Andy Beal is a master when it comes to online reputation management. While at PubCon in Las Vegas this week, I had a chance to attend one of his reputation management sessions, and it was loaded with a ton of great information.
While in the session, I made sure to write down as many notes as I could so that I could provide you with all of the useful tips and methods that Andy is using to improve his own, and his clients’, reputations. The notes should be looked at as key points… the content below isn’t written in article format.
Andy Beal’s Online Reputation Management Tips
One of the most important things for you to remember about your brand or company is that YOU are your COMPANY.
- Even if someone states on a web site or blog, “The thoughts and opinions aren’t those of the company”… they are.
- Is your offline reputation the same as your online reputation? Cory Booker is a perfect example of someone that had both offline and online reputation problems… but how did each of these outlets affect how people thought of him?
What you need to know about online reputation management?
- Have a plan and be prepared.
- What do you really want? (brand partners or making money?)
- Understanding your keywords (it’s not just your name brand… also personal and nicknames, misspellings)
- http://gri.ms/KUVW keyword list of different company people, things and events that users might be searching for when it comes to your brand
- Know your circles of influence (know where your customers already are). If they are on Facebook, don’t drag them over to LinkedIn. Engage with them and become part of their conversation.
- Empower your employees and give them a voice. You want your employees to be a powerful and meaningful voice for your company.
- Listen to your customers. The Internet never shuts down and you need to have someone monitoring and responding to customers and engagements at all time.
- Always paying attention to what people are saying will give you a leg up on the competition. Even if you aren’t going to monitor your own brand and reputation, it’s important for you to still know what other people are saying.
BUILDING YOUR BRAND
- Choose, Build and Nurture (focus on the social network or platform of your choice).
- Me, Myself and Irene was used as an example of how we should write our content. Stay out of the habit of using “me, myself and I” when used for branding and search engines. Always talk about yourself in third person (such as how Completed.com content is created)
- Andy Beal’s About page is also a good example of content that was highly relevant and effective for SEO and rankings. Make sure to read your article and content out loud to make sure it sounds good.
- Setup your social profiles and blog URLs to have keywords and brand names within the URLs. Change them from numbers to names. This will help content rank. Don’t change old URLS; only use this method for new content.
WHO ARE YOU?
- What is your voice going to sound like online? Be sure to maintain a consistent voice. Make it personable so your followers and customers feel there is areal person behind the company / brand.
- Keep the same look and feel through out all of your profiles and sites.
- Coca-Cola is a great example of a brand that always maintains a consistent color, logo and voice across all platforms.
CREATE AMAZING CONTENT
- Kmart created a “ShipMyPants” video campaign a while back and they got a lot of feedbacks and responses from their campaign. The best thing Kmart did was respond to all social engagements (Twitter) and also thanked their followers or those who commented on the video. This is rare for a larger brand.
- Herd the Sharing: Focus your social shares in the areas where your audience is engaging.
- Pinterest is great for sharing infographics.
- Thank your audience and supporters. This means social engagements and blog comments. Don’t only respond when people complain, as this will lead to more complaints. Positive social engagement leads to more positive activity.
- Don’t feed the trolls. Don’t encourage negative activity.
- Don’t trash the competition and let your brand attest to your success.
- Never bad mouth your customers no matter the situation. It’s a lose-lose situation for the company and the customer.
- Always help (time it takes to first reply and customer satisfaction are the most important metrics).
CHANNELS FOR FINDING YOUR VOICE
- Don’t tell your audience to give your positive feedback or 5-star reviews. Just ask for feedback.
- Stay away from giving incentives and always stay away from fake reviews.
- Yelp and Fake Reviews. This is something all brands need to think about: how to move away from Yelp and build their own content.
- How to Handle Negative Reviews: Only leave replies when necessary and always try to cater to the customer. Highlight any positives that the person states in the review. (Hotel rep tips) Also state that the negative review was a rare occurrence and you are going to try and try to fix the issue so it won’t happen again (if applicable)
- Do an audit of the first 20 results of Google searches for your brand name. Break the list down from sites that are OWNED (your sites), CONTROLLED (your own social sites, but now owned), INFLUENCE (potential friend sites, no control over content), THIRD PARTY (outside websites). The last step is to note if the web site listing is POSITIVE or NEGATIVE.
- After performing this data collection and test, you should strive to reach 80% what you own, 10% what you control, 10% influence in search rankings.
- The first twenty results will help you manage your online reputation. This report should be done on a monthly basis and should be checked for any changes in rankings and content.
- You must be #1 for your name brand in Google. You should be the super brand. This means that Google knows you are the most relevant web site for your target keyword and brand.
- Use sub domains to build out new listings in the search results. Don’t focus on too many pages. Your sub domain will piggy back off of the success of your main domain name. Make sure there is no duplicate content.
- Tie all of your sites and content into your social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
- Use the “Favorite” feature on Twitter to save and post any “Favorited” positive comments from other people on the Internet.
- Build out a Flickr and YouTube channels. Use images, titles, keywords and URLs to help rank for your brand.
- Sponsor different events or websites to get a special “About Me” page on their site. This will be another high-profile ranking website that has information on your brand and should be able to rank in the search results as well.
CONTACTING BLOGGERS AND NEWS SITES
- Don’t randomly contact websites to try and get them to write about your site or link back to you. Instead, find relevant content and see if they would like to write about your site after you have built a meaningful relationship with them.
WHEN UNDER ATTACK
- 83% of companies will be attacked in initiatives that will devalue the company by 20% or more within the next five years.
- Put social and name monitoring tools in place.
- First of all, Don’t Panic! Check the Facts!
- Keep calm, but who cares? Sometimes negative comments are just haters and complainers with no followers or a real audience. In these situations, it’s best to ignore them.
HOW TO FIX THE PROBLEM
- Apologize. Most people want a small and quick apology.
- Transparency. How and why did this happen?
- Consistency. Make sure this doesn’t happen again.
- At the end of the day, JUST APOLOGIZE!
- Defamation – Personal email asking to take down, then follow up with legal letter.
- Throw links to other websites that aren’t yours, but have relevant content (help them rank).
PLAN FOR LONG TERM STRATEGY
- Measure beyond the SERPs. Don’t just focus on search rankings, also look at what others are saying and your site analytics.
- Listen to your audience. Don’t just look at reports — you must figure out what you are doing right/wrong.
- Be better. (United goes from bad to good with viral video honoring discounted discounts)
Be sure to check out our ORM Expert Interview with Andy Beal that we conducted a few weeks ago to learn more about Andy and his reputation business and his success online.