Posts Tagged ‘Reputation Management’

How Google’s Local Carousel Made Local Reputation Management More Important Than Ever

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Back in June Google launched the local carousel.  It had the internet marketing industry and local SEO’s all abuzz for a few weeks, but then the hype more or less died down.  During that time people were talking a lot about changes to local layout, changes to reviews, and the possible decline in clickthroughs to a company’s local page.  That said, one of the things I haven’t seen a lot of talk about is the impact of the local carousel on reputation management.

The Two Click Query

One of the biggest changes with the local carousel, is the new two click query.  Previously when you searched for a local business and clicked on their listing you would either wind up on the business website or their local Google listing.  Now, clicking on a local listing will trigger a second query using the business name and the location (e.g. “Yummy Chinese Food Your Town, USA.)  So now, rather than seeing your business information and website for a query like “Chinese Restaurant,” viewers are taken to a page of search results all about your specific business.

A query for Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant triggered by Google's local carousel

As you can see in the example above, these sorts of queries generate not only information from your local listing, but also information from a myriad of other sites like Yelp, Facebook, and various other local portals and review sites.  In the past many businesses only worried about how they appeared for their top local search queries, but now more businesses are going to have to focus on how they appear for localized branded queries as well.

Local Reputation Management

Reputation management has always been important when it comes to running a business, you need to be able to control and respond to what is being said about your business and brand whenever possible, but with the introduction of the two click query, users using the local carousel to interact with your business are going to see not only your Google listing reputation but the overall reputation of your business online.

This means that even if you’ve managed to rack up a decent number of positive reviews in Google they are still going to be exposed to the various other websites that feature or talk about your business.  Have your Yelp customers given you scathing reviews? Chances are they are going to show up on the second query.  Has someone dedicated an entire website to how much your business sucks and how much you wronged them? Chances are if they did enough to use your brand and location in the content it’s going to show up in that second query.

Own Your Local Search Presence

If you’re not already now is the time to ensure that you are owning and monitoring your local search presence.  That means you need to make sure your business is claimed and optimized in some, if not all, of the local business and review sites that are pertinent to your niche.

If you’re not sure where to start, run a query like in the example above and see what websites show up for your business. Claim and complete any of the listings out there for your business that you’re currently not managing.  If you want to take it a step further and do some deep diving into local citation building, take a look at my Ultimate List of Local Citation Sites I did for Search News Central, though its a couple of years old, most of the websites are still in operation and are vital to a local search presence.  If you can’t tackle something that huge, then at least go after the sites that make up the local search ecosystem, as those sites will most likely be the most common sites found with a branded query.

GetListed.org's Local Search Ecosystem

 

If you’re not already monitoring your reputation online now is a good time to start.  Engage with reviewers where you can, and do your best to try and make the situation right if someone has a complaint.  Oftentimes people post a complaint online simply because they want to be heard.  If you take the time to hear them out and try and make the situation right you may be able to turn an angry customer into a lifelong customer.  Best of all, if you can make things right and regain the customer’s confidence you can always ask them to update to the review.

How has your business weathered since the recent local carousel update? Does your branded local search results page look decent, or do you have some work to do?

Social Media Experts Chime In On The Fake BP Twitter Account

Friday, May 28th, 2010

With an estimated 18 to 39 million gallons of oil already spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and at least an added 504,000 gallons a day, most people do not find the BP oil spill to be a laughing matter. But for one Twitter user under the alias of @BPGlobalPR, it has become just that. The fake account created on May 19th as a satire to poke fun at the BP disaster has bolstered over 69,000 followers at the time of this writing, with no signs of slowing down. It has become a PR nightmare for the BP company gaining both mainstream media attention and the attention of the internet marketing industry.

I first caught wind of the account on May 22 when online marketing strategist Samir Balwani posted ‘What Should BP Do About This Twitter Account?’. At the time the account had just over 1,000 followers and BP had not yet spoken out about the account. Samir’s advice at the time?

“I wouldn’t do anything. I wouldn’t try to get Twitter to close it, I’d let it be, and let it run it’s course. Right now, it’s just a joke – do something and it could be a lot worse.”

The post generated some interesting conversation in the comments. Social media expert and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing On The Social Web, Tamar Weinberg chimed in with an opposing view.

“I disagree that it shouldn’t be closed. Frankly, it’s completely misleading; it uses the BP logo and thus the likeness, and some moron (read: idiot) would probably think that some disgruntled BP employee is really trash talking his employer. Bottom line: it can create confusion. If the guy was using a different logo and username, it would be fine, but once you’re using the company’s likeness, you’re stepping on shaky ground.”

Tamar admitted however that in this case she was speaking as someone with a background in trademark research and copyright and not as a social media strategist.

In a follow up comment Tamar chimed in saying, “I like being the devil’s advocate. To be honest, you’re right – what do they have to lose?”, but she continued to stress the impact the account had on negative PR and the potential legal problems behind it.

A few days later Lisa Barone did a post titled, ‘Why BP Should Embrace the Fake BP Twitter Account’ on the Outspoken Media blog where she states, “I don’t think they should have the account removed. In fact, I think they should embrace it.” Lisa gave a handful of ideas on how BP could improve the situation. In one instance she described how BP could leverage the fake account for good by partnering with the account holder to raise awareness and support fundraising initiatives.

“Now that the satire account is being used to raise money for the Gulf disaster, it can only help BP to become loudly involved. BP should create a national campaign to using the BP Cares slogan to raise money for the Gulf situation and attach some good news for spokespeople to talk about.”

In the end Lisa mentioned closing the account as well, but said that ultimately the damage is already done.

The comments of this post also share a wealth of insight with back and forth between readers and Lisa as well as Rae Hoffman and provide additional points on how the account could both hurt and help the oil giant.

Overall I don’t think there is a wrong or right way for BP to handle this situation, but I think this handful of social media experts have given some great ideas that apply not only to BP, but any organization that is hit with a PR nightmare of this nature. The fact of the matter is BP can’t undo the damage that has already been done. Their best bet is to either embrace it and use it to their advantage or cut it off at the source and hope there is no serious media backlash.  What are your thoughts on the fake BP account?  I’d be even more curious to get your thoughts on what you feel this account is doing right in regards to social media.

Reputation Management: You’re Your Own Worst Enemy

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Don't shoot yourself in the footFirst off, let me start out by saying I am in no way an expert at reputation management; nor have I spent hours researching the subject. With that said, there’s a chance that perhaps what I am about to say has been said before; if it has, then kudos to those whom blazed the trail before me. I am writing this based off of personal experience and observation. I’m not saying I’m right or wrong, just acknowledging what I’ve observed. If you feel the need to hear the gospel of reputation management from an expert, this is probably where you leave. For the rest of you, I hope you find some value in this as I know that I have.

When I think of reputation management the first thing that comes to mind is what others are saying about a person or their business. What clients are saying, what competitors are saying, and what other media sources are saying. But what most people probably don’t consider, is what it is they are saying about themselves online.

If you have friended or followed me on any of the various social profiles I manage, you probably know that I am a very candid person. I’m not sugar coated, I’m not filtered, and I don’t mind cracking jokes; even if they are at someone else’s expense. The fact of the matter is, I am who I am. I do this because even though I want people to see me as a professional, I also want them to see who I am as a person.

With social media becoming such a vital part of small business it’s important to properly represent yourself. You never know who may be looking at your business or profile; potential clients, potential partnerships, perhaps potential employees. If you portray yourself in your various social outlets as the serious sophisticated corporate type, yet you run your business in a casual mom and pop fashion you are already starting off your online relationships on the wrong foot. You are giving people a false sense of who it is they are dealing with. You would never market yourself as an orange salesman if you were selling apples, so why pretend to be what you’re not? Sure by showing your true colors you may scare off some of the higher end prospects, but in doing so you are capturing those who are most interested in what it is that you actually have to offer.

The value in this is that you in turn capture those who will work best with your business model and your personality. In my personal experience this has lead to some incredible collaborative efforts between me and my clients. Furthermore, it makes the overall process more comfortable for both parties. Your business relationships are much like your personal relationships, and if you can’t start out on a common ground there’s bound to be some bumps in the road.

In the end the most valuable take away from being yourself is that you know that the people you are interacting with are doing so because of who you are, not because of who you are pretending to be. By faking it you risk others seeing through your fake personality, and if you fall victim to your own faults, you risk tarnishing your online reputation and your business. Even more harmful would be exposing you’re a fraud in your face to face interactions. I know that I have developed opinions and ideas about certain people I interact with on social sites, and I know that I would be disappointed if at some point I met them in person and their online personality turned out to be nothing more than a façade.

One final thing to realize is that while being yourself you still need to keep a sense of professionalism. A lot of us use social media both professionally and personally, so there will be times when the two may cross paths and sometimes may even cross the line of appropriate. Rest assured this probably isn’t the end of the world. I have dropped my share of F-bombs and bad jokes on Twitter and Plurk and have still managed to maintain what online presence I do have. But it is still always something you need to be aware of.

Managing your reputation is an important aspect of running your business, but no one can destroy your reputation more than yourself. It doesn’t matter if all of your clients have given you high marks on their blogs and websites. If you misrepresent yourself their words are useless. People will take their personal experiences and opinions into consideration long before the ideas and opinions of others.