Yelp Reviews

This week, I wanted to revisit the subject of Yelp. It’s been a while since I have posted about reviews in general, and I felt it would be useful to touch on the subject again. A few weeks back a client of mine had a 3rd party write a false Yelp review about his businesses due to a personal issue they had outside of the business. My client, for good reason, was agitated, but (as you may or may not know) Yelp will not remove a review like this, as it viewed as a ‘he said she said’ situation and they prefer not to get involved.

First, I want to remind everyone that ONE or even THREE bad reviews will not make or break your business; don’t waste your time or energy on these type of reviews. If you have multiple reviews reporting the same issues, try using that as a report card and start working to resolve those issues. Here’s the deal, give your customers and potential customers some credit, they are not idiots. Most people read a few 4 or 5-star reviews and a few 1 and 2 stars; this typically will give them a decent idea of what to expect when they visit a business.  One bad review will not sink your business.

That said, I think it’s important to monitor your reviews and to respond to most of them. Just remember that you don’t need to acknowledge the obviously crazy! Below are a few best practices on responding to reviews.

Let’s start with good reviews!
Most of the time business owners only want to respond to the bad review. WHY?? Someone took the time to write a helpful and positive review of your business, take a minute to thank them for coming and let them know you appreciate them.  It might be fun to share those reviews on your Instagram and Facebook stories.

I would also suggest thanking good reviews using a public response. This not only acknowledges the review writer but it also shows potential customers that you care and that you take the time to respond. Be thoughtful in your responses. I know it would be tempting to create a generic answer, but that doesn’t build a relationship or affinity for your brand.  Also, note that your responses are indexed and help you be found on yelp when customers are searching.

Now to the bad reviews:

I like to coach my clients to take a breath before beginning to respond in order to be more objective instead of reactive. These reviews do not need to be responded to in real time. Here are a few ground rules to consider:

1. Take 24 hours – How many times have you responded to an email that you wish you would have given yourself some time to get some space and perspective on? Apply that same rule here. As a small business owner your work is very personal to you. When someone is upset, it’s natural to want to give them an excuse or get into an argument about the review. Give yourself some time to separate yourself from the situation.

2. Investigate:  Use these 24 hours to find out what happened, whether it was an issue with an employee, food, etc.

3. Respond: Decide how you’d like to respond, publicly or privately.  In most cases we suggest responding privately to a negative Yelp review, you want to take the conversation offline as quickly as possible.

If a review is out of line, you can report it to Yelp and they have made it pretty easy to do so.
To report a review take the following steps:

  1. Login to your Yelp business account  
  2. Click on reviews on the left-hand corner scroll to the review
  3. Select the “…” report review you will have a choice of the following
    Contains false information
    It was posted by someone affiliated with the business
    It was posted by a competitor or ex-employee
    It contains threats, lewdness or hates speech
    It doesn’t describe the personal consumer experience
    It violates Yelp’s privacy standards
    It contains promotional material
    It’s the wrong business
    Here is a link to the content guidelines for yelp 

    Don’t get into the whole story of what happened; stick to the facts. It’s been my experience if you get into the story of what happens, the review will stand as Yelp does not get involved with ‘he said she said’ issues.

Remember there isn’t one magic pill that will make your business successful, but many elements such as quality product, good service, good reviews, social media etc. all help but one doesn’t make or break you. The only thing that can do that  is having bad service or a bad product.

LA Social Karma Ranks Among Top Companies on Clutch!

Clutch recently released the leaders of top Branding & Design agencies, and we couldn’t be happier to be included, as an official California Branding Leader!

Not only are we a branding leader for the whole state, but we also set ourselves apart be being highlighted as a top Los Angeles agency for advertising! It is so nice to see all the hard work and effort we put in this year end with all these accolades.

Clutch’s affiliate site, Visual Objects, also took notice of the work we have done this year. Not through our reviews, but mainly our portfolio items, and we clinched one of the few spots on their platform as well. From just one year of working with Clutch, we are ecstatic with the visibility we have gained and our overall rating of an impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars. We also couldn’t be prouder of the amazing things our clients had to say about us, and we are so grateful!

One said, “In terms of event attendance, we’ve seen increased interest and response. We would sell out a 40-seat event in a matter of days and have no problem selling 50-100 tickets. We attribute this to their comprehensive email list, which boasts over 10,000 customers.”

Another stated, “They’re very strategic and do a great job guiding and educating us in terms of best practices.”

We are very excited to be included in Clutch’s press release and we are excited to continue our work with them in the upcoming months and New Year! Be sure to check out our full profile on Clutch here!

Click to Messenger Ads

Have you seen Facebook’s click-to-Messenger Ads yet?
I ran across one for The Boy & The Bear – Coffee Roastery in Culver City, last week AND I claimed my free coffee right away as well as I noticed several other people with the same offer in store. I would love to know how many people came in and just got the free coffee, how many already knew about the coffee shop and did people make additional purchases with the free coffee.
The truth is half the battle is just getting a new customer through the door, I go to the same places all the time out of habit, maybe a click-to-Messenger ad will help change habits and introduce your business to new people as well as create a little conversation about the business.
Maybe a great idea to get new customers in your door for the holidays, below are a few things I like about the ad format.
✔️These types of ads allow your Facebook Business Page to Engage Directly with Your Facebook Community Via Messenger. When a user takes advantage of your offer, they have initiated a conversation with your business. Once the conversation is started, the business page can now engage on an individual basis with the users via messenger. Why is this important you ask? Typically, only a ⅓ of your Facebook fans see your content daily; this gives you another way to communicate with your community. I would caution against overusing messenger; this format will be similar to email when communicating.
✔️Gathers emails for your business database. I also love that this ad format has the users enter their email address, one of the most significant problems in my mind with the different social platform is that we don’t own our database. You spend time and money building up your network, and the truth is it is all dependent on Facebook staying popular the minute the platform goes away or becomes unpopular you will instantly lose your audience. However, building your email list is a beautiful strategy to stay connected no matter which platform is popular.
✔️Retargeting: You may retarget your customers with sponsored messages. These ads target users that have already engaged via messenger with your business. Retargeting can be a powerful way to move your prospects down the sales funnel with additional offers or educational material.

The Holidays Are Approaching; Be Ready!

The end of the year is fast approaching, and for many small businesses this is the biggest quarter of the year so don’t wait to plan your holiday promotions. Below are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Review a calendar for upcoming important dates, make a quick list for reference. Halloween // Voting // Veteran Day // Thanksgiving // Black Friday // Christmas // NYE
  2. Review past promotions: Look at what promotions you did last year to support the holidays. Did they work? Do you like the collateral you used? Do they need to be updated?
  3. Freshen up past promotions or come up with new ones. No need to be fancy, keep it simple.
  4. Prioritize your promotions
  5. Determine how you will get the word out about your promotions:
    1. Send out Email Blast // How often and When
    2. Promote In Store // List out how you plan to do this 
    3. Social Media Post // How often and on what platforms
    4. Social Media Ads // Consider Budget // Ad Copy // Duration 
  6. Work on the creative: Design and create the flyer, emails, and social media posts.
  7. Mark your calendar with all promotions and when they’ll go out via social media and email marketing.

I know this seems like a lot but the planning stage should only take a few hours to do. Once this is done, designing the promotions and executing these simple steps will keep you on track and focused on your holiday campaigns.  

L.A. Social Karma Crowned Top Social Media Marketing Firm

L.A. Social Karma Crowned Top Social Media Marketing Firm

by: Alaina Stevenson

Think about it: how often do you or someone you know check their phone…or use the internet? Online marketing is a necessity nowadays. After liking, tweeting, posting, and maybe even poking, there’s only so much one can do on social media, but there are definitely major benefits to social media marketing. Now, once you’ve decided to follow an online marketing route, how are you supposed to differentiate between the major social media marketing firms?
One way is through ratings and reviews, and that is where Clutch comes in. Clutch is a B2B ratings and review firms, and through client testimony, case studies, and objective quantitative information, Clutch declares leaders for a variety of business service providers. We are ecstatic to be included in Clutch’s report released today highlighting industry leaders, and we are a top marketing agency.

It is exciting to be featured as a leader in one industry on Clutch, while still maintaining our top spot in another as well, LA social media. We specialize in many services and fields, all the while producing quality work, and Clutch’s research simply highlights that fact.
Our acceptance of this award goes hand-in-hand with our deep appreciation of our clients, who helped L.A. Social Karma achieve its ranking and produce some of the highest quality work in across our industry. The owner of a local restaurant was impressed with the flexibility and dynamic culture that permeate L.A. Social Karma. “We appreciate their personal approach to marketing. We believe that marketing can’t just be digital; customers need to see that there are people behind the posts and emails. They want to see our faces. In terms of work, other firms might promise services, but we’d never get to see them, let alone know who they are. The L.A Social Karma team proactively attends events and engages with us and our customers. That makes all the difference.”
Jennifer Taylor, Economic Development Administrator, was impressed with L.A. Karma’s ability to handle a tough job. “We’re not the easiest of their clients because our campaign has thousands of participating businesses and eight founding partners (the city of Santa Monica is one of them). Since we have a lot of partner hashtags and social media handles, it’s important to incorporate all the partners correctly. That’s not a criticism, but rather the challenge that our business presents.”
Named for the city in which it resides, L.A. Social Karma was founded in 2010 and continues to energize its industry with new ideas and an innovative approach. A boutique firm that offers end-to-end service, L.A. Social Karma is relatively unique. We have the capabilities to cover all the bases but focus on what’s

Best Practice on IGTV

I am currently working a slide presentation for an upcoming workshop about IGTV (Instagram TV), so I had a chance to dive a little deeper into what it’s all about, and wanted to give a little more feedback now that I’ve gotten my feet wet with it.
First, I have spent some time watching some of the channels. Overall, my opinion is that they are pretty dull, but I commend users for just jumping in with IGTV and learning how the platform works. Practice makes perfect!
One thing to remember is IGTV is more like YouTube; you are creating videos for the IGTV platform, not repurposing stories or Instagram Live. Step back and think about what you watch on TV. Who the heck likes watching commercials other than on Superbowl Sunday? With that in mind, don’t upload only promo videos. It is ok once in a while but I would guess you will receive fewer views and a higher drop off rate with promo only videos.  Determine what your goals are for the videos and get started.
A few things to consider when creating marketing videos; check your lighting and audio. If the sound and the subject matter isn’t clear, users will move on to another video.
Also, this is solely my personal opinion, but make sure you get to the point quickly. Don’t spend several minutes on an intro. I recently watched a video for a recipe for a strawberry shake. The content creator had her child in the video, which could have been cute, but instead, it was a pointless dialogue during which the kid drank the milk, and she asked the viewers to wait while she went back for more milk. Why not just reshoot the video? She lost me there.
When uploading the videos to IGTV, include a descriptive title. Remember, the thumbnail cuts off the title (you have about 25 characters), so keep the title short and to the point. Add a good description and CTA ( call to action), a link to your site or product, and HASHTAGS!  The search featured currently isn’t great, but I am sure this will get better with time.
Lastly, watch other IGTV users. This will help you learn what you like and don’t like. Consider IGTV similar to YouTube or your blog and provide value to your followers.

What the Heck is IGTV?

7 Powerful Tips to Grow On IGTV What the Heck is IGTV?

Have you had a chance to check out Instagram’s latest feature, IGTV (aka Instagram TV)? You might we wondering what the heck it is, or asking yourself “why do I want to watch TV on my mobile phone?”

Here’s a 101 break down on IGTV:

IGTV, also known as Instagram TV, is a new application for watching long form, vertical video from Instagram creators. It’s very similar to YouTube. These videos can be as short as 15 seconds, as long as 10 minutes, or even up to 1 hour in length for some larger verified accounts.

IGTV has a similar feel to the Facebook messenger, in that it lives within Instagram but has a separate application that can be downloaded and used independently. Currently, you do not need to set up the standalone application to view content or upload content. That said, if you’d like to upload content, you will need to create a channel within Instagram. This step it’s straightforward, and Instagram walks you through the setup, which takes about 2 minutes. If you opt to download the standalone application, you will sign in with your current Instagram account credentials. Only one IGTV account per Instagram Login. Your current followers on Instagram automatically become your followers on IGTV.

Few Techy Notes:
As mentioned above, IGTV is designed for vertical video, ranging from 15- seconds to 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour if you have a larger verified account. The video format is .mp4 and should follow the aspect ratio 9:16.

Searching on IGTV:

From what I currently see, the search feature isn’t great. As of this writing, you cannot explore by topics. Hopefully searching by topic or hashtags will be included in upcoming releases.
IGTV’s content is organized in the following way:
1. For You: This seems to suggest videos curated based on your current Instagram usage.
2. Following: Videos created by those you currently follow on Instagram.
3. Popular: What’s trending on IGTV
4. Continue Watching: This works similar to an on-demand feature; saving the video for you to finish watching once you return to the application.

Now go be social! Take the challenge of creating your channel and uploading one video by the end of the week.

For more information check out these articles:

On Instagram TV, Brands Go longer and Weirder 

Welcome to IGTV 

What is IGTV ( Instagram TV) and How to Create Your Own Account 

Instagram TV: What Brands Need to Know to Get Started 

7 Powerful Tips to Grow On IGTV 



Facebook Visibility: 4 Quick Tips

I’m sure you have noticed the recent drop in your Facebook engagement while reviewing your statistics. Don’t panic! The truth is, you’re still reaching a decent number of people every day on your facebook page for FREE, but this is an excellent time to revise your content / posting strategy by determining which content your user base seems interested in. Currently, the more engagement your post receives, the more likely your followers will see your content in their newsfeed.

Here are 4 Quick Tips to Revamp your content strategy:

1: Post When Users are Online
Review your Facebook insights for the best time to post, and to determine which types of content your users are responding to.  You can find this information by clicking on the “Insights” link and selecting “Posts.” On this page, you will find the performance statistics for each Facebook post. Scroll through the list and make notes on the posts that performed best; you’ll be surprised at what you find. On this page, you can find which day of the week is most popular with your users, as well as which hour of the day your page is most active. Try to posting on those days and times and follow and note your results.

2. Be Fun and Relevant
Be sure to share fun things that make people laugh. It doesn’t always have to be about you. For example, one particular client shares “Zen Moment Videos.” These videos have nothing to do with their restaurant, but month after month those videos receive the most engagement. Additionally, focus on Real World content such as sporting events, popular movies, and local stuff. People appreciate when a business is in the loop.

3: Live Video
Post live a few times a week. User’s love to see what’s going on behind-the-scenes.
You can interview the staff, do a Q&A session, announce an upcoming event or pricing special; the possibilities are endless. Facebook Live is a great way to engage with your community and get your organic reach up as well.

4: Ask  Open-Ended Questions In Your Posts.  
This is not to be confused with click-baiting or engagement baiting. Do not include verbiage such as “click ’Like’ if you agree” in your posts.  At C&O Trattoria a few years ago, we created a post challenging our followers to guess how many Killer Garlic Rolls we make in one evening. We received fantastic feedback and tons of engagement on that post because people had fun trying to guess. Another great example is a “caption this” post. Find a fun image and ask your followers to caption the photo. This can create a lot of fun engagement.

I hope these tips help. If you have a good suggestion you’d like to share post your best practices on our facebook comment sections so we can all benefit from each other!

Don’t forget to be Social on Social Media

Don’t forget to be Social on Social Media.

I often discuss with people how funny I find it that business owners are under the impression that as soon as they post something on their Social Media channels, it will magically drive millions of people to their business instantaneously. Let me ask you; is this how it works in the real world? Unless you are Beyonce, this most likely isn’t going to happen for your small business.

It’s necessary to mention, social media is an essential piece of the puzzle when marketing your business, but so is having a great website, sending emails, being apart of your community, networking, and most importantly, having a fantastic product and killer service!  There is no secret to success in social media, other than being social and remembering to treat your customers online the same way you would if they were standing in front of you.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Engage with your customers.

The way you build relationships online is the same way you create them offline. By talking to PEOPLE! If you attend an event and hang out on the sidelines and never speak to anyone, you would not be surprised that you didn’t meet anyone. It works the same way with social media. If you don’t respond to customers or guests, and never engage in or follow new people, it’s likely that you will not build relationships. By not responding to customers comments, photos or messages online is the same as that customer standing in your physical location, and you ignore them. You would never do that (or at least I hope you wouldn’t!)


Social Media Keeps you Top of Mind

Posting quality content on your social media pages keeps your brand top of mind. If you’re a coffee shop, you want your business to be the first place that potential guests think of when they are ready to meet their friends for coffee. Social Media can help you stay front and center. By posting fun content daily, that tells a story about your brand, this builds affinity and brand loyalty.  

Don’t Just Promote!

In the real world, you don’t like to meet or network with people who are pushing their promotions and trying to make a sale, do you? Why would you do this on social media, don’t do it! Keep the 80% 20% rule in mind. 80% Fun and 20% sales.  Just remember, BE SOCIAL, it’s social media.

Online Word of Mouth:

Encourage guest to share pictures while visiting, this is the new word of mouth. For example, If a guest has 1200 followers and they share an image of your product, your product will now be in front 1200 of their friends and don’t forget they have personally endorsed your brand as well.  When you compare this to standard “word of mouth” this equates to me telling one friend about your coffee shop over lunch, but when I share it on Instagram, I have now told 1200 of my closest friends in one shot. Engage your customers to become an army of salespeople for your brand on social media. Consider campaign ideas that might encourage your customers to share more, like contests for free products or gift cards. REMEMBER this is FREE Marketing!  

Share User Generated Content

Share Users Generated content is a great way to reward your customers for supporting your brand as well as show potential customers what real people see. It’s also a great way to build relationships with followers and get FREE content to use on your social sites.  When using user-generated content, please remember to tag them in the photo and give proper photo credit.

As a rule of thumb, there isn’t a trick to social media. The trick is to be authentic and let your brand show through.

Don't forget to be social

My Top 5 Podcast

I am a LOVER of Podcast! I’m always in search of the latest and greatest. I spend a ton of time in the car visiting clients and Podcast are a great time passer. So I thought I’d share my current favorite shows!

1. David Ramsey Show: This is all about money management. David teaches people to get out of debt and stay out of debt. The show is full of basic financial knowledge that can guide you to building wealth.

2. The Moth: Storytellers share their real-life experiences on the Moth stage in front of an audience. Sometimes they are downright funny, other times they hold life lesson.

3. Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Ferriss interviews highly productive people in different fields of work, and breaks down their habits and routines. It’s amazing.

4. Ted Radio Hour: Pure education! The Ted Radio hour focuses on one topic and pulls several different Ted Talks together to explore all sides

Please share your favorite podcast with us on Facebook!

Why Email Isn’t Dead!

This past week, I pulled stats for clients and noticed the numbers for Facebook had plummeted sharply. With all the news about Facebook changes, it wasn’t too big of a surprise, but because of the decline, I thought it would be a good time to remind you to work on your email list and explain why email marketing isn’t dead!

First, when you take the time to build your email list, you own it! It’s yours; it does not depend on trends, social media, or on what’s popular this week. Without an email list, you are hurting your ability to connect with your customers.

Second, and most simply, emails sell stuff! I promise you, the trick is having a good quality list of people who want to receive your message. I have a great example of a local business in Venice that began sending their email blast out weekly. Within one week they generated 10K in sales, just by spending a little time putting together their weekly email! WOO-HOO! that was music to my ears!!

Third, email helps keep your brand top of mind with your customers! I know you hate that only 20% of your people open your emails, but really, so what? They still see your name in their email box weekly, and that’s where you want to be when they or a friend is ready to make a purchasing decision.

I generally recommend Constant Contact; it’s cheap and effortless to use.  If you are a restaurant or a retail store, Zenreach is a great option as well. This product offers wifi in exchange for an email address which will allow you to build your email list quickly.


What are you doing to WOW your customers?

Over the last few months, I have been thinking a lot about what makes an individual prefer one company over another. In my experience, it is not always who’s the most talented, fastest, smartest or cheapest. A lot of time it’s about service. Is it easy to do business with that company? Does this company deliver on what they promise or communicate when there may be a problem?  Are they enjoyable to work with? Do they elevate my brand? Does their core value align with my core values?
For me, it’s the attention to little things that really WOW me about a brand. For example, a few months back I took advantage of Warby Parker’s eyeglass lens replacement policy. The policy states that when you purchase a pair of glasses from them and somehow the lenses are scratched within a year, they will replace the lens free of charge.  My order incidentally was lost in shipping, but I called their corporate office trying to track down the glasses, and it couldn’t have been a better experience.
There were a number of things that made the experience stand out as so unique. First, when I connected with a  customer service rep, she already had my account pulled up.  WOW #1
Next, I told her my name and briefly why I was calling.
She apologized and mentioned she thought something might have happened in shipping and they would send out a BRAND NEW PAIR via express shipping. WOW, #2. I think I might have even said WOW on the phone. I was almost speechless at how easy it was to do business with Warby Parker.
Creating these WOW experience for your guest will create RAVING reviews and loyal fans of your brand! These people will do the advertising for you; sharing your content on social media, telling all their friends about your product and being a loyal customer. Honestly, it doesn’t take much to treat guest and clients well and it pays for itself ten times over.
So I ask what are you doing to WOW your customers?

How to spot fake Instagram Followers

You may have noticed that everyone seems to consider themselves an “Instagram Influencer” these days. Due to the sheer number of these individuals online, It has become a problem for brands to determine which Instagram Influencers can actually help your brand, vs. the ones that are just trying to score something for free

Using Instagram Influencers is a great way to build your following on Instagram as well as get the word out about your products or services. Here are a few tips for spotting a fake: 1. Check Engagement Numbers: Look at the engagement numbers on each of their posts in comparison to their number of “followers”. If you are new to Social Media, engagement refers to the number of users that have commented and/or liked your photos. For example, if the individual has 100,000 followers but only 2 or 3 comments or likes on each photo, they are most likely fake. You are looking for influencers with a significant amount of likes and comments on their content; I lean more toward comments as comments start a conversation.  

2. What type of people are following the Influencer?

Honestly, who cares about the number of followers, it’s more about what kind of people are following the account.

Check out 10-15 of their followers, if you click on several of the accounts and they have no pictures, very few followers themselves, and are following thousands of Instagram accounts, these followers might have been purchased.

However, even if the users are real, you still want to do your homework, check to see where some of the followers live, if I run a restaurant in Venice Beach CA, and all of the Influencers’ followers live in New York that might not be a good fit. Check to see if the followers meet your demographic.


3. Monitor your influencers account for a few days.

Check in on the account for a few days. If the influencers’ following grows by an average of 20 followers a day, and then one day they jump by 1000 for no reason (i.e. a new product launch or special offer, for example, would explain a jump in followers), this is a red flag, and they might have purchased followers.


Take the time to do a little homework to ensure you are inviting the right people to try your products and services.

 Just remember, social media isn’t tricky, it’s about connecting people!  

Build A Video Marketing Strategy That Grows Your Brand.

Creating marketing videos to highlight your business’s vibe, atmosphere, products, is a wonderful way to spread the word about your establishment, and give customers a sneak peek into the unique personality behind your business! Videos can be used to not only promote a drink, a dish, or a service, but it can also help you build a personal relationship with your customer so they feel as though they are part of your inner circle. 

Video Marketing isn’t just for selling goods either; it’s a great tool for any business. When selling a product, promoting an event, or offering a service, a video created for Social Media can help you stand apart from the masses and expand your customer base! For example, as a lawyer, you can create short videos explaining laws or legal matters to your customers, or use the video platform to keep your clients up to date on changes in policy that they might be concerned with. Videos not only keep the door open for communication by making you more personable, they also keep you top of mind, help you discover new clients, and may even help customers to view your business as leaders in your industry.

Another note for anyone on the fence about video: they do not need to be perfect. No one is perfect when they start, and it’s important to remember that over time you will get better. Just get started; it’s better to make a few mistakes along the way than to never start!!  

Videos can even be created using your iPhone and edited quickly and easily in iMovie for a more polished look! And if you want to give yourself a little boost in production value, you can always buy affordable mobile-compatible microphones and portable lighting equipment right on Amazon! When making your videos for the purpose of sharing on social media, just remember to keep the video short and sweet; no more than 1 minute!!

If you need help creating simple video content, let us know! Whether it’s simple and quick videos, or longer film quality videos shot with a professional digital movie camera, we’ve got you covered. Contact us for a quote!