SO Tactics - Social Media, Marketing and Digital Strategies

Social Media/Web Design/Email Marketing/Data Management

Customized Social Media set up and design, ongoing Social Media management and content development, blogging, email marketing, association management, data management and small business website design. Harrisburg, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Why You Need a Website

Read an article last week entitled “Some businesses say no to web.” Being a digital agency and advocate of the power of the web, we wondered what could possibly cause a business to choose not to have a web presence? Surprisingly, 55% of small businesses don’t have a website according to a 2013 study conducted by Google.

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The biggest reasons given? Time and money. It will take too much time and it will cost too much money. Here are a few reasons to find the time and the money:

1.     You need to be found. How will potential customers know you exist? Provide content for your website that will ensure you are found. Think about your current customers – what were they looking for in your product/service? What is unique about your customers? How do you serve them? Think about what potential customers would be looking for and clearly indicate with your website content that you can fulfill those needs.

2.     Your customers expect it – even if they can’t order online, it’s a great way to share your contact information and business hours. We have one client who didn’t want a website, so we created a company Facebook page. A Google search will find their Facebook page, display their phone number & address and lists their hours of operation. Use Facebook, create a Google Places profile, set up a YouTube account for video demonstrations (more ideas here http://www.verticalresponse.com/blog/top-20-places-business-needs-listed-online/) – just get online.

3.     It adds legitimacy to your business – still using Gmail or your Internet service provider email address? Stop! Get a domain for your business, get a professional .com email address, set up a one page website – stake a claim for your brand (Need more convincing? See our Protecting Your Online Reputation series!)

4.     It will save you time – having your information available on the web will cut down on phone calls. It gives people an opportunity to do information gathering on their own. When they choose to call you after reviewing your website, you can bet the call will be more productive.

5.     It will make you money – it will boost your sales and bring customers in. Having a website gives you the opportunity to compete. You can go local and specify your niches. Search engines optimize results based on geographical proximity – making sure your website includes your location makes the most of this.

Don’t stand on the sidelines by not being on the web – you’re letting customers and opportunity pass you by! Having a website will always be a good return on investment.

Own It. Define It. Defend It.© Protecting Your Online Reputation Part III

Defend It!

"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoe."

- Mark Twain

Ah, little did Mark Twain know how true this statement would truly become. Especially these days. While running for President this a few years back, Rick Santorum declared “I vow to stay in this race until the convention or until that damn web site drops out of the top five!” Well, he didn’t make it to the convention, at least not as a candidate, but he did successfully bump “that damn web site” out of the top five in a Google search of his name.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to generate news interest or even generate negative publicity but as information about us grows, so does this possibility. So, what do we do if something negative shows up about us in a Google search? Run for President? No. 

Let's hope we never get to this step and need to defend against something negative out there on the web, but let's also hope you've heeded the advice in this series of blogs so that you are the first to know if something bad does surface. What then? First it's important to note that Google will not remove information from the web unless it is breaching personal information (e.g. your social security number). It wasn't l recently that Google removed anything at all, but these instances were very egregious and Google did the right thing. 

Steps to take:

  • Start by contacting the offending site to request that the information be removed. Be prepared to make your case as to why. 
  • Actively post new information in order to bump down the offensive posts.
  • Create a larger web footprint for yourself (start that Twitter account, get on Linkedin, build a website.)
  • Apologize and/or otherwise tell your story.

If you are concerned that you cannot manage the issue on your own, look into (and pay for) the services of companies like Reputation.com, Brand-Yourself, Vizibility and Defend My Name. All four offer varying degrees of reputation management services. 

And, sadly, if all else fails, you should contact an attorney. There are causes of action, both criminally and civilly that may help. Criminally you may have a case for Harassment or Invasion of privacy. Civilly you may be able to make a case for defamation, false light, interference with business relations or unfair competition. Before going the route of filing suit be sure to assess the strength of your case, what it's going to cost you, who you need to sue and whether there are alternatives to a law suit. The burden is on you so be prepared. 

Words to live by: Be careful what YOU post online about others. There is a fine line between opinion and defamation and nothing is truly anonymous. Free speech doesn't prevent others from suing you for things you've posted. 

Own it, define it, defend it.© Now you're ready for social media. 

Need help managing your reputation? We can help you with that, contact us.


Own It. Define It. Defend It.© Protecting Your Online Reputation Part II

Define It!

Now that you own your name across the Internet, it’s time to define who you are. Be yourself, only better, we like to say. Sounds simple enough. Remember, this is about you and your personal reputation, not your business.

Google searches these days pull in news, web, pictures and social media. When was the last time you checked Google Images? You might be surprised to see the number of images of you that are being pulled from social media sites. If you’ve been tagged, or if you’ve used a picture as a profile shot, it’s fair game in a search.

Be aware! There’s nowhere to run and nowhere you can hide, so it’s critically important to be aware, at all times, that every move you make reflects on your reputation.  You have a choice to define who you are, or let others do it for you. Take control.

Be Proactive! Lines blur these days between our personal and professional lives. Business associates friend us on Facebook and friends ask us to connect on LinkedIn.  Be proactive in posting and sharing positive information about yourself and about your business. Make sure your Facebook settings require your permission before you can be tagged in a post or a photo. Ask friends to remove posts that in any way negatively impact you, or better still, stay out of situations that might generate such posts.

Be vigilant. We talked in the first article in this series about using broad search engines such as Addict-o-matic, SocialMention, Technorati and Yasni, in addition to a Google search, to see what is being said about you. It’s important to periodically rerun your search. First, you will see that your efforts at proactively posting positive content are paying off but more importantly you will see if anything objectionable has been posted. The sooner you can spot the negative, the easier it will be to clean it up.

Mark Twain is attributed with saying -- “A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoe.” – and that was long before the Internet! If, despite all your best efforts, objectionable information turns up that threatens your personal reputation, have no fear. There are many steps that you can take to lessen the impact or even eliminate the information.

We own it, we’ve defined it – next we’ll defend it.

Need help managing your reputation? Contact us, click HERE!

 

Own It. Define It. Defend It.© Protecting Your Online Reputation - Part I

Own It!

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Admit it, you’ve Googled yourself. We all have. We all breathe a sigh of relief too when nothing embarrassing shows up. Then we make a promise to ourselves to do it again in a year. That should be sufficient, right?

Wrong! It’s just not that simple any more. Social Media places an emphasis on you as an individual and so protecting your online reputation is imperative. It’s important to take control and manage it. In this first of a three part series on Protecting Your Online Reputation we will focus on owning your reputation and the positive steps you can take to manage your name across the Internet. This isn’t about your business, it’s about you!

Sadly, it’s now time to stop using the pet name your dad gave you when you three as a profile name! Begin by assessing all of your current online profile pages to make sure that you are using your real name on all of them. Be consistent across the web!

On LinkedIn, for example, you can easily edit your public profile URL by going to your Profile page, click edit next to your Public Profile and then edit next to “Customize your public profile URL” in the right hand column of that page. Making these simple changes makes it easier for friends, family and business associates to locate the real you. 

Now, broaden your name search on the web. Check out search engines like Addict-o-matic, SocialMention, Technorati and Yasni. These searches provide a broader view of you on the web and will also cover blogs.

Next it’s important to reserve your name across the web and even secure your name as a URL. This doesn’t mean you have to create a web page, it just ensures that no one else can. You can use Knowem, Namechecklist, Namechk or Claim.io to view how your name is being used across the web and to secure your name if it is available. You can use these sites to lock down your domain name as well.

Finally, create a Google Profile. This profile will put all your online profiles in one place. Add to that a Google Alert for your name. You will receive emails on a regular basis that contain information on your name and help you monitor what is being said.

Now you Own It! Next up - we’ll Define It!

Need help managing your reputation? Contact us today, click HERE!