How Can Social Media Help Business Strategy?

Social media is one of the most important, fastest growing parts of the internet. This term loosely refers to platforms and apps that allow users to create and share content, whilst at the same time participate in social networking. At first glance, social media might seem to be geared toward private individuals, but more and more businesses are finding these platforms to be a vital marketing asset.

Professional social media pages are key in any reputation management strategy. At Reputation Defender we help company brands to boost their online profile by improving search rankings and presenting a positive cohesive brand message. Official social media profiles are a target page one result, as well as a place to promote other content.

Social Media for Business

Business focused social media is all about using social channels to connect and engage with customers and build long term relationships. Of the many social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most important for focusing an initial business strategy.

The social media audience is vast. Globally, 1.55 billion people use Facebook per month; about 72 percent of all people active on the internet. Of these, 70 percent say they interact on a daily basis. By contrast, only 38 percent of Twitter users and 22 percent of LinkedIn account holders are active daily. None the less, Twitter is one of the most popular microblogging platforms with 341 million active monthly users, whilst LinkedIn is largely seen as the most official social media business directory.

Facebook

A business Facebook profile offers a chance to interact with customers on a personal level via a trusted platform. Followers will begin to see the business in the same way they view their friends. They’ll look forward to regular posts that are genuine and thoughtful.

At the same time, Facebook offers a way for new clients to find out important details about your business such as location, history and contact info. It’s important to claim your brand name as a keyword and link back to the company website through your business profile. You can also add a “Like us on Facebook” button to the company website. Facebook will offer different templates depending on the type of business to let you target the audience you want to reach.

Many Facebook features are designed to make the platform accessible and useful for business purposes. Call to action buttons introduced in 2014 offer suggestions for customer activity such as “contact us”, “book now” or “sign up.” One click will take the client straight to the desired page, so this is a very effective way of driving traffic to your website. Typical business posts can share brand-based videos, images and blog articles. A Facebook page can also be used to advertise a special offer or promote client feedback. Sponsored advertising campaigns disseminate material even more efficiently and ensures that all followers see all your posts, while Facebook Analytics will help to pinpoint your current activity level and target improvement.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter can be used to interact with customers, promote material and increase awareness for your product. A business profile should promote the business name, target an important keyword and link back to the official company website. A logo and other professional images can give the account a more personal touch.

Tweets can be leveraged for business purposes by promoting a specific marketing message. Tools such as TweetDeck and Periscope allow for multimedia tweets, while the hashtag system targets a specific topic zone. Like Facebook, Twitter offers paid advertising for businesses that want to maximize the marketing aspect of their account and Twitter Analytics offers tools for analyzing strategies and measuring success.

LinkedIn

As a professional networking site, LinkedIn carries more authority than Facebook or Twitter. This platform offers the opportunity to connect with colleagues and industry leaders, recruit potential employees and gain referrals. Managers will need a personal page to set up a business profile on LinkedIn, so this is the perfect opportunity to build your own career along with the company’s reputation. A Premium Account offers enhanced opportunities for profile viewing and targeted searches.

Like Facebook and Twitter, a business profile on LinkedIn should include all the company’s details and link back to the website. LinkedIn allows several different administrators, so it’s easy to delegate account management tasks to other employees. Showcase Pages on LinkedIn lets you target additional keywords and highlight specific company products and services. You can also post job applications and send targeted email marketing.

Fine-tune Your Profiles

In contrast to traditional advertising, social media is about connecting personally with customers whilst sharing the brand message. Especially on Facebook and Twitter, it’s important to strike a balance between promotion and providing genuinely interesting content that will make people want to follow your page.

  • Keep advertising in check – Out of 7 posts, only 1 should be obviously promotional.
  • Ask questions – Find out which industry related topics interest your followers the most.
  • Post fun facts – You’ll gain authority and help clients learn more about what you do.
  • Provide valuable tips – People will keep following to learn more.
  • Offer rewards – Organize a contest or offer points for virtual check-ins at your business.

A dedicated group of social media followers is a valuable reputational asset for any business. It increases customer retention and provides a long term client base which will help to counteract negative publicity in the future.

How Can I Get People To View My Website?

Getting people to view your website is a vital part of any internet marketing campaign and also an important ORM tactic. A high organic click through rate (CTR) translates into conversions that will boost the company’s client base. While CTR isn’t formally listed as one of Google’s direct algorithmic ranking factors, it does indirectly affect the SERP and helps to determine whether a website will hold its place at the top of the search page.

Reputation Defender’s online brand promotion services include a wide range of strategies that will drive up traffic to your company’s official site. There are multiple reasons why people may be directed to your site, from finding it on a search page, to hearing it mentioned on social media, or seeing your name on a conference flyer.

Here are some of the ways to create buzz around your company site:

Become a Social Media Expert

Official social media profiles are a must for any company interested in developing an online profile. Once these pages are created, use them to generate activity and direct people back to your website.

  • Start with the basics – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and of course Google+.
  • Share articles – It’s important to share blog articles and other brand content.
  • Share pictures – Profiles on Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest are good places to upload images that can be shared on other pages.
  • Include video content – Post videos to YouTube and share them on social media sites. Use Periscope and Facebook Live to incorporate a live feed to your page.
  • Create content that is innately shareable – Use SlideShare or design infographics that maximize the visual impact of the message.
  • Add links – Make sure there is a website link on all social media profiles.
  • Call to action – Adding these buttons on Facebook and other social platforms will let you direct traffic to a specific action page.
  • Add social sharing buttons on blog articles and website pages – This will encourage people to link to your content on their own pages.
  • Re-share articles – Don’t assume all followers have seen an article after one share. Buffer and Edgar are 2 apps that will automatically re-share content at scheduled times.
  • Do a “Share Exchange” – Reach out to a similar sized account and offer to share their content (including a website link) if they will return the favor. This can open up reach to a whole new audience.
  • Don’t forget about these sites:
  • Quora – Generate material by answering questions that relate to your industry.
  • Reddit – There are a lot of rules against spamming on Reddit but if you take the time to build a profile that’s known for posting genuine and informative content, there can be a big payoff in site traffic. Once you have a following, try showing off your expertise by hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session.
  • Product Hunt – Submit a physical or digital product to Product Hunt’s “list of cool new things”.
  • Lesser known social media – Tumblr, Snapchat, Buzznet, WhatsApp, About.me etc.
Target Your Email Audience

There’s a narrower exposure window but email can still be an important way of gaining regular customers who visit your site often.

  • Email outreach – Send targeted emails about new products on your site and include a link.
  • Embedded link – Put a website link in your email signature.
  • Autoresponder – Add a link and an invitation to find out more on the company website.
Get the Company in the News

If your brand is in the news regularly, people will start to recognize it as an authority.

  • Pitch an interesting new product – Blogs are always looking for good stories. They may be thrilled to learn about something that would interest their audience and you will subsequently gain exposure.
  • Google News – If the site puts out regular updates, you may be able to register it a news source with Google. There are specific content rules here, since Google is resistant to news releases that are basically marketing, but sites that comply will gain a big audience.
  • HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – Sign up to be interviewed as an expert in your industry and link to the article on your website and social profiles.
Convert Offline Contacts

In person, contacts can turn into website traffic when people go online to learn more about your business or product. Here are some ways to make this happen:

  • Business cards – Create a personal or brand business card that includes your company’s website address.
  • Posters – Display the website address prominently in all physical locations.
  • Pass out promotional gifts – Hand out pens, stickers or tote bags bearing the company logo and website.
  • Build a mailing list – Ask face-to-face customers for their email.
  • Network – Attend an industry related conference. Share information about the conference on social media pages and write an article about your experience. You could even offer to sponsor relatable events.
  • Help customers get to know you – Organize a workshop or conference where people can learn more about your product and how to use it.

Generating fresh website traffic will be an ongoing campaign. It begins with generating interest in the brand through genuine content and personal interaction. It is then important to give clear and easy directions to additional information via the company’s website. Use a variety of platforms, as suggested in the list above, to give the company the best chance of connecting with the most people. For more help with building an effective campaign, contact our online marketing experts at Reputation Defender.

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609

WhatsApp’s Sharing Data – What Do the Changes Mean for Users?

WhatsApp recently updated its user agreement and the new policy is raising questions. Since it was created in 2010, the instant message app has maintained a strong commitment to user privacy, with ad-free messaging that doesn’t track users. The company continues to assure users that privacy is a cornerstone of its platform, but the new policy allows for closer integration with Facebook, and opens the way for more business related messaging on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp became a part of the Facebook family of companies in 2014, but this is the first time the connection will be reflected in the app’s privacy policy. WhatsApp has not updated its privacy settings since 2012, so it’s not surprising to see changes. Some elements of the new policy do even more to assure privacy for personal messaging; others indicate a move to increase revenue generation without adding direct advertising. We want to make sure all our clients at Reputation Defender fully understand what they are agreeing to when they accept the new terms of use agreement, so here is a breakdown of the major changes and how they could affect you.

4 Changes in the New Policy

      • Number Sharing With Facebook – This feature has caused the most concern, given that Facebook is known for collecting a lot of information about its users. However, WhatsApp claims it will only be sharing specific information such as phone numbers and the last time of use. Messages and photos should remain one hundred percent private. The purpose of this feature is to “fight spam and abuse” on WhatsApp, as well as to improve targeted advertising on Facebook. WhatsApp number sharing is expected to make Facebook’s friend suggestion lists more relevant and raise the chances that users see ads related to businesses they want to know about. For now, there is an opt-out control for existing users as described in a later section of this article.
      • Third-Party Messaging – This is likely to bring changes to the way WhatsApp is used, moving it from a personal messaging platform to one where users receive all kinds of business notifications. WhatsApp is looking at adding third party business communication over the next several months. This will mostly include automatic notifications you would likely receive anyway, such as appointment confirmations, updates on an online order status, or changes to a flight you’ve already booked. Companies now send these messages via a variety of different platforms, including email, text messages, or even a phone call. By contracting with these third parties, WhatsApp hopes to collect all these notifications in one place to make it easier and simpler for users to find them. Limited data sharing may also take place with third parties, such as a record of the articles you’ve shared amongst WhatsApp contacts. As WhatsApp admitted in a blog post, this is an effort to make the business model generate revenue without actually adding direct advertising.
      • End-to-End Encryption – This element of the new privacy policy is geared toward users who have relied on WhatsApp as one of the most secure, private, ad-free platforms to carry out private messaging. Adding encryption makes messages even more secure, since they won’t be decoded until they reach the sender and won’t be stored on WhatsApp’s servers. This assures users that even though there will be some third party sharing, the company is still dedicated to delivering messages privately and securely. Messages that are not delivered will be deleted within thirty days, however content that is shared multiple times, such as popular videos, photographs and articles, may be retained for longer.
      • Copyright Crackdown – WhatsApp’s new policy also includes a stricter approach to copyrighted material. This is aimed at preventing fake profiles. Using someone else’s name or profile picture will now be considered a copyright violation. This could also apply to videos and copyrighted images, however the chances that this type of contact would be reported are still low.

Opt out of Number Sharing With Facebook

There’s currently an option for existing users who want to opt out of having their phone number shared with Facebook. This can be done in one of two ways. When users receive notification of the new privacy policy, instead of just clicking “Agree,” they should click on “Read.” This will display a checked-box next to an agreement allowing the new Facebook sharing policy. By unchecking the box, users can permanently disable this feature. According to WhatsApp there is no option for users to go back and choose the sharing policy once they have unchecked this box.

Users who have already agreed to the new sharing policy still have thirty days to go back and uncheck the box. This can be done by clicking on “Settings,” then “Account,” and going to “Share my account info.” This will display the same checked box enabling number sharing and the same option to disable the feature by unchecking the box.

This opt-out choice is comforting for existing users who have relied on the security of WhatsApp. However it will not be available to anyone who signs up after the new policy was put in place, or to users who’ve agreed to the new policy for more than thirty days.

Is WhatsApp Secure?

WhatsApp seems to have made changes that allow for limited data sharing in order to improve the business model and make the company more profitable. However given that messages are encrypted and not stored, the app still remains one of the most secure platforms for sending private messages. Users should be prepared to see more advertising-like material in the coming months, but it’s still likely that the spam level will remain below that of most other social media companies.

Why ORM is the best way to boost your musician career

Today is a fact that all individuals, companies and brands are considered search terms in search engines. Artists in the music industry are no exception, considering the tremendous presence they have in the collective mind. Although it sounds sad, the good quality of their music is not the only guarantee of their success. In fact, what is said about music artists in the social media, online reviews, news and search engines results can attract more fans than their own technical and performative skills on stage. The online reputation of artists, as well as for large companies, influential politicians, celebrities and other public figures, is now considered as a need in terms of marketing. Not only for cleaning the bad reputation that may be available in forums, reviews and social media, but to boost their positive image and reach more fans.

Related: Why celebrities should stop lying and what to do instead.

There are interesting cases in the history of music in which, on the contrary, the bad reputation of artists (deliberately created) is the determining factor of their distinctions. A good example is Willie Colon, one of the founders of La Fania All Stars, a salsa pioneer, together with Hector Lavoe, Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz and Ruben Blades, among others. Back in the 70’s, when the band was just taking off, Colon and other members of La Fania wanted to project the “Bad-Latino-Boy” image to grab the attention of new fans. To this end, they made false “wanted” FBI posters and distributed them all over Queens. It aroused the curiosity of people and helped to fill their concerts when everyone realized it was a very creative joke.

Image courtesy of Carlos Rodríguez at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Carlos Rodríguez at Flickr.com

But this is an exception to the general rule. Bad press is not always helpful to promote the career of an artist; in fact, it is a shot in the foot most part of the times because it closes a huge percentage of performing opportunities. A good example of the consequences of a bad reputation in the music industry is Phil Anselmo, former lead singer of Pantera, a Groove Metal band from the US. The musician, during a concert in honor of a dead Pantera member (the guitar player “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott), did a Nazi salute and shouted “White power!” to the crowd. After a negative wave of criticism from fans and other musicians, Anselmo apologized in public and said that the joke was about the white wine they were drinking that night. A joke or not, the point is that such fact drove him to ostracism, because he lost many chances to perform live, and, of course, the respect of thousands of fans.

Description: Former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo offers his apologies for a Nazi salute and “white power” shout joke at the Dimbash event on January 22 2016.

The tough truth of these situations is that Internet never forgets. Someone who has committed a mistake like Anselmo’s, there are only two options in order to Improve his online reputation: (1) to behave well for a long time and change the public perception through good deeds and charity work, like Bono, from U2. (2) Hiring an Online Reputation Management specialized company like Reputation Defender, and then cleaning the stains in less time. While the first option is free, it takes a long time and there are no guaranteed results. However, the second one, is faster, more efficient, and not only helps to delete the bad reputation of artists from the public eye, but allows them to control their image on Internet in the way they wish.

So, what can you do for improving your online reputation as a musician? The first step is understanding the concept of online reputation, and what kind of elements it involves. When we talk about online reputation, we talk about any kind of information we can find in search results about individuals, companies, brands, etc., when we type for specific search terms. In the music world, search terms may be the name of a drummer, the name of a band, the name of a music subgenre, a record label, etc. Online reputation also includes videos on YouTube, Amazon reviews, Facebook fan pages and similar. Some of this information is good, but in the most part of the cases, the search results of the two first pages of search engines don’t include positive online reputation results; not negative, though, but neutral information that does not help artists in terms of marketing.

In second place, thinking in who do you want to be online is as important as building the concept of your own band or music project. It’s like choosing the music genre you adopt. In third place, you must be willing to work every day in this task, because building the online reputation you are looking for will demand a lot of work (one that is worth at least). Create a good profile, write an attention-grabbing bio, upload high-quality pictures, open accounts in every possible social network, start an active and permanently updated blog (you can include news about tours, albums, castings, etc.) Use ORM software like Hootsuite for being aware of what are they saying about you and your band online, and act in consequence. After that, you should get some good reviews in online magazines and always, always, always spend time to interact with fans.

6 Ways to Reduce Negative Comments About Your Business

Public relations crises happen. It’s not possible to please everyone all the time and every business will eventually face someone who is unhappy. Unfortunately many disgruntled customers voice their feelings in a manner that can threaten to damage the company’s reputation permanently, including publishing negative comments online.

There are ways to reduce the number of dissatisfied clients and negative comments in any business. Basically, providing good service will make your customers happy and keep negative publicity from becoming an endemic problem. Additionally, how you respond to criticism can decide whether it turns into a major or a minor issue. This isn’t a substitute for the kind of online reputation management we do at ReputationDefender ®, but it will make it much easier to get your online publicity back on track with minimal effort.

Here are six specific ways to increase client satisfaction.

  • Respond in a timely manner

    The majority of customer complaints are due to slow response times. If a client sends an email and three days later they haven’t heard from you, they’re likely to take to the internet in frustration. You can avoid this by setting clear guidelines for response times. 24-48 hours is appropriate depending on your email volume, but make sure this is clearly indicated next to your contact information. A simple response indicating the email is being processed can help let customers know they are a priority. On social media, customers expect an even quicker answer. 1 hour to be exact.

  • Practice good communication

    Responding to your customer’s needs will facilitate every type of interaction. This includes effective communication, whether it’s online or in person. Good listening is a skill that is typically thought of in terms or personal relationships, but it’s just as necessary in a business setting. Active listening will help to build trust by making the client feel you care. You’ll also be able to tailor your services more specifically to their needs. Building a strong communication platform at the beginning of the relationship will make it easier to handle difficult issues as the work progresses.

  • Use every day language

    The client enlisted your services in a specialist area because they lack this expertise themselves. If you use jargon and acronyms specific to your field, they’ll likely feel confused about what you really mean. Speaking plain English whenever possible will help the client understand what you are doing. It’s important to sound knowledgeable, but avoid talking down to a client. Remember they are also an expert in their own field.

  • Meet deadlines

    There’s really no good reason for missing a deadline after the fact. If the timeline for resolving an issue becomes impossible, this should be communicated to a client well beforehand. Describe what happened that made the work take longer and set a more reasonable deadline.

  • Take responsibility

    Blaming a specific employee or team won’t clear your company’s reputation since you hired and trained these people. It’s better to present a united front and let the company as a whole take responsibility for the issue. A general statement indicating that internal changes are being made to address the issue is appropriate, but clients don’t need to know the specifics of who’s at fault.

  • Don’t get angry at negative comments

    Your business is personal but keeping a cool head is essential. If a customer is posting negative comments to simply antagonise you, it is better to not take the bait. Social media fails and wins have massive potential to go viral so proceed carefully. If you have done all you can and feel that you aren’t getting anywhere in your attempts to make amends, avoid escalation by disengaging from the argument.

    You can now read Reputation Defender’s new blog post on the importance of online reviews and learn how positive online feedback can help to promote your business.

In the middle of a reputation crisis? Call us:

UK E-mail: uksales@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (+44) 800 131 0700

US E-mail: support@reputationdefender.com

Tel: (888) 851-9609