Archive for ORM

ORM tip: careful what you do with your email address

What you do – and say – with your email address can play an important role in your online reputation

Do you know where you left your email address online?

If the answer to that is no, you better go and do a quick check.  Do an exact search for your own email address in Google (don’t forget to put ” “s either side of your email address).

What did you find?

Most of you will have found nothing. Continue Reading…

Online reputation management: do it yourself

You don’t need sophisticated or expensive packages to monitor and manage your online reputation

It’s not rocket science – you just need the tools that your prospects have got (i.e. Google); the ability to think like them, a dose of humility and a crash course in not being reactive.

Oh, and you need to know there’s a difference between monitoring and managing your reputation.

Online reputation monitoring

The simplest advice for monitoring your online reputation is to start with the FASTEST (and therefore potentially most damaging) channels out there:

1) Set up Google alerts for your name, your company name and products and brands.  Sit back and let Google bring the good – and bad – news to you whenever it hears you being mentioned online.

2) While you’re waiting for Google Alerts to bring you news, go to Twitter and search for your name, your company name and your brands.  It’s the most ‘real-time’ network / source of content there is.  If people are going to rant at the point of dissatisfaction, they’re going to do it via their mobile, and they’re probably going to do it on Twitter.

3) If that’s all clear, next do a search in Google.  Do a broad web search first.  See what comes up in the first couple of pages of Google.  Hopefully, a lot of it will be your web site pages and things you’ve done to market and promote yourself and your products.  If not, sack your web designer :-)

Remember: people use blog posts and forum posts to vent their anger or dissatisfaction. Learn to recognise how these posts and comments appear in the regular web results.

4) To focus entirely on blog content, do a dedicated Google blog search

5) Most of all, learn to think like a customer – an angry one and a prospective one.  When an unhappy customer wants to nail you for not listening,  they’re going to nail you by telling their trusted network how bad you are and follow up by publishing posts and comments online with words like rip-off’ ‘scam’ and ‘fraud’ to the end.  They want their experience of you to be found by others researching your company – and now they have the tools to do it within minutes.  Be warned; this stuff can kill your business in a matter of days.

When a prospective customer wants to find out the truth about your company, ‘XYZ consultants’, they’re going to start by searching for ‘XYZ consultants’.  Then they’re going to add the words ‘scam’, ‘feedback’, ‘rip-off’, ‘review’ at the end to see what comes up.

To manage your online reputation online successfully, you need to see these words as a code that customers and prospects use to bypass your own (naturally positive) propaganda.  So learn the code – and make sure YOU search the web regularly for these coded references to you and your company.

You wouldn’t believe how many companies’ reputations are in tatters online and yet they don’t even know about it.  It could explain that gradual drop-off in sales they’ve been seeing…

Online reputation management

Managing your online reputation priorities are as follows (listed in order of the amount of your energy you should expend on them):

1) Create the best products and services you can.  This is bleedin’ obvious, but the best way to create and protect a great on- and offline reputation is to do the basics really, really well.

2) When things go wrong, do everything you can to make your customer happy.  That means invite feedback, listen without being defensive, go out of your way to satisfy them

3) When you don’t do 1) and 2) properly, people will punish you online by Tweeting, blogging, forum posting and commenting anywhere and everywhere they can.  Count on it. When you finally find something angry / hostile / nasty (true or untrue) with your online monitoring (see the list above), the first thing you need to do is NOTHING.

4) While you’re doing NOTHING (i.e. not reacting, not getting into a fight to try to defend yourself), you should be getting really honest with yourself about what it is you might have done to create the situation.

5) Then you should be thinking about what you can do to put it right.  What you can do, and what you are willing to do.

6) Then consider approaching the disgruntled punter publicly (in whatever forum or blog his/her comment appears) and a) apologise for not having met their expectations b) apologise if you didn’t listen or respond to their original feedback or complaint.  Listen, I promise you, no matter how bad this makes you feel, you almost certainly didn’t listen the first time round.  If you can do this from a genuine place – i.e. that you really do care about helping this person to feel better about your company, you’ll be amazed what you can achieve.

7) If you’ve reacted dived in with both feet and made things worse, then call us to take the heat out of the situation on 01822 610841.

8 ) Start to create positive online content about you, your company and your brands to balance, and ultimately outweight the negative.  Beware: this only works when that content is genuine and credible.

Paying offshore SEO or Reputation Management Companies to flood Google with superficial stuff about you is a false economy (an expensive one at that!) – it will be transparent to any half-wit looking to find out what a company is really like.

If you want to do it properly, call us on 01822 610841.

TripAdvisor Bali hotel review singled out for ‘horror story’ marketing

Is Tripadvisor in danger of damaging it’s own reputation by exploiting negative reviews?

This morning I got an email from TripAdvisor entitled “Hotel horror stories you won’t believe”.  The first told of a live mouse swimming in a hotel toilet bowl.  I clicked the link and found myself on the TripAdvisor page for the Conrad Bali Resort & Spa.

picture-6The mouse-story reviewer slated the hotel with a negative review and a 1 out of 5 rating.  But a quick check of the overall listing for this hotel showed that out of 191 reviews, an overwhelming majority (138) rated it 5 stars, 35 rated it 4 and only 18 (a small minority) rated it 3 stars or below.

The fact that 38 out of 65 (!) travellers found the review ‘helpful’ is an indication of the potential damage that this review could to this hotel – despite its clear track record of excellence (above).  In addition, more than half of the 65 people who rated the review rated it useful - which means they take it seriously.

Someone at TripAdvisor thinks that this was a good marketing move.  I don’t agree. Using an email to drive traffic at a negative and completely unrepresentative review for a particular hotel doesn’t feel balanced to me.

TripAdvisor already has quite a few enemies in the hotel industry.  Some are simply the owners of badly-run hotels who have lost business as a result of reviews on the site.  Others are angry at what they see as TripAdvisor’s lack of accountability and regulation.  And some allege that TripAdvisor’s system permits – and then protects – malicious and fake reviews posted by competitors.  Those are serious charges indeed.

So, in that climate, I would have thought that TripAdvisor needs to do everything it can to maintain and strengthen its impartiality – and therefore, its credibility – not erode it.

I think today’s email was a step in the wrong direction.

Dominos CEO response to YouTube nastiness

Could Dominos have handled the YouTube disaster any better?

“It sickens me..” spits Patrick Doyle, US CEO of the Dominos Pizza franchise speaking of the YouTube video showing two employees farting and snotting on unsuspecting customers’ food.

Join the club, Patrick.

There’s real anger in Doyle’s video – currently standing at 329,000 views. How many the original video got is uncertain since it is no longer available.  I can’t help imagining the scale of the legal machinations at work behind the scenes from over the last few days of this uniquely modern PR terror strike.

What’s clear is that the situation forced Dominos Pizza to enter the world of social media -ready or not. In a few short days it has endured a baptism of fire and emerged on the other side, breathless but alive.  Doyle’s YouTube delivery was endearingly wooden but the outrage was real.

The incident seems to have – in true internet style – polarised opinion.  Judging by the comments on Doyle’s YouTube page this incident rallies the faithful and revolts the rest.

Could Dominos have responded any better?  Probably not.  Could they have monitored better?  Possibly.

The Great Dominos Pizza YouTube Disaster of 2009 is a clear demonstration of the power of social media and the importance of the three key elements of online reputation management: monitoring, evaluation and response.

Dealing with an unhappy customer online

Is it better to deal with an unhappy customer online or should you try to take it offline?

When an unhappy customer blows off steam online, you’ve got a problem. Their comment is increasingly likely to appear somewhere near the top of Google – and that means its going to be read by your prospects and existing customers.

So if you come across someone raging about the service that your company provides in a forum or on a blog, what should you do?

Should you ignore it? Or put together a response? Should you get into a long drawn out discussion with them? Or take it offline and try to deal with it away from the public view? Continue Reading…

Spotify playlists – an information goldmine

What will Spotify’s personal playlist information about me be worth? And who will buy it?

Well, first of all, me probably – in a desperate attempt to salvage my online reputation.

Can I just state here that I deliberately picked Donny Osmond for this picture? However, the truth is that last night I DID listen to The Jam, some punk, a bit of The Police, a Howard Jones track and the instrumental music from ‘Titanic’.

See what I mean? You’re already starting to form a picture of me as a middle-aged sentimentalist, going for the occasional shuffle down memory lane while blogging away on my iMac.  And you’d be right. Doh.

So in a ‘post-music-ownership’ era, what will this information be used for? And what could I learn about you from your playlists?

Setting up a forum: top three reputation management pitfalls

3 easy ways to undermine your reputation when you set up an online forum

1) Set up a forum and then leave it empty. An empty forum will stay empty. It takes an huge amount of effort to populate a forum and breath enough life into it for it to stand on its own two feet so unless you have the energy and commitment, don’t start it. An empty forum is like tumbleweed blowing through your site.

2) Fail to notice that your only contributor is an anal sex obsessed transvestite spammer. Wonder why no-one’s checking into your forum? Uncontrolled spam kills forums stone dead.

3) Allow conflict to break out on your forum. Tempting, because it attracts viewers but unless you’re a guru of self-control and a master of clean communication, you’ll be waltzing into a minefield from which nobody is likely to emerge unscathed. Harsh, but true, I’m afraid – no matter how right you think you are.

Compare online reputation management tools?

Valérie Léonard compares 6 online reputation management tools

This is a very useful little review of the following ORM packages:

  • Attentio
  • BrandsEye
  • BrandMonitor
  • Brandwatch
  • Distilled Reputation Monitor
  • Trackur

with added value coming from the comments made by the people behind some of these packages. Worth a visit.

What is online reputation management?

Interview with online reputation management guide, Sam Deeks

What is Online Reputation Management?

Sam: It’s making sure that you know what people are saying about you online, giving people the chance to say good things about you – and being able to respond quickly and effectively when somebody says something bad about you or your business.

Does everyone with a business need to consider ORM these days?

Sam: They do. In the online world, what you say about yourself is propaganda. What other people say about you is the truth. And the first thing most people do when they want to find out about you these days is go to Google.

They look at the first couple of pages of results to see what people are saying about you on review sites, in discussion forums and in blogs – sites that increasingly rank alongside or even higher than your own website in the search results.

A single negative review can put off prospects from buying. Just think how you react when you’re looking to book your holiday hotel and you find a really bad review on TripAdvisor.

Continue Reading…