Social Media, Search & Reputation Management: SMX East 2009
We’ve reached my last liveblog post of SMX East 2009. But it’s not the last of my reporting from the conference. Don’t miss today’s SEM Synergy podcast straight out of SMX East.
I had an opportunity to interview conference speaker and president of paid search management platform ClickEquations, Craig Danuloff, and conference interviewer extraordinaire, Mike McDonald of WebProNews. Tune in to WebmasterRadio.fm at 3 Eastern/12 Pacific today!
Craig shares highly-actionable tactics for a query-based approach to PPC as well as insights about the state of many organization’s search campaigns and a synergistic approach to SEO and PPC. Mike offers up his tips for making connections and getting information from leaders of the Internet marketing space. Bruce and I also share some candid observations about our time at the show. Check it out later today or download it anytime from WMR or iTunes.
Following that public service announcement is another great service — technical and strategic recommendations for online reputation management. Here’s the panel:
Moderator: Chris Sherman, Executive Editor, Search Engine Land
Brent Csutoras, Social Media Consultant, Brent Csutoras, Inc
Rhea Drysdale, COO & Co-Founder, Outspoken Media
Jordan Kasteler, Co-Founder, Search & Social
Chris Silver Smith, Director of Optimization Strategies, KeyRelevance
Marty Weintraub, President, aimClear
Chris Sherman says that in the online environment you have to react to things quickly and with little preparation. There’s a form of chaos that, despite the preparation and everything you do, still comes up.
Brent Csutoras starts us off. He’s going to talk about social’s role in rep management. It’s always a nightmare to get attacked — even if you DESERVE it. But social media can come to the rescue. There is professional social networking, social networking, social media, social aggregation and informational sites.
Remember that social media isn’t just a fad — it’s the direction we’re moving in. It’s good to have these platforms as a way to clean up your search results and gain more search real estate. And it’s also good to have them as a means of presence on the Web and visibility.
He spends most of his time on social aggregation sites so he’s going to stick with what he does most. In some of these cases, it may not be a direct takeaway. It may be more intensive and require the work of a creative team. Because with social aggregation sites, it’s about quality. Think outside the box and be creative.
Using Social on Social
You can use social aggregation sites on your own social media campaigns. We’re starting to see tweets show up on top social aggregation sites. That gives you more links to the Twitter profile. It doesn’t take many links to get your Twitter account to move up the search rankings.
Videos are very popular. It can be corporate, as long as it’s interesting. Getting good links to your social media profiles will help them rank. Flickr pictures can have links. You can write questions on Yahoo! Answers — and even answer them yourself, if you want. Provocative and edgy questions/answers can also be submitted to aggregation sites. It only takes a couple quality links to get a submission on a social aggregation site to rank.
Launch a Social Campaign
IKEAhacker.blogspot.com is an idea like this. IKEA lets people submit ways they have modified IKEA products. Not only will it be viral, but it can speak to the social community. Modifications are very popular in certain spaces. GM’s FastLane Blog is another good example of this.
Submit Third-Party Content
It doesn’t have to be yours, it just has to be positive.
Chris Silver Smith is up next. He once knew someone who was wrongly targeted by an animal rights group and had to get his information wiped from search so the group wouldn’t come after him at home. He’s helped school districts and small towns being vilified in Wikipedia. And Wikipedia is the focus of this presentation.
Addressing reputation management issues:
- Pushing negative content off page one of SERPs
Generating strong neutral / positive content
Filing complaints to remove negative content
Link-building to push up good content
To push down the negative results, you’ll need to seek out strongly ranking sites. Wikipedia fits the bill. Having an article page link in Wikipedia does wonders for a result you want to move up.
- Article about company/brand
- Subject must meet minimum notability requirements
- Ask established Wikipedian to author
- Must be written with neutral P.O.V.
- Have reference citations
- Categorize to rank quickly
- Other articles pertaining to brand name
- For example, if a well-ranking celebrity is a spokesperson for a brand, that celebrity’s Wikipedia article may be able to include a link to the company.
- Generate unrelated article for identical name. WARNING: Short-term tactic — avoid.
- Provide Wikimedia Commons image(s)
- A photo about the subject can be uploaded to an article. In the file name you can include your brand name and a link.
Negative content within Wikipedia:
- Is it cited? If not, request deletion.
- Is it slanted? Request change due to goal of neutral P.O.V.
- Is the page repeatedly defaced? Request lock on edits.
- Is it minor? Request removable as non-noteworthy.
Finding content to push up: Do a search for the term or related terms and start link building to them.
Request removal of unfavorable content:
- File complaints to remove negative content (review terms and conditions)
- DMCA take-down notices to Web host, ISP, Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.
- Cease and desist letters
Rhea Drysdale is next with an interesting view on taking advantage of negative publicity of competitors. A company she once worked with had an alternative to QuickBooks
What’s the secret to managing your online reputation? Something is going to happen. Don’t pretend it’s not. But besides knowing that, you have to know what’s happening in the brand management space.
Brand trust is falling — 52 percent in 1997 and 22 percent in 2008.
What ORM clients seem to have in common:
- No line of defense: The big problem oftentimes is that your results are just empty, so when something bad happens, it will rise to the top.
- Brand doesn’t want to speak up: When a brand won’t speak up, all the negative stuff will dominate the conversation.
- No intention of righting the wrong: A client that isn’t willing to right the wrong is more-or-less impossible to help.
- They’re making the problem worse: A company will sometimes follow-up negative comments with a comment trying to speak up for themselves. But adding their brand name as fresh content on the page is actually reinforcing the authority of that negative review.
- It’s just a tough industry: If there’s no social areas in your industry, set them up yourself. Launch a help center, for instance.
Outspoken Media has an ORM guide you should check out for more.
Jordan takes the mic next. He’s gong to talk about setting up social profiles across social media sites. First you have to register the social profiles. A tool like knowem.com will show you where your brand name is and isn’t available on social sites, and they can also build out the profiles for you.
Use your company name as the username whenever possible and include the company name as the vanity URL when possible. Both of these steps will get your name/keywords in the URL. Include links to your other social profiles within social profiles. This will give them higher equity.
Keep your profiles active and fresh — add friends, join groups, comment — because it will help your profiles rank. Once your profiles start populating search results, start link building to get them ranking even better. This will likely lead to higher activity on the profiles, and that requires monitoring.
Don’t let things spin out of control. Track and monitor the social space:
- Blogs/RSS feeds
- E-mail alerts
- Social convos
- Forums and message boards
Technorati lets you monitor the blogosphere and you can sort by authority. BlogPulse.com has a good conversation tracker that you can use by keyword. WhosTalkin aggregates conversation based around your selected keywords/brand. Keotag.com lets you search for tagged blog posts across several social sites. Twitter’s advanced search tool looks for emoticons next keywords to help signify positive and negative attitude. Tweetbeep.com, Yahoo! Alerts, Google Alerts, BoardTracker, BoardReader — lots more tools he’s sharing with us.
Marty Weintraub presents next, starting with a cheery note: if it can burn, it will. You have about three days to mobilize. With a nasty PR storm on the horizon:
First: explain personalized search for key executives. Look it up.
Then: do an inventory of your assets. You can use PPC, YouTube, Digg, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, PR and lots of money to your advantage.
Next: Define a filtered keyword monitoring grid, confirm general keywords monitored [brand sucks], [I hate brand], etc., and distribute that to the team. Bring in the analytics team to monitor.
Make it known that the brand is listening on all channels. You want to make the point that you mean to serve the public first. Explain that you’re trying to make good and make friends. Redirect damaging inbound links to boost SEO >o< (LOL).
Set up your tactics:
- Optimized On-Strategy Content
- Coordinate Across All Channels
- What Are we Actually Going to DO?
Do a SERP snapshot and report on a daily basis to the client. Sentiment report is good too. Identify if it’s in the Universal Search results and in the news cycle. Look at the related searches. Measure the social chatter in a report. Analyze case-by-case on whether or not to respond. But the number one thing you should do is put your defense in place.
Here’s the wrap:
- Demystify personalized search
- Inventory of assets
- Define filtered keyword monitoring grid
- Determine and execute strategy and tactics
- Establish analytics and reporting