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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

Social media site by Wikipedia founder – lofty goals, limited functionality

(SOCIAL MEDIA)Wikipedia founder has created a news social networking site to help people escape from the shady practices of other sites, but is it all that good?

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social media by wikipedia

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced the launch of WT:Social last week, a social network sprung from the WikiTribune project. In addition to creating the global encyclopedia that your high school teacher won’t let you cite as a source, Wales is also behind the Wikimedia Foundation and the Jimmy Wales Foundation for Freedom of Expression.

WikiTribune is a volunteer-driven platform focused on delivering “neutral, factual, high-quality news.” (There’s a lot that could be said about the ethics and logistics of trying to “fix” news by paying reporters even less/nothing, but that’s another article.)

Springing a social network out of a news site means that WT:Social’s focus is largely going to be on fixing what’s wrong with Facebook’s news. They’ve drawn criticism over the last few years for their news policies.

Among other things, despite theoretically banning white nationalist content, their list of “trusted” news sources includes Breitbart, a site whose founder has called it a platform for the alt-right. (The alt-right itself is a self-avowed white nationalist movement, among other things) Zuckerberg has also (as we’ve pointed out) claimed that politicians have the right to lie in advertisements. Refusing to hold advertisers to any sort of standard of truth is deeply concerning, to say the least.

So WT:Social is out to improve the way that people consume and share news. But is that enough to make it succeed as a social network? After all, people looking for FB or Twitter alternatives aren’t just looking for news. They’re looking for a less toxic platform.

Facebook and Twitter have both received criticism for how they handle user experience and advertisements alike. Both have problems with bubbling extremist movements, and both have struggled with public perception in the wake of persistent allegations that their moderation systems are under-resourced, and tend to side with abusive users over the marginalized people those abusers were targeting. For their part, Twitter has overtly stated that people who violate their terms of service regarding harassment or threats will not be banned for it, so long as they are sufficiently newsworthy.

This might have something to do with the fact that they see some of those same TOS violators as enough of a draw to their platform to feature them in advertisements. And of course, Twitter kept conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his InfoWars media company on the platform despite rules violations until he confronted CEO Jack Dorsey in person.

One theoretical point in WT:Social’s favor is that they’re planning on being donation-supported, rather than ad-supported. Which is fantastic from an end-user standpoint, but raises issues on buy-in from others. And that’s not the only potential stumbling block in WT:Social’s path.

As yet WT:Social hasn’t really stated a particular interest in competing with Facebook and Twitter on the social aspects of social media, and so far, that lack of interest comes through on the site. This writer signed up for the social network (looking, as ever, for a Facebook alternative) and was greeted by a number of baffling things.

First, my attempts to log in were greeted by a notification that I was “number 65538 on the waiting list,” and that I could send invitations to get earlier access to the site, to make posts.

WT waiting list contribute

Then, I made posts.

But now I can’t find them?

Beyond that, I’m not sure what the waiting list is actually for. On top of the mysterious queue, there’s a place where I can subscribe! But once again, I don’t quite know what I would be subscribing to, and $12.99/month is a lot to ask for a service that’s completely undefined. I suppose that I could track down other sources to explain this to me, but if the user experience is so confounding from the outset that I need to learn about it secondhand, do I really want to pursue the site further?

A friend and I, both eager for a Facebook alternative, started writing on each other’s walls to test the service out. But in lieu of any kind of notification system, we found ourselves writing on each other’s WT:Social profiles, and then returning to Facebook to let the other person know that we had done so.

It’s not an auspicious beginning.

But at the same time, something needs to happen. With Facebook’s reputation for promulgating fake news, Twitter’s notoriety for abuse, Reddit’s haze of toxicity, and content hubs like YouTube and Tumblr cracking down on adult content (and seemingly defining the existence of LGBT people as inherently “adult,”) people are looking for some kind of life raft. The person who creates a robust social network that commits to rooting out toxicity could have quite the business opportunity on their hands.

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Social Media

Twitter’s crackdown on deepfakes could insure the company’s survival

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter is cracking down on manipulated and misleading content—will other social media platforms do the same?

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deepfakes

Twitter isn’t renowned for things that other social media platforms lay claim to—you know, setting trends, turning a profit, staying relevant—but the oft-forgotten site finally has something to brag about: cracking down on deepfakes.

Oh, and they also finally pulled out a profit this year, but that’s beside the point.

Deepfakes, for those who don’t know, are videos which have been manipulated to portray people—often celebrities or politicians—saying and doing things that they never actually said or did. The problem with deepfakes is that, unlike your average Photoshop job, they are extremely convincing; in some cases, their validity may even be impossible to determine.

Unfortunately, deepfakes have been used for a variety of unsavory purposes ranging from moderate humiliation to full-blown revenge porn; since ruling them out is difficult, the long-term implications of this type of video manipulation are pretty terrifying.

You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that all social media platforms should address deepfakes as a serious issue, but the fact remains that many platforms have taken decidedly lackadaisical approaches. Facebook, for example, continues to allow content from producers who have histories of video manipulation, the dissemination of misleading information, and flat-out false advertising—something that has been generally glossed over despite being heavily addressed by media.

This is where Twitter is actually ahead of the curve. Where other social media services have failed in the war against “fake news”, Twitter hopes to succeed by aggressively labelling and, in some cases, censoring media that has been determined to be manipulated or misleading. While the content itself will stay posted in most cases, a warning will appear near it to signify its lack of credibility.

Twitter will also remove manipulated content that is deemed harmful or malicious, but the real beauty of their move is that it allows people to witness first-hand a company or service purposefully misleading them. By keeping the problematic content available while making users aware of its flaws, Twitter is increasing awareness and skepticism about viral content.

Of course, there is room to criticize Twitter’s approach; for example, some will point to their act of leaving deepfakes posted as not doing enough, while others will probably address the tricky business of identifying deepfakes to begin with. Luckily, Twitter’s policy isn’t set in stone just yet—from now until November 27th, you can take a survey to leave feedback on how Twitter should address these issues going forward.

As Twitter’s policy develops and goes into place, it will be interesting to see which social media platforms follow suit.

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Social Media

This LinkedIn graphic shows you where your profile is lacking

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn has the ability to insure your visibilty, and this new infographic breaks down where you should put the most effort

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LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must-have in the professional world. However, this social media platform can be incredibly overwhelming as there are a lot of moving pieces.

Luckily, there is a fancy graphic that details everything you need to know to create the perfect LinkedIn profile. Let’s dive in!

As we know, it is important to use your real name and an appropriate headshot. A banner photo that fits your personal brand (e.g. fits the theme of your profession/industry) is a good idea to add.

Adding your location and a detailed list of work-related projects are both underutilized, yet key pieces of information that people will look for. Other key pieces come in the form of recommendations; connections aren’t just about numbers, endorse them and hopefully they will return the favor!

Fill in every and all sections that you can, and re-read for any errors (get a second set of eyes if there’s one available). Use the profile strength meter to get a second option on your profile and find out what sections could use a little more help.

There are some settings you can enable to get the most out of LinkedIn. Turn on “career interests” to let recruiters know that you are open to job offers, turn on “career advice” to participate in an advice platform that helps you connect with other leaders in your field, turn your profile privacy off from private in order to see who is viewing your profile.

The infographic also offers some stats and words to avoid. Let’s start with stats: 65 percent of employers want to see relevant work experience, 91 percent of employers prefer that candidates have work experience, and 68 percent of LinkedIn members use the site to reconnect with past colleagues.

Now, let’s talk vocab; the infographic urges users to avoid the following words: specialized, experienced, skilled, leadership, passionate, expert, motivated, creative, strategic, focused.

That was educational, huh? Speaking of education – be sure to list your highest level of academia. People who list their education appear in searches up to 17 times more often than those who do not. And, much like when you applied to college, your past education wasn’t all that you should have included – certificates (and licenses) and volunteer work help set you apart from the rest.

Don’t be afraid to ask your connections, colleagues, etc. for recommendations. And, don’t be afraid to list your accomplishments.

Finally, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You’re already using the site, right? Use it to your advantage! Finish your profile by completing the all-star rating checklist: industry and location, skills (minimum of three), profile photo, at least 50 connections, current position (with description), two past positions, and education.

When all of this is complete, continue using LinkedIn on a daily basis. Update your profile when necessary, share content, and keep your name popping up on peoples’ timelines. (And, be sure to check out the rest of Leisure Jobs’ super helpful infographic that details other bits, like how to properly size photos!)

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