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While virtually anyone can publish untrue and/or negative posts to “rip-off” and other complaint sites, this content often rises to the front page of search results for the related keywords. At this point, the business that is the subject of the post or posts has a decision to make; what is the best way to proceed in order to minimize the potential damage? This is the time when what may seem to be common sense responses will actually deepen the problem. These responses include:
 
  • Responding directly to the post on the board where it was published – Like search engines, complaint boards determine rankings according to how many actions occur with each article. These actions include replies and comments, whether they are in the form of a rebuttal or from different sources expressing additional negative sentiments. Each new direct action keeps the conversational thread alive while simultaneously pushing the negative post to higher rankings and increased visibility. 
  • Urging customers to share positive content on the originating site – These posts work in the same manner as direct responses from the company, which, in addition to improving the ranking of the original post, can also energize the people on the negative side of the issue. This can result in even more comments in the thread. Instead, direct company and customer responses to social media sites, blogs, and the main website for the business.
  • Going into mass article distribution – While high quality content development and distribution will serve as a cornerstone of most reputation management campaigns, papering the web with spam will not submerge negative content and will probably damage customers’ perception of the business in the process. In a reputation management campaign, distributing high quality content will deliver better and longer lasting results than pumping out low value spam.
          
In any business, there is the potential for negative content to surface. The key is to use proven reputation management techniques to handle each issue as adeptly as possible to minimize damage and to get back to business as usual.
 
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 16:28

Trolling and Reputation Management

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A “troll” is defined as a person who posts provocative, inflammatory, insulting, or derogatory messages in online communities such as those found on social media sites. Generally speaking, the two intentions of a troll are to elicit an “in kind” response that can result in a long thread of incendiary comments while seeking some kind of retribution or “payback”. In a reputation management context a troll can take one of three forms, which will determine whether a business should engage, keep the situation at arm’s length, or move the conversation off of the public platform.
 
The three types of internet trolls are:
 
1) One who expresses a legitimate concern – A troll who expresses a legitimate concern should be addressed, if not to satisfy the troll specifically, then to show the related community how your business responds both professionally and with concern to see if the issue can be rectified. Keep in mind that the issues that trolls bring up can actually help to improve a business and/or its products if their comments address a legitimate shortcoming, so don’t dismiss this type out of hand. Lastly, offering something for free to a troll to resolve the situation may make sense, but don’t do it. Once other trolls see that your business is rewarding complaints with free stuff, you’ll likely be bombarded with more complaints seeking the same freebies.
2) Attention seekers with nothing better to do – This type of troll thrives on the attention and the back and forth that results from a negative comment. An attention seeker is usually not interested in solving a problem and will instead try to keep the thread going even if a terrific solution is offered. At some point the business can bring the thread to a close with a comment such as “It appears that even the most generous solution we can provide in this situation will not be enough for you. We sincerely apologize for your inconvenience”, and leave it at that. Trust that your community is smart enough to see the situation for what it is and will move on.
3) The wrecking ball – Some trolls will be intent on causing as much damage to your company’s reputation as possible. This type of troll may be a disgruntled ex-employee, someone with a personal relationship and an ax to grind, or a competitor. Keeping in mind that your community will have access to this thread, ask to troll to contact the company directly to resolve the situation, which will effectively move the conversation out of the public view.
 
For any business on the web, the potential for trolls is a fact of life. Dealing with them professionally and expeditiously will reflect positively on your business and prevent the type of reputation management fiasco that many of them seek to create.

 

Social media is in the process of changing internet communications in seemingly every way possible, including the development of reputation management strategies. In order for these new strategies to be successful it is imperative that businesses first develop an understanding of how social media works and what it takes to maximize the benefits from this powerful medium.

If you are just getting started with incorporating social media into your reputation management initiatives, here are three tips that can help to get your campaign out of the gates quickly and optimize your results:
1) Work only on the social media platforms that complement your business model – Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are extremely powerful in terms of how social signals from them influence search engine rankings. That being said, this power shouldn’t be the main determining factor in deciding the sites that will be included in your reputation management campaign. If your business can benefit by messaging via video, setting up a YouTube channel to provide a central location for your suite of videos makes sense. If video falls short in terms of introducing your business, products, etc., then YouTube will not deliver results commensurate with the resources that your business would use to develop a presence there. In short, incorporate only the social media sites that provide the best platform for conveying your message to your market.
2) Be consistent in your creation of content – The search engines love the consistent creation of high value content that gets shared out to a widening social media audience, whether it’s in a text, video, or image format. One caveat, be consistent but don’t go crazy with tons of content that goes out every day.
3) Research the keywords that will give you the most bang for the buck – Your business will have specific keywords that a high number of consumers use to search for your business, products, and/or services. Be sure to incorporate these keywords in your page names as well as the titles and descriptions of your text and visual content.

In many ways, businesses are just scratching the surface in terms of harnessing the power of and the opportunities available in social media networks. This means that, while employing these tactics to execute a successful reputation management campaign, businesses can also experience benefits in SEO, client acquisition, and their bottom line.

 

Published in Social Media

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If you’re shopping for a firm to execute a reputation management campaign there is an excellent chance that you’ll come across a firm or two that are going to use black hat SEO techniques to occupy the top rankings in the search engine results pages.

These techniques may include the creation of link farms that post thousands of links originating from duplicate content that is spammed across the internet. Other techniques include:

Building a well designed and fully search engine optimized website with a regular flow of great content is old news for businesses wishing to maintain a high level web prominence while building and protecting their online reputations. With the meteoric rise of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, businesses and professionals alike must hold and manage accounts on all of them. Regular blog posts must also be factored into the mix.

Published in Social Media

For all the good that the internet brings to businesses, the web can be punishing when companies commit the sins of reputation management. Here are the sins that can come back to bite you after circling the globe three times in a nanosecond.

Even the guys you would think know a couple of things about reputation management sometimes make the kind of big mistakes that leave people just shaking their heads. The latest example comes from Microsoft’s United Kingdom PR account regarding the death of Amy Winehouse. In reaction to her death, Microsoft Tweeted “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune…”

Published in Social Media

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The importance of managing your local business’ reputation cannot be understated, but you probably have a long “to-do” list already. With that in mind, here are a few tips on reputation management that won’t take a lot of time but might just save you money, time and headaches down the road.

While organized efforts along the lines of corporate espionage to damage a competitor’s reputation do occur, the vast majority of reputation management headaches are simply the result of the honest complaints from unsatisfied consumers.

Published in Corporate Reputation

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Those big advertising budgets just don’t buy what they used to, especially when it comes to brand building and reputation management. The reason? In the not too distant past, the majority of what consumers knew about the products they were interested in was dished to them through slick advertising campaigns channeled through traditional media outlets.

Published in Corporate Reputation
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