Cathy, our home editor, sent along this great article on the most valuable underused social media tool. You know what they are: REVIEWS!

We hardly need to remind our many premium customers, especially those who won Toronto’s Best of 08 awards who tell us constantly tell us how many new customers they get based on their reviews on HomeStars. This article outlines that the most valuable and under-used social media strategy is embedding customer reviews in your Web site.  Not blogs, Twitter, communities or tagging. Most of our listed companies don’t actually embed the reviews, but many provide links back and forth. We think it’s very important that we are a 3rd party which reads and curates the reviews, which actually provides a higher level of credibility.

It’s interesting how many of the bigger companies we talk to fear the reviews. They don’t want to mention to the higher-ups how they fare in the online conversation. Certain Direct and Relia(ble) gas and hot water heater companies come to mind, but also some large hardware retailers – some just entering Canada, some established with orange logos. Avoiding the conversation doesn’t make it go away.

I was reminded of the chapter called Dell Hell from Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine, in his book What Would Google Do who talks about how Dell ignored the online conversation until it got out of hand.

The article also points to an article by Sam Decker, from Decker Marketing. In it he notes:

Nielsen found 8 out of 10 shoppers used reviews when shopping over the holidays, and that includes 35% of the internet population that are boomers!

This goes even more for the home improvement category. These are people you are letting into your house, often giving your keys while you are away at work. Would you want to hire them without reading a review?

While many companies ponder the complex social media tools, like twitter, still primarily used by the digerati and PRatti, they ignore finding and understanding basic reviews from their customers, which are read by a much larger group.

Posted by Team HomeStars

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