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Stevie Lutgen

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Notes from #pubcon  session:  Reputation Management: Monitoring Your Brand Online

Panel: +Michael Streko, +Rhea Drysdale, +Melyssa St. Michael 
Moderator:  +Andy Beal 

Melyssa - VP for RockFish
Rhea - CEO at Outspoken Media
Michael - Cofounder of


"Strategic, Higher-Level Thinking".  Reputation Management is really Expectation Management.  The person on the receiving end is having their expectation met or not.  

What we can control:

1.  Domain Defense

2.  Reputation Defense

3.  Content Defense

Domain Defense

It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.  People are going to get better at understanding how they can hurt you (if they want to).  Showed a real example of a guy, angry about a sofa, bought Adwords and spoke to an attorney about how he can setup sites associating them with 'scam' and ranking it well.

So buy domains like:  

Study hate groups on Facebook about your brand (or related) and pickup on the words they are using to determine names to protect. Don't hesitate to buy the worst possible domains you can think of.

Consider also buying positive domains so that your portfolio isn't all negative, and you can use them in the future for positive content.  ""

Setup Domain tracking sheets.  Use whois information to see what is out there, who owns what. Understand how many dollars you can put against it to buy domains.

Reputation Defense

Prior to purchase, it's all about "Reviews".  What is your review strategy? 

Build process and method around responding to highlight and identify critical strategic levers you can pull to earn back positive sentiment.  Identify and prioritize essential channels that are impacting your brand's reputation health.

If you are location based, Yelp is very important because it is built into iPhone.  Critically important.  $18,000 starting for mid-sized businesses to have a dashboard on for info on reviews.

Develop a response style guide by channel to ensure a consistent voice and method to handling responses and disputes.

Track each response' categorize sentiment and outcome to derive actionable insights.  They use Zoho support tracker to setup an email address (that can be whitelabeled) to setup process flow for tracking and responding to complaints.

Content Defense

Create valuable, inbound content that naturally contains the key phrases you are defending for.

Create campaigns that draw buzz, traffic, and links.  This will help you unseat negative domains/content and compel your consumer's to click.

Example:  "Facebook fan exclusive:  Free 20 oz. candle"  The client had 3 year old candles sitting in factory, not used.  Had already written them off.  Played it up with press release as a big deal.  Got lots of links from deal blogs.  Created 2.1 million indexed pages of positive, new traffic-driving content.  Increased likes and comments by 444%.  Grew Facebook fan base by more than 6,000.  Completely wiped out the negative content in position #2. - free tool that allows you to understand your related searches graph.  It'll help you find more content that your searches don't necessarily surface.


Going to talk about Enterprise level monitoring.

The nation's reputation is unstable… but the same can be said for a lot of corporations.

Data from Weber Shandwick: 

- Companies that lead their industry today have much less than a 50/050 chance of being most admired five years from now.

- Average reputation recovery time for a North American company is 3.2 years.  3 years is a long time….

Reputation monitoring is insurance (if you do it effectively).

Things to look for in a monitoring tool:
- setup profiles by products or services, not just your brand name
- at enterprise level, need modifiers for products/services like 'review, complaint, scam, return, broken, issues, problem',
- Filters and boolean logic.  Remove affiliates or coupon sites to make monitoring so clear.
- Nice reports.  Clients love it.  Reporting is important.
- APIs
Google "Social Media Monitoring Solutions" - a wiki page with tons of different tools

You want tools that can track EVERYTHING, not just Twitter or FB.  Need forums, blogs, etc.

- Perform Market Research

- Conduct Competitive Analysis - see who is doing what, and what engagement they are getting.  Some people make a lot of noise but not get pickup or engagement.

- Supplement Customer Service - particularly on social media

- Insure internal education - ensure consistency and standards that will lead to more positive interactions

Michael Streko

Will be covering tools and overall reputation management.

"The only bad response is no response".  Everyone is on social media now.  If someone says something positive, thank them.

Knowem has created over 2.5 million social media profiles to-date.  It takes under 45 seconds to create and confirm a Twitter account.  Your reputation could be ruined in a smatter of 2 minutes by someone who is going after you.

UDRP - if someone is really slamming, you can get a slanderous domain taken down via ICANN.

To feed the trolls or not to feed the trolls….  You will get more with honey then you will with sh!t.  If someone complains about knowem and is mad, we ask for a direct contact and get to them, with the goal of doing it within 1 hour of their complaint going up.

Know the terms of service of the various sites and do not be afraid to reach out to them.  In 2012 Knowem assisted a fortune 100 company in the removal of 180+ profiles across various social media sites.  Someone was squatting on them and offering an alternative product on the profiles.  Another example, some sites allow parody account (like Twitter), others do not.

There is no UDRP for the removal of social profiles, you are at the mercy of the social network owners.  Example is @fanta, who is a guy who registered the name.  He can keep the account because he never acts like he is associated with the Fanta drink at all

Treat your happy customers the same as you treat the pissed off customers.

A followup on a positive review won't just make them a happy customer, it has the chance to turn them into a brand evangelist.  A hotel he stayed at did this and it made for a nice TripAdvisor page.  The "Thank You" economy.

Make sure your markup for social media sites is correct.  Always control what people see about your business - You want to be sure that when someone publishes to LinkedIn, Facebook, etc, that the image shows up properly.

Monitoring reviews online
 - - startup for local reviews
 - - another local reviews

1.  If you are a small business that doesn't have a legal team, what can you do for domain squatting and that sort of thing?
Melyssa:  Look for a lawyer with digital experience.
Rhea:  You can do a lot on your own, you don't have to have a lawyer.  Goes back to knowing terms of service and potentially getting things removed on your own.
Michael:  Don't have to be a lawyer to send a C&D.

2.  Attendee has a product that is coming out in 2 weeks. It is under embargo, but a detail has been released.  Customers are responding negatively, but his company can't respond or the deal will fall through.  What can he do for the next 2 weeks?
Michael:  Had a similar situation happen.  Company put out a press release explaining the released information, yes it was going to happen in the future, and more details were to follow.  Took the situation head on.  "Worst response is no response"
Rhea:  Positioned well because they are the source of the information, so leverage being the main source.  You can "announce that an announcement is coming"
Melyssa:  May be best to sit tight if it only shows up in social.  Social is a snapshot in time.  You can delay your response to really address all issues at launch. Tough decision, but sometimes the right decision to wait.

3.  Specific strategies for targeting Ripoff Reviews
Michael:  Recently had a client with PissedConsumer and RipoffReport.  Setup hundreds of domains and interlinked.  Actually were able to push it down.  Flood it with the best content as you can.  Social media profiles and interlinking is helpful.  Cash4Gold is a good example.  When they were huge, they had hundreds of complaints.  Cash4Gold bit into the extortion, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to RipOff Report to show their own response and positive information.  
Rhea:  Ed from RoR is a real person, you can at least contact him. PissedConsumer is stealthy, which is more frustrating because there is no contact info and the site is scraped everywhere.
Melyssa:  Push RoR down because clients just leave their complaint in the first place they can when they search the brand.  Also use content defense, where any negative phrases have positive content built around them.

4.  What are the top free and paid tools?
Rhea:  "Trackur of course" Free -  Paid - Moz's Fresh Web Explorer (doesn't track social, but does track citations and links), Distilled's Linkstant (notifies you whenever someone links to your site), Sysimo's visible technologies?
Michael:  Free - Google Alerts (maybe 80% accurate), Hootsuite (free/paid),  Paid - Radian6
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