Fight to Be Seen Online


Image courtesy jobmob.co.il

As a manager at various companies search marketing agencies over the years I have had to do my fair share of hiring. I believe that it behooves me to share with the job-seeking public, some words of advice. Having been in this industry for over 6 years, I have seen the landscape change. In fact, the whole game is different and people who are looking for employment have to work with different rules and requirements today. Because I don’t source suitably qualified applicants for any one field in particular, I hope you will receive my advice in the holistic tone in which it is intended. If I were giving a lecture, my opening statement to you would be simple – You people are messing up, royally. A little harsh, a little succinct, but very necessary.

I’ve reviewed many applications and processed hundreds of resumes for various companies and positions and what I am encountering is disappointing and scary to say the least. It would seem that book sense has almost completely taken the place of common sense, leaving applicants all thumbs when it comes to what they need to do and how they need to fight to be seen online.

To give you some real life perspective, I am at a point where I will short list candidates who lack both experience and credentials simply because of the way in which they present themselves on paper and because of how well they have managed their online presences as well. Shocking? Maybe – but the reality is a lot of applicants seem to negate the importance of keeping personal and professional lives separate and while you may not put all your activities on your résumé, trust me, if you’ve done it and its online, I will find it. And if I can find it, don’t put it past a potential employer, your potential coworkers and potential clients to find it all too. So in an effort to help save you from yourselves, I present a quick list of things you should and shouldn’t do to get into my good books or the good books of any recruiter worth their weight in gold:

1. Don’t have a link to your personal facebook in your email signature. Facebook, while widely popular, is still for social networking. If you’re fresh out of college or high school and you don’t have a circle of professional friends, access to your facebook gives me too much insight into who you are off the clock.

2. Do include your LinkedIn url in all professional e-connections. This is the facebook for professionals. You won’t see pictures here of anyone scantily clad or in any other state of inebriation or undress. This is where people put up their work and education history and connect and network with people within their fields.

3. Don’t staple a picture to your hardcopy résumé and application unless you are told to do so. This is a fairly outdated concept and again, if I want to know what you look like, chances are I can find you online.

4. If you can’t keep track of your online reputation, get professional help to do so. For example, Reputation.com is the online reputation management source. Go through their list of services and choose the ones that will help you find those comments and pictures that no one, especially a potential employer, should ever see.

Image Source: jobmob.co.il

Author Miguel Salcido has managed staffs as big as 55 people at one given time over the years and has built two companies of his own. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

Ripoff Report Strikes Back: Removes Code on Site Left by Hacker

The Ripoff Report has struck back against the so-called reputation management companies that claim to be able to remove posts about companies on the RipoffReport.com website. In a recent press release, Ripoff Report claims that they have removed code on their website that was left by a hacker hired by reputation management companies.


A sample advertisement claiming Ripoff Report removal is shown above.

Ripoff Report explained what happened.

“Earlier this year, a hacker, promising his customers “reputation management” services, had embedded code into the website to prevent search engines from recognizing certain postings. In some cases, website visitors were misdirected to a false message stating that the posting had been redacted.”

Although the press release itself offers no specific proof of the fact that malicious code had been embedded onto the RipoffReport.com website, I am personally not surprised that something like this was done by a hacker. There are a lot of companies out there that would like negative reviews of their products or services removed from the Ripoff Report website. From what I can tell, the website only really exists in order to report negatives about a business, company, or individual. So, naturally, a website like that would have enemies.


Another sample advertisement claiming Ripoff Report removal is shown above.

If you search at Google for “remove ripoff report”, or a similar phrase related to getting a Ripoff Report removed, there are a lot of reputation management companies that claim that they can get a listing removed from the RipoffReport.com website. And some will even charge thousands of dollars to get the report removed from the website.

Currently, however, according to RipoffReport.com, there is no way to completely get a negative review or negative post removed from the website. There is a way to respond with a rebuttal. The company says that “Once a company has been named in a consumer’s report, the company may respond by posting a rebuttal. Both reports and rebuttals are posted free of charge, and once submitted they are not removed. Before a report may be submitted, users are required to create an account by providing a valid email address and warrant that any report submitted is truthful and accurate.”

If a search for your company name or your personal name in Google reveals a RipoffReport.com listing, you have a few options:

– Respond by posting a rebuttal.
– Hire a company or individual who has online reputation management experience that can help bring more positive web pages about your company towards the top of the search results. By emphasizing the positive, the hope is that the negatives are pushed down.

I recommend that you stay away form any companies that claim they can completely remove postings from RipoffReport.com, as that does not appear to be the case.

In a related story, you might recall that recently Ripoff Report removed themselves from Google, which was apparently only a mistake by the company. In one of my recent blog posts, I examined how removing your website from Google can help–or hurt–your search engine rankings.

What Are the Best Social Media Monitoring Tools?

More and more businesses are getting into social media – an umbrella term that covers various activities that help bring about social interaction on the internet. Facebook and Twitter are some of the main outlets for social media, but there are numerous types of social media like blogs, wikis, forums, chat rooms, etc..

Since so many people are gathering to share ideas, and concepts through social media, it is important for businesses to monitor how their brand is being handled through the various social media channels. Since there are only so many hours in a day, getting this done effectively, and without using up all your time can be challenging. What is needed are powerful methods, and tools to track your brand in the social media paradigm. While there are many more tools available out there, here is a list of some of the best monitoring tools and sites available that you can use to monitor your brand across the social media landscape.

Review Analyst (Now called TrustYou) – ReviewAnalyst is a monitoring tool developed for the unique needs of the Hospitality Industry. The enables hotels to take a proactive approach to user-generated hotel reviews, blogs, videos, “check-ins” & images. With ReviewAnalyst, you can track, analyze and react to what people are saying about your hotel on the major travel and social media sites. This is one of the most established monitoring tools in the travel industry.

Radian 6 – This application allows you to engage with your customers via social media. This is one of the best tools around because it allows you to smoothly, and discreetly uncover the most prominent opinions of top influencers in the social media arena. You can also measure and track engagement while determining which conversations in chat rooms, forums, etc. are having a major influence towards the online perception of your brand.

Visible Technologies – This social media tool focuses mostly on putting into action effective social media strategies. Visible Technologies has successfully helped many companies manage their online branding by doing something so many companies fail to do – listen to their customers. Utilizing the truCast product, companies can listen in on what is being said about their brand online.

Buzzlogic – As it says on their company page “Welcome to the Conversation”. BuzzLogic is a social branding company that focuses on digital media that utilizes an ad platform that is driven by social media analytics. The tools used within Buzzlogic helps customers build and optimize their advertising campaigns across the biggest collection of website content on the internet. Using a proprietary conversational analytics engine, Buzzlogic helps its customers understand the mindset of the most influential players in a particular industry. From gathered data targeted to a specific demographic group, clients can then maximize their marketing performance from various social media sources. Buzzlogic’s contextual insight boosting tools and meters are a definite added bonus to an already robust repertoire.

TNS Cymfony – a Kantar Media company, TNS Cymfony provides customers with market influence analytics – some of the best analytics in the industry. By scanning and interpreting the thousands upon thousands of voices within the social media venues, TNS Cymfony helps its customers understand where traditional media, and social media intersect. Maestro, TNS Cymfony’s third generation listening and influence driven platform, makes integrating innovative technology with expert analysis easy, yet provacatively informative by helping to identify the people, issues, and trends impacting business – both online, and off.

Nielsen – this is one of the most well known, and trusted names in customer data analytics. Nielsen has several tools that its customers can use to find out what is happening with their brands within the social media realm. Nielsen and Facebook recently joined forces to develop effective, and almost real time ad effectiveness solutions. These tools help companies evaluate and determine consumer attitudes, brand perception and purchase intent from different forms of online advertising. The Nielsen social media monitoring tools also allow businesses to measure how memorable was a particular ad campaign, brand favorability, and factors that influence consideration of purchase.

Trackur – With Trackur you can get social monitoring tools in just 60 seconds, but the amount of market data you can collect after setup is mind boggling. Some of the great things about this social media monitoring site is that it has tools that companies can use to automate their online reputation tracking system. As far as making sure your advertising dollars are spent wisely, Trackur can also track your marketing campaign’s effectiveness. And if you don’t think this site is delivering useful enough data, you can cancel at anytime. Pretty good setup for those that are somewhat hesitant to take a chance on a social media monitoring site.

Alterian SM2 – formerly Techrigy SM2, this social media monitoring and analysis tool was designed with marketing departments, and public relations companies in mind. Alterian SM2 helps you review positive and negative comments made about your brand across various social media channels – blogs, micro-blogs, wikis, social networks, and media sharing sites with alerts delivered directly to you in real-time. You can even check out what is being said about your competition. The ability to track conversations regarding your brand (or that of your competitors) around the web is also available.

Brands Eye – When it comes to protecting your reputation online, few sites can top Brands Eye. Using your own personal resources to monitor forums, and blogs to make sure what is being said is helpful to your company can be tedious and time consuming. Brands Eye can monitor your company’s online reputation much more effectively. The BrandsEye website helps to produce a far more thorough and scientific analysis of your brand’s online reputation than most people could do on their own, and in far less time than you’d think.

ReputationDefender – created in 2006, ReputationDefender helps companies defend their reputation on the web. Over time, ReputationDefender has grown to be one of the most comprehensive online reputation management and privacy companies in the world. There are four main products that accomplish this feat: MyReputation – for adults to use personally, MyChild – for children and teens, MyPrivacy – for personal data protection, and MyEdge – a personal public relations engine for everyone.

Sentiment Metrics – founded in 2005, Sentiment Metrics has helped businesses listen to the growing world of social media. This company also helps businesses, and marketing companies comprehend what is happening with their brands in social media outlets, and most importantly, participate in different forms of social media – all from within an easy to navigate control panel. The tools provided by Sentiment Metrics enables customers and clients alike the ability to measure, and monitor the different aspects of social media while gaining valuable intel about the buying public. This information can be used to improve products and increase profits. One of the best features within the Sentiment Metrics system is the ability to respond to comments, questions, and remarks directly from the system.

MutualMind – A new site on the block, MutualMind is quickly becoming a name to be reckoned with in the social media monitoring arena. MutualMind has many tools that helps you track what is being said on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. There are even tools available to help you engage with your audience as well, and you can set up email alerts to let you know about changes in your prominence on the web.

Jive Market Engagement – Jive’s Market Engagement Solution is the first to combine social media monitoring software with the power of collaborative Social Business Software (SBS), enabling enterprises to strengthen their brands and implement a unified social media marketing strategy.

Sysomos – Sysomos is redefining social media analytics with a powerful product suite that provides customers with the tools to measure, monitor, understand and engage with the social media landscape. Sysomos provides instant access to all social media conversations from blogs, social networks and micro-blogging services to forums, video sites and media sources.

These are the top social media monitoring tools out there. Unfortunately many of them also carry a rather hefty price tag, and some do have a rather steep learning curve. With that in mind, here are a few free, or less expensive alternatives for those who want to monitor the world of social media while on a tight budget:

Google Alerts: You can set this tool up to send you email alerts every time someone mentions brands that you are tracking.

Google Video: Lets you know when someone mentions your brand name in a tag line or video.

Technorati: One of the largest blog search engine directories that can also be searched for keywords that relates to your brand (or those of your competition).

Jodange: As stated on their homepage, Jodange “Twitterizes the Web”. Jodange automatically aggregates, and filters coments, remarks, and statements from traditional and social media avenues – just what anyone following their brand within social media needs.

BlogPulse: initially created by IntelliSeek, and later acquired by the Nielsen Company, BlogPulse is a great way to to find out what is happening in the ever changing world of blogs.

Monitter: Track up to three distinct keywords at the same time on Twitter. You can even monitor all of this in real time.

BoardTracker: One of the best resources for finding out what people are saying about your brand online. While you’re at it, you can find out what people are saying about your competition, as well.

If you are serious about following your brand, or that of a client, around the social media stratosphere, check out these social media monitoring tools. There are many to choose from regardless of your research budget, so get going!

Monitoring Your Company’s Brand Online with MutualMind

Have you ever wondered what people are REALLY saying about your brand? Some people think they can just send out a couple of surveys, or do a few focus groups, and gather all the information they need about the public’s opinion about their products. While these are useful ways to gather marketing and demographic data, you still need to know what people are saying behind closed doors. Customers can say the nicest things when they are speaking to you directly, but may make the harshest remarks when speaking with friends, and co-workers.

If you’re looking for a way to find out what people really think of your company, MutualMind, has all the tools you need to do just that. MutualMind takes the different aspects of social media and brings them together into a concise, and helpful way. Imagine being able to look through the different twitter feeds and finding out what good (or bad) is being said about your brand. MutualMind is able to list all the different tweets across the internet in one control panel. MutualMind can also allow you to see what is being said about your competitors, and see how your company compares.

MutualMind is a highly innovative and dynamic web application that helps marketing firms and public relation firms monitor the “word on the street” in regards to brands that they are following – both your own, and your competitors. MutualMind also helps companies promote brands on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, while providing powerful, and comprehensive statistical analysis to maximize results from analytical social media monitoring. In layman’s terms, MutualMind helps you make money by helping you guide the public perception of your brand.

Needing to find out if you are being found via your targeted keywords? MutualMind does a great job of gathering statistics from several social media sources. You can set up an alert schedule that lets you know when your keywords are being used to find your web page across the web (even on Facebook). Although people may spend a little time on the internet in chat rooms, and the like, more and more people are flocking to Facebook to talk with friends, and family about the different products they come in contact with on a day to day basis. MutualMind helps you to find out what fans on Facebook are saying about your brand. You can even set up email updates to alert you if there were any keyword hits at any time throughout the day (without being too spammy). Also, getting your Klout score has never been easier now that MutualMind has access to Klout’s API.

If you want to be successful with your social media campaigns, and want a solid, and innovative way of doing so, then MutualMind is a must have for almost any business, research center, and marketing firm.

How Much Does Online Reputation Management Cost?

Online Reputation Management, as defined by Wikipedia, is the “practice of consistent research and analysis” of your personal or professional, business or industry reputation as represented” by the all of the content across that appears anywhere online (on the internet) on all types of online media. If someone has mentioned your name or your company name, and that comment is not a very positive one, your reputation could be at stake. Certainly nowadays, online reputation management is very key, especially from a public relations standpoint. If someone says something that’s not positive about you or your company, then you need to respond quickly.

So, how much does online reputation management cost? That’s a question that, unfortunately, can really only be answered with a “it depends” type of answer. Let me explain.

As someone who provides online reputation management services, I can tell you that the cost of online reputation management really depends on how much time is required to manage your online reputation. Just like a lot of other services, a lawyer may charge a certain fee as a one-time fee to handle your case. And a lawyer may charge another fee as a retainer: a fee that you must pay every month. Some fees are higher than others.

When it comes to the cost of online reputation management, I must look at your individual situation. I must take into account what is going to be required (how much time is involved) in order to do the very best job of managing your online reputation. Let’s take, for example, a financial services firm that recently hired me to manage their online reputation. When you searched for their company name, there were some search results that were not favorable to them showing up in the top 10 rankings in Google. So, they wanted to “change” the search results and effect what showed up: there was one website in particular that showed up in the search results for a search on their company name that had misinformation: they wanted that information removed. In this case, there were several hours’ of work involved over a period of a few months, to remove that information. I was able to handle that for them, and ultimately it cost them a few thousand dollars to handle their online reputation management. That generally was a one-time issue, which took a few months to complete.

There are also cases where people want a Ripoff Report web page removed or “bumped down” in the search results. I am fully aware of how a web page on Ripoff Report can be removed from the web entirely. However, that is more costly in nature. Again, this is a one-time deal to take care of.

But like I mentioned earlier, online reputation management is not just about the one-time removal of certain web pages from the search engines. In fact, proper online reputation management could include other services such as monitoring a company (or your) reputation online. You may have a large brand to protect: I can provide services that will monitor every single reference of your company’s brand online. The cost of that type of online reputation management will vary, depending on how often your company’s brand is mentioned online. Let’s take, for example, the Toyota brand. You are probably aware by now of all of the issues that Toyota has had lately with their cars. If an influential blogger were to write something that was false or malicious, and hundreds of thousands of people may read what they wrote, then Toyota would want to respond very quickly. The online reputation management cost just to manage the number of people “monitoring” Toyota’s brand online would be rather expensive, and proper online reputation management may cost tens of thousands of dollars every month.

There are some great tools out there that can help you manage your online reputation. You may need to do it yourself if you are on a budget and you have the time to deal with each online reputation management issue when it comes up. However, if your time is more valuable, you may need to turn to an expert who can handle your online reputation management swiftly and appropriately.

So, to answer your question, how much does online reputation management cost? It depends. It could range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars every month. How much does online reputation really cost? It could cost you your reputation.

How Not to Increase Online Credibility: MediaPost Fail

Let me first say that I’ve been a fan of MediaPost for years now. MediaPost has, over the years, reported some great stories. But I’m actually embarrassed by a recent article in their Marketing Daily column that I read from time to time. I’m not sure if this is just a lack of attention to detail or not, but a friend of mine tipped me off, showing me this. And FreshAvails gave me inspiration for this blog post.

Pay particular attention to the website that’s reportedly the Aldi home page:

marketing-daily-fail

This MediaPost article is about how Aldi Foods recently “released a study showing that Aldi shoppers spend up to 26% less than those who shop at discounters like Walmart, and up to 37% less compared to those who shop at traditional supermarkets.” That’s great news, since I actually would like to see Aldi’s come into our area and start offering an alternative to Walmart. But wait.

Is that MediaPost graphic claiming that the home page of Aldi’s is a Parked Domain Name?

That’s right, take a look again at it. Rather than doing some simple research by Googling Aldi to get the facts right, the image used in the story is a graphic/screen capture/thumbnail image of Aldis.com, a domain name that is not owned by Aldi Foods.

I find this very embarrassing, on two fronts:

First, there to be a lack of attention to detail by the author and the editor at MediaPost. The image of the parked domain name, aldis.com, and the image of clouds on the website makes it horribly obvious that this is NOT the Aldi Foods website. Furthermore, it appears that the graphic was resized and therefore someone had to have looked at the photo.

In a world where us online writers and bloggers are begging for respect, this is does absolutely nothing for our credibility. In fact, I’m trying to decide if I should continue to keep up my subscription to MediaPost and read anything that they have to say in the future. Yes, it’s that bad.

Secondly, and, more importantly, I’m very concerned over the fact that Aldi has not taken the steps to protect their online brand. They do own Aldi.com, but they need to realize that the term that their customers use to refer to the company and their stores is “Aldi’s”. Apparently the phrase is searched on Google at least 33,000 times every month. Not only should they own Aldis.com, I would also expect them to own the domain name Aldis.de.

By the way, if you’re not familiar with the process, there is what is called a “domain dispute policy”, officially called the “Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) or “UDRP” for short. If you believe that someone else owns a domain name that you have a right to own then you can file a UDRP request and have a third party officially decide if it should be turned over to you or not. In this case, I recommend that Aldi file a UDRP and take over the Aldis.com domain name and redirect it to their own site. [Read more...]

Reputation Management Seminar to be Held in Dallas Texas May 13

online reputation management
Photo Courtesy Sean Dreilinger on Flickr.com.

How is your reputation? What about your online reputation? If you search for your name or your company’s name in the search engines, what shows up in the search results? I bet that you probably would like something else to show up in the search engine rankings when you search for your name, right? Well, if you’re going to be in the Dallas, Texas area this month (on May 13, 2009), then you might want to check out the online reputation management seminar being held by the Dallas Search Engine Marketing Association, the local search engine marketing association that I founded a few years ago.

On May 13, 2009 at the Renaissance Hotel In Richardson Texas, the Dallas Fort Worth Search Marketing Association will be hosting a panel discussion about “Reputation Management – tools, tips and techniques for monitoring, protecting and defending brand reputations online”.

Panelist include Tony Wright, President of WrightIMC and Derick Schaefer, Managing Director of Orangecast Social Media Marketing.

Tony and Derick will delve into the details of the strategies and techniques they have developed over the years to monitor and improve a brand or companies reputation online. This presentation will provide practical examples and insights that every company should be aware of as they promote their brands online. Topics covered will include:

• tools and techniques for reputation management,
• practical examples of reputation management work for different companies,
• strategies and tactics for crisis communications.

If you’re concerned about your online reputation, then you’ll want to attend the DFW SEM event on May 13, 2009. To register online, go to http://www.dfwsem.org for more details.

Tony Wright of Wright IMC has extensive experience in online crisis communication and brand reputation strategy, including corporate blogging and corporate monitoring, most notably directing the online corporate reputation management strategy for American Airlines immediately following the events of September 11, 2001.

As President of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Search Marketing Association, Wright is a sought after speaker at industry events, including Search Engine Strategies, E-tail and others. His frequent contribution of articles, columns and quotes to various national and trade publications are widely read and cited. Wright’s work for his clients has been recognized in several local and national award campaigns, including the Excellence in Interactive Marketing Award, the Katie Awards, Webawards and the PRweek awards.

Derick Schaefer is the founder and Managing Director of Orangecast Social Media Marketingin Dallas, TX. Orangecast provides eMarketing solutions for a variety of industries including Reputation Management Services. As a part of their Reputation Management practice, Orangecast has successfully removed or displaced content on sites including CBS Televisions “The Insider”, RetailDish, TMCNet, and Hollywood Gossip.

The Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Organization (DFWSEM) is dedicated to education and promotion of the Dallas/Fort Worth search engine marketing industry, conversing various topics related to search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click search (PPC), as well as other emerging media. The group meets monthly at the Renaissance Hotel in Richardson, Texas, and is open to anyone interested in search engine marketing, including in-house marketers, independent consultants, and agencies.

www.dfwsem.org

New Survey Proves You Must Manage Your Own Online Reputation

The Creative Group

Results from a new survey reveals that half of all employers surveyed said that they search online for information about prospective hires at least some of the time. This means that if you are looking for a job then it is extremely important to make sure that if someone Googles your name and does some research about you then they must find good results.

The survey was conducted by The Creative Group, a company that offers online job search services.

Making a good impression online when someone searches and researches you is imperative nowadays. You absolutely need to make sure that you manage your reputation online, which includes things such as making sure that positive things about you appears in the search engines’ search results. You can keep up with your online reputation by setting up “alerts”, which are available for free from Yahoo! and Google. You can be notified via email whenever a new web page or instance of your name appears online.

Bill Hartzer Online Reputation

As you can see from the screen capture above, I’ve been handling my own personal online reputation for a while now. In fact, a search for my name at Google reveals about 75,000 results (this varies from time to time). Obviously, this blog, right here, is going to rank very well. But take a look at the other search results…articles I’ve written, others sites I own, and other stuff. If you’d like to monitor your own reputation, then set up a Google alert by going here. I recommend that you set several up for different versions of your name if that’s appropriate.

Fifty percent of advertising and marketing executives recently polled by The Creative Group said that they search online for information about prospective hires at least some of the time. Among those who search for information about prospective hires online, fourteen percent have decided not to hire someone based on what they’ve found.

The survey was developed by The Creative Group and was conducted by an independent research firm; it included 250 responses, 125 responses from advertising executives and 125 responses from senior marketing executives.

According to The Creative Group, advertising and marketing executives were asked

“How frequently, if at all, do you use Google or another search engine to learn additional information about a prospective hire?”

They responded as follows:

Always      19%
Sometimes   31%
Rarely      24%
Never       24%
Don't know   2%

           100%

Of those who search online for information about prospective hires were asked then asked:
[Read more...]