Day 1: Online Reputation Management Session – PubCon 2010

Moderator: Krisa Neher

Speakers:
Andy Beal, CEO, Trackur
Rhea Drysdale, Co-founder and COO, Outspoken Media
Tony Wright, CEO/Founder, WrightIMC
Todd Friesen, Director of SEO, Performics

Todd Friesen

Reputation management is about control. Being able to control what is seen. Contrast search results for “Eliot Spitzer” with “Under Armour.” In one case, “Eliot Spitzer” has negative results that are out of his control. In the other case, Under Armour not only has positive results, but they have control of those domains displaying many of the results.

80% of adults are more likely to buy a product based on recommendation. 90% of consumers trust recommendations/reviews. If reviews are showing up in the top 10 SERPS for your company, you can trust that those reviews are impacting consumer perception and purchase behavior.

83% of companies will face a crisis that will affect share price up to 30% (negatively) in the next 5 years.

Ripoff Report has 321,202 complains filed. Complaints Board has 28,500 US-based complaints filed. Consumerist is also a heavy hitter with reviews likely to rank on the first page.

Ways to “own” your SERP “ballot box”

  • Host the blog on a subdomain (good for reputation management, less good for SEO)
  • Host news on a subdomain
  • SEM campaigns (you can control the paid search listings)
  • Affiliate sites (pretend you have one if you don’t)
  • Job postings (Indeed.com, Monster.com, Washington Post jobs section all seem to rank well)
  • Social profiles (Flickr, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Squidoo, Scribd, Dailymotion, WordPress all rank well on their own)

Rhea Drysdale

Google has made many updates recently that allow negative sites and reviews to rank well. Reputation management isn’t a problem until you have a reputation problem. Most companies wait until it’s too late, when they should be constantly building the brand reputation. It can take as long as 4 years to recover your brand after a crisis.

How to combat bad results:

  • Create sticky, good news
  • Create a product feed, submit it to Google Base, and try to get it to rank
  • Blogs
  • Images (start collecting “digital assets” associated with your company, make sure to get pictures and video from all company events)
  • Press releases (tend to rise fast in the search results but fall later; more of a short term solution)
  • Books (usually appear well)

Google Instant takes a long time to change. It’s based on search behavior.

Audit your online reputation:

  • Review analytics (keywords & referral traffic)
  • Do you have content to match searches?
  • Are you investing in customer service, marketing & PR?

Google Place Search is now integrated with web search. We’re seeing a greater emphasis on reviews and review sites. Solicit positive reviews from sites like:

  • Yellowpages
  • Yelp
  • CitySearch
  • TripAdvisor
  • OpenTable
  • InsiderPages
  • SuperPages
  • DexKnows
  • JudysBook

Andy Beal

The big 5 tools for monitoring & managing reputation management (Free tools are going to be great for 70-80% of users. Paid tools become important for assessing reputations behind conversations, a lot of keywords, managing multiple users and levels of access)

  • Google Alerts – google.com/alerts
  • IceRocket – good for monitoring blogs
  • Twitter – use the search parameters for specific and geographic tracking
  • Keotag.com – track keywords across platforms
  • Netvibes – create a dashboard of RSS feeds; it’s also smartphone-friendly

Act on the data:

  • Who’s responsible?
  • Bring data to R&D, Sales, Marketing
  • Measure changing sentiment
  • Refine your marketing/PR messaging
  • Check analytics (look for traffic spikes from specific sources, spikes to specific pages)

Tony Wright

Crisis Management

Items to consider when assessing a crisis:

  • Reach of the venue (where is it showing up)
  • Influence of the poster
  • Tone of the content
  • Follow-up on the post (watch for on-topic vs. off-topic)
  • Viral effects

Other items to consider:

  • If you’re going to run Facebook or Twitter for someone, you should have the person embedded in the client organization. Otherwise, how can they respond to questions?
  • Unhappy customers are always more likely to complain online. The janitor can illicit a negative review as easily as the CEO.
  • The goal of review management is to get happy customers to talk. Facilitate this via review portals, staff incentives, and staff education.
  • Do you have a social media policy? How do you enforce violations of your policy?

From the Q&A

Try to avoid “beefing up the content” on a negative review or profile. You may accidentally do this by creating a profile that links back to your site, by mentioning your brand a lot as your respond on a 3rd party site.

The only chance to really remove a negative listing is to file a complaint against the individual, not against the host site. You can even file a “John Doe” complaint or suit, but the process can be lengthy.

Make sure to funnel positive reviewers to the review sites you want them to review on.

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3 Comments

  1. Andrew Ward says

    Excellent post. As consumers rely more on peer reviews to make purchase decisions, reputation management will transform to reputation marketing. It is imperative that every business regardless of size proactively cultivate a robust an and positive online reputation that reflects their customers experience.

  2. David Forer says

    I like looking at evergreen posts like this. Everything that was mentioned is now true! We all need to control what is being said about us. If you don’t care then you better have a flock of seagulls following your business that can manage it for you. It is too bad that every disgruntled person can say what they want and face no repercussions but that is our society. You better start watching your online reputation and do many of the things they talk about in this post!

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