Learn how to use your blog to improve your online reputation

Understanding that 2016 brings to Online Reputation Management a whole new set of trends that can impact how you manage your company’s online presence. As long as we understand that this is no longer a job for some external expert, but it comes down to every single employee, CEO and of course backed by strategic marketing campaign. Every employee in the company can make the difference in the company’s online reputation, by what they post and share related to their workplace. A current employee’s posts about the company can easily influence a future talent retention strategies or new business leads. This along with consumers voicing their opinions online, will lead towards our business strategies aligning with our social impact. Social profiles and reputation have to be increasingly authentic, real and geared towards trust. Nowadays, customers tend to choose greatly due to the trust factor the company has, and as you know, this comes down to the image you have online. Which is not a one-time strategy that your company can implement. It is an ongoing task, that will constantly have to be growing, improving and updated to the trends in online reputation.  A big responsibility of online reputation is being turned over to blogs and content management. A blog can easily help your online presence and even help you spring back from negative posts, feedback or comments.

Why does a blog make a difference?

A blog can generate that trust factor that was mentioned before. It is in a certain way an open door into your company’s thoughts and personality. Through a blog you can show your consumers, potential employees and even competitors what you’re all about and why you should be considered an expert in your field. By blogging you are making presence in search engines and your presence will be felt as an authentic way of getting to know more about your business. It also allows customers to interact with you in a controlled environment. All in all, a blog can help you create a direct link to your audience.

Creating a blog that will improve online reputation

These are some considerations to ensure that you create a blog that really helps you to improve your online reputation.

Image courtesy of rawdonfox at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of rawdonfox at Flickr.com

Make it relevant and keep it separate

Of course, your blog should be relevant to your business. The idea is to create it separately from your official website, where you can focus on a specific topic that will demonstrate that you are a thought leader and influencer in your field. This will also generate separate ranks from your website in SERPs.  You will now have two websites that can demonstrate your authority in your niche. Even though it’s separate make sure it’s linked somehow back to your website.

Keyword use

Your posts have to be well thought out, especially since they should in no moment separate themselves from your company’s brand or campaign message. Tag keywords sparingly, making sure that they are connected to truly relevant content, not just to stuff it with keywords. It’s more important to have relevant high quality content, than forcefully filling content with keywords.

Schedule and Promote posts

You want your blog to be constantly updated, so be sure to keep it up to date with a good number of posts in a given period of time. You should keep a balance avoiding posting too little, losing followers due to lack of content, or too many, overwhelming followers with in some cases useless information. Try creating a calendar to keep track of the topics and schedules post dates. The suggested rate is posting one to two posts weekly, but to always keep it relevant and interesting.

Ensure quality

In today’s online blog-filled world, getting followers to stay engaged to a blog requires quality content. Make sure you consider all of the possibly turn offs, like writing to the wrong audience, poorly written articles, lack of originality, or out-of-date information.

Make the right references

As mentioned before, independent if you decide to host your blog on the official website or get a separate URL, you will need to make references to your website to increase engagement. Make sure each new post has a least one reference.

Advantages to using a blogs

There are many advantages to using blogs as part of your online reputation management strategy, but among the top ones the fact that you can get to know your audience. A blog allows you to interact with them by letting them comment or even forward relevant posts to other social networks. Allowing them to interact can be tricky sometimes, but just make sure to have a corporate way of handling negative comments by identifying what needs to be filtered. Deleting all negative comments is not always the way to go. Decide which ones could be considered opportunities to express your opinion or set something straight.

Like anything, this will require constant monitoring, besides the actual posting of new pieces. And of course, it’s not foolproof. It may give a platform to those that have negative comments to make, but it really comes down to how those comments are handled by your company, the affect it has on your reputation.

Peeple App Removes More Controversial Features

Peeple, first marketed as “the app which allows you to rate people like restaurants“, is an unnerving concept for anyone with the vaguest grasp of the importance of their online reputation. Peeple is a mobile application which allows people to leave personal recommendations for others based upon their professional, personal and even romantic relationships. Coined as “the Yelp for people”, the app has attracted scathing criticism since its announcement in September 2015, with grave concerns over cyber bullying and online harassment. Nevertheless, despite a lukewarm reception, the app hit the market in March 2016 after some recent adaptations.

In October 2015, the app’s developers Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough bowed to widespread criticism, announcing that the service would be opt-in only, meaning that only those who had registered with the service could be rated. In addition, users would have the option to veto any unfavorable reviews, with negative reviews only becoming visible with the user’s express permission.

screengrabpeeple

Beta testing was rolled out across some 10,000 users in 2015. In October of the same year, the company announced that they had received a $50,000 grant from an unnamed government department. Where users wish to carry out more than one search per day, Peeple make a charge, thus generating revenue for the company.

Peeple was released on March 7, 2016. New York Times journalist Christian Gollayan commented that the app had been watered down considerably since its first announcement in September 2015, with safeguards built in to protect users from cyber bullying. The new version allows users to select which references appear on their profiles and the one to five star rating (initially touted as a way to rate people like restaurants) has been dropped, replaced with the grouping of recommendations into three categories: professional, personal and dating.

peeple online reputation Speaking to the New York Times, co-founder Julia Cordray stated that the ethos behind the app was to spread accolades and kindness. Cordray pointed out that users could share the link to their Peeple profile link with employers and acquaintances, citing it as a great way of displaying their online reputation. Instead of ranking users by star rating, the new version of Peeple works more like a LinkedIn profile, though is somewhat more personal. Users sign up using their full names and phone numbers and linking to their Facebook accounts. Once registered, users are asked for three words to describe themselves: their occupation, interest and passion. Users collect references from employers, friends, colleagues and even ex-partners, using Peeple to showcase their personality to prospective employers, acquaintances and even dates. With the new version of the app, nothing can be said anonymously, with names and profiles attached to reviews, but is it really safe to use?

One thing to be kept in mind with any social media site, is that its policies are subject to change, and these can change overnight. Whereas today, an app may pledge that reviews won’t go live without the user’s approval, tomorrow could be a different story, and the internet has a long memory.

Reputation Defender and its parent company help over a million users worldwide to create and maintain healthy online reputations. Reputation Defender advocate building both personal and business profiles to create a positive online presence. The art to online reputation management is making sure that the top results returned by Google reflect positively on you. By being proactive and maintaining a strong online presence, you’re in the best possible place to deflect any critical or negative search results. Here at Reputation Defender, we work with both corporate clients and private individuals to boost their online presence, improving the profitability of their business or employment prospects in the process.

Could the Peeple app have a part to play in managing your online reputation? At Reputation Defender we do recommend that clients are proactive when it comes to claiming their online identity. By claiming your name on social media sites you’re potentially stopping someone of the same name (and possibly a less enviable reputation), popping up in Google when potential employers/customers run an online search of your name, or worse, imposters passing themselves off as you.

Though Peeple’s creators bill it as a “positivity app”, since it’s watering down, it seems to be suffering from an identity crisis. In its first week on the market, the Peeple app has received a paltry 1.5 star rating from 142 reviewers in the Apple App Store. The concept of amalgamating users’ professional and personal lives is a somewhat curious endeavor, many find confusing, if not downright dangerous. Though it’s great to show a bit of personality to impress prospective employers/potential customers by showing details of charitable endeavors, hobbies and creative projects, do we really want to present them with the intimate details of our love lives?

4 Great Companies That Absolutely Know Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing allows customers to find a brand easier, to know their services and products and also to be familiar with their website and drawn by the interesting content being provided there. This marketing fulfills the needs of customers from the comfort of their home or place of employment, all through the web or applications in mobile devices. It is paramount to create great channels of communication with users and to be able to anticipate their needs as far as information they require and products they may wish to acquire.

Inbound marketing and online reputation go hand to hand, since it is expected of a brand to work on quality content that is supported by the demands of their products and a great customer support network. One must know that managing online reputation in a positive way is a consequence of good quality content and sufficient information online that will attract, involve and please users, thus turning them from curiosity to loyalty to the brand. There are companies out there that excel at this, and here we have some examples of some companies that make a great use of inbound marketing.

Starbucks.

Starbucks is an American coffee company and coffeehouse chain. Founded in 1971 in Seattle, Washington. The brand beckons to friendship, a sense of peace and tranquility. It allures to the consumption of coffee while spending quality time with family and loved ones. The well-known coffee chain has effectively created an emotional connection with its customers. Starbucks formula owes its success to the ability to innovate, great care of their employees and customers alike and their quality and care for coffee. A great online reputation grows alongside satisfied customers always wanting for more. This company is able to offer a gratifying experience to their customers at their stores while maintaining an excellent upkeep within their website and their online presence. To date the company has received nearly 34 million Facebook likes. The company also launched a mobile app that generated $110 million in sales loaded on customers’ Starbucks cards through mobile transactions.

Sewickley Academy, Edgeworth, Pennsylvania.

A great example of inbound marketing is being shown right at their Pinterest account. This school is very clear on how they should advice parents and that’s how they have earned their trust: anticipating the content they are looking for and what’s interesting to them, thus showing them why, this is the best place for their children’s education. Their blogs contain many articles with tips, orientation, new techniques and innovative alternatives to teaching methods especially directed towards parents, but their content is not only related to education, they also cater to the parent’s own interests such as cooking, the home, technology, business, etc. This is without a doubt an innovative approach to run their school and to draw more families into having their children go there. They use inbound marketing techniques to increase their enrollment and have been quite successful at doing it.

TESCO PLC.

Tesco PLC is a British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England. TESCO is well versed in inbound marketing and how to make this strategies give their brand a great efficiency. They manage a great blog with an immense amount of content, here customers have the possibility of finding inspiration for home projects, decorating ideas and even DIY projects for children using materials they can find right at home. They also have money-saving tips and how to distribute your shopping in efficient ways. On top of all this, the information is not only useful for homeowners and customers, but their content is easy on the eyes and simple to navigate due to their excellent content management.

Image courtesy of Jon Gos at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Jon Gos at Flickr.com

GoPro.

GoPro is an American manufacturer of high-definition action cameras, often used in extreme-action videography and “Be a hero” is the motto they utilize to motivate the use of their amazing cameras. Their product is light and compact, perfect for fast shooting and precision. Their YouTube channel has references to their products; it contains customer videos experiencing the cameras to show their quality and durability. They have paved the road for the gathering of a huge community in which people share their own GoPro experience. Their web page is full of information to know more about their cameras, stores and authorized dealers. The content reflects user experiences and testimonials of what the brand means to them. They motivate the user to travel, to get involved with extreme sports or any type of activity that can use a GoPro camera. In the video section, you can see a huge number of content made by users telling their own stories and thus contributing to the growth of the brand and the wider reach of the company, all being done by customers themselves.  

Image courtesy of Rockin'Rita at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Rockin’Rita at Flickr.com

What is online defamation and how do I stop it?

Online defamation can take numerous forms: from misleading news stories to leaked information, embarrassing posts on social media sites, targeted harassment and cyber stalking to identity theft and fraud. Reputation Defender recommend a proactive stance when it comes to your online reputation: it’s easy to be defamed online and your best defence is having a robust online presence to start with. It’s a lot easier to bury any negativity in the back pages of Google if you have a sound online reputation to start with.

Online Defamation in the UK

Royal Courts of Justice online defamation

Royal Courts of Justice – Sign (Rob Farrow) / CC BY-SA 2.0

 

You may be able to sue a person who makes a defamatory statement about you which damages your reputation, or at least take steps to force its removal and prevent them from repeating it. British Judge, Lord Atkin, defined the concept of a defamatory statement as one which injures a person’s reputation by exposing them to ridicule, contempt or hatred, or lowers that person in public perception. Insults and abuse are not necessarily defamation. To be actionable, the statement must cause actual harm to the claimant’s reputation.

A defendant must “publish” a statement to a third person to be held culpable. This can be either verbally (known as slander) or in writing (libel). Publishing defamatory remarks in written form can be incredibly damaging, with the potential for far-reaching, long-lasting effects, particularly in business. A recent survey of top professionals and executives from some of the world’s leading companies revealed that over 90% regarded corporate reputation as the single greatest strategic risk to any business, its importance surpassing that of competition, economic trends and business models for the very first time.

Henry Ristuccia, global leader of governance, risk and compliance for Deloitte, recently indicated that the rise in reputation as a prime strategic risk is a reaction the several well documented high profile reputation crises. Ristuccia pointed out that bad news spreads more quickly than good, reaching a wider audience more easily, with the potential for negative press to tarnish the digital footprint of a brand forever. Big or small, businesses stand to lose a lot from bad press, particularly smaller companies that don’t have big budgets and teams of specialists on hand to help out with a potential reputational crisis. Online reputation management companies like Reputation Defender have come to the fore in recent years as the internet plays a bigger and bigger role in our lives, helping both corporate customers and private individuals to show themselves in their best possible light online.

Sean Penn
Image courtesy of Sachyn Mital via Creative Commons

Several high profile defamation suits have hit news headlines, including actor Sean Penn’s $10 million suit against the co-creator of the Fox series Empire, Lee Daniels. If a celebrity wants to mitigate damage caused by online rumours, falsehoods and innuendo, a defamation suit can be an effective tool, not to mention a deterrent to others. Classical violinist turned Olympic athlete Vanessa Mae was recently awarded damages for defamation after race fixing allegations.

More sinister variations of online defamation include internet “trolls” setting up fake accounts in the name of their victims. Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (known as the CPS) created new Social Media Guideline legislation in 2012 to deal with the rise in online abuse as well as newly emerging forms of cyber-crime. Recognising the harm cyber abuse can cause, particularly to the young and vulnerable, the CPS is continuing to adapt its Social Media Guidelines to in response to ever-evolving threats online. Internet trolls, who previously went unpunished, now run the risk of criminal sanctions in the United Kingdom.

In 2015, the CPS released an annual report entitled Violence Against Women and Girls, identifying numerous ways in which social media is being used as a tool for harassment, blackmail, online stalking and grooming, which the CPS correlate directly to a rise in violent crime against women. The increase in cases which involved social media harassment was cited by the CPS as one of the main reasons for its review of Social Media Guidelines. The CPS pointed out that they are also alarmed by a rise in new cyber crimes, and aim to help British prosecutors to tackle these head on.

Alison Saunders, the UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions, pointed out the importance of addressing these new methods of perpetrating online abuse. In a press release, Ms Saunders said that it is vital for prosecutors to examine the bigger picture when considering evidence, and look at both the online and offline behaviour of a defendant. Online abuse can be incredibly childish, but can be deeply upsetting, disruptive and frightening for the victim.

Some of the more malicious forms of online abuse include spyware on ex-partners, as well as the creation of fake social media accounts used to impersonate the victim and post defamatory content. The new CPS Guidelines address these issues, laying down criminal sanctions against perpetrators. There remain grey areas, such as the handling of perpetrators too young to comprehend the potential consequences of their actions, but the new legislation is seen by many in the British legal system as a step in the right direction in keeping up with the ever-changing face of online defamation.