#BeTactical: Start content monitoring! Not everyone will mention or tag you when sharing content. Without content monitoring, you'll miss valuable opportunities, @RNissenbaum, Speaker and consultant at Tactical Social Media

Why Haven’t You Started Content Monitoring?

Content Monitoring vs Brand Monitoring

A few weeks back I published an article on LinkedIn (updated here last week) asking people to stop monitoring for brand mentions.  Clearly, I don’t want you to stop.  You need to pay attention to what others are saying about you, when they’re saying it and where.  More importantly, you need to be aware that conversations are taking place about you and your brand yet many of them never mention your name.  Brand monitoring is only one aspect of your brand reputation management efforts.  If you aren’t monitoring for content mentions, you’re missing a critical component.

In my LinkedIn post, I pointed out the need for monitoring your content as a tool to catch theft and plagiarism.  I routinely monitor for phrases, keywords and article titles as well as my name, ‘Tactical Social Media’ and my branded hashtag #BeTactical. As a result, I caught an outright case of unauthorized use of my content and was able to take down the blog post and shares on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  Since neither I nor my brand was mentioned in the post, content monitoring was the ONLY way I could have found it.

Content monitoring goes a step further, however than just catching theft.

Why You Should Be Monitoring For Content in Social Media

Content Monitoring – Insights and Opportunities

Insights:  If you’re content monitoring, you gain valuable insights into what content is being shared. Content monitoring, combined with Google Analytics and social sharing metrics, provides a very clear picture of what content is best received, where it’s shared from (I contribute to a number of sites), where it’s being shared to, what’s driving viewers back and what other’s are saying about it.

With content monitoring, I know exactly what content to write on for future articles (though I still like to write as much on what I feel is important), what points to explore further and even if I need to rethink some of my ideas.  Insights gained help me tailor what I write based on the audience of a particular site or social channel.

Opportunities:  As I said earlier, not everyone will mention or tag you or your brand when sharing your articles.  Content monitoring prevents lost opportunities.  The fact that someone is shared your content is important.  They read it and liked what you had to say enough to pass it into their audience.  You want to leverage that fact.  You already have their attention.  You want to keep it. One of the best ways to do that is simply acknowledging them.  That’s hard to do if you don’t know they’ve shared or interacted with it in the first place.

While I would have caught shares of my article this morning even if I wasn’t content monitoring.  (It did hit for my brand as well as the blog title (‘Leveraging Facebook Authorship’), the only reason for that happening was due to an anomaly.  For this article, I included the brand name as part of the title for SEO purposes.  I normally do not as character length is limited.  What I would have lost missing this?

My article was initially shared twice on Twitter, once by Jose Javier Garde and once by Personal Branding, then reshared 5 more times.   In the end, the first share by Jose Javier Garde was favorited 12 times and ReTweeted 6 times.  That’s great exposure for my content.

#BeTactical: Start content monitoring! Not everyone will mention or tag you when sharing content.

I was able to favorite each of the initial shares and Tweet out a couple of ‘thank yous’.  While not saying ‘thank you’ isn’t necessarily being unsocial or unappreciative – the fact is most don’t – doing so makes you stand out.  Jose knows I appreciated his sharing my content.  That makes him more likely to follow my blog, get on my mailing list, follow my social profiles and share my content in the future.  That’s a huge relationship building opportunity as well as future visibility.

That simple thank you to Jose, however, actually generated some great exposure of its own.  It was favorited 9 times and ReTweeted 4 times!  Content monitoring generated some phenomenal visibility and huge relationship building opportunities.

#BeTactical: Start content monitoring! Not everyone will mention or tag you when sharing content. Without content monitoring, you'll miss valuable opportunities.

The Take-Away

In this case, and in several others I catch daily, while there is a huge upside to knowing my content had been reshared, not knowing wouldn’t have hurt me…at least financially. But what if the content shared was preceded by something negative? What if someone had tweeted a link to my content and stated the ‘author clearly doesn’t get social media’?

While I firmly believe you should respond to all interactions on your content (if they took the time to interact, the least you can do is acknowledge it), not responding to negative posts/reviews leaves your reputation at risk.

If you’re not content monitoring, why not?  

 

Social Media, workforce equality, employment screening. Image source: http://www.agent-x.com.au/comic/your-true-profile/

The Role Of Social Media In The Employment Process

Social Media & Employment Equality

This is a re-publication. This article was published to Social Media Today by Robert Nissenbaum, having originally appeared on his personal blog in December 2014

I normally write from the perspective of teaching how business owners need to think about leveraging social media to drive branding, sales and ultimately revenue. I want to switch that up a little and tackle another aspect of social media usage: how businesses use, or maybe shouldn’t use social media with respect to their employees and potential employees.

Social Media, workforce equality, employment screening. Image source: http://www.agent-x.com.au/comic/your-true-profile/

 

Social Media’s Role in the Employment Process

It’s been fairly common, and there have been a number of articles recently on employees being fired or suspended (including this one from Norton Healthcare) due to social media posting, but I am particularly thinking about social media as it applies to employment practices. What prompted the thought was a LinkedIn article I read on Title IX by Bill Wagner after hearing from a friend looking for work.

Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 and most commonly referenced with regard to its role in providing equal opportunities for women athletes in high schools and colleges. It was originally written to prevent gender discrimination in and educational programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. While gender couldn’t be used to discriminate in hiring practices, Bill mentioned in his article “It is generally accepted that a college education leads to a better paying career and more consistent employment.” The thought being that without the education (The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not cover gender discrimination with respect to education) women simply would be less qualified and therefore not hired on that basis, not their gender. Title IX, whether you agree or not that it has been successful or even positive, has been a critical cog, just as Affirmative Action has been, in driving workforce equality.

So how does this apply to social media? Social media and modern technology have the ability to undermine the workforce equality created by Title IX, Affirmative Action and similar laws. Prior to the rise of social networking sites employers had limited access to your personal information. Employers are restricted from asking a number of questions on an application or an interview. At least in the initial decision-making process, the most they could gather would be gender (unless you had an androgynous name) and possible age based on school graduation dates. The initial selection process came down to your experience and credentials.

The interview phase would reveal more but the risk for a discrimination suit becomes more likely depending on the number of candidates in the interview pool. By then the right skill set might override a personal mindset anyway. If you fall in love with an idea and then find a few flaws, you’re likely to overlook those flaws. See the flaws first and the idea dies immediately.

Social media and technology now provide employers the ability to see the flaws first. It should be common knowledge that what we post and how we respond affects our reputation. Many employers will admit to screening online profiles as part of an application process (and even after you’ve been hired). What they’re typically looking for is activity that would impact their reputation or yours (assuming you weren’t truthful on that resume). Most do a good job of keeping private details private – there have been plenty of lessons posted on what happens when you don’t.

While checking out your Facebook profile may not seem discriminatory in the employment process, what you have posted, especially with respect to Instagram, now the second place major social network where all images are public by default, can be used to discriminate. These posts and images reveal far more than just our gender. They can help better pinpoint our age (especially for those of us getting older), our ethnicity, our sexual preferences, whether we have a family or are starting one, our religion, our financial status….all small pieces that can enter into a first impression and a hiring decision even before seeing our qualifications.

I’ll add another thought to ponder. Video is a great way to stand out in a crowd of applicants. I have known individuals who submitted resumes online with links to a video on why they should be hired as well as YouTube videos tagging prospective employers. I think this is a great use of technology and social networking BUT….what if the employer requests, or in the case of a recent job announcement I saw, strongly recommend a video be sent to secure that interview?

While I fully believe the employer’s motive was to find the best person (public presentation was part of the job description and what better tool to weed out those that couldn’t present than a video) the underlying thought – a video reveals even more than the photograph. Now your dialect and several other factors are presented.  That makes video applications more open to affect hiring decisions on a basis other than qualifications.

Does social media affect employment decisions and workforce equality?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But it’s worth a discussion.  What’s your take?

Thanks again to Bill Wagner for the inspiration and collaboration.

Why Organic Facebook Reach Doesn't Matter

Why Organic Facebook Reach Doesn’t Matter

When it comes to Facebook brand pages, every discussion tends to center on organic reach.  You stress over how low the numbers are, how the latest algorithm will affect that figure, what you can do to improve it….but have you stopped to consider that how good or bad your organic reach is may not really be worth the worry?

To be clear, we’re not implying reach doesn’t matter at all.  It does and we’ve posted and will continue to post techniques for increasing it (The Facebook Organic Reach Solution), but you shouldn’t be running for the lifeboats to abandon ship or pull your hair out worrying about it.  Why?

 

Why Organic Facebook Reach Doesn't Matter

Reach Is A Poor Measure Of Overall Visibility

“Your post counts as reaching someone when it’s shown in News Feed.”   Simply put, reach fails to measure views when people see your content by going directly to your page or views when navigating directly to your post.  Facebook is only reporting a portion of the actual visibility your content is receiving!  Since your page and posts are public and there are multiple ways for your content to be seen, it’s a poor measure of overall visibility.

  • The Takeaway:  Low reach does not mean your post wasn’t seen.  It simply wasn’t seen in the news feed.
  • Food For Thought:  What are you doing to drive additional views to your page and content to compensate for low reach?  If it’s nothing, you’re wasting an opportunity to leverage Facebook’s audience.

Reach Is A Poor Measure Of Post Effectiveness

Low reach doesn’t tell us your post (content) was ineffective – just ineffective at making it into the news feeds of or being seen by your fans.  Likewise, high reach doesn’t mean your post was any more effective than one with minimal reach.

One of the best ways to leverage Facebook is for branding.  Normally, this is one area where you’d think more is better: more reach means greater visibility and therefore better branding.  BUT there’s a flaw in the thought process.  You need to take into account HOW reach was achieved.

Reach is a measure of views within the news feed but isn’t restricted to views of your original content.  It includes views from shares.  While shares do indicate the source of the content (Robert Nissenbaum via Tactical Social Media or Robert Nissenbaum shared Tactical Social Media‘s photo) which does provide some branding, do people pay attention to the original source?  More important – do they actually take the time to check out the source?  

As for any engagement resulting from the share, it isn’t necessarily with your brand.  It’s with the individual or brand who shared it!  (There is a technique for properly leveraging other people’s audiences to drive engagement and interaction with your brand.)  Shares may get great reach, but if you’re not getting engagement, page views or page likes, someone else is getting the benefit from your content, not you.  You have high reach but are you really reaching anyone?  

Sadly, outside of likes, it’s extremely difficult to measure the benefit of reach derived from content shares within Facebook.   Even tracking the referring source of a page like is difficult. There’s no way to know for sure if it was the result of a specific content piece.

To illustrate just how poor reach is as a measure of post effectiveness:

  • Our Facebook post on May 11th discussing on one of our tactical social media tips reached a pitiful 30 people ( with 7 likes, 6 comments, and 1 share).  That same post, however, generated 6 referrals to our blog resulting in 2 conversions (accessing our contact page) and a new subscriber to our e-newsletter.

From a reach perspective, the post performed poorly, yet it was clearly effective.

  • The week prior we ran a post on our Facebook page late on a Sunday evening (well outside the timeframe we’d expect to see any reach).  As of Monday morning, reach was at 5.  We then had it shared by one of our admins to their personal timeline.  The net result – a phenomenal reach of 256!  The downside – not 1 like or comment on our post.  All of the activity was on our admin’s post.  We saw no engagement, no new page likes, no traffic driven to our website.

From a reach perspective, the post performed amazingly well, yet it was clearly ineffective.  To be fair, the content wasn’t from a blog post designed to drive traffic as the goal was to illustrate a point (and past experience has shown sharing ‘quality content’ doesn’t raise reach as drastically and still results in only limited effectiveness).

Just to make sure we covered all bases, we did have the May 11th post referenced above shared by the same admin and, true to form, total reach only jumped by 35 and resulted in only 1 additional blog view.  Again, while reach more than doubled to a reasonable level, the post wasn’t any more effective.

  • The Takeaway:  High reach doesn’t mean your content was effective, just that it was seen by more eyes within the news feed.
  • Food For Thought:  Are you paying attention to where the reach is originating?  Are you getting engagement from the increased exposure?  Are you doing anything to try to drive more reach or engagement on your page?

 

A Better Measurement

Reach is a good benchmark, but our preferred (Facebook) measurement is engagement per reach. The old adage ‘work smarter, not harder’ is our prevailing thought here.  Given more reach doesn’t always translate to more engagement, we’d rather reach fewer people and interact with them than spend more time tweaking content and timing posts to get more eyes on it.  At some point, there’s a diminishing point of return in your efforts to increase reach.

If your intent is to leverage Facebook to generate prospects and leads, the foundation is your content, but the critical piece is building trust and relationships.  That comes from engagement and interaction. Rather than continuously focusing on getting more reach, focus on generating engagement from the reach you do get.  To maximize this, leverage outside tactics to drive eyes to your content (cross-platform promotion, driving traffic via a newsletter), something you CAN control.

While engagement per reach is a better measurement for post effectiveness, it still falls short.

Measuring Post Effectiveness

Facebook is a valuable branding tool and using it solely as such is perfectly OK, but most small businesses can’t afford to spend their time (or money) on branding alone.  At a minimum, they need to see a conversion to prospects from those who see their content.  Sales and contacts via social posting does occur, but for most of us, it’s not the norm.  The best source for turning social media viewers to prospects though is still your website.  The most effective posts – or posting strategy – is one which drives traffic to your website  The best way to measure the effectiveness of your content is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Behavior Flow To Measure Social Media Post Effectiveness; Tactical Social Media - A Tacoma social media marketing agency, #BeTactical

Unlike reach, Google Analytics provides a more complete picture.  We can see the amount of traffic driven from Facebook (or any social platform), determine landing pages, exit pages, time on page and even determine what content was accessed.  We can get a good picture of how effective the post was, not only at driving traffic but also at converting that traffic.

The Bottom Line

So should you focus on reach?  Yes.  While more doesn’t necessarily mean better, more provides a better opportunity.  If you can get more feed views, you are ahead of the curve.  Just don’t get too caught up in it.  Reach is still a vital measurement about the overall health of your Facebook activity but it’s only one measurement that, on its own, tells us very little about your overall of visibility and post effectiveness.

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma Social Media Consulting Agency

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change (April 2015)

Will (Did) Your Brand Benefit?

Facebook gets some heavy criticism from brand and pages admins on algorithm changes.  What was a great tool to get visibility for just showing up and posting morphed into a “you need to work hard at it and maybe add a few of your hard-earned dollars” tool?  Most saw this as a negative, for those brands that did social media right, it hurt but certainly wasn’t a death-blow.  The latest Facebook algorithm change (there are three significant changes) looks to be no different.  How brand pages will be affected depends on several factors.  For some brands, this latest Facebook algorithm change will be a major benefit.

 

The Latest Facebook Algorithm Change, April 2015: Facebook Organic Reach = (Quality Content + Post Timing) x Post Frequency + Engaged Fans; Tactical Social Media: a Tacoma, WA / South Sound Social Media Consulting Agency

 

Facebook Organic Reach

The primary measure Facebook has given us to measure post effectiveness is “reach” – how many saw your content in their feed (not that this in and of itself was a good measure).  Initially, liking a page meant seeing content.  That meant good reach.  Shifts over the years have limited content from ‘liked’ pages being seen in favor of content and activity from your friends.  Facebook assumed this was what people wanted.  It went so far as telling us what our friends were up to with Open Graph and details in our feeds.

Organic Reach took a deep hit unless brands provided timely, relevant content or paid to have their content show.  It seems Facebook got this ‘half’ right.  People complained about sponsored posts they didn’t want to see and being shown content friends liked or commented on they could care less about.  People, it turns out, don’t want a play-by-play of what their friends do.  They want content FROM their friends and pages.  Afterall, that’s why they connected with people and liked pages.

 

Enter the latest Facebook algorithm change.

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Posts about friends liking or commenting on a page’s content will be pushed down the news feed.

What does it mean for pages? Brand pages who relied on a couple of engaged fans to leverage reach through likes and comments will mean a further drop in those already dismal reach numbers. Unless you have other methods in place to drive fans to your Facebook content (if you want to know more, contact us now), this will have a significant impact on Facebook’s value for your brand.   

 

A larger fan base that isn't actively engaged has no value. You still need numbers, but you need active numbers. How you get those fans and who they are matters.Click To Tweet

 

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Trying to balance the content you see in the right mix.

Facebook seems to have taken the stance that if you engage, you want to see it.  While the change is designed to show more of “content posted by the friends you care about”, we cannot help but think ‘friends’ includes ‘pages’ – “If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed.”

What does it mean for pages? Brand pages with good fan bases that are active, who post quality content will have that content seen by their fans.  While reach will increase, but only within your core fan base.  Expanding your ‘Reach’ will now require more sharing by your fans.   Now, more than ever, your better content needs to be timely, relevant and shareable.  If your content is already there, this change is a major win for you.

Significant Facebook Algorithm Change:  Facebook will allow multiple content from individual publishers to show in your feed.

What does it mean for pages? Previously Facebook had rules in place to essentially prevent individual publishers (friends and pages) from monopolizing your feed.  While that meant seeing more content from your entire network it also meant missing out on content from those you interact with the most.  While we don’t suggest leveraging this as a tactic to purposely drive more reach, when you do have additional content, it will get seen.  Again, if your content is up to par, this is a win for you as well.

 

My Take

The latest Facebook algorithm change might be the first I’m happy to see.  Brand pages who post good content, drive interaction and engagement with their fan base and are truly social will see big gains.  Like Google’s algorithm changes designed to weed out ‘Black Hat’ SEO practices, this change should have the same effect, reward those who are doing it right.

The only downside we can see initially while being social and relevant are still key, as they always have been, smaller pages will be hurt more than larger ones.  Expanding your reach will require a bigger and more active (bigger alone is not enough) fan base.  For some brands, who were seeing good numbers in the past without having to ante up, they may now.

Again, do it right, and you may just see some big rewards.  Of course, while more organic reach is good, we still caution of focusing too much on it.

UPDATE:  It does appear that those brands ‘doing it right’ should have seen a big uptick in visibility a result of this particular Facebook algorithm change.  Did YOUR brand?

 

#BeTactical: The ReTweet Discreditation: Brand reputation management and monitoring by Tactical Social Media; Robert Nissenbaum, Greater Seattle Area

Are You Ruining Your Reputation By What You Share?

Protecting Your Brand’s Reputation

Before you ReTweet, repin or share that content – READ IT!

We should all aware by now that what we post online, especially public content, will live forever.  What you post can have profound, long-term effects on your brand reputation.  Even a single post, tweet or comment can take on a life of its own.

Where am I going with this?

 

 

TBefore you ReTweet, repin or share that content – READ IT!  We should all aware by now that what we post online, especially public content, will live forever.  What you post can have profound, long term effects on your brand reputation.

I was dumbfounded recently when I read an article that was heavily repinned and RT’d.  The content discussed how to drive more reach for your Facebook Fan Page and ultimately your website or blog.  Catchy headline, catchy image.  The issue was the actual content.  The author was advocating click baiting – something in itself I find unethical – but more importantly, something Facebook discussed in August: ‘Facebook is announcing the pursuit and war against attempts to entice clicks through headlines that are misleading.’


I couldn’t believe so many people were sharing content that would actually HURT others in their social media efforts and was exactly what Facebook was working to stop!  Regardless of why the content was shared, it was obvious it wasn’t read first (though I will concede that some share may have been from those that did read it and agreed with the Black Hat practice).

 

Since our brand reputation is affected by what we post, both our own and curated content, it’s imperative that we read everything we intend to put our name and stamp of approval on, even if that takes time, regardless of the source.

 

When discussing this topic with a colleague it was mentioned that content from a trusted source may need less scrutiny and maybe none.  It may be true that the source may will be far less likely to share or post such content, even the experts make mistakes.

 

 

Sharing great content (even from a trusted source) doesn’t mean your brand reputation won’t come under fire.  Sharing content counter to your beliefs, what you advocate, what your followers / fan base expect can be just as damaging.  I have generally have no desire to share the content of even the best known / trusted social media or marketing experts (or experts in any field) if I do not agree with their position.  Would you give someone who’s views are counter to yours access to your audience?  Unless you’re looking for a debate, no.  Yet sharing their content on your social media profiles is doing just that.

 

Four Simple Takeaways:

 

  • Read first, then share, regardless of the source (& do it every time).

 

  • Don’t Share, re-post or ReTweet without following all links.

 

  • Don’t repin without tracing the image back to its source.

 

  • If you’re unsure of the content or it’s source – DON’T SHARE IT!

 

It may take longer, but a few minutes now can save your brand reputation (and the time to repair it later).

 

#BeTactical: The Negative Review Reaction by Tactical Social Media: How to handle a negative review and protect your brand's reputation, Brand Reputation Management

The Negative Review Reaction

Guilty Of A Gut Reaction To A Negative Review?

I’m going out on a ledge here, even willing to stand on the edge on one foot to say; every business makes a mistake once in a while. From minor to major offense, from customers to ex-friends and family, you might have some bad reviews out there.  The point is, like it or not, either you have them or you will.

Once you accept that, as I’d hope once you decided to hang out the shingle you knew you would, you can move on from worrying less about how  receiving a negative review  and focus on how to minimize the chances of getting on and to how to deal with a negative review when it happens.  It’s all about brand reputation management (related article: The Brand Reputation Discreditation).

The Negative Review Reaction: How to handle a negative review and protect your brand's reputation, Brand Reputation Management

Handling The Negative Review – The Wrong Way

The usual responses I’ve heard from business owners (not to mention countless blog posts) on how to deal with negative reviews (including posts and comments) are either to bury it or to delete it.  The idea being that apparently if they’re not seen, they’re not really there.  Neither is a professional approach to managing your reputation.

Bury It

Reviews left on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List (and no, I am NOT a fan of Angie’s List) as well as other sites there leave no option to remove the post, The ‘Bury It’ approach seems sound.  You usually don’t want that negative review at the top when potential clients are looking for your product or services.  While it may be one in a handful of good reviews, if it’s the most recent, it could mean trouble.

When looking at a restaurant last week to grab a bite for dinner I didn’t focus on the rating but rather the reviews.  A 4-5 star rating means nothing if all of the positive reviews are years old and the few bad ones are weeks old, the rating is somewhat pointless.  I can expect to experience the service pointed out in the recent ratings more than those older ones. – Robert Nissenbaum, Tactical Social Media

The idea then, that having a number of positive reviews posted to ‘combat’ a negative review would seem to be a good idea.  Not so; I’m smart.  If all of the reviews are staggered in terms of when they are posted and suddenly after a few negative reviews there are several positive in quick succession (while it’s possible that it is a coincidence) it’s not what I’ll be thinking.  Now I see the bad reviews and a desperate attempt to deceive me.

In the case of Yelp, those ‘positive’ reviews can and do get filtered.  Other sites are employing software to catch these as well, especially if they truly are false positive reviews.  The end result is far worse than a few complaints.

#BeTactical: Don’t bury a negative review with fake positive ones.

Delete It

On one level, it works.  If there are no poor reviews – all is good.  Quite honestly there are plenty of businesses with nothing but stellar reviews and ratings. Not having a negative review isn’t bad – unless someone saw it BEFORE you had a chance to delete it!  The same goes for a post on your page and especially a comment in a thread with others (those who previously commented have definitely been notified).  Again, you are faced with trying to cover it up.

Handling a negative review; online reputation management, monitoring and response; The cover up is usually worse than the crime. image credit: http://www.shelburnenovascotia.com/CARTOONS/Worse yet, if the reviewer sees the post removed, there’s a good chance it will be reposted and probably with the added admonishment of having it removed.  Users are also more likely to post the new review in more locations including private profiles on social networks where the visibility will be greater with no chance to respond.

#BeTactical: Don’t delete a negative review. The cover up is usually worse than the crime itself.

Handling The Negative Review – The Right Way

Be Proactive

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.  Since we know, at some time, you will get a poor review, it’s a well-known fact people are more apt to report the negative than to heap on the praise, ASK FOR GOOD REVIEWS.  This is the positive and ethical way to Bury It.

It’s also a great opportunity to follow-up with your customers.  I love this postcard I recently received from South Tacoma Honda after we had the airbag recall performed.  They not only followed up but asked for a review AND gave us directions to make it easy! (And yes, we did return for additional services.)

The Negative Review Reaction: Avoiding a negative review: Brand Reputation Management: I love this postcard I recently received from South Tacoma Honda after we had the airbag recall performed. They not only followed up but asked for a review AND gave us directions to make it easy! #BeTactical

The value in asking for positive reviews – when you do get that pummeling, it will be one in a bunch of positive remarks.  They’ll also be staggered so they won’t look contrived (not to mention the posts themselves will read well.  Hastily posted ones in an effort to bury negative ones will almost always sound rushed and lack authenticity).

#BeTactical: Ask for positive reviews. When there is a negative one, the impact will be minimized.

Helpful Tip: One great idea is to get the review BEFORE your customer leaves.  Technology is your friend.  Add a QR code to the bottom of the receipt or have them login to any social site on their phone, offering a cookie or coupon for their next visit when they do.

Respond 

If (when) bad reviews appear, they need to be dealt with immediately and professionally.

  • Make a mistake? Acknowledge it!  

Own up to it and work out the most courteous solution possible, PUBLICLY.  Sending a personal response is still recommended where possible but while handled offline, not doing so publicly means others do not see how you handled it.

Since I know there is a chance something can go wrong in the sales process as a customer, knowing it will be handled professionally, fairly and in a timely manner is a big plus. It provides me insight into how your business operates and adds an element of trust and respect.  – MJ Jensen, IdeaMagic Visionary Marketing

Consider the case of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, AZ.  A proper reply to the negative review on Yelp (in 2010) could have been leveraged to create a positive spin helping her business.  Instead Amy’s rant turned into a complete meltdown.  While the business is still open, their reputation will always precede them.

We can garner much more about a business based on the way they handle a negative comment, post or review than we can from a positive one.

Excellent advice on handling a negative review from @Kim Garst: Own your mistakes and your community will LOVE you for it! #BeYou http://bit.ly/realyoubook

Amazing advice from Kim Garst

 

  • The Unfounded Rant

So, what if the post is just a rant?  You handle it the same way – with class and professionalism.

While class and professionalism are a must, keep in mind, not every complaint, negative review or rant is valid or worthy of amends.  Plenty of people will use the threat of a bad review to get something free or give a bad review when a business owner doesn’t play their game. It’s common practice amongst a certain demographic. I consider them a low-grade reputation terrorist.

“While looking at my reviews on Facebook I noticed a one star review. It was from a person who continually sent me things to review and respond with suggestions. He wasn’t a client and never was a client. When not getting free services, there was a temper tantrum and this person was removed from contacting me again, then the bad review. I have worse stories of angry leeches and reputation terrorists, but I’ll save those for another time.” – Tamara Lee Taylor, Show Up Strong & The Restless Successful 

As business owners, we cannot be distracted by the reputation terrorist.  While a response is still required, a simple “Thank you for your feedback.” Is sufficient.  Experience has taught me customers will see past the unfounded rant (especially if you were proactive in acquiring positive reviews).

The Advice

As a business owner and consumer, I highly recommend doing your very best to deliver the highest quality product/service possible. Never over promise and under deliver; if you do, your customer/client deserves a humble and gracious remedy in a timely manner.

Hire quality people and train them well.  The best way to handle bad reviews is to not get them.

A Final Thought

The mark of a good business is one that responds to ALL reviews, not just the negative ones.  #BeTactical: If someone takes the time to write a review, the least you can do is take the time to acknowledge it.

Your Turn

As a consumer, how much value do you place on a negative review or testimonial?

You can comment below or you can find The Negative Review Reaction on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!  

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Do you need help with your brand’s reputation management or monitoring?  Do you even know if you do?  If you’re not sure, you do!  Contact us today to see how we can help.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle or South Sound Area, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

#BeTactical: The LinkedIn Messaging Protocol: While bulk LinkedIn messaging isn't always a negative, when you’re looking to strengthen the relationships you have already established, lumping me in with 20+ other ‘Robert’s in your contacts is certainly not a positive way to connect with me.

The LinkedIn Messaging Protocol

I like LinkedIn messaging.  It’s a great networking tool and can be every bit as powerful as face to face networking opportunities both in group and one on one meetings.  LinkedIn offers the ability to showcase one’s expertise, create authority and build great business and personal relationships.

Sadly, I’ve seen a shift over the past few years to more sales pitches in the form of status updates and messages, connections being made for that sole purpose and more bulk messages.  While bulk messages in themselves aren’t always a negative, when you’re looking to strengthen the relationships you have already established, lumping me in with 20+ other ‘Robert’s in your contacts is certainly not a positive way to connect with me.

The LinkedIn Messaging Protocol: While bulk LinkedIn messaging isn't always a negative, when you’re looking to strengthen the relationships you have already established, lumping me in with 20+ other ‘Robert’s in your contacts is certainly not a positive way to connect with me.

LinkedIn Messaging Etiquette

I received a LinkedIn message from an individual connection recently.  It was a Season’s Greetings eCard with a clickable link.  From a professional perspective, LinkedIn is about connecting and building relationships.  I think sending a Christmas message, and any personal message for that matter, is a great idea.  Connecting personally develops stronger professional relationships.  What bothers me in this case – not only wasn’t the post personalized, but it was sent, as I reference above, clearly from a block of the sender’s contacts as the majority of the names where ‘Robert’ or alphabetically close.  There was no attempt to even filter who received the message.

Regardless if the intent of the message, it came across as merely an attempt to keep the sender’s name top of mind.  Personally, I see this as spam.  Since every relationship I have on LinkedIn is considered before simply accepting, I’m hesitant to just remove someone from my list so I sent a simple message:

While I appreciate the card, I find being included on bulk messages like this to be spam. 

I would prefer to be left off such messages and those other than of a personal nature.

Thank you.

Robert

I expected a short apology and in the end, no true harm done and as they say, no foul.  What I received back, however, surprised me:

This is LinkedIn!! I prefer to only do or discuss business matters that are not of personal nature on the Professional Business Entrepreneur LinkedIn website. 

Just simply wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays hope the rest of the season warms you up from being so suspicious and you actually enjoy yourself!!

Not only did I not receive an apology, I was accused of being suspicious and not enjoying myself or the holidays.  What struck a chord with me more – this individual prefers not to use LinkedIn for business matters (when LinkedIn is a professional oriented networking site) and the sender wasn’t actually wishing ME anything.  It was a wish to a collective.  At least make it personal to me so I know you care about me as a connection.

I normally would have let it drop at this point but as a social media and marketing consultant I felt it was a good teaching opportunity.  My reply:

It’s not about being suspicious.  Your initial message was not personalized (something I teach being critical for developing relationships) and that message was only a link to an eCard. 

I have used LinkedIn messaging successfully to grow my businesses and consult with others to do the same. I regularly send greetings and other personal messages as well as those for business but I do so with each tailored to the recipient. If I include you as part of a bulk mailing it, to me it (and it should to you) shows I don’t value you personally. How does one grow a relationship if nothing is personalized and the recipient is just part of a collective?

Even the vast majority of my connection requests are personalized with how we know each other or why I want to connect if we do not.

Since this is a network to build relationships, I simply asked to be left off bulk messages as I find them to be spam. I would have openly welcomed a personalized greeting sent only to me.

Case in point, I did recently receive a similar message, replied with a thank you, spent some time on their profile and found they could be a valuable resource for a colleague whom I then referred. Why? They took the time to build that relationship with me.

Robert

…..to which I received no further replies.

So how do you send that ‘message’ to all of your connections?  A status update like Maria Orth’s may not be seen by everyone, but it is the right way to do it.

The LinkedIn Messaging Protocol: So how do you send that ‘message’ to all of your #LinkedIn connections? A status update like Maria Orth’s may not be seen by everyone, but it is the right way to do it.

Update:  Shortly after publishing this post I received another message, that while personally addressed, clearly falls into my ‘spam’ category:

I’m reaching out to you since to see if you might be interested in a ground floor opportunity, or know anyone who might be. I’m wanting to make you aware of this tremendous opportunity and would like to ask you an eye-opening question…

As an Entrepreneur, If you had the chance to get in on the Ground Floor of a company expansion (with a company that’s NOT Ground Floor) where you could generate monthly recurring residual commissions on mobile phone bills nationwide, would you want to know how to get in on it?

In addition to bulk messages, using LinkedIn’s messaging feature for the purpose of recruiting, or requesting that I turn over the names of my contacts, to help you build your network marketing business is spam.

A valid recruiting message is acceptable.  If you want to hire me or collaborate on a project, great.  Clearly this wasn’t.

I am happy to receive LinkedIn messages (and would like to connect and discuss any thoughts you may have – including about YOUR business or interests). Just don’t spam me.

The Take Away:

Regardless of the social site you use and regardless of whether the nature of your message is personal or professional – the end goal is to develop and grow relationships.  You do that by connecting personally.  Bulk messages have value when used correctly.  Just make sure you are using them correctly.