N49 Donates $368 to the Arthritis Society!

As part of our Donation Dollars program, N49 Interactive donates a portion of our revenue to Canadian charities. For every member review we donate one dollar to the charity selected by the user.

Today, on behalf of our N49 Reviewers, we are sending a check to the Arthritis Society of Canada for $368.00.

How do donation dollars work?

N49 is proud to partner with over 20 Canadian Charities. For each member review we donate one dollar to a charity selected by that user, up to a maximum of $5000.00. N49 users are doing their part by helping local businesses get feedback, helping consumers find great services, and helping charitable organizations in our communities.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Common concerns addressed – social media

Today I want to address some common concerns that small businesses have about social media.

  1. Do I really need it?

Yes, you do! People are talking about your business whether you like it or not.  Actively engaging your customers and managing your reviews allows you to get ahead of the game and control the online conversation. Companies that take a proactive role in controlling this conversation can count on growth in the future.

  1. Does it work for me?

Whether you own a decking company or fine dining establishment, your online reputation plays a huge role in the consumer decision making process. At the heart of this lies your ability to manage reviews. With the advent of smart phones, reviewing a business is easier and more impulsive than ever before. As a business owner, you cannot afford to ignore this trend.

  1. I don’t want negative reviews

No one does! However, at N49 we treat negative review as a fantastic opportunity to right a wrong. The reality is that no company is perfect. Furthermore, a company with all great reviews just doesn’t look legitimate. The best approach is to identify the problem and respond in a proactive, positive way that demonstrates your dedication to customer service. Respond in public and show everyone how seriously you take your customers. Instead of focusing on the bad, customers will remember your transparency and willingness to correct mistakes.

With a little time, guidance and patience, social media can provide an excellent return on investment for your business.

How social media can benefit your small business

Social media is a gift to small business. Why? Because it takes the advantage away from huge corporations and puts it into the hands of the fleet footed, agile and thrifty business owner. Today I want to demonstrate why social media is a great tool for any business no matter what the industry or budget limitations.

1. The Price

Social media is often free! From Twitter to Facebook to tracking tools such as Twitter Grade and PostRank, creating an online image is a budget-oriented process. With a little time, guidance and patience, social media can provide an excellent return on investment.

2. Small is good

Small businesses are not weighed down by bloated bureaucracies. They are more agile and able to make decisions quickly, responding instantly to trends in the market place. This is a huge advantage over large, slow moving corporations.

3. It’s easier than ever

A successful social media campaign will allow you to reach targeted consumers far easier than traditional marketing mediums. These consumers can actively participate in promoting your product or service, becoming a brand ambassador for your business. Until recently these were unattainable marketing objectives for budget-oriented businesses.

With a little time, guidance and patience, social media can provide an excellent return on investment for your business.

N49 Launches Facebook Review Feed!

Businesses need reviews. The power of recommendation and word of mouth has been proven to drive new sales. Reviews are a great source of information when looking for products and services, and have become an important part of the consumer purchase decision. Review Manager is the best way to hear what customers are saying and improve your business.

Our Review Manager helps you keep on top of your online reviews and even displays them automatically on your site. The N49 Facebook Review Feed adds another element of integration to this. Starting today, N49 has the ability to automatically transfer your N49 reviews directly to your Facebook page. Now anyone browsing Facebook can see your best reviews at the click of a button.

Installing N49’s Facebook Feed  is very simple. First you must “own” your business on N49.ca. Search for your company on N49.ca and and click on “Manage Reviews” in the left hand tool bar.

Click on “Review Feed” and then “Get Code – Turn On”. Once you have done this, click on “Facebook Feed” and open up a second browser. In this browser, navigate to your Company’s Facebook page and copy the last grouping of digits at the end of your Facebook page URL. This is referred to as your Facebook page “ID” number. Open your first browser and copy this page ID into the field provided and click “Save”, then “Add to my Facebook Page”. A drop down box will appear where you must select your Facebook page. Then click “Add Our Reviews”. At this point the application is installed and will appear in the left hand column above the “About” section.

How to “own” your business listing at n49.ca

Whether you are utilizing a free N49 business listing or have partnered with us for premium services, owning your business listing is a quick and simple process. “Owning” your N49 business listing gives you complete administrative control over your business details, company information and even what pictures and videos appear online. It also allows you to utilize our most recent Review Manager upgrade, providing you with even more control over your online reputation. The following is intended as a brief tutorial on how you can claim and “own” your listing.

First you must navigate to N49.ca and register for a free account by clicking “Sign Up” in the top right corner of your browser. After answering a verification email from N49 you will have full access as a regular user of N49. From the N49.ca homepage, perform a quick search for your business in the “what” column. Once you have found your business, click on “Edit Details” in the bottom right hand corner. When the page loads scroll to the bottom where you will see a field asking “is this your business?” Click “Yes” and then “Save all changes” in the bottom right hand corner.

In order to guarantee the security of our featured listings, owners of paid listings will be required to contact our Member Services department to manually verify their ownership. This process is quick and easy, and will require you to email or call us with your N49 user name. Once we have these details we are able to connect your user account to your business listing in a matter of seconds.

Why managing your online reputation matters

Customer reviews are a defining feature of today’s internet. Social media, micro-blogging, and online directories offer an avenue in which every day consumers can provide feedback to businesses. Think of it as a virtual soap box where consumers, for a brief but glorious moment, are free to criticize or praise the pizza they just ate or the symmetry of their most recent spray tan. Like it or not, more than ever businesses are susceptible to anonymous attacks and slander. Management beware: this is not a fad.This is the future of the consumer-business relationship. Your business will sink or swim on the merit of your online reputation.

Consumers are relying on online reviews at an increasing rate. This virtual “word of mouth” is far more powerful than traditional methods of advertising. Consider the following situation. Joe walks into a sushi joint and has a negative experience. While he’s dining he posts a picture of his meal on Twitter with the comments “stay away! I could smell this sushi before I walked in the front door!”. This Tweet is then linked directly to his Facebook page where hundreds of his closest friends and associates can see. A few of them even comment or re-tweet this review. Then Joe decides to check in to Foursquare where he leaves a negative comment in the “tips” section. In an instant, Joe’s negative experience has been exposed to hundreds if not thousands of potential clients.

As you can see in the above example, a negative review has the ability to poison the well.These reviews are a thorn in the side of business operators. The truth is that you can’t please everyone. Even great companies make mistakes. The solution is to work dilligently to identify the problem and reflect on the core issue. Following this step you can more effectively respond to a specific query. Finally, it is important to overwhelm any negative reviews you may receive with positive reviews from your good clients.

Identify the problem

First you need to identify what type of criticism you are receiving. Is the customer voicing a legitimate concern or is it an ex employee seeking retribution? Do you suspect the review is from local competition or a genuine customer experience? Once you have identified the type of review you are dealing with, it is important to reflect honestly on the feedback. I can’t stress enough how important it is to treat reviews of all stripes, even negative reviews or those from spiteful ex-exployees, as an opportunity to improve your business.

Respond to the problem

Now that you have identified the problem and have used that information to reflect about the nature of the feedback, you are ready to actively engage the customer in “damage control”. This is where you can right a wrong and prove to future clients that you will learn from your mistakes. Tell your clients, “hey I messed up. I’m sorry for that, and here’s how we intend to resolve this problem”. Engaging in direct dialogue with an unhappy client and resolving the issue in the public sphere shows an honest, transparent approach to conflict resolution. Future clients will know that you are in touch with their needs and serious about customer satisfaction.

Bury negative reviews with positive reviews

So far I have focused primarily on negative reviews. At the opposite end of the spectrum, a positive review has the power to convert internet traffic into revenue. This is why you are on the internet. It is incredibly important to effectively manage reviews in order to turn positive feedback into sales. Here are some tips to help you do that.

  1. Show off your positive reviews. Treat these reviews like a new set of shoes or a fancy diamond ring.  Showcase your positive reviews and create buzz about your business. Get your reviews on your site, spread them across your social media outlets and include them in your newsletter.
  2. Encourage your good clients to review your business in a variety of different mediums.
  3. Incentivize the review process. People are lazy! Provide them with a little incentive to review their experience, such as discount coupon or a small donation to charity.

The key to dealing with reviews is to actively manage them. For those who are intimidated by the free and open nature of the internet, it’s not as scary as it seems. With a little work and a healthy dose of patience, you can effectively manage reviews and control the online reputation of your company.

Crazy for Gourmet Burgers

A crazy burger trend has hit Toronto and it doesn’t appear to be letting up. From simple to extravagant, this American classic has transcended its fast food roots and positioned itself firmly in the world of haute cuisine. That may be a slight exaggeration but you get the picture.

Since us N49’ers are all burger fanatics, we’ve compiled the hottest burger joints over at dining.ca. Here are a few highlights:

1. Burger’s Priest

2. The Stockyards

3. Gourmet Burger Co.

Google Has Overhauled Local Search – What Every Business Should Know

Google has recently launched a new kind of local search.  Previously when you indicated a location in your search (i.e. Toronto), Google results would display 7 results with a map in the centre with organic results listed below. 

Now when you search for local results Google will display blended local and organic results.  Google says, “Place Search, a new kind of local search result that organizes the world’s information around places” There are a few key features of the new display: 

  1. Results with a red pin indicating the business on the map (now on the right pane) 
  2. Contact details such as photo thumbnail, phone number, address
  3. Links to reviews, segmented by online review sites
  4. Star rating and total number of reviews
  5. Link to Google places page


Google says results are now “grouped easily to digest and compare” You can see from the new places search that consumer ratings and number of reviews are easily identifiable on the right– highlighting the ever increasing importance of consumer reviews and reputation management. 

So the real question is; how is this shift in search results important to your local business?  Your Google places page can help you rank in searches.  The places page allows you to add pertinent information about your business such as address, telephone number, email, website, business descriptions, hours of operation, photos, video, reviews and more.  The more enhanced the content is in your places page; the higher your business will rank in the places search.  Local businesses that have not claimed and optimized their places pages be at a big disadvantage in places search.  Your local business can easily take advantage of this opportunity. 

How You Can Benefit from the New Google Places Search

  1. Claim and optimize your Google place page – or have N49 Interactive set it up for you
  2. Get Consumer Reviews – the N49 Interactive Review Manager can help
  3. Get Listed in Local Directories – like the N49 network

Google is making it easier to find one complete picture of a business.  While creating a better user experience by incorporating local and organic; it’s a reminder to local business to keep on top of their search marketing strategies. 

Read more about how N49 Interactive search marketing strategies can help your business

Banff World Television Festival

n49‘s Rick Silver (President) and Kevin Legault (CTO), will be attending the Banff World TV Festival in Banff, Alberta.

The three day event taking place from June 13th to the 16th at the Baff Fairmont Springs Hotel,  will host a number industry leaders including Ricky Gervais, William Shatner, Paula Kerger of PBS, Nigel Lythgoe of Big Red 2 Entertainment and many more influential speakers.

The event will serve as a marketplace for networking, discussion, exploring new trends, and recognizing industry excellence.

n49 will be using this platform to introduce and re-launch UTV.ca. The site will serve as a hub for users to post and use links to stream TV shows online. The site’s content will be generated by its users and online blogs. The site allows users to use to subscribe to the e-newsletter, and even make purchases through Amazon.com.

n49 mobile for iPhone has arrived!

Now you can access n49.ca from your iPhone at m.n49.ca.

The newly launched mobile site can detect your location and list the businesses nearest you by either category, or name.

With its simple design and infrastructure, the mobile site allows you to view a business’ photos, videos, ratings and reviews, a map of their location, contact information including a link to their website (if provided).

Who has time to plan ahead anymore? Search it on the spot and give your feedback right away.

The mobile site will become accessible for other smart phones shortly.

Here’s to making it fun, easy, and most importantly, mobile.