Small victory, I made it onto month 2 of 3 Digital Things and it’s only getting better.  I also want to encourage you to sign-up for my email list that is just a quarterly email with my takes covering digital marketing, local business marketing, what I’m up to and stuff like that.  I’ll make it short and worth getting. Promise.

1- Mix Reviews With TV And Crush Google or Yelp in 90 Seconds

My local NBC affiliate Kare11 in Minneapolis debuted a new feature in the past few weeks that brings viewers into the the story and allows them to vote on a 5-star scale during the story from their phone, iPad or laptop with the rating adjusting in real-time on the screen.  This service is called Megaphone TV and is used by shows like “The Talking Dead” to poll their viewers as their show recaps and discuss the hit show The Walking Dead.

Why did this catch my eye?  A few nights later Kare11 did a story on a local Chinese restaurant that was closing because a developer bought out their building after 40 years in business.  The Kare11 “vote now” feature asked viewers “How would you rate your Village Wok experience?”.  To me, it was basically a “live” online review … Yelp on TV if you will. Follow me?

tv reviews Kare11

What struck me was at the end of the :90 story, the viewers had rated Village Wok 3.6 stars.  I quickly jumped on my phone to visit Yelp and Google and they had a 3-star rating at Yelp (115 reviews) and 3.4 stars at Google (88 reviews).  The ratings across all three were consistent in quality.

village wok google yelp reviews

So what’s the big deal here?  I’ll tell you what it is.

I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is a reporter at Kare11, Dylan Wohlenhaus.  I asked Dylan a few questions and he shared that “It’s a relatively new thing and it’s a better measure for our viewership than social media hashtags.”

I also asked Wohlenhaus if he could give me an idea of how many viewers interacted with the story and gave a rating. While Dylan couldn’t get the exact number for me on short notice, he was able to confirm that is was hundreds.  Their use of the rating feature for the opening of the Olympic games had over 2,500 votes in 2 minutes.

Quick take 1:  In a :90 TV spot, the Village Wok basically received hundreds of ratings/reviews.

Quick take 2:  Village Wok got it’s first Google review in 2008 and it’s first Yelp review in 2007.  So a combined 17 years of review sites produced 203 reviews.  90 seconds of TV produced the same … likely more.  Wow.  WOW. Velocity indeed.

I fully get the Google and Yelp reviews have content, tips and photos.  But the TV rating didn’t ask for that … and if they did I bet they would get plenty of it.

This interaction has given me a TON of ideas for GetFiveStars and the review world itself. Heck, there are about 3 different business ideas if you think about it the right way in this story alone. Bottom line, this shows a killer combo of hyper-local, traditional media, online engagement, consumer content and reviews. Can you tell I find this truly exciting? 🙂

2- Strip Malls Can Get Stripped Down In Google

Last month I talked about Google My Business, Photos and the Local Guide Program.  One aspect I noticed was that Google seemed to prefer showing interior photos of many business types (restaurants, hotels) over exterior photos.

This month I’ve come across a challenge Google has with businesses located in strip malls, especially ones that have a centralized parking lot where the businesses face the center lot and not the road.  This makes it impossible for the mapping and Street View camera mounted on their cars to get accurate photos of the businesses in that strip mall.  When a business has no photos added or contributed to their GMB listing, Google will use a still shot from Street View.

Street View Strip mall

The example above is a strip mall with a centralized parking lot in Bloomington, MN where I grabbed lunch a few weeks ago. The listing shows their main photo as the back of their building and had for years.  So I fixed that for the business above and another 6 or 7 in the strip mall.

google street view mall

Additionally as part of the Local Guide Program and answering questions about a business I came across a new question that seems to be related to this.  Whereas most questions asked are about payment types, is it good for kids, is it historic, does the place serve coffee, this one seems to be trying to help Google identify just this photo problem.

In discussing this with Mike Blumenthal we both were left thinking  “Is this place easy to notice from a moving vehicle?” … maybe they should just ask “Will our Google car get this wrong?”.

visible from street Google

So strip malls beware of this challenge and make sure you add your own photos to GMB, I can’t save you all.

3-  Made My First Million

I’m sure you’ve been dying to get an update from my last post on my Google My Business Photo views.  I’ll end the suspense, yes I crossed one million views.  Google does a great job keeping you engaged and congratulating you and I’m still adding photos of the businesses I visit.

Google million photos

One idea this gave me is that a business would benefit from finding ways to acknowledge and thank their customers for certain milestones.  Is there something you can track and send an email to recognize your customer for?  Years they have done business with you, visits to your restaurant, appointments set, items rented … these are just some ideas.  If you did, you would probably surprise and delight them.  That’s something to aim for.

Thanks for reading

Hope you enjoyed this month. One more reminder, because repetition is important in marketing, that I now have a quarterly email you can get with my takes covering digital marketing, local business marketing and what I’m up to.
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