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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Referral Key: Spam or Potential Business Referral Platform? [Review] #WelcomingWebWednesday

Kawartha Lakes Small Businesses - How Do You Like Referral Key?

This post is part of our WelcomingWebWednesday series.Recently, I received a flattering invitation to referral key from a television producer: ' I would like to refer business to you. Please accept my invitation to Referral Key'. Would you accept? Are you on Referral Key? Drop by and say Hello!
 Intrigued, I accepted. Here is my PMI aka Plus, Minus, Interesting - opinion of Referral Key.  What do you think? Will you accept my invitation to Referral Key? I would like to refer people to your family-friendly business too.

What Can Referral Key Do For Your Business?

Is Referral Key worth your time? I would agree with Mashable and say yes. What do you think? Boston-based Referral Key is designed for small businesses, which grow from referrals. In January 2014 Referral Key gained 100K users in two weeks. Referral Key is free to join and although Mashable reported a fee per referral scale in 2008, I haven't seen any on the current site. 

Referral Key- Plus Points

Here is what I like about Referral Key. - In a nutshell? Referral Key can save you time.
  • Combines your contacts from LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Integrates your Google Places Page- If you work from home, you may wish to omit your street number or name.
  • Offers new connection suggestions.
  • Allows you to share updates on 4 platforms at once- Referral Key, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
    Have you shared your Kawartha Lakes Business updates on all 4 platforms via Referral Key? Screen shot shows posting  space, check boxes for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; and Attachments link.
    Share Your Kawrtha Lakes Business on Four Platforms via Referral Key !
  • Allows you to search by address, key word, and name.
  • Allows linking to your website - Be sure to add a link to your profile!
For me there are a few areas of Referral Key I would like to see tweaked. 

Referral Key Spam?

Many bloggers are saying Referral Key is spamming their LinkedIn contacts. I received emails from some contacts asking me about the invitation to Referral Key., and yes, I did send the invitation. While I wish there was a way to edit the invitation sent to contacts, Referral Key only sends out an invitation, and one reminder, as per industry standard.  I was surprised however, to find many of my contacts on other platforms had received requests to join LinkedIn when I invited them to Referral Key.

Referral Key- Minus Points

Here are some things on Referral Key that I am finding challenging. Perhaps there are workarounds I haven't yet discovered. Do you have some tips to share to help in the following areas?
Referral Link offers local referrals in Canada. Screen shot shows Find local referral Colleagues in: Canada. with orange ,greenery and white map
Seeking Local Referrals in Canada?
  • Trying to find the person I want to message -I'd like to be able to group colleagues by skill set or location. How about you?
  • Adding a picture to my profile - Referral Key does not play well with iPads nor my Safari browser. Were you able to add a picture to your profile using a mobile device?
  • Advanced search- Offers search within 5 km of a postal or zip code, but I keep getting cross-Canada results.
  • Messages from contacts seem to be lumped with other notifications, and I can't find messages sent nor received.
  • Map this business - I wish the integration did not include the name of the business, just the address. I also wish it were possible to see 'colleagues near this location' on a map.
  • When clicking the name of someone in a notification, I would like to go to that profile, not a list of my umpteen contacts.
  • Auto-invitation.- Would you like to be able to tweak this email? All my Facebook and Twitter contacts are not looking for clients. 
  • Business pages/groups. I would like to see separate sections for business pages, or groups added to Referral Key.
Referral Key - Interesting Potential Points
Here are a couple of things I found interesting, and promising:
  • Referral Form - Not sure if people would want their email addresses divulged in the referral form. How do you feel about the referral form? One person made an enterprising use of the form and referred themselves to me for Social Media Services. I would like to see a way of integrating colleagues' links into the form.
  • Advanced Search- You can search people, posts, colleagues and companies.even select industry from a drop-down list. However, the search needs a bit of tweaking For example, the search within my postal code brings up a list of folks from across Canada. Not great for finding a hairstylist in your area.
  • Email updates. Emails from Referral Key land in my spam folder continually- perhaps due to the sender address,which simply states 'support'. If you signed up for Referral Key, and are missing email updates, you may wish to add their support email to your contacts list.
I joined Referral Key about 4 years ago and forgot about it. Has that ever happened to you? Somehow I don't remember it having quite this many features. Referral Key is definitely worth a second look. When's the last time you updated your Referral Key listing?
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