.

Most restaurants rush, rush, rush. And they forget that they are starting conversations with real customers and real people. All you have to do is remember that, and think of conversations that would be of interest to your Facebook “likers.”

3) Hold a Contest that Rocks

First off, be very careful about your country or state laws regarding contest, and the term and conditions that Facebook restricts.

In Canada, you technically must ask people a skill testing question, and ensure that no purchase of is required.
Contests are such a wonderful way of having fun with your fans and a great contest can drive more likes and more engagement during the contest period than anything else.

Vancouver is a big hockey town. The restaurant we represented wanted to drive the number of “Likes” to our restaurant client’s page, so we held a draw for two Vancouver Canucks tickets.

We not only promoted it on Facebook, we cross promoted it with Twitter, and encouraged people to “Share” the contest with others (at the bottom of every Facebook Page post you make, people have the option of sharing that particular post with others.)

The power in getting people to like the page was actually in encouraging people to “Share.” Because once people share, others who wouldn’t normally see your posting have no seen it. This was part of our strategy in getting 3000 more Facebook likes for the Vancouver Christmas Market within 2 months.

4) Create Posts that even Superman Would Want to Read

Along with Novo Pizzeria, our marketing agency, took a great opportunity to deliver pizza to Vancouver International Airport because our customer had jokingly tweeted that she would love to have our pizza at 8:30 am during a layover to another Canadian city.

Well we didn’t hesitate for a second, and delivered a wonderful Neapolitan pizza to her and her friend at 8:30 am. We took a photo and posted it on Facebook the next day. It definitely got people talking, and many customers had positively commented on the story.

These stories of unusual and extraordinary customer service drove discussion and also drove likes. On top of that such stories are sticky and make such a wonderful story that customers will remember for a long time.

5) If Picture is a Thousand Words, One of Those Words is Hungry.

People love visuals, and they love it when you’re able to show off new menu items that you’re about to launch for a new menu, it’s a great way to tease them to come in.

It’s also a great place to be able to show off some of your signature dishes that your loyal customers may not have had a chance to ever see.

Include some great writing along with your photos and describe the menu items the way you would want your top notch servers to describe it. Your description should be mouth watering so that it drives people to come in.
If you’re Facebook page is starting to look like it’s being filled with too much text, that’s the time to add some photos.

6) Facebook Should Never be a Loner

Now that Facebook doesn’t allow “Fan Gating” (There are 3rd party apps that do allow that now) that doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to drive people to “Like” your page. For example I’ve listed a great way of increasing, “likes” by holding a contest. It’s also important to not look at Facebook as a single entity. You have to look at it as part of your integrated marketing strategy.

Do you promote your Facebook account on the bottom of the restaurant menu? Or if you own a cafe, do you have a little stand that encourages people to “Like” your Facebook to hear about exclusive offers? Are you using your Twitter account to promote your Facebook account as well? If you mention that you have a Facebook account on Twitter, you’ll be surprised that a few of them will click on it and click “Like.”

Have you found a way to increase engagement with your Facebook fans? We’d love to hear some of your ideas.

Help with Yelp
Yelp Banned this Marketing Book from Amazon

Tired of good 4 and 5 star reviews being taken down by Yelp? We know businesses are frustrated at Yelp, and we’ve found out some of the secrets that Yelp has that they don’t want business owners to know. That’s why they banned the book. Inside MCNG Marketing’s book it covers:

1) How to keep genuine reviews from your friends and family to stay on Yelp and not get “flagged.”

2) How Yelp ranks which reviews to show first and how long they stay up for, and how you can use this to your businesses advantage. (I don’t know anybody else that has studied Yelp Engine Optimization)

3) How to deal with aggressive and poor reviews to gain customer loyalty and much more.

MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

The book is priced at $4.99, which is less than a price of appetizer at your restaurant, but can save and earn you thousands off dollars a year.Let’s be honest, Yelp is here to stay.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase you can get back 100% money back within 30 days of purchase. Payments are secure as we process via credit card through Paypal. Purchase now.

Buy Now

How to Develop Relationships with Food Bloggers

Food Bloggers Are Here to Stay


It’s never been a tougher time to be in the restaurant business than it has been today. Customers are demanding higher quality food. There’s more and more competition as great chefs are graduating from culinary schools that are working at well established restaurants.

Now with the world of Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Zagat, you need to worry about what people are saying about your restaurant online. And then there are the food bloggers. Whether you hate them or love them, they’re definitely here to stay and have a great weight in swaying the public’s opinion. And managing your reputation online is vital.

Why It’s Important to Develop Relationships with Them

Developing relationships with food bloggers is part of a great integrated marketing strategy when it comes to restaurant marketing. The first and foremost reason is because it allows for online exposure to a public that you generally wouldn’t be able to reach. And a good review about your restaurant can do wonders in terms of bringing in a regular flow of customers over a period of months.

It’s not uncommon for reviews that have been posted online about a restaurant to get 3,000 – 10,000 targeted views. These views are vital because they are the target market that your restaurant is looking for. These are people who enjoy food and there’s a good chunk of those people who found you online while purposely searching your restaurant.

It Helps With Search Results

Google likes to show local sites that are relevant to the searcher when it comes to restaurants. Being able to work with food bloggers can help a lot in your search engine results. If they link to your website this will help with keeping your restaurant’s website rankings higher for a variety of search terms because of what’s known as “Link Juice.” The more that food bloggers link to your site the better you can rank for certain search words as well, and the more popular the food blogger site is, the more “search cred” is given to your restaurant’s website.

How linking affects your search results is that it works in the same way as an endorsement from a celebrity, business executive works, or a working class customers does. A celebrity or business executive will have more theoretical authority when recommending your restaurant because of perceived credibility and reach of network, and therefore their opinion is given more weight. While working class customers, still have credibility, but don’t have the same weight with the general public.

I thought this was a fun video that poked fun of foodies and food bloggers, from Mijune aka Follow Me Foodie.

How to Develop Relationships with Food Bloggers

I’ve been very fortunate, because I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I wasn’t necessarily a food blogger, but I did run my own blog on how to have better conversations for two years, and have been fortunate to attend a few blogging talks and conferences.

With restaurant operations being very time consuming, many restaurateurs may not have the time to develop relationships with bloggers. It’s understandable that you may send them out a quick invite and have them write you up the next day. But I find this way lacks heart and soul, and while this is good for online marketing purposes, this isn’t a best practice.

1) Find out who the local food bloggers are in your town. You can usually find this information on Urbanspoon and it will tell you who the top bloggers are in terms of views and who have their account linked to Urbanspoon. Often the most popular food bloggers will be obvious, but many of them will also have something known as a “Blogroll” on their blog site, which will tell you other bloggers they are connected with.

2) Take time to read the blogs and get a feel for the type of bloggers you want at your event. You have to keep in mind that bloggers are not food critics, and they generally have their preference for food. Many bloggers may not like the type of food that you serve, but may take up the invitation anyway to try out different foods. So if you’re a sushi restaurant it’s important to know which food bloggers don’t eat raw fish, which could be a problem if one of your signature dishes is sashimi. Or you need to find out who doesn’t enjoy eating bacon.

You’ll be surprised how many food blogs are still ranking high on Urbanspoon but haven’t been updated. It’s important to know who’s actually writing so that you get the most out of your time developing relationships and your online PR.

In order to find this out, you need to take time to read up on their blog posts on a regular basis.

gastrofork

My good friend Dee is the food blogger at Gastrfork. One of my favourite blogs to follow in Vancouver.

3) Find out which bloggers are relevant to your restaurant. If you run an Ethiopian restaurant but most of the reviews that person is writing about is Italian food, then chances are they aren’t a good candidate to develop a relationship with. Look for bloggers that are writing about foods similar to yours. You can actually find out pretty easily by using their search box on their blog. This will give you a lowdown of what to potentially expect if you happen to invite them to your restaurant event. And gives you an idea if they frequent that type of restaurant often and are knowledgeable about your type of cuisine.

4) Engage them on their blog. Once you’ve targeted the bloggers that you believe would be good to potentially invite for an event, or to develop relationships with, you want to take the time to comment on their blog.

Commenting on their blog is a high form of flattery. Truth is, a blog post is lucky to get one comment out of 100 visits. When you comment it acknowledges that you’ve taken the time to get to know the blogger and take a personal interest in what he or she is doing. You’re not there to doing a “thanks for writing about us, now scram we don’t need you no more.”

But your comments should also be value adding. Writing things like “Great post” is lame and quite frankly useless. It’s important to engage with them on their comments, tell them what you specifically liked about their post, make recommendations to other restaurants that you personally enjoy. The more that you engage with them the easier it is that when you have an event that particular blogger will do his or her best to make it out.

5) Engage them on Twitter and Facebook. I always find that the best places to engage bloggers is in places that they don’t expect. Twitter is always a great way to engage with them, but if they are really popular and get a lot of followers then chances are they will notice your tweet but may not have the time to engage back with you. Most food bloggers also have their own Facebook page, so you can actually “Like” them from your Restaurant Facebook page and communicate with them there.

Or if you have a Foursquare account, feel free to comment on their checkins and different photos. There’s plenty of places to communicate with them.

To develop good relationships with them takes time, and effort. And when you stat to have good conversations with them, they will start to have more conversations back with you. It’s just of being patient. If you are looking to save time and effort, it’s always a good idea to look for a marketing agency that can provide such services that already have established relationships with bloggers that you wish to target.

6) Make it personal when you connect. When you do invite food bloggers through e-mail or even by call, make sure you address them by their name and try to state an interesting blog post that you enjoyed. Again it shows that you have interest in their writing. Though this doesn’t guarantee a good review will be written about you, it does give you a chance to create that relationship and ask the blogger to come back again and to do a second review. Treat any food review as feedback, is it valid, and is there something that can be learned from it.

Thank them for coming to the event after it’s all done.

7) BE PATIENT. I’m a marketer, I totally understand the urgency of wanting bloggers to write a review ASAP. If you’ve followed the steps above you’ll know which food bloggers are excellent at writing reviews within one week, and others that can take up to 2 months due to a full time work schedule, and previous blogging obligations.

Most of all treat them like you would any other customer in your restaurant. But the one thing I definitely advise before inviting any of them, is to make sure that your food is superb. And just because you love your food, doesn’t make it good. And most food bloggers will write an honest review. If it’s good they’ll rave about it. If not…ouch.

If you’re ever interested in getting food bloggers to your restaurant and having them review it, feel free to contact us at vince @ mcngmarketing.com

Local Google Plus is Replacing Google Places for Restaurants

How Your Restaurant is being Affected by the Local Google +



Google Places has been phased out and Local Google + pages are now taking over. There are a few changes that will affect the way that restaurants do local area marketing. We’ll start off with what’s the same so far.

If you haven’t registered your business with Google then you can do so here, if you already have under the old Google Places system then you’re already half way there to the new system. I would highly advise that you register as soon as possible because depending on your location you may need to have your verification mailed to you which could take a while.

Let’s Start Off with the Major Changes

A Local Tab has Been Added on Google Plus

The social network Google Plus has now added the feature of “Local” on the left hand side of its tabs when a G+ user is logged in. If you’re a Google Plus user, when you click on it, it will tell you what’s hot in your local scene based on reviews, and it will give you notice about the people who have reviewed restaurants and businesses that are in your Google Circles (concept is like the different circles you have in your life, friends, acquaintances, professional network and so forth.)

This means that if people login to Google Plus and search for a restaurant, the reviewers in the circles will show first, because they believe that what your friends have to say about a restaurant has more weight than what a total stranger has to say.

Zagat is the New Standard of Rating Restaurants on Google

Google bought out Zagat a while ago, but no one was 100% sure what was happening with exception that Google was trying to challenge Yelp. Now that the transition has been made, reviews made by Google users are now using the Zagat rating system. This means that there no longer is a five star system, but instead relies a break down of three areas of the restaurant, food, decor, and service which the reviewer rates 0 out of 3. And the average price is listed as well based on reviewers. Zagat also gives it an overall rating out of 30 for each of those 3 categories. Now you can determine which places have great food at a cheap price, but is probably a hole in the wall joint.

Only Google Plus Users can Post Reviews

Only Google Plus reviewers are the ones that are allowed to post reviews now. But that doesn’t mean that you need a Google Plus account to be able to see the reviews. Similar to how Yelp works.

Yes, You can Flag Bad and Inappropriate Comments

If you happen to be concerned about a review that is slanderous or one that requires review because you truly felt it was completely false, then you can flag it. There’s a hover button that’s slightly to the top of the right hand corner of the comment which you can click on, and it will lead you to a page where you can tell Google the details and it will review your request.

You Don’t Need a personal Google Plus Page

Your restaurant, nor you as as an owner, need have to have a Google Plus Page in order to manage it. It just needs the Google business account set up in order to log into it. (It’s the link that was provided above.) Once you’ve logged in, and you go back to the Local Google Plus page where you’ll be able to respond to reviews by clicking on respond, and be able to update your information and post photos.

Maps and Google Search will now Redirect to Local Google Plus

When people search on Google Search or when they search for your place using Google Maps, they’ll automatically be directed to your Local Google Plus page information from now on.

No Integration with Google Business Pages…Yet

Integration of Your Google Business Brand page cannot be integrated with your Local Google Plus page, however Google is working on it and will update the business community as time goes by. And I have seen the test versions of the integration page. Which is really cool, because when that happens you’ll be able to link videos and to post comments which have the potential to be read by searchers. Similar to when people read a restuarnt’s Facebook page without “Liking” the page.

Only Google Photos Show Up

Before in Google Places they used to connect to photos that were posted on sites like Urbanspoon. This will no longer happen on the Local Google + pages, and that the photos that are to be shown will be those that are provided by account owners or those that are Google Plus users. As the change over is made, what you’ll notice is that if you type in your restaurant on Google Search, and you click on the photos of food. Those that are posted by the owners of the account will automatically be redirected to the Local Google Plus Page, while those that are by Urbanspoon will now go directly to the site. The gallery of food won’t be show anymore.

If you have any questions feel free to e mail me directly at vince at mcngmarketing dot com or you can reach us at our contact us page.

Should Your Restaurant Apologize Online?

Apologizing Can Save Your Business


The Apology The Tale of Two Apologies

Back in 1982, Tylenol went through a crisis with their product and brand. Cyanide was found in some Tylenol capsules that killed 7 people. This could have turned out to be a monstrous disaster. But the CEO, James Burke, of Johnson and Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, quickly apologized for the catastrophe and immediately pulled 100% of their product off the shelves, which cost Johnson and Johnson $100 million dollars. He appeared on television shows explaining what happened, and how the problem was going to be dealt with every step of the way. He then improved the bottles by having a tampered proof packaging.

Because of the quick thinking of all the people involved, Tylenol was able to gain back 90% of their previous market share.

Now if you look at another example, the BP (British Petroleum) oil spill, this turned out to be a disaster. People lost their livelihood because they could no longer fish the waters, and it took them 3 months to deal with the issue. Even though the majority of the public clearly felt that BP was in the wrong, they didn’t take fully responsibility for the incident and instead seemed to lay the blame elsewhere. It was even said that they even hired people to write blog posts to redirect the issues. For example people would write how the oil spill is really such a small issue when you compare it to the millions of hungry children in the world.

The perception of BP changed forever. Now I look at the back of my motor oil to double check if BP is the producer, and if it is, I put it down and look for an alternative now. I guess I wouldn’t have been so annoyed with them if they had just taken responsibility for what they did.

Tylenol is in the history books for handling a crisis with class and success. BP is now being quoted as an example of how not to handle a crisis.

Whether a crisis is small or big, they’re all the same at the start. The public has a negative sentiment of the company. For a restaurant, crises aren’t usually that large but it still comes down to one thing. The apology.

Stay Calm at All Times

When you get a customer that’s bashing about your restaurant and that customer is in the right, or even just partially wrong, then you need to stay calm and apologize. The only time that you shouldn’t apologize is when something has clearly slanderous.

The trouble is that we let our egos get in the way, and forget to take care of business. So instead, there are restaurant owners that send back notes ripping on customers. How do you think customers feel when they’ve already felt they had a bad experience and then have you give them a hard time.

While there are some cases where you should defend what you’ve done, there is no review that I have seen that has required the owner to lose his fuse and blow up at reviewer.

Now remember if these people are social media users, it’s not that hard for them to share what you’ve written to the public.

I find that if you apologize, and offer a solution this causes people to respect your restaurant and even talk about it more. Strangely enough, people remember more of how a restaurant dealt with a bad situation than they do about having a great experience at the restaurant. And they tend to talk about the recovery of service to their friends more often.

And the situation tends to die down very quickly.

The Story of the Yelp Elite

One of my friends is a Yelp Elite, she told me about she received a terrible note from the owner after she had written a review. She was very close to posting it, but decided that she wouldn’t because she didn’t want to hurt this small business. Not only was she telling me, she told about 5 other people. The restaurant has a good reputation, but because of her credibility with me, I don’t know if I would go to that restaurant, because let’s face it, it’s not like I’m going to call him up to get his side of the story.

It’s About Customer and Public Relations

When you’re in the restaurant business, it’s not about whether who’s right or wrong, it’s about managing customer, public, and online relations. Think about that carefully. If you want to be in the business of right or wrong, then you should be a math teacher, not a restauranteur.

How should you apologize

1) Acknowledge the problem that the person had. Use different words than the reviewer or else they may feel that you’re mocking them. Remember we can’t detect tone from words.

2)Tell them how you’ll rectify the problem, so that they have faith that the next time they come in that they have faith it’s not going to come in again.

3) Entice them for their trouble. Rarely do people put up bad reviews to get free swag. And it’s usually one in a few thousand cases, in which case if someone is trying to extort you then I would say that person is being a jerk, and is not worth dealing with at that point.

4) Make your apologies visible to the public. A lot of review sites say that you should try to resolve issues behind the scenes. My advice is that if you do the above, you can do it in public. This way people will see that you handled the problem, you took responsibility.

Don’t be be British Petroleum, be Tylenol when it comes to your restaurant.

Google Places for Restaurants

Whether you’re running a new or old restaurant, chances are that your restaurant is being searched online, and most likely through Google. There’s also a good chance that if a potential customer is searching for your restaurant that’s within your area that the Google Places listing is going to pop up on the search results.

What is Google Places?

Google Places is a local business listing on Google (similar to Yellow Pages), where you can add information about your business such as your location, hours of operation, and specials that are going on at your restaurant. This service is provided free of charge.

Why It’s Important to have a Google Place Listing?

Chances are if your restaurant has been around for a while, it’s been searched by Google users, and has already added on to its local search directory.

If you search for your restaurant on Google, you’ll probably see at the right hand side a map of where your restaurant is located, as well as photos below the map. This is the current state of your Google Places.

This Google Place listing is being seen potentially by hundreds, if not thousands of customers a month, whether they are local or from out of town. Taking control, and verifying ownership of your Google Places listing allows you to take ownership of which key search terms you want your Google Places listing to be known for. These words could be, “Best Chinese Restaurant, Szechuan Restaurant, or Best Chinese Restaurant in Richmond.” Choosing the right terms can drive traffic to your website as well as your restaurant. People that may have never even knew your restaurant existed before.

In order to know what the best words are, it’s always best to hire a restaurant marketer who is familiar with SEO to ensure that you’re getting convertible search traffic (searchers of terms who are most likely to come eat at your restaurant).

A verified Google Places account also allows you to choose which photos you want your customers to see first on your Google Places, and not the ones listed by reviewers. This can make a big difference in ensuring a consistent online brand image for your restaurant, and if it’s a good first photo, it will convert searchers into actual diners.

Or if you know that your restaurant may be hard to find, placing an picture of the outside of your restaurant helps customers know exactly what to look for when they are in your neighborhood.

You can also add a video that you’ve created about your restaurant, which is highly recommended since most restaurants don’d take the time to do this.

You can even promote a special offer or coupon on your Google Places profile. This way your Google searchers have more of a reason to come and visit your restaurant.

As you can there’s a lot that you can do with Google Places, which is why it should always be a priority on every restaurant’s marketing checklist.

Having a Google Place for your Restaurant Allows you to Respond to Reviews.

Having a verified account allows you to respond to reviews from Google reviewers. With Google having it’s own review platform, searchers can easily scan what ratings reviewers have given your restaurant out of five stars. By being able to respond to negative and positive reviews, it gives your restaurant a chance to correct any service issues, or thank your wonderful raving fans.

The one absolute thing I love about Google Places, is that you have the opportunity to respond back to every single Google reviewer that writes a written review, unlike Yelp, which has daily limits to the number of reviews you can respond to, and not as complicated as responding to Urbanspoon reviews.

The responses are pretty much permanent. And if your response to these reviews are dealt with in a professional manner and you deliver great online customer service, potential customers are going to read your responses and a more likely to take action to come to your restaurant, and have a positive image of your restaurant even before coming in.

Sometimes responding to all these reviews can be time consuming, which is why it may be good to get some help in responding to these reviews. But it’s absolutely vital that they are responded to. Remember, behind every review is a real person. A customer that came to your restaurant, who you have the potential to make into a loyal, long life customer.

It Takes Time to Set Up your Google Places Account:

Once you’ve registered for your Google Places account, it can take a while before Google sends you a postcard to your business with your PIN, depending on the country of origin. I’ve heard some businesses getting a postcard with their PIN within 7 days while others have taken up to 2 months.

The earlier that you register for Google Places the better, so if you’re running a new restaurant or just about to take over one my advice is to have your restaurant marketing company set it up as soon as possible, or to ensure you do right away once you’ve legally registered the business.

If you’re interested in having your Google Places set up and optimized for your restaurant, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to assist you with your restaurant marketing needs.

How to Deal with Negative Urbanspoon Reviews for Restaurants

Urban Spoon

Take Action Against Negative Urban Spoon Reviews



What is Urbanspoon?

Urbanspoon is a review site where registered members of the site contribute reviews of their dining experiences at any food establishment for the public to see. Once members sign up, they can post reviews from their mobile phones or from a computer.

Urbanspoon Will Affect Your Restaurant’s Sales

As a restaurant owner you may not have given much thought to what Urbanspoon is about, until you see that dreadful review that you know is dishonest. You were thinking, “How can anybody make such a libelous statement about my restaurant? They’re all lies!”

Maybe the person did write a review that was a lie, it may have been from a competitor, or a disgruntled customer, regardless of where it came from, you can’t just sit there and keep getting angry. It’s not going to do anything to protect your restaurant’s online reputation.

The worst part is that it’s going to affect your business, because all it takes is for one passionately written negative review to turn away a few dozen potential customers a month. And do you want to turn away all these customers?

Let’s take a look at the position that Urbanspoon has about reviews.

“Urbanspoon removes reviews that violate our standards and guidelines (such as those that contain profanity), but we do not remove reviews strictly for being negative or even rude. If you would like us to evaluate any reviews for violations, click the Feedback link on your listing to submit a request.”

You can find out more information about here.

Now that you have an understanding of where Urban Spoon stands, which in my opinion doesn’t do a lot to protect restaurant owners from being trashed online, what can you do to protect the online reputation of your restaurant on Urbanspoon?

Get Your Business Listing:

1) The first thing that you need to do, other than staying calm, is to ensure that you’ve registered for a business account with Urbanspoon. This is not just important so that you can manage reviews, but it’s also important because you can change information about your restaurant, such as hours, or the address at your convenience.

Privately Message the Reviewer

2) Urbanspoon allows you to privately send messages to reviewers. It’s important not to jump to conclusions about the reviewer, and to respond calmly. Do not get angry at the customer, and write a rude note.

In this day and age, a customer can screen capture it, and share it with the rest of the world. Treat the note as you would if the customer was live in your restaurant and that someone is recording the conversation.

I’ve even seen the case where someone reviewed the wrong restaurant, and it was pointed out by the owner of the restaurant. Sometimes it’s really just a misunderstanding. This will give you a chance to find out what happened, and to be able to make a bad situation into a wonderful one.

If the customer genuinely had a bad experience, then admit fault, and find a way to correct the situation. Best thing to do is to have them come back to the restaurant and enjoy a meal on the restaurant. Don’t ask the customer to rewrite the review. You have to let your customer decide.

But what happens if you’ve written and there’s no response by the reviewer? Then you would proceed to step 3.
Publicly Reply to the Urbanspoon Review

3) If you find that the review is libelous and is not even legitimate, then I would suggest you post a public reply as soon as possible. With Urbanspoon, the date that a review is posted has relevance on how high it shows up on its website. A negative review that is at the top of the site for one week can do some potential damage of losing two or three customers that week.

I’ve found from my experience that recent mobile reviews show up very high on Urbanspoon as well, and should not be taken lightly.

When you do reply, make sure that you are courteous. Remember you’re not out to attack the reviewer, your main goal is to clarify the facts for the people that are reading the reviews on Urbanspoon so that they get to hear both sides of the story.

In it, you always want to thank the customer for coming in. After all the customer did spend money and did give you business.

Stick to the facts and correct what’s false. If the person waited half an hour for a reservation, don’t put the blame on her. It’s your restaurant’s fault. However if they say something like, “Wow, clearly the restaurant has the same food as the last restaurant. They were pretty lazy and just ripped everything off.”

Chances are if you’ve opened up a new restaurant over an old one, this probably is a lie. This is when it’s appropriate to straighten out the facts, and in your public reply to let the reviewer know that none of the menu items are from the old restaurant at all.

And remember to keep the tone professional and to the facts, I can’t stress this enough. Always let them know that if there are any customer service issues that you are always happy to help them.

If someone has written a negative review about your restaurant because of a poor experience, then writing a public apology is highly suggested. This is so that other customers can see that you care about customer service and that the customer is a high priority for your list. Many restaurants leave such reviews unattended. How would you feel, as a restaurant owner, if you had a negative complaint about your car and the dealership decided to stand there and not answer you?

Exceptional restaurants deliver exceptional service inside the restaurant. Legendary restaurants ensure that service is delivered outside the restaurant.

These are the best ways to deal with negative reviews on Urban Spoon. If you’re looking for ways to manage your online reputation with Yelp, then read, Online Reputation Repair with Yelp for Vancouver Restaurants

Are You Finding Your Good Yelp Reviews Get Taken Off?

My book Help with Yelp for Restaurants explains why:
Get The E-book Here

How Restaurants Can Deal with Bad Yelp Reviews

How to Deal with Your Restaurant’s Worst Reviews



Online Reputation Repair is Essential in the Restaurant Business

You are excited because your brand new restaurant has opened up for a week now. You are on top of the world. Until…you run into your first negative Yelp or Urbanspoon review.

And now you’re angry, because you take it personal. It’s as if someone has stabbed you in the heart and then decided to watch you bleed. After all, you put in a lot of time, money, and effort in ensuring that your restaurant is as close to perfection as it gets.

But then comes the tricky part. How do you repair your online reputation before it gets worse? Or even worse, before more negative reviews start to pile up?

What to Do with Your Worst Yelp Reviews

1) Stay Calm

I completely understand where you’re coming from as an owner. A Starbucks I used to manage was given a one star review by a Yelp Elite member in Vancouver who was an actual regular at my store. He came to the store often enough to the point where my staff recognized the gentleman.

One day he wasn’t satisfied with the coffee that we served and we ended up opening a brand new fresh bag of coffee of his choice. Ground the coffee for a French Press and then served him his personal coffee. Even in his review he stated that the staff service was friendly. Yet he gave us one star, and yet kept coming back into my Starbucks several times before.

And you bet I felt angry. After all, why would someone keep coming back to my store when there were so many other options if they weren’t a satisfied customer?

Being angry isn’t going to get someone to take off the bad review. Stay calm, and I’m going to tell you the next steps on what you can do for reputation repair for your restaurant on Yelp.

2) Set up your Yelp Business Account as Soon as Possible

Or find an agency that’s familiar with Yelp to help you out. A lot of the restaurant business planning books are so outdated that they don’t include social media in their business planning.

The later you delay it, the more reviews that will pile on and potentially hurt your business if not dealt early enough. Always sign up for a Yelp business account as soon as possible.

3) Reach out and Message Your Customers

There are two ways to communicate with your customers. You can send them a private mail explaining to them about the reason they may have experienced what they did, and potentially offer them to come back if the restaurant was at fault.

The other messaging system is to publicly reply to the review, if the review contains false or misleading information. Or if you want to clarify any other types of information.

One of our clients had a review where the reviewer suggested that there was MSG in the food. This is the type of information that could potentially turn away customers who read the review who are sensitive to MSG.

With this type of information being misleading and false, a public reply is needed. We publicly replied to the reviewer that the food used absolutely no MSG in the actual food, nor is any MSG used in any type of food served at the establishment. Shortly after, the reviewer not only recanted the remark from the public review, the reviewer increased the review from one to three stars.

Don’t Directly Ask For them to Change their Review

4) Let’s say that the person genuinely had a bad experience (and as an owner you have to put your ego aside and realize that mistakes happen no matter how great of a restaurant you might be.) Whatever you do, you don’t request that they go and rewrite their review.

You have to let them decide if they want to or not on their own will. I know it may seem unfair, but it’s no different than a magazine restaurant review that’s already published. You have to have faith that they will either take it down, or chances are they’ll write a new post about it. You can always send a private message on Yelp and thank the user for coming.

Learn to Work with the Yelp System ASAP

Why is this so important to Vancouver Restaurants? I’ve seen restaurant owners get upset about the Yelp Reviews and want them taken down. You can’t take down reviews (some of them you can flag for inappropriate comments). Yelp may filter bad reviews (as well as good ones).

But the great thing about the Vancouver Yelp scene is that we are still in the infant stage. A restaurant in Vancouver that has 200 reviews is considered a lot. And most restaurants take years to get to that many reviews.

In the U.S., it’s not unusual to see restaurants with 500 to 2000 reviews. Now imagine trying to manage all the bad reviews then. If you choose not to, each star that you lose is approximately another 5-9% of sales according to a Harvard study of Yelp Review.

Be Proactive because being Reactive will Emotionally Drain You

Be proactive, don’t be reactive. Too many owners of restaurants sit back and watch the reviews pile up. Instead they need to be part of the conversation as soon as possible. They need to treat their online reviews as if they are real reviews by real people in a restaurant. One of our clients, the Vancouver Christmas Market, realized how important it was to stay on top of responding to reviews because they realized the damage it was doing to the business.

Have you ever noticed that people tend to say bad and untrue things behind your back but they don’t say it to your face? Online reviews work the same way. By being present and responding to negative reviews, publicly commenting on untrue and libelous statements, your online customers know you’re watching. Chances are they’re going to write something that is more objective and based on the facts.

Bad Reviews for Restaurants Spread Fast in Social Media

In the past if someone had a bad experience, they would tell about 10-20 of their friends, now if they have a bad experience they tell their friends, and they post it somewhere online where in Vancouver has the potential to reach to 500 people each month that live in the local area. That’s pretty scary. Learning how to respond appropriately is important.

It’s not just about being there for the bad reviews, you need to proactively be there to thank with open arms the great people who write fantastic reviews. I’m surprised how angry owners get about the negative reviews but forget to break open a bottle of champagne when a good one is written about them. How soon we forget about our most loyal customers and focus on the negative ones.

Yelp is here to Help You Out

And lastly the people that work with Yelp in Canada and Vancouver aren’t evil people. They’re really nice. I’ve met with and personally know the community manager of Vancouver myself and in all honesty she’s fantastic and helpful.

They want to see great local businesses succeed. They want to make sure that you understand how their system works. They have a Yelp Business blog to help businesses. They are not out to destroy anybody.

What has your experience been with Yelp, and have you found successful ways to repair your reputation with online review sites?

Help with Yelp
Yelp Banned this Marketing Book from Amazon

Tired of good 4 and 5 star reviews being taken down by Yelp? We know businesses are frustrated at Yelp, and we’ve found out some of the secrets that Yelp has that they don’t want business owners to know. That’s why they banned the book. Inside MCNG Marketing’s book it covers:

1) How to keep genuine reviews from your friends and family to stay on Yelp and not get “flagged.”

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3) How to deal with aggressive and poor reviews to gain customer loyalty and much more.

MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

The book is priced at $4.99, which is less than a price of appetizer at your restaurant, but can save and earn you thousands off dollars a year.Let’s be honest, Yelp is here to stay.

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