I’m live blogging a reputation management session at SphinnCon Israel. The moderator is Vannesa Fox (ninebyblue). The speakers are Shira Abel (Abel Communications), Sam Michaelson (Fiveblocks), Dan Gerstenfeld (Interteam), and Gil Reich (Answers.com).
Shira Abel: How to Control the Noise (and deal with a management reputation problem)
Look at rep management issue as an opportunity. Companies and individuals are often judged by how they handle the issue and control the noise. The Lower Merion school system installed webcams in the laptops of students, and people found out about it, and the news media went crazy. What should they have done? Think about breaking the story themselves. Do something immediately after the story breaks – silence costs reputation and trust. They should have given out as much info as possible…but they didn’t. If there is more information and noise coming from one side, then that side will win in reputation.
Gil Reich: How to use Q and A sites to build your reputation
Engage others. Create value. Be memorable. Bring friends.
Example: Best Buy Metals. Owner joins Yahoo! Answers and give out useful info, then talks about himself, then gives more useful info. As long as you are contributing value, you can get some self-promotion out of it. Other Yahoo! Answers searchers will see the answer and get value from it. Yahoo! Answers are also searched by Google – turns out that his answer is ranked #2 for this specific question.
Another example: give a lot of good quality, targeted answers to build up reputation in a competitive market. One guy’s answers are ranked very high in shopping because he answered a lot of questions about a specific product niche.
Answers sites: Yahoo! Answers is largest ranked (43 mil), WikiAnswers, then Linkedin Answers (for whole site).
Q & A Sites: Community Q & A sites get about 100 million unique visitors/month from the US alone.There are both consumer and B2B sites, many sites allow multiple answers, some are wiki sites, some have questions open for days and best answers are selected (opportunity for more traffic if your answer is selected), and consider horizonal vs. niche answers sites. Niche sites are stackoverflow, wikianswers. Aardvark is another one. Yedda is an Israeli site.
How to become an answer god: Ask questions, answer questions with useful questions, interact and follow-up when you’ve answered or asked, don’t lose control and remember everything is listed by google…forever.
Quick ROI Analysis – answering questions at 7 mins per answer is a lower cost/conversion than cost/conversion on a successful PPC campaign. Over 90% of people who use business Q & A find it useful for business-survey results. (This is my favorite quote: “if there are A-listers in the industry you are stalking, then you can use Q & A to attract their attention.”)
Dan Gerstenfeld: 67% of top executives regard their company’s online reputation as vulnerable. How would you want your company to be presented in a crisis situation? Take control of the situation by putting info on it on your website: answer questions, give information (positive and negative), and the SERP results will reflect how you are proactively handling the issue.
How to be proactive? Define an overall PR and social media marketing strategy. Adopt a hands-on approach with good listening tools and handle all responses yourself. Be proactive. Network with others online. Create a place online that people know about, that people will know where to go to if a crisis breaks out. Optimize your content online.
Sam Michaelson: Reputation Management Pitfalls for the client and the service provider
Client pitfalls: biggest thing that clients do wrong is not being prepared in advance. Look at the names of people in the company – and buy the domains of their names as well as the defensive use of the names (such as thispersonsucks.com). Own your own name! Make sure you own your own keywords and properties related to the top ten search results.
Another pitfall: Clients forget to use simple means when they are available, such as calling someone to take down the bad info if you know the person. Sometimes it’s that easy!
Service Provider Pitfalls: Really bad to optimize pages that have comments on them because you never know what the next comment will say. Optimizing pages that might change (news sites, wikipedia). Don’t forget to take control of the top ten sites…bad things may be coming. Not setting clear expectations may be a problem – you will always get a client coming back after months thinking you’re giving them poor results. Not optimizing sites you build into top spots. Missing what the client really wants. Misunderstanding the perception of your role.
A few conclusions:
1. Have a reputation management plan and be proactive.
2. How you handle a reputation management issue affects how people see you in search engine results.
3. Think about a Q & A answers strategy to build your reputation AND rank for search engine results.
4. There are a lot of missed opportunities and pitfalls in brand management – avoid the big pitfalls.