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Top 10 online reputation mistakes you may be making

There are several mistakes most business professionals don’t know they’re making online, and it’s not always a bad review that gets the ball rolling!

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Minding the store

What is the number one challenge of any professional today? Being everywhere at all times. Answering the phone, tending the store or clients, rushing to pick up this or that, getting email at all hours, checking in to Twitter, remembering Facebook, and the like. It can be daunting to keep up today. This presents a challenge as consumers are researching companies’ reputations online, so the question is – as you mind the store, are consumers finding you online in a light you’d like to be presented?

Cliff Stein of Reputation Changer tells AGBeat, “If you’re a small business owner, your online reputation is the most important asset you’ve got. It’s more than just your business card—it’s the very source of your credibility, the thing that makes people willing to do business with you in the first place. All it takes is a single bad review or negative Google listing to destroy that reputation; the most costly online reputation errors, however, are likely the ones you’re making yourself!”

Reputation Changer is a reputation management company that combats bad reviews and outranks the negatives with positive for its clientele of small businesses, celebrities, universities, politicians and average Joes, so they see a lot of mistakes made online every day that could be circumvented simply by people knowing what mistakes to avoid.

Top 10 reputation management mistakes

Stein outlines below the top 10 reputation management mistakes that small business owners make – probably without even realizing it.

  1. Failing to control the message about your brand. When it comes to your company, or even your industry, you never want to be in a position where other people are writing the narrative. That’s why this is Job #1. If there’s a major happening at your company—whether good or bad—you want to be right there on the forefront, delivering press releases and putting your own spin on things.
  2. Responding in anger to negative reviews. In fact, responding to reviews, on sites like Yelp.com in particular, is something you might just avoid altogether. A response only lends validity, and draws attention, to the negative review; what you really want to do is suppress it with all that positive content we mentioned before.
  3. Forgetting to monitor your online reputation properly. Reputation defense always comes back to monitoring—because if you don’t know what people are saying about you on the Web, how can you even begin to defend yourself properly? Setting up Google alerts, and periodically combing the social networks, should be high on your reputation management to-do list.
  4. Letting other people snatch up the prime online real estate. If a rival company or disgruntled employee wants to attack your online reputation—and if they’re really smart and cunning about it—they’re going to snatch up exact-match domain names for your small business. (If your company is called Nashville Emporium, those domains would include nashvilleemporium.com, org, and .net, for instance.) Don’t let them do it. Buy those domain names yourself, even if you don’t plan to use them right away.
  5. Staying out of social media. If you’re looking to shore up goodwill and positive press for your small business, regular activity on Facebook and Twitter is utterly essential.
  6. Letting just anyone manage your social media. Having said #3… it’s also important that small business owners be careful about exactly who is using their social media accounts. Once something is out there on the Internet, there’s no way to fully reel it back in or undo the damage—so either impose strict policies about what can and cannot be said on Facebook and Twitter, or just do it yourself. Social media updating should not be a job for the summer intern.
  7. Letting just anyone ghostwrite your business blog. Having a blog is a great way to showcase a more personal side of your company. The passion you have for your industry isn’t going to shine through if you’ve got a ghostwriter handling it, though. Make sure this is something you do yourself!
  8. Neglecting to publish content about your small business. The best way to ward off online attacks or negative reviews is to build a wall of positive press—a wall built out of strong, compelling content, published to your website as well as social media accounts.
  9. Failing to pump up your business with positive reviews. Having phony reviews written on your behalf is something that will likely come back to bite you, but there’s nothing wrong with asking your best clients to pen a quick five-star rave of your products and services.
  10. Getting into controversy. This may almost go without saying, but… if you’re a small business owner, then your own persona is a big part of your brand’s online reputation. Using your Facebook page or Twitter account to sound off about politics or religion is probably a poor idea!

As you assess the web as part of your marketing strategy, make sure these 10 mistakes are solved, because you don’t want you to be the reason you have a bad reputation online!

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Alanaollyjsn

    June 9, 2012 at 6:57 am

    @onesouthrealty https://t.co/6B4CHoAw

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Social Media

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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Social Media

Brace yourselves: Facebook has re-opened political advertising space

(SOCIAL MEDIA) After a break due to misinformation in the past election, Facebook is once again allowing political advertising slots on their platform – with some caveats.

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Facebook open on phone in a wallet case, open for political advertising again.

After a months-long ban on political ads due to misinformation and other inappropriate behavior following the election in November, Facebook is planning to resume providing space for political advertising.

Starting on Thursday, March 4th, advertisers were able to buy spots for ads that comprise politics, what Facebook categorizes as “social issues”, and other potentially charged topics previously prohibited by the social media platform.

The history of the ban is complicated, and its existence was predicated on a profound distrust between political parties and mainstream news. In the wake of the 2016 election and illicit advertising activity that muddied the proverbial waters, Facebook had what some would view as a clear moral obligation to prevent similar sediment from clouding future elections.

Facebook delivered on that obligation by removing political advertising from their platform prior to Election Day, a decision that would stand fast in the tumultuous months to follow. And, while Facebook did temporarily suspend the ban in Georgia during the senate proceedings, political advertisements nevertheless remained absent from the platform in large until last week.

The removal of the ban does have some accompanying caveats—namely the identification process. Unlike before, advertisers will have to go to great lengths to confirm their identities prior to launching ads. Those ads will most likely also need to come from domestic agencies given Facebook’s diligent removal of foreign and malicious campaigns in the prior years.

The moral debate regarding social media advertising—particularly on Facebook—is a deeply nuanced and divided one. Some argue that, by removing political advertising across the board, Facebook has simply limited access for “good actors” and cleared the way for illegitimate claims.

Facebook’s response to this is simply that they didn’t understand fully the role ads would play in the electoral process, and that allowing those ads back will allow them to learn more going forward.

Either way, political advertising spots are now open on Facebook, and the overall public perception seems controversial enough to warrant keeping an eye on the progression of this decision. It wouldn’t be entirely unexpected for Facebook to revoke access to these advertisements again—or limit further their range and scope—in the coming months and years.

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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