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Do Google Yourself – Preserving and Protecting your Companies Online Reputation

With The Gilbane Conference just a few short months away, I’ve been thinking a lot about the evolution of themes and topics covered over the past few years. This year we are pleased to have a session lead by Russ Edelman and Toby Bell on Two Key Management Concerns About Social Media :ROI and Reputation Management. This is an increasingly important subject especially when it comes to the enormous impact online reputation has not just on an individual but a company as well.

15 Minutes. 15 Minutes is all it takes for an angry customer to chip away at the integrity of your businesses’ reputation by casting an instant smear campaign across all of your social networks. In some cases that 15 minutes is a generous figure as today’s internet users are more savvy than ever ,especially when motivated by what they deem to be an unfair experience.

Kasio Martin, a self proclaimed internet professional and blogger recently related in one of her entries how a series of bad experiences with local businesses and the subsequent online smear campaigns she launched against them received very different responses, prompting both positive reactions and further negative behavior from her.

“After the bad transaction I googled the business again. I left negative reviews on Insider Pages, City Search, Yahoo, Google Pages and Yellow Pages. These review sites outranked the businesses own Facebook Page in Google. The next time someone googles that business they will find my review 5 times before they get any other information about the company. This took me about 15 minutes to accomplish.”

The part of this scenario that strikes me the most is not just the short amount of time it took this customer to cause a major headache for the offending business, but also that the popularity of these sites she targeted make them the first picks in online search results. The company’s lack of response to her complaints showed even less integrity as it showed they either had a poor social media strategy or none at all. As to the effect they had on the business itself there is no mention but one can imagine that it served as a major discouragement towards attracting new customers.

Ms. Martin recounts an additional story in which her online complaints against a large chain restaurant were not only heard but resolved before the day was through:

“Because the restaurant was a large corporate chain, I didn’t really expect anything to come of it. But I received an email response within the hour. They informed me that they were getting that store on the phone and fixing this immediately. . . Within only a couple of hours they responded to me on Twitter and offered to help. . . Before the end of the workday they had resolved the issue and I didn’t have a bad thing left to say on any channel.”

While the Ms. Martin’s of the world may scare the faint of heart away from attempting to grow their business through social media, both scenarios show that regardless of whether or not you have made pages on these sites, that a Social Reputation is being made for your company whether or not you’re the one facilitating it.

Social Reputation can not be ignored, but it can be preserved and even strengthened through early intervention and constant diligence.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for getting you started:

  • Do Google yourself: This is simply the easiest way to find what’s being said about your company around the entire internet. For faster results try signing up for Google alerts for your company.
  • Do check your @mentions on Twitter and Wall on Facebook: See what’s being said about you both good and bad in seconds. This is a great public forum to address questions, comments and complaints from your customers.
  • Don’t ignore negative online comments: While the easiest solution to a jaded customer review may be to delete it or simply ignore it, this sends an undeniable message to others that either you don’t care enough to answer the complaint or that you’re not on top of your online presence at all.
  • Don’t let third party sites and blogs outrank your own in search results: If third party pages such as yelp, hub pages, and Wikipedia are the first returns when someone searches for your company then your customers/potential customers will receive biased opinions before they even make it to your own site. Stay active on all of your websites and social media outlets and you’ll be sure to have your companies mission and services heard first and foremost.

And finally,

Don’t let negative opinions get in the way of your business’s goals: There will always be critics of the work you do and the worst thing you can do is let it get in the way of the doing a good job. Stay true to your companies mission and purpose and ultimately that work will speak for itself, hopefully in the form of good reviews for a positive Social Reputation.

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For more information on the Gilbane Conference please visit our website @:

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/index.html

To read more about Russ Edelman and Toby Bell’s Session at Gilbane Boston you can find out more @:

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/conference_program.html#c4

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/speakers.html

 

Welcome Social Media Marketing Manager Mary Stevens!

We are very pleased to welcome Mary Stevens to the Gilbane Conference team as Social Media Marketing Manager. Mary is already active on our social channels and someone you’ll be hearing a lot from as conference activity ramps up.

In addition to keeping our social channels updated on conference and related activity Mary is a resource for conference attendees, sponsors, speakers, fans, who follow or want to engage and network with the Gilbane conference community. She’ll be updating you more specifically on what that means to you, but in general, she’ll be facilitating communication, conversations, and networking among all stakeholders. For example, we’ll be publishing speaker social media links to help attendees learn more about our speakers in advance of the event.

Mary can be reached via email; she can be found on our Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn pages and groups (buttons below); you can follow her posts on this blog (none yet!); and you can DM her at @gilbane or @gilbaneboston.

Follow the Gilbane Conference!

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Search Engines; They’ve Been Around Longer Than You Think

It dates me, as well as search technology, to acknowledge that an article in Information Week by Ken North containing Medlars and Twitter in the title would be meaningful. Discussing search requires context, especially when trying to convince IT folks that special expertise is required to do search really well in the enterprise, and it is not something acquired in computer science courses.

Evolution of search systems from the print indexes of the early 1900s such as Index Medicus (National Library of Medicine’s index to medical literature) and Chemical Abstracts to the advent of the online Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System (Medlars) in the 1960s was slow. However, the phases of search technology evolution since the launch of Medlars has hardly been warp speed. This article is highly recommended because it gives historical context to automated search while defining application and technology changes over the past 50 years. The comparison between Medlars and Twitter, as search platforms is fascinating, something that would never have occurred to me to explore.

A key point of the article is the difference between a system of search designed for archival content with deeply hierarchical categorization for a specialized corpus versus a system of highly transient, terse and topically generalized content. Last month I commented on the need to have search present in your normal work applications and this article underscores an enormous range of purpose for search. Information of a short temporal nature and scholarly research each have a place in the enterprise but it would be a stretch to think of searching for both types via a single search interface. Wanting to know what a colleague is observing or learning at a conference is very different than researching the effects of a uranium exposure on the human anatomy.

What have not changed much in the world of applied search technology are the reasons we need to find information and how it becomes accessible. The type of search done in Twitter or on LinkedIn today is for information that we used to pick up from a colleague (in person or on the phone) or in industry daily or weekly news publications. That’s how we found the name of an expert, learned the latest technologies being rolled out at a conference or got breaking news on a new space material being tested. What has changed is the method of retrieval but not by a lot, and the relative efficiency may not be that great. Today, we depend on a lot of pre-processing of information by our friends and professional colleagues to park information where we can pick it up on the spur of the moment – easy for us but someone still spends the time to put it out there where we can grab it.

On the other end of the spectrum is that rich research content that still needs to be codified and revealed to search engines with appropriate terminology so we can pursue in-depth searching to get precisely relevant and comprehensive results. Technology tools are much better at assisting us with content enhancement to get us the right and complete results, but humans still write the rules of indexing and curate the vocabularies needed for classification.

Fifty years is a long time and we are still trying to improve enterprise search. It only takes more human work to make it work better.

SimpleFeed Adds Twitter Support

SimpleFeed, Inc. announced customers can now publish any content in SimpleFeed into their Twitter accounts. Customers and prospects increasingly want to subscribe to news, offers and other information via Twitter. SimpleFeed creates, manages and measures syndicated content for large corporations. To create feeds for its customers, SimpleFeed integrates with many sources of content – republishing of existing RSS Feeds, content management system integrations, web services integrations, data feed integrations, HTML scraping and manual content entry. SimpleFeed Enterprise Twitter publishing enables marketers to publish any of this content into their Twitter streams. Features of SimpleFeed Enterprise publishing include:Publish any content in SimpleFeed to multiple Twitter accounts; Publish to specific Twitter accounts based on content tagging;  Control of the publishing process via the SimpleFeed User Management System; Publish once to everywhere – Feeds, Twitter, Web Sites; Custom publish content (not just title and link); Support for tinyurl and bit.ly; and Enterprise level support. http://www.simplefeed.com/twitter.htm

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