Good morning. We are live blogging, this session from Salon C @ the Las Vegas Convention Center, PubCon 2008. Because it is live, there is no editorial/proofing process and raw notes will be posted. Welcome to SEORoundTable's coverage.
Managing a brand on the Web can be a complicated rubrics cube of variables. It's a double edge sword. Factor in the peculiar Tao of social media, forums, blogs and chat--and your brand may be at risk or on the verge of massive success. These speakers are talking about migrating from the "traditional" brand management world, in this tricky marketing environment. The Moderator is Joe Laratro
Jessica L Bowman, Founder & President, SEOinhouse.com says you need a consistent customer experience. Physical stores, online customer support, local news, national news, Twitter, social media, Facebook, bloggers, user-generated content like YouTube and Flickr, branding is about controlling across all. messages.
Customers With Power and Knowledge It's called a "halo" and traditional approaches don't deal with over half of the channels that comprise a customer's experience. Users are getting involved in your brand, like it or not. As an example, public complaints are now way too easy and customers' bad (and good) experiences reverberate all around the halo, banging off of every channel. With Yelp and a Blackberry, a public rant can now be posted real time, before a customer's anger has subsided.Virgin Atlantic fired 13 employees for using fake names on Facebook and indulging in (probably not malicious) "venting," which corporate obviously did not find acceptable.
Train all customer touch points on how to handle customers, especially those who will go post things online. Establish the boundaries and rules by adding guidelines for online commenting and blogging to your employee handbook Allow employees to access social media sites to monitor what's happening Hate List For Really Pissed Off Consumers (if they had time and know-how) they could easily:
Make comments at Yahoo and Google Comment at your blog Twitter Updates, which push out to Facebook Adwords ad with their complaint, where the primary purpose is to get the attention of a VP who can instill an actual change. If on a tight budget, they might geo-targeted the ad so it only appears in the city to executives of the company --- Lauren Vaccarello, Director of Publishing, Forex Capital Markets LLC, will give tips for maintaining and defending your brand
Defensive Tactics (Best offense is a good defense) Get the best players. Buy domains around your target keywords and brand name. Make sure to own www.myBrandSucks.com and yourCEOsname.com. Register your brand name on social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook Groups and a naymz profile. Know what your competitors are doing and if anyone is bidding on your branded keywords.
Keep an eye on your key players by creating competitor alerts on brand name and key personel. She endorsed Andy Beal's TrackUr a reputation monitoring tool. Monitor everything, Tiwtter is great place for people to connect and interact. It is also a great place for people to complain. She recommends TweetPro as and advanced build out for Twitter.
Companies like Verizon are finding customer dissatisfaction "opportunities," by quickly responding to public complaints on Twitter. The experience has resulted, not only in avoiding a PR problem, but turning the customer who originally levied the complaint to an advocate in a blog post. Respond to negative mentions quickly
Brian Combs, Senior VP & Chief Futurist, Apogee Search is talking about how to "handle" a Yahoo or Google problem. Before you have a problem, dedicate resources to online customer service. Monitor online conversations and use consistent naming conventions. Create and propagate multiple sites. Upon finding a problem, engage and attempt to diffuse. It's always possible to turn a detractor into a fan. Don't be defensive or attempt to strong arm, as you'll only make it worse.
Don't engage with trolls and Internet tough guys. Take it offline if possible. If all else fails, block the user. Scrub listings by "taking up more shelf space" in the SERPs. Use sub domains, product sites, international domains, social media, articles on third party sites, blended search or microsites. The content MUST be unique and the sites may require link building
Wikipedia is a risky technique as it can backfire if you violate TOS by submitting yourself. Don't recommend evil tactics like Google Bowling. Reputation problems are easier to prevent than to fix Customer service 101: engage and don't be defensive. If you must scrub the listings, take a diversified approach in multiple channels.
Tony Wright, CEO/Founder, WrightIMC He is telling a story about Paris TX. It's about a gay elementary school Principal, a vindictive lover, hot-headed small town assistant District Attorney. Topix pulled the post down but could 't keep it down. The assistant DA was reprimanded for threatening violence and almost lost his job (probably should have). DA sought a reputation management specialist but didn't hire him because of cost. The post found a home on Topix and in the minds the voting public. The assistance DA lost her job.
Responding in an emotional way, can ruin an online reputation. Sometimes responding makes it worse. If you are an employer, you need to have policies in place to keep employees from responding inappropriately. Threatening violence on the Internet can be dangerous, but most of the time it makes you look like and idiot.
Reputation, Influence and Branding Reputation, branding and influence are not the same thing, but are interconnected. Of the three, start working on reputation. The others will come if your reputation is good. Don't let good branding get in the way of a good reputation. Monitor your reputation. Create a formula for keeping your reputation solid. Deal with snags when they come.
Create a formula for online reputation. Consider, when evaluating threats, the reach of the venue, influence of the poster, tone of the content, follow-up on the post (watch for on-topic vs. off topic) and potential viral effects.
Marty Weintraub is President of aimClear, an Internet-focused advertising agency, specializing in reputation management.