Live from Pubcon South: Reputation Management and Monitoring

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Apr 14, 2010
More Articles by Janet


The next session I attended was the panel on “Reputation Management and Monitoring”, featuring Andy Beal of Trackur, Kenny Hyder of Rockstar Consultants, and Tony Wright of WrightIMC. Each of the speakers brought a unique perspective on reputation monitoring and management, from tools to techniques.

Andy Beal

Andy Beal was first up and talked about tracking social media. First, why track?

  • reputation management
  • measure campaign success
  • decentralize customer service
  • spy on competitors
  • track industry news
  • improve press/blogger relations

What should you track? Andy gave a link to a PDF (http://gri.ms/KRKE) that has a long list of things you should track.

What are the five free tools you should use?

  • Google.com/alerts
  • Bloglines.com
  • search.twitter.com
  • keotag.com (search engine for social tagging sites)
  • netvibes (create aggregator to upload info – make dashboard; also very mobile-friendly)

Now act on the data:

  • Who’s responsible?
  • Bring data to R&D, sales, marketing
  • measure changing sentiment
    • automated sentiment monitoring is only about 70% accurate
  • refine your marketing/PR messaging
  • check your web analytics

Kenny Hyder

Next up was Kenny Hyder who focused on controlling your search engine ranking (SERP) and reputation management.

Who should you defend against?

  • Ripoff Report
  • news stories
  • affiliates
  • bad reviews

What to do? With Ripoff Report, clean up your act and perhaps file a counter-report. Your first priority should be to push them below the fold; use anything around these sites to outrank them. Ultimate goal is to get it off of page one.

Image representing Yelp as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase

With news stories, respond but don’t react. In some cases, a review may rank highly, and that can be bad because people are more likely to click on a review before they commit to clicking on the product site itself. To help that situation, launch your own review site or subdomain to claim those higher rankings. Also consider doing video reviews on YouTube. Consider also using “official site” in title tags for your product. For bad reviews, such as for local businesses, be sure to respond to the customers to see if you can make it better for them.

Kenny mentioned some tools you can use to dominate your SERPs from the start:

  • Main website
  • Subdomains
  • Social profiles
  • Niche directories
  • Review sites (like Yelp)

Tony Wright

Tony focused on crisis management and tactics you can use in a crisis for your brand. Like in war, go in prepared. When preparing:

  • know the battlefields
  • avoid war if at all possible
  • train your soldiers
  • keep your mercenaries happy
  • know your enemies and your friends
  • keep the button pusher informed but not in charge

When monitoring your brand, refer to the list of possible tools Andy Beal mentioned above. If you don’t have time to monitor your brand, hire someone to do it.

Avoid war if at all possible:

  • keep your customers happy
  • don’t screw ex-employees
  • don’t screw partners
  • practice good business
  • practice good customer service
  • admit your wrongs – through proper channels

Train your soldiers:

  • make sure employees know when and how to respond
  • don’t keep employees in the dark – transparency is key
  • provide drills for battle during peacetime
  • prepare for every situation, but be prepared that you won’t be prepared (in other words, you can’t prepare for everything!)

Keep your mercenaries happy:

  • affiliates are hired guns – treat them as such
  • again, transparency is key
  • treat affiliates with respect and equality
  • have policies for dealing with rogue affiliates
  • get the button pusher involved BEFORE there are problems

Know your enemies and your friends:

  • monitor ex-employees – especially the disgruntled ones
  • keep tabs on disgruntled customers
  • know who your friends are and when you can call in favors
  • remember – avoid confrontation when possible

Keep the button pusher informed, but not in charge:

  • lawyers are important, but will damage your brand while trying to save it
    • cease and desist letters tend to end up online — not positive…
  • use the lawyer as a last result
  • listen to counsel, but make your own decisions
  • if counsel doesn’t like it – get new counsel
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