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Seven Steps to Clean-Up Your Online Reputation

Gini Dietrich on April 25, 2013 for SocialMediaToday.com – http://socialmediatoday.com/ginidietrich/1414256/seven-steps-clean-your-online-reputation

Do you remember the story of Florida pizza shop owner, Scott Van Duzer, who hugged President Obama during a campaign stop in 2012?

The President stopped by Van Duzer’s restaurant to recognize him for his efforts in helping provide blood to patients in his county. What Van Duzer didn’t expect was the big bear hug he gave the President to make national news…and bring out the trolls on his company’s Yelp page.

People from across the country began leaving negative reviews on the page, even if they’d never actually eaten in the restaurant. One reviewer wrote, “Most of y’all Democrats can’t afford to eat at this restaurant anyway. They don’t accept food stamps.”

Hundreds of anti-Obama reviewers flooded the page to criticize Van Duzer, his restaurant, and his political beliefs.  Big Apple Pizza Yelp ReviewsScreen-Shot-2013-04-24-at-8_00_36-AM

In working with Yelp, Van Duzer was able to have some of the comments removed because they violated the site’s content guidelines, yet many remained. But then something magical happened: Van Duzer’s loyal customers came to the rescue! They began leaving five star reviews, having actually eaten in the restaurant, and the negative and untrue reviews were pushed further and further down.
Clean-Up Your Online Reputation:  If you have some unsavory things hurting you online – and you don’t have a community to come to your rescue – you can clean-up your online reputation with some elbow grease and a good strategy in place. The process goes a little something like this.

1.  Conduct an online audit. Likely you already know what’s there, but it doesn’t hurt to do a Google search, see what is being said, and where it lands in search results (second listing, first page). Do this both logged into your Google account and logged out (or you can open an incognito tab in your browser without having to actually log out by going to file > new incognito window). Logged in will let you see the results your friends, colleagues, peers, and clients will see. The incognito search will show you what the rest of the world sees. It’s important to have both. Search Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Search the social networks. Search the review sites. Search the Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Report. Search employee sites such as Glassdoor. Use terms such as “I hate COMPANY NAME” or “COMPANY NAME sucks.”

 2.  Create a strategy. Based on what you learn from the audit and what internal and external implementation resources are in place, put together the company’s online strategy … and make sure it’s tied to your goals. The very first thing you should do (if you haven’t already) is set up Talkwalker alerts to let you know when someone says something about you online – positive, neutral, or negative.

 3.  Create a clean-up list. With the audit complete and your online strategy in place, now comes the clean-up. In some cases, there will be multiple accounts for your organization. There might be profiles you don’t need on social networks that are either defunct or they don’t help your strategy. There might be negative reviews or blog posts on the first page of search results you’d like to address and not have come up before your own sites and the positive reviews. Maybe there are “I hate Company X” groups on Facebook or untrue reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor. Perhaps former employees have said really terrible things about you on Glassdoor or they’ve set up social networks for the company and you don’t have the login information. Whatever it happens to be, the list begins with these types of things. Write down everything you need cleaned up so the person or team responsible understands what it is you want done.

 4.  Assign someone (or a team) to do the work. They will need usernames and passwords, branding guidelines, sign-off on copy/images, and the power to make changes without a laborious approval process. It’s not critical this person be in marketing or PR, as long as it’s someone who understands what you’re trying to accomplish and can get the work done and update you in a timely manner.

5.  Begin the clean-up. Some of this is a big pain in the rear because you’ll need to work with the customer service departments at the social networks to either reset login data, delete a profile, or take down an untrue review. This could take weeks. We have a client who had an employee who was very social media savvy. He set up the company on all of the social networks and then quit his job, taking the login information with him. Working with LinkedIn, in particular, took about five weeks to reset the password and give us additional administrator access. In some cases, such as on the review sites, you have to prove the review is untrue, sometimes with legal action.

6.  Build your online presence through social media. There is one social network every organization should be on: Google+. Not only does Google rank you higher if you use their social network to promote your content, it helps to push down the negative content if it has been shared on Google+. You don’t have to be “social” on the site, but please use it to promote your content.

7.  Content is king…or at least prince. There are going to be many of you who have negative reviews that are, unfortunately, true. There are many organizations who claim they will clean up your online reputation for $40 per month, deleting all of the negative reviews from search results. This is illegal. Not illegal from the “I’ll be arrested and spend time in jail” point-of-view, but from a “It’s impossible to delete things on a site where you are not an administrator” perspective. Good, valuable content that is shared is the only way to push some the negative results.

8.  Implement the strategy. Once you’ve cleaned up the organization’s online presence and figured out how you’re going to use content to build a strong reputation, it’s time to put your strategy into action. This is the scary part. You’re about to become transparent. The curtain has been pulled back now and the only way to participate in the conversation is by being transparent, which means you’re opening yourself up to criticism and feedback.

Once you’ve decided to be transparent, honest, authentic, and human in your online conversations, the content, brand ambassadors, influencer marketing, customer reviews, and a solid product or service will help you cross the marathon finish line.

Warren Buffet famously said, “If you lose money for the firm, I will be understanding. If you lose reputation, I will be ruthless.”

An organization’s reputation, today, is only as good as its search results. If your operations are solid, you have a responsive customer service team, and you run things ethically, the rest will sort itself out.

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Spring Cleaning Your Digital Life

Spring Cleaning Your Digital Life Including Social Media, written & posted by Actionable Marketing Expert, Heidi Cohen, for heidicohen.com

21 Tips To Unclutter Your Digital Devices & Social Media Presences

Spring is in the air making everything seem fresh and new. But open one of your digital devices such as your computer, your smartphone or your tablets, and there’s lots of stuff that’s accumulated over time.

Just as you give your home a through spring cleaning, now’s the time to go through your digital inboxes, files and profiles on digital devices and social networks to get rid of the information that’s irrelevant, reducing your effectiveness.

Here are 21 tips to help you clear out the information you no longer need. The objective is to remove as much clutter as possible from your digital and social media life. This advice applies to both the personal and professional aspects of your life.

1. Scan hard copy documents for online storage. Want to keep your information easily accessible? Create a digital version and file it appropriately. (Keep originals where necessary!)

2. Unsubscribe to email newsletters that are no longer relevant. For each newsletter you receive, consider if the information is still relevant and useful? Did you only sign up for a one-time sale or white paper? Is it an old project? Is the information redundant with other sources like Twitter or LinkedIn feeds?

3. Delete or archive your email inbox. Does your email inbox contain hundreds of emails waiting for future actions? If so, they probably distract you every time you open your inbox. Take the time to ruthlessly go through them.

4. Stop alerts that are now irrelevant. Assess the alerts you’ve set up. Are they still relevant to your job, projects and other interests? Stop them to remove inbox clutter.

5. Add or change email filters. Are your current email filters working for you? Are regular newsletters and alerts automatically filed and reviewed in batches.

6. Check email signature file(s). Is the information up-to-date? Are you announcing events or promotions that already occurred?
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7. Organize digital documents into folders. Take time to systematize your digital content to help you find it faster when you need it.

8. Delete redundant documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Many people keep every version of every document they create during the development process. But once you’ve finalized the content, purge the interim versions.

9. Examine your download folder for clutter. It keeps information you may forget about once you’ve used it. Go through this folder to free up space on your computer or other device.

10. Check software updates. Most software signals users to install the latest updates, but if you’re like me, you put them off since it’ll interrupt what you’re doing at the time. So, take time to ensure you’ve got the latest software version.

11. Review your mobile apps and uninstall those you don’t use. Mobile apps have a way of expanding since you want to test new things or your spouse, partner or child wants something. It’s useful to get rid of those apps you no longer use and lose the clutter.

12. Transfer photos and videos from your mobile device(s) to your computer. While everyone likes to have a few special photographs of family and friends with them, you don’t need your entire photo library on your phone or tablet.

13. Back up your digital devices. Do you feel you’d be lost without the information on your computer, smartphone or tablet? Then make sure you back it up either to another computer, external drive or the cloud.

14. Clean out your RSS feeds. If you’ve got an RSS reader, go through and eliminate feeds you’re no longer interested in. Also, get rid of feeds where you receive the information via another format.

15. Arrange your bookmarks whether they’re on a social sharing site or your browser. Organize and delete bookmarks that are no longer useful or available.

16. Give your social media profiles a new spring look. Use a new photograph. Edit and update your profiles, keywords and links.

17. Check privacy settings, especially on Facebook. Determine who you want to see the information you share. Remember your family and friends may be less stringent with their settings than you are. As a result, your updates and information may be available to others you don’t know.

18. Eliminate third party applications on social media you no longer use. Third party apps often request a lot of information and may have access to your data. Therefore, if you’re not using them, delete them.

19. Un-tag yourself from social media photographs that reflect badly on you. Since you never know who’s checking on you, ensure you present a consistent image. Start with the oldest photographs first and work your way forward.
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20. Purge your social media inboxes. Delete old requests, invites and conversations.

21. Sift through friends and followers. If you’re no longer interested in receiving information and engaging with the people to whom you’re connected to, get rid of the connection. Think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Think in terms of having a more engaged following. (To understand the rationale for this tip, read Why Isn’t Anyone Listening to Me on Twitter?)

While spring cleaning your digital life can be time consuming, the process can be cathartic. More important, it ensures that the information you receive via your digital devices and social media platforms are relevant. By eliminating the messages you no longer need, you remove distractions that keep you from being your most efficient.

Stop procrastinating…get ‘er done!

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2013 in SOCIAL MEDIA

 

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