Live From SMX East: Search, PR and Reputation Management

By Evan Levy | Oct 5, 2010
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The last session of the day is titled Search, PR, and Reputation.  Speakers for this session included Todd FiresenKristjan Mar Jauksson, and Max Thomas.  Some of the most important messages from the session are below.

Big question: is social the new search?  The panel feels, “yeah, it kinda is.”

Tactics and websites: what are online PR companies doing?  The short answer is traditional media relations; trying to get information to traditional news sites.  Blogs are starting to make their way into the standard operating procedure, and now some SEO press releases.  Online PR tactics have changed a bit to incorporate SEO press releases and online crisis management.  Panel is still not seeing much blog relations  or online dialogue, and online reputation monitoring is actually down from last year.

There’s only been a 1% increase in the corporate or brand blog use.  Social networking sites are also down a bit, because they’re not so new and shiny, but people are getting down to what they should actually be doing with all these profiles.

So what are people doing with the channels?  On Facebook, PR companies are marketing, publicising new content, brand monitoring, reacting to customer issues, using it as a sales channel, and reacting to customer issues.

On Twitter, PR people are publicising new content, marketing, brand monitoring, and gathering customer feedback.  Marketing has increased since last year.  54% of companies now use some sort of buzz monitoring or reputation management tool.  Most of those are using free tools.  Social media spend is very low, and most employ 1 or less for dedicated social media positions.

The major hold up is people don’t know how to measure it’s success.  Most companies have absolutely no ROI figures for social media activities.  Marketing and PR are tied closely with social media, but others find it difficult to tie into.

Email marketing and SEO are the only main channels that are integrating social media.  Resources and measurement are limited, and social media adoption is still in the very early stages.

News analytics

Kristjan did a study watching journalist behavior trying to see if they could write content that journalists would pick up on.

How do journalists research their material?  Google News picks up stories within 2 to 5 minutes, even less in some cases.  Those with comprehensive Google alerts, actually get a notification within a few minutes.

98% of journalists go online daily, 78% use it for research.  But what type of websites provide organic traffic to websites and news sites?

Case study on Beyonce

News goes live of her accusation of stealing a design at 9:10.  Google news picks it up at 9:12.  First organic visitor referred from Twitter at 9:29, and two more follow.  Google News gives first organic visitor at 10:41.  First recognized news media comes in at 13:31 through an external RSS feed; around that time, there is an explosion of incoming media visits.  Google now has more than 34,000 results indexed.

General findings:

Google web is still the prominent research tool with 88% use, google news is second.

U.S. journalists use around 2.5 KW’s when searching online.  U.S. journalists will use google.com for U.S. news search but will look outside to local google when searching for international information.  Neither twitter nor Facebook come out strong in regards of referring traffic.

When sending out press releases, understand that U.S. journalists are not very accurate when searching.  Be sure to use the keyword tool to get ideas for text in the release.

Cleaning Up Online Reputation

There are about 60 billion searches a month, 21 billion are brand related.  51 billion searches don’t proceed past page 2.  90% of consumers trust reviews and recommendations of other consumers.  58% of searchers will visit a competing website after seeing negative search results.

35% of executive recruiters have rejected candidates based on findings in search results.

So, the trick is to own the top ten.  You want to have as much control over the content in the top ten as you can get.  Every company should have a blog.  Put it on a subdomain if you want to clean up the top ten.  Also put your news and press releases on a subdomain.  This helps fill the top ten with things you can control.

Own as many social media profiles as you can.  Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, WordPress, etc.  The key to all of this is building links to these sites to get them to rank.

www.Knowem.com is a great tool to gather profiles quickly.

Online reputation types- clients coming to you saying, “we have a very large number of negative reviews and comments and we can’t get rid of them” probably have larger issues, and might not be people you want to work with.

Make sure to have proactive online conversations- look to see what people are saying about you.  If there’s a negative conversation/comment about your company, address it publicly if you can.

Brand name search pulls page 1 rankings for negative reviews.  What do you do?  Respond in public.  There is an upward trend of rants.  People get online and make statements that are inflammatory with no specific reason.

Twitter/Facebook responses are helpful.  If you can predict an event happening in the future, have some templates ready to respond quickly.  You can also use a blog or video to help tell your side of the story.  The conversations are happening whether you’re a part of them or not.  Be proactive about your responses.

If the issues persist, it’s probably internal, and you can’t change it.

That’s about it for today!  Great session, lots of data.  Only a few more sessions left.  Tune in tomorrow for more information!

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