The first session I attended today was “Reputation Management: Monitoring Your Brand Online”, featuring Andy Beal of Trackur, Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media, Tony Wright of WrightIMC, and Todd Friesen of Performics.
Todd was up first and is the director of SEO at Performics. Why is reputation management important? When someone searches on your brand or name in Google, you want to be sure that positive results come up in the top ten results. You want to control what is seen.
Todd gave an example of the Elliott Spitzer scandal as a negative reputation example and Under Armor as a positive reputation example. Under Armor controls much of what you see in the top ten in a search on their brand name.
Todd mentioned some stats about online reputation management:
- 80% of people buy off of recommendations
- 90% trust reviews
- 87% believe the CEO’s reputation is important
- 83% of companies will face a crisis that will affect share price by up to 30% in the next five years
Todd also gave the example of Ripoff Report:
- 321,202 complaints filed
- 1220 companies with 5+ complaints registered
In Google, there are over 439,000 URLs containing the word “sucks” and 126,000 URLs containing the word “boycott”. Yikes.
Todd says, own your own SERP ballot box (your top ten results). Here’s what you can do:
- Put your blog on a subdomain
- News on a subdomain
- SEM campaigns
- Affiliate sites
- Job postings
- Social profiles
Some social profiles that rank well:
- Twitter list
He also recommended Knowem.com, a service that registers many profiles for you.
Rhea was up next, and covered Google updates and why they are so important today. Why do people think reputation management doesn’t matter? You might not have a problem yet, but you probably should start preparing, even before you have a problem.
Rhea showed an example of the recent Carl Palladino campaign in New York, where some of his comments came up in the top ten results in Google for his name search. On the other hand, Andrew Cuomo had a very positive top ten result set.
To combat bad news:
- Create sticky, good news
- Product feeds
- Create a blog
- Press releases (shortlived though…)
Invest time in:
- News coverage
With Google Instant, start doing the search and see what other keywords come up in Google suggest and check them out. Realize that it takes time to get rid of these suggestions.
You can pull the Google suggested search terms via the API:
Add your keyword to the q value and see the results.
She also mentioned Google Place Search. There’s a lot more emphasis on reviews now. How do you fix that? Solicit positive reviews! Some sites:
Google submitted a new patent to review filters… so keep up with reviews!
Next up was Andy to discuss online reputation management tracking. Why track?
- reputation management
- measure success of campaigns
- decentralized customer service
- spy on your competitors
- track industry news
- improve press/blogger relations
Andy recommended you start off by setting realistic goals. What should you track?
- Your brand
- Employees/past employees
Check out a PDF of more at: http://gri.ms/KUVW
The big four tools Andy recommends are:
- Google Alerts (google.com/alerts)
- Icerocket.com (very good for blog monitoring)
- Twitter (search.twitter.com)
To keep track of the feeds, Andy like Netvibes. It works like a dashboard and is smartphone-friendly!
You can’t just collect data — Act on it!
- who’s responsible
- bring data to the right party
- measure changing sentiment
- refine your marketing/PR messaging
- check your web analytics
Up last was Tony Wright of WrightIMC to discuss how to respond during a crisis. Tony began by emphasizing that automated tools do not monitor sentiment well. Be careful! There’s also no monitoring tool yet for reviews, so you likely will have to do that manually for now.
Tony suggested you create a formula for online reputation. He first suggested you tie up the CEO — they often don’t respond well. Then consider the following items about the negative piece:
- reach of venue
- influence of the poster
- tone of the content
- follow up o the post
- viral effects
When should you respond? It depends on your brand and your resources. Reaction to every mention requires continued reaction to every mention after that. If you don’t continue to react, then you could damage your brand in that way too.
No matter what you read about reviews, unhappy customers are more likely to complain online than happy customers. So try to get your happy customers to review you online. Tony recommends a review portal — to send an easy way for customers to receive an email from you and review you. He’s also used staff incentives to get sales people to follow up on reviews. Staff education is also important — let staff know what can come up and how to request reviews.
Make sure you have a social media policy. Make sure your employees know the social media policy. It’s very important especially when you are in a field that requires compliance. Also make sure you have ways to enforce your policy as well.