Tagged: Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management

10 Tips on How to Write a Personal Biography 0

We’ve all been there: agonizing over how to write a bio in a way that doesn’t irritate readers with too many bragging rights – or fall flat with modesty.

Writing a biography that is professional, personable, accurate, search engine friendly and engaging can be tricky. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. If you take just a little bit of time to plan, you can come up with a personal bio that tells your story and acts as the cornerstone of your personal brand. More often than not, your personal biography is the first thing that someone will see before meeting you – so make it count!

Below are our top tips on how to write a personal bio in a way that represents you well and is search engine friendly:
write different bios for different sites1. How to write a bio for different sites.
As you start to build your personal brand online, remember that you are going to be writing different versions of your bio that will vary in both content and length depending on where it’s posted. So don’t feel like you have to fit everything about your entire life story into one bio.

It’s important to have multiple versions for two main reasons:

First of all, from an SEO perspective, unique content helps a profile or website rank better in search results. Search engines like Google, want to provide users with a range of information. Your websites and profiles have a better chance of ranking well if the bios are unique than if the same bio is copy and pasted on all of your properties.

While some of the core information will naturally stay the same, make a point to diversify how you write each bio. From a branding perspective, it’s wise to have different versions of your bio available with the platform where it will ultimately be published in mind.

Consider the tone in your writing, it should vary for different audiences and contexts. Keep in mind that different sites have different allowances in terms of word count – find the word and character allowances before you start writing for that site. This will make the whole process of writing a bio much easier.

2. Introduce yourself… like a real person.
This is one of the most important pieces of understanding how to write a personal biography. Always start with your name. It’s funny, because when many people start learning how to write a bio they realize they skipped this important part. People need to know who you are before they learn what you do. Remember that your most important details should go in the very first sentence.

What you consider to be “important details” can change depending on where you decide to publish this bio. When you have more space, share something personal about who you are. A passion, a core value, an outlook on life – something that speaks to you as a whole.

Also a personal bio should also include something more tangible like your job title, industry and location. From a search results standpoint, you want your name to be associated with your location, job title and industry. This way, people looking for you in a professional capacity can find you associated with those words immediately.

However, it’s important to showcase yourself more fully so that people can get a sense of who you are when they look you up online. Aim to describe yourself in a way that’s professional… but also, human.

keep an eye on your biography word count3. Watch your word count.
When you start writing a bio determining the length of your bio may seem like an afterthought – something that just happens once you stop typing. However, it is something that you need to think about before you start writing – and your ideal word count may shift depending on your primary focus.

From an SEO perspective, the more words you use in your personal bio, the better. If you are filling in the bio section of a profile, find out the word or character limit – that’s how long your bio should be. If you are writing the bio on your personal website, the longer the better.

Plan to write 500 words – minimum. If you have 1,500 to 2,000 words in you, that’s even better. As we have mentioned before, search engines value lengthier content (when it is also well-written and original), so get to it! When learning how to write a bio that ranks well, this is one of the most important tips you can remember.

From a branding perspective, you may have a different take on the length of your bio. Perhaps you would prefer to keep things short and sweet or don’t feel the immediate need for a 1,500 word count. If so, that’s fine too. Cater your personal bio to your goals. Start small. The length suggestion can change based on your situation and ultimate goals.

Consider organizing your personal bio into sections that you can add to later that will bring up your word count over time. Even from a branding perspective, word count is still important because you want to make sure that you are sharing as much relevant information with the reader as possible. Don’t short change the audience. So take your time and craft something that makes you proud and gives your audience an accurate take on who you are.

4. Write your biography in the third person.
This is one of the most common steps that people struggle with when learning how to write a bio. While it can feel strange to talk about yourself in the third person at first, there are some very clear benefits from doing so:

From an SEO perspective, writing a bio in the third person allows you to include your full name throughout the bio. This lets search engines know that this lengthy, original, and well-written piece of content is about you. While making it clear that this awesome work is about you is important when it comes to search engine optimization, don’t let speaking in third person become too much of a good thing.

Never overuse your name when writing a bio or include it in a way that seems unnatural. Instead, use your name when it is appropriate. By dropping your name too frequently, search engines may think that the article looks suspicious/spammy – or isn’t written very well.

Speaking in the third person suggests that someone else is speaking about you. And since it’s likely that others will use your various bios as a resource to describe you, writing in the third person makes it easier for others to talk about you using information straight from your personal bio.

Whether you have an upcoming speaking engagement that requires a bio blurb, or a colleague introduces you via email to someone you’ve wanted to work with for years, your third-person bio makes it easy for others to share information about you with people who you want in your corner.

When practicing how to write a bio effectively, you can’t spend enough time focusing on this. Writing in the third person makes information about you shareable and accessible. From a branding perspective, this alone is reason enough to write in the third person! If you want to learn more about how this all works, check out our online reputation management guide too.

5. Edit ruthlessly and update constantly.
Your online bio is the authoritative source on you. That means that it needs to reflect you in the best light possible. This also means that it should be kept as up to date as possible. The proper action plan for how to write a bio is never truly finished because of this.

A lengthy, well-written and regularly updated piece of content is like search engine gold. So when you complete your initial version of the longer personal bio that you will use on your website, know that you’re not finished.

As you gain more experience, or perhaps shift your professional focus, include these changes in your bios. And keep asking other people that you trust to take a look at your main bios to edit them. Writing a bio is an ongoing process that you should never ignore for too long.

Read your bio aloud to yourself, use free editing tools like the Hemingway app, Slickwrite or any other number of free resources that will help you write a great bio about yourself that keeps readers interested.

While you should update your personal bio with obvious milestones like a promotion or a degree, feel free to sprinkle in seemingly smaller accomplishments in your life.

Update your bio so it includes information about running your first 5k, taking a Tango lesson and only falling twice, adopting a rescue dog – anything that paints a clearer picture of who you are and what you value.

6. Write a story, not a list.
When writing a personal bio, it can be easy to fall into the trap of rattling off accomplishments, but that’s what your resume is for. Your bio should go above and beyond your awards and get to the core of who you are and what you’re about.

Now, that may seem like a tall order, but with a bit of planning you can pull it off. You can understand how to write a bio from a technical standpoint, but looking at it through this lens will help be your guideline going forward. Ask yourself questions like, “Who is your audience?”, or,  “What are the main takeaways for your reader?”, and, “What events in your life best illustrate those main points?”. Turn your biography into a story that engages the reader.

Those who have mastered the steps of how to write a bio spend a lot of time doing this. If you approach writing a bio like a story, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to differentiate yourself from others and truly connect with the reader.

If this makes the process even more challenging, think about your favorite stories. What is it that makes them memorable? Without going overboard, feel free to infuse your personal bio with your favorite authors. You want to grab the reader and force them to pay attention to you. What elements that make a great story can you use for your bio?

link to your work7. Link to your work.
Regardless of your profession, it’s likely that you have samples of your work that are pertinent to the audience reading about you. In addition to being an introduction to who you are and what you do, let your personal bio act as a marketing tool. Many people want to learn how to write a bio effectively, but they don’t spend enough time learning how to use it as promotion.

You can do this by including links to your product, company or service. Avoid doing this in a heavy-handed way since nobody wants to read a direct sales pitch when they’re trying to learn about a human being. Mention the product, company or service in a way that helps you tell your own story in a natural way.

These links should enhance and illustrate what you’re already describing about yourself. This shouldn’t be a distraction or take anything away from the main thrust of your personal narrative.
If you have a lot of work and accomplishments to choose from, be selective! Highlight work that’s impressive, relevant, tells your story and makes you proud.

If you don’t currently have much to link to within your personal bio, don’t worry. Start by learning more about personal branding. Make a note in your calendar, planner or journal that this is something to work on outside of creating your personal bio. But don’t let this fall by the wayside, set some time aside in the next few weeks to actively work on fixing this.

Whether it’s writing an article on your company’s website, submitting a post to a site that’s related to your industry or finally getting your passion project’s website live… do it! And once that is live, get the most out of it by linking to it in your bios. Look to other professionals in your field who have a well-developed online presence for inspiration.

Learning how to write a bio that performs well also means you need to do a little housekeeping from time to time. When you are regularly updating your bios, make sure to check that all of your links are not only relevant, but that the actual links work. Broken links not only make for a frustrating user experience, but likely hurt your search results.

8. Don’t forget to share your contact information.
Even if you have a contact page on your site, or perhaps widgets on your website that link to your social media interview sites, make a point to include the most direct mode of connection at the end of your personal bio. This could be your email address, a link to your contact page, or a link to your LinkedIn account. When it comes down to it, understanding how to write a biography aids you in creating new and valuable connections.

By including this type of information at the end of your bio, you’re not only letting your audience know how you prefer that they get in touch with you, but directing them to another hub that lets them learn even more information about you (if you so choose). Give some thought about what you want your audience to do after they have just been introduced to you through your personal bio.

If you give your audience a real way to connect with you at the end of the bio, you’re also sending the message that you’re approachable and want to be accessible. This is particularly helpful if you end up going a little bit “accomplishment heavy” earlier on. The caveat though, is that you should actually respond to people trying to connect with you in the way that you suggest here.

While the process of writing a bio about yourself can be strange at first, these 8 tips will help you to write a great introduction to who you are. Take advantage of them and you won’t be disappointed with the results!

9. Use an online tool to ensure the bios on all your profiles are well-branded and optimized to rank high in search engines.
BrandYourself - Bio Analyzer ToolUnderstanding how to write a bio is a lot easier when you have a little help. At BrandYourself, we’ve built a online reputation management software  that walks you through building an impressive online presence.

It includes a useful personal bio analyzer that helps you ensure your bios across all  profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, About.me, your website, etc.) are well-branded and optimized to show up as high as possible in Google. Just submit your profiles, and quickly find out which bios need improvement.

If you want to analyze the bios on your own profiles, create a free account now. Just submit your main profiles, then click “boost” on each one to see a list of ways you can improve them – including enhancing your personal bio.

10. Go beyond your personal bio.
An effective bio is incredibly important, but it’s only part of your personal brand. We’d be remiss not to mention how important it is to clean up and improve your entire online presence; our national study with Harris Interactive shows just how much your digital footprint affects your earning potential. Luckily, helping people improve their entire online reputation is our bread and butter here at BrandYourself.

Before spending too much time learning how to write a bio, it’s important to make sure employers, clients or investors can’t find any “red flags” when they search your name online. Since providing tools and services is how we keep the lights on here, we’re particularly excited about our tool’s newest feature, which lets you scan your online presence for any potential risk factors.

Using machine learning and millions of data points, it automatically finds any webpages, social media posts or images that could put your career opportunities in jeopardy. Many people are surprised by what they find using our technology – what will it find about you?

It’s important to take preventative action in finding any potentially inappropriate photos someone tagged you in years ago, ill-advised tweets sent at 2AM you forgot about, or someone portraying you in a negative light in a blog post deep in Google. You can find questionable content like this and then remove it – before an employer, potential client or investor finds it and decides not to do business with you.

Once you’ve cleaned up your online footprint, our tool walks you through the process of building the positive, relevant content you want people to find when they search for you online.

So if you have a minute, we recommend trying our reputation management software for free now. We’ve also got an awesome support team that’s here to help if you have any questions along the way. It will make the process of writing a bio much easier once you have everything else taken care of.

11. Get help from an expert. 
Sometimes you just need a second pair of eyes on your personal bio – or  would rather a specialist write it for you. That’s part of the larger online reputation management services we provide at BrandYourself.

If you’re interested in working with one of our in-house reputation specialists, we can help: as part of your kickoff strategy session, we’ll help define the most powerful way to talk about yourself, position yourself effectively against others in your industry, and ensure your bios are working for you across all your online profiles and websites. Our reputation specialists understand the ins and outs of how to write a bio that helps you achieve your goals, and it’s one of the first things they go over with you.

To learn more, check out our reputation management services here. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to check out our other blog posts as you continue your journey building your brand. And if you don’t want to miss out on similar tips and tricks in the future, just scroll up and subscribe.


BrandYourself.com has helped over half a million happy customers advance their careers by cleaning up, protecting and improving their online reputation. Did you know that 83% of employers use the web to research job applicants? If you’re ready to proactively control your Google results and get hired, rather than cut from the applicant pool, try us for free and start controlling how you’re perceived online.

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The post 10 Tips on How to Write a Personal Biography appeared first on BrandYourself Blog | ORM And Personal Branding.


Source: Brandyourself

Bad Marketers are Ignorant (of Social Media Trends) 0

Smart Marketing … uses social media to stay top-of-mind and create a competitive advantage.

Pew Research Center found that 8 in 10 U.S. adults use Facebook. And 467 million Americans use

LinkedIn.

Let those numbers wash over you for a minute.

Like it or not, social media is influencing your target audience.

Just a few years ago, customers primarily interacted with businesses via phone, email and websites. But the explosive adoption of social media has transformed the ways customers engage with your company, learn about your products/services, and ultimately make purchasing decisions.

Marketing has changed – dramatically.

Smart marketers know that investing in a strong social media presence is no longer a luxury; it’s a business necessity. They stay on top of rapidly evolving social media trends, leveraging new platforms and strategies to:

  • increase web traffic, leads and conversions;
  • raise awareness of their brand, products and/or services;
  • stay top of mind;
  • strengthen their brand;
  • improve communication and engagement with their audiences.

When it comes to using social media for business, it seems like technology, platforms and best-practices change almost daily. And frankly, unless social media marketing is your full-time job, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by your options – and tough to determine what strategies make the most sense for your business.

Our advice?

Start small.

Consider which platforms your target audience(s) are most likely to spend their time on. Set up accounts on one or two channels. Gradually build your followers on those platforms, and then systematically test ideas one at a time to see which yield the best results.

Start dialogues.

Don’t just post; answer inquiries. Respond to comments. Ask questions. Start conversations. Social media is comprised of highly interactive, two-way communication channels. Your audience(s) want to engage one-on-one with your brand!

Be consistent.

Make sharing content, monitoring channels and responding to inquiries and comments a habit (hint: it’s best if you assign responsibility to one person or a small team – so someone is accountable!). Consistency the best way to stay top-of-mind and protect your brand.

Be authentic.

Regardless of whether your organization is buttoned up or laid back, customers and prospects want to engage with real people in your real business. While you should always put your best foot forward on social media, skip the façade-building and image-crafting. As a small business, take advantage of the opportunities social media provides to show the authentic, personal side of your organization.

Get visual.

Pictures, short video clips and infographics instantly grab attention. Experiment with different types of content to see what gets the most engagement.

Take advantage of new functionality.

As social tools become more robust, keep up with the “bells and whistles” they add. Think of ways you could leverage new features to stand out from the competition.

Get expert marketing help.

Know you need a social media strategy, but aren’t sure where to start? Call BARQAR! We’ll create a simple, cost-effective plan to help you engage with your audience, build your brand – and create a real advantage over your competitors.

 

The post Bad Marketers are Ignorant (of Social Media Trends) appeared first on BARQAR.


Source: Barqar

#40 – The top 10 reputation stories of 2017…and we need your help picking #1 0

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We’re coming up on the end of 2017, so it’s a good time to look back on the year’s biggest Reputation Roadkill and Reputation Rainmakers!

Each week, Erin Jones and I take a look at the most interesting reputation management stories, answer your questions, and share valuable ORM tactics. In this week’s episode:

  • Want to know the top stories of 2017? You’ll have to listen to the podcast. Or wait until we upload the transcript. 😉
  • Also, we need your help to pick the #1 spot for 2017!

If you have a question you would like us to tackle, please leave a comment below or on my Facebook Page.

Transcript (forgive us for any typos):

Andy Beal: Welcome back. This is going to be our last episode of the year, so we thought we’d make it a good one for you. We’re actually going to take a look back at what we believe are the top 10 Reputation stories for 2017. This could be Reputation Roadkill, or it could be Reputation Rainmakers, so it could be positive, or negative. We’ve got them in, I guess, reverse chronological order, the typical countdown. We’ll get started. Number 10 is Photobucket. If you recall, Photobucket took away their free photo hosting and basically broke the internet, because lots of people used Photobucket to post and upload images to forums, and message boards, and websites. They got accused of basically blackmailing users into switching to a paid plan.

My takeaway from this, my lesson I’d like you to learn, is that you always need to consider how you’re going to retire a product, or how you’re going to take away a particular price level, or service plan, because people are reliant on that and so you should always consider having some kind of grandfathering clause where if they were getting it for free, then in this case all their images should’ve stayed free. As opposed to, “Hey, if you want to keep them up, you’ve got to pay for the plan.” Any thoughts on that, Erin?

Erin Jones: I completely agree. I think they really added insult to injury also by making people download their photos individually if they wanted to keep them. They came out and said, “Yeah, you can have access to all your photos, just download them and do what you wish with them,” but there was a, “Glitch,” in the system that required people to download their photos one by one. I feel like everything they did just kind of piled on and I have yet to hear of anyone … I’m sure some people paid it, probably more from a business side, but I’m seeing blogs and forums with that little ransom image all over the place still.

Andy Beal: Yeah, me too. It didn’t really work out well, but maybe it did. If you Google, “Photobucket,” you still see the story on the first page, so that’s not good.

Erin Jones: Yeah. I’m curious to see how long they’re going to be around after this, because it really reached far and wide. Speaking of far and wide, I feel like 2017 seemed to really be the year of reckoning for people in high positions as far as sexual assault, and taking advantage of co-workers, and employees. We’ve got Kevin Spacey coming in at number nine for this one. Granted, he was one of many this year, but due to his high profile and the horrible way that he handled his accusations, we’re going to make him the poster child for this one right now. What really stuck out to me reputation-wise about this, was that he not only harmed himself, but everyone from the cast, to the crew, and the network that his show was on was affected by this, because the network did the right thing and took the show down. Now, all those people have lost that income and revenue. What do you think about this one?

Andy Beal: Yeah, and he didn’t do the LGBT community any favors by trying to come out at the same time. They didn’t really appreciate that. I think for me, you should always assume that your private behavior will eventually become public, so you can’t be some kind of saint in public and be a demon in private. I think that that’s what we’re seeing here. I think we put these stars on a pedestal, not really knowing what’s going on in their private lives. Like I’ve always said, big lies, big scandals will always eventually be revealed.

Erin Jones: Absolutely.

Andy Beal: Number eight, we have our positive story and that’s from Wendy’s, the hamburger chain. They made good on a Twitter wager when somebody asked, “How many retweets in order to get free nuggets for a year?” They managed to get that number and Wendy’s made good on it, which is a really just a great story of adding personality to your Twitter profile, your social media, but in also when you promise something, make good on it. Genie Bouchard did something similar with a wager over a football game and went on a date. You’ve got this great example of Wendy’s personality and you’re seeing that with other brands like [Mumbai 00:05:00]. Just a good reminder that social media doesn’t have to be all about just push, push, push and promoting whatever story or press release you have.

Erin Jones: This was one of my favorite kind of feel-good stories of the year. I love how many people picked it up and I feel like Wendy’s was such a great sport throughout all of this, that it really made their whole brand very likable.

Andy Beal: Absolutely agree.

Erin Jones: I loved what they did there. They’ve been roasting their audiences, and their competition, and they even tried to help out the airlines a little bit here. They sent this … The guy that won the nuggets on the Ellen Show and after a horrible, horrible year for United, United reached out and offered to pay for those plane tickets. I feel like Wendy’s is inadvertently helping our number seven story, which was, I call it airline shenanigans. I feel like every time we turned around this year, something bad was in the news about an airline. There were fist fights, there were people being dragged off of planes, and this wasn’t brand specific. This was industry-wide.

Andy Beal: Yeah, and if you look, a lot of it is basically employees just sticking to the rule book, right? Sticking to what they’ve been told to do, whether that’s stick to a message, or stick to a policy. Instead, the lesson here is to empower your employees to dump that rule book and just use some common sense. A lot of these issues, especially with the passengers being deplaned, or they were wearing leggings when they weren’t supposed to be, like give them just the opportunity to demonstrate some common sense and say, “Hey, if I enforce this policy, that person in 23C that’s pointing their smartphone and recording this, this is not going to be good for the airline. You know what? Maybe I should cut him some slack and not enforce this policy.” I think maybe the airlines did learn a little bit of that lesson.

Erin Jones: I think you’re right. I feel like the last few months things have been very quiet on the airline news front. Hopefully, the holidays will bring some changes. It’s about to be a really, really busy travel season, so I’m really hoping that all of those airlines went and asked Santa for some reputation overhauls for the new year.

Andy Beal: If not, then we’re going to be kicking off with some great stories for the new year. We’ll wait and see what happens there. All right. In at number six, how could we possibly forget Cracker Barrel and Brad asking why they fired his wife after she had worked there for 11 years. Basically, Brad’s wife became one of the hottest memes of the year. What was interesting is that Cracker Barrel decided not to reply. They just decided to ride it out. To my knowledge, I checked today, they’ve never replied.

Now, nine months later you can argue that there’s really no harm. If you search for Cracker Barrel, the story doesn’t really show up on Google. We probably moved on. However, when you think about it, they really missed out on an opportunity to make things right. They could’ve rehired her, make her a spokesperson, done something to capitalize on this, and kind of come out on top. Instead, they decided to take the silent treatment and not comment on it at all. I’m not sure that necessarily was the best thing … The best policy for them to take.

Erin Jones: No, and especially with how many local companies jumped on board and kind of took that spotlight away from them and did offer jobs to Brad’s wife.

Andy Beal: Right.

Erin Jones: There were billboards all over the place from companies all the way from Chick-fil-A, to Wendy’s, bringing Wendy’s back into it again. There was even someone running for Congress that made a campaign promise to find her a job if he got elected.

Andy Beal: Right, yeah.

Erin Jones: They missed a huge opportunity here.

Andy Beal: Yeah, they sure did.

Erin Jones: Okay. Another huge missed opportunity would be Equifax. I didn’t see anything positive about Equifax in the news this year. They messed up big time. They had a huge data breach with everything from credit card information, to drivers license numbers and social security numbers being compromised and stolen, and they were radio silent about it for a very long time. I think the lesson from this one is that communicating during a crisis is imperative, especially with how quickly information spreads now. They set up a website and sent people to it and then we found out that that website wasn’t secure. Then insinuated that if you took their free help that you couldn’t sue them later.

Andy Beal: Right.

Erin Jones: That just doesn’t scream trustworthiness to me and really, when you’re in hot water, you probably shouldn’t be setting conditions for the people that you need back on your side.

Andy Beal: Yeah. That for me, Equifax deserves to be on this list for all the reasons that you just described. That is, it’s not so much that they had a data breach. I mean, we’ve seen lots of companies have data breaches that didn’t make this list. It was the way that they handled it, the way that they delayed making the announcement, the way that they had websites that didn’t work. Like you said, they insinuated that you couldn’t sue them if you took the free monitoring. It was all of those things that really hurt their reputation, more than the actual breach. You really got to consider, this is why it’s important to have some kind of plan ahead of time.

Try not to wait until you’re actually in the middle of a crisis before you figure out who says what and what do you announce. I’ve actually known companies that have an emergency blog ready to go. They’ve built the shell, they’ve got the domain name, and really just needs them to fill in the details of whatever crisis they’re facing so that they can launch it quickly and get the message out as soon as possible, rather than trying to scramble it. Just be prepared. You are going to have a reputation crisis, so think ahead as to what that might likely be and how you’re going to respond to it. Then take swift action and be clear in your communication.

Erin Jones: Especially if you’re dealing with sensitive information and people’s money.

Andy Beal: Yeah.

Erin Jones: Financial wellbeing, medical information, all of those companies should have that stuff at the ready.

Andy Beal: Yeah. Cheers to that, or should I say, dilly, dilly? Because at number four we have Bud Light and this is a recent story, but when Bud Light discovered that there was a small brewery that was going to release a brew called, Dilly Dilly, they felt like that was encroaching on their trademark for the phrase, “Dilly, Dilly,” for the new Bud Light commercials. Instead of getting heavy handed and acting like the bully, they sent a person dressed as a medieval town crier to their offices with a scroll and basically had a little bit of fun, but with a serious message saying, “Hey, you can’t infringe on our copyright, and there will be punishment, and trips to the jail, and torture, and all that kind of stuff. Hey, also we’re going to give you a couple of thrones for the Super Bowl, because we’re not that much of a bully.” I thought this just was an excellent way to handle it.

Erin Jones: I absolutely loved this story. Not only did they get their point across, but they gave a very small brand a little bit of a spotlight. They gave them a nice moment in the sun and they delivered the message with a little bit of lighthearted humor and look at how well it went. There was no litigation. It never got, “He said, she said.” I think you used the word, “Bully,” the original podcast that we talked about it in and I loved seeing this large brand not come down as a bully on the small brand. No word on if they’re throwing them in the pit of misery or not yet as far as the implied punishment, but I definitely think everybody came out on top here.

Andy Beal: Yeah, they definitely took something they had to enforce, something they had to do, but did it in a lighthearted way.

Erin Jones: Yes, I absolutely loved that. That brings us to what might be my favorite story this year, second to the Wendy’s story. Another fast food company had a little possible blunder. We may never know if they planned it or if it was absolutely an accident. On Black Friday, McDonald’s put out a tweet that read, “Black Friday *** Need copy and link.” It got a ton of retweets. McDonald’s came back and shared a photo of a man with a big cup of coffee that said, “When you tweet before your first cup of McCafe, nothing comes before coffee.”

Andy Beal: Right.

Erin Jones: I love it. They messed up, or they didn’t. I’m still not really sure about that, but they owned it and then they got in on the joke. You’ve mentioned repeatedly that if you can get in on the joke when you do something that may be foolish, but is relatively harmless, then you get to ride the joke out. You’re not the butt of it. They didn’t delete the tweet. They didn’t make a big deal. They added some humanity to a big corporate brand that frankly in the past has not had a great reputation and people absolutely loved it.

Andy Beal: Yeah. It’s really common sense when you think about it. When we have … When we do something embarrassing in our personal lives, we can pout and just kind of go running, or we can just kind of be in on the joke and ham it up a little bit. I think that’s what they did here and it was just a great opportunity for them, like you said, to just build a little bit of positive reputation and show a bit of … Again, show some character in your social media engagement. Yeah, well we don’t know. We discussed this on our original story, was this absolutely amazingly thought out to make it look like they’d made a mistake? Probably not, but if it was a genuine mistake, they did a fantastic job of kind of turning the ship around, getting in on the joke, and getting some just fantastic buzz out of it.

Erin Jones: Agreed. I loved that they didn’t delete the tweet. There was some humor there. The relatability between not having your coffee, and being a little bit tired, and off your game. I just feel like it was a home run for them.

Andy Beal: Absolutely. All right, so we’re down to the last two and we’d like your help on this, because we can’t decide which one should be number one for the year. We’ve got Chipotle and we’ve got Uber. Now, each one has had numerous negative stories over the past 12 months. They just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Just when they think that they’ve squashed one crisis, another one pops up. We want you to chime in in the comments, or on social media, and let us know which one you think is more deserving of being at the number one spot. The lesson is the same for both.

That is, they kind of both demonstrate that your reputation is only ever as good as your character, because they continue to have scandal after scandal, issue after issue, which demonstrated that they hadn’t really shored up what was going on behind the scenes. When you have a company that’s not run correctly, and has poor management, and the policies are not enforced, and you’ve got sexual harassment, and you’ve got all kinds of issues going on, then it doesn’t matter what you do reputation-wise, because you’re just kind of going to constantly shoot yourself in the foot.

Erin Jones: Definitely. I think one thing that Uber has going for them, first of all, my initial thought was that they would be number one because they’ve hit people in a lot more of a vulnerable place than Chipotle has. I’ve noticed a huge disconnect from their corporate office to their drivers. Again, it’s that human aspect where people meet the drivers and they’re just like them, they can kind of push away the corporate drama. I’m curious to see where this goes.

I did notice this year when I was Christmas shopping that there are a ton of Uber gift cards out there and I’m wondering if they’re hoping that people will buy those and then the people who receive them will be inclined to use them just because they have them. I think that might’ve been a good move on their part, as much as I hate to say it, because I’m not really impressed with the way they’re running their brand right now, but I think that we’re going to have to see a lot of work from these two companies in the new year.

Andy Beal: Yeah. It’s interesting, I’m thinking of what observations do I have? I’ve got one for each. One is when I drive by a Chipotle now, it doesn’t ever look to be as busy as it used to. They always used to have lines almost coming out the door. Then with Uber, it’s more a case of that I notice a lot more cars with the Lyft sticker in the window, then I do Uber now. They’ve both been hurt and they’re both showing signs of being hurt, but in different ways.

Erin Jones: What do you think? Do you think they’re going to be okay?

Andy Beal: Let’s see in 2018. Yeah. I’ll get my crystal ball out and maybe that will be another good show, we make our predictions for 2018. I think that they’re both going to be okay, but I don’t think either one of them is going to return to the level of success they had prior to these mishaps and scandals that they had. I think that we’ll probably see both of them showing up in future podcasts, so we’ll keep an eye on that. All right. Well, we hope you enjoyed that. Again, we’d love to hear your thoughts as to who you think should be number one.

Maybe there’s another story that you think is more deserving than the ones we’ve talked about today. Please head to Facebook.com/AndyBealORM, or you can go to AndyBeal.com and just find any of the podcasts and just leave us a question there, or comment there. We’d love to hear from you. We hope you guys have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. That will be it for us until the new year. Erin, thanks for joining me. I hope you have a great Christmas.

Erin Jones: Thanks so much for having me and I hope you do as well.

Andy Beal: We appreciate you guys listening in. We hope you’ll join us again in 2018. We’ll keep an eye on all of the stories for you, bring you the ones that we think are lesson worthy, whether that’s negative or positive, and we’ll be back again real soon. Thanks a lot and bye-bye.

The post #40 – The top 10 reputation stories of 2017…and we need your help picking #1 appeared first on Andy Beal .


Source: Andy Beal

Reputation Management for Financial Advisors – 20 Essential Tips 0

Infographic: Reputation Management Tips For Financial Advisors

Today’s job outlook for financial advisors couldn’t be better – the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14% growth in job outlook between 2016 and 2026, and the median pay is over $90,000 annually. Despite these statistics, financial advisors without healthy online reputations are unlikely to find the success they desire. 

If you’re like most financial advisors, you know that your online reputation matters now more than ever. In fact, 81% of adults will conduct online research before spending their money on any purchase, and 61% will look at reviews before buying a product or service

Consumers looking for a financial advisor are even more likely to do extensive online research before picking up the phone. It’s safe to assume that any client who inquires about your services knows who you are; 45% percent of United States adults have decided not to do business with a professional based on a negative piece of information found online. 

Meanwhile, 56% of United States adults have found positive information online that has encouraged them to do business with a professional.

Don’t know where to start with your online reputation? An ORM (online reputation management) specialist is also an excellent solution. The twenty tips below will help you better understand your reputation and how to manage it in the meantime:

1. Get the Facts

Before you’ll know how much work needs to be done on your reputation, you need to get the facts. What are your reviews like, if you have any? What do clients like about you? What don’t they like? How much positive content is at the top of the page?  

Your first step to improving your online reputation is to spend time going through the first two pages of your Google search results until you have a solid grasp of the conversations surrounding your business. 

2. Claim Your Name 

If you don’t have a business account with Google, a profile with LinkedIn, with your name (i.e. www.joesmith.com) and all of your social media accounts claimed, now’s the time to get moving. It’s a good idea to register everything that could be associated with your name to get the most exposure, the highest ranking on search engines and the best security for your business.  

For example, if financial advisor Joe Smith doesn’t register www.joesmith.com, a disgruntled client can then purchase that domain and use it to post negative content about him. When Joe Smith’s future clients research him, the website with his name on it will appear high in the results, and they’ll instantly see negative content. Registering relevant social media sites and claiming your www. com name is essential to your online reputation.  

3. Monitor Your Reputation

Google Alerts allow you to receive a notification any time your name or the name of your firm appears in a new online result. This means you’ll find out the moment someone says anything good or bad about you. Treat your reputation monitoring as you might treat the stock market, as it is just as valuable, if not more so.  

With your alerts set up, you’ll be ready to continue working on your reputation without the worry that you’ll fall out of the loop. You’ll also be better equipped to keep your online reputation as positive as possible.

4. Don’t Respond Negatively  

Speaking of keeping things positive, if you find negative content written by a client, competitor or another party, do not respond negatively. You do not want to argue online, sound defensive or trade insults with people online. What is posted online is difficult to remove or push down, even for ORM specialists. Don’t make the job harder than it needs to be.  

It’s good practice to wait at least forty-eight hours before you respond to anything negative, if you feel your emotions might otherwise get involved. Think carefully before you write anything that could be immortalized in a screenshot, and objectively consider the situation. Many financial advisors consult their ORM specialists or PR advisors to handle responses to critical reviews.

5. Respond to Every Review

Professionals who take the time to respond to every review they receive – positive or negative – look better in the eyes of their clients. While you shouldn’t respond negatively, client interaction shows a dedication to each person who works with you.  

Offering a simple thanks to positive reviewers and solutions/invitations for further discussion to negative reviewers goes a long way in the eyes of those researching your name online. You want to be viewed as a financial advisor who’s not just connected with clients, but passionate about maintaining client satisfaction on all fronts. The right response to a negative review can even turn it into a positive customer interaction when a potential client sees how well you handled it.

6. Ask Clients for a Review

When asked, 70% of consumers will leave a review for a business. If you’re not asking each client for reviews, you’re selling your reputation short. 

Send follow-up emails that request feedback for your financial advisement services or offer a small incentive like a prorated planning session or free consultation. 

This doesn’t just earn you new positive reviews and increase your presence online, it reminds you to treat every client like a potential reviewer. Each person who walks into your office and enlists your services could go home and write an in-depth review of his or her interactions with you.

Consider your branding and who you want your clients to see you as, and then act the part. When your clients leave reviews, they’ll build your reputation and brand as an excellent financial advisor.

7. Never Create Fake Reviews

The internet can feel deceptively anonymous at times, but this does not mean that it’s a good idea for you to manufacture positive reviews for your firm. Today’s clients, especially those who work with financial advisors, are savvy and can easily spot fake reviews. More importantly, many websites screen for falsified reviews and will delete them, block your account, or otherwise damage your reputation as a consequence.  

Avoid fraudulent behavior and instead focus on generating genuine positive content about yourself and earning true positive reviews. An ORM specialist can help you get positive content about yourself on the front page of Google without fake reviews.

8. Feature Rave Reviews  

If you’ve received even one rave review and it isn’t featured on your firm’s website, you’re overlooking excellent opportunities to advertise. Clients trust what past clients have to say about their financial advisors much more than something written by the firm itself.  

Always ask for permission to feature reviews from clients. For those without positive reviews, the previous tip to request feedback from your clients will help change that. You can even use featured reviews to get your clients excited.

Infographic: Reputation Management For Financial Advisors #2

9. Create a Social Media Presence

The more active on social media you are, the better. Yes, even for professions like financial advising. A presence on social media builds a protective barrier around your name online. When people search for you, they’ll typically find reviews and social media accounts at the top of the list, pushing down other results.  

Research social media management and consider hiring an expert to handle your accounts if you’re already busy. Most ORM specialists are well-versed in social media and will use it as an integrated part in touching up your online presence.

10. Contribute to an Insightful Blog  

Financial blogs that offer valuable information to readers can gain immense popularity. They also push down negative information in favor of up-to-date, positive posts from you, the expert. When you blog, however, you must create information that enriches the lives of your readers. 

Though only a small percent of readers will become clients, your blog will increase business while making you a more reliable source of financial advice. Blogs also come with opportunities to guest post on big-name websites like Forbes, and almost all professionals could largely benefit from such high-level exposure.

11. Create a Posting Schedule

To succeed with a blog or on social media, you’ll need a posting schedule. This keeps your posts regular enough to keep your content at the top of search results. 

It also helps your posts appear during the times when your target audience is most often browsing the web. If you do not know the habits of your target audience, do research and develop a client profile that will guide your posting schedule, content and branding approach.

12. Become an Authority

In the same vein as blogging, establishing yourself as an authority and thought leader in the finance industry can do wonders for your reputation. Try to find unique perspectives on topics of finance or unique approaches to financial management. 

Commit to learning as much as you can so you can generate more ideas, and when you do, don’t keep them to yourself. Be generous and share your ideas through speeches, blog posts and interviews. When you become an authority in the eyes of the public, your online reputation will shine brighter than ever before, and your career will start to thrive.

13. Google Is Your New Business Card

You probably already have slick business cards and no, you don’t need to redesign them. Right now, the front page of Google is your most-viewed business card, and you need to treat it as such. This means doing more than managing reviews, claiming accounts and publishing useful information. 

You must also create a professional profile to feature anywhere that you and your firm have a profile. Treat your online profiles with as much care as you’d give to creating a new business card, highlighting the best aspects of yourself as a financial advisor. If you see anything on the front page of Google that you wouldn’t want on your business card, ORM is in order.

14. Protect Your Private Life

Your private life, especially for a professional like a financial advisor, should be just that: Private. Increase the security of each of your private profiles online so your potential clients can see nothing more than your profile picture, if that. By carefully separating your professional and private lives, you’re protecting both yourself and your firm. 

You don’t need a client bringing up a recent relationship struggle you faced or commenting on a picture taken from your most recent night out. This makes you look less than professional and can damage your client’s perspective on you, thus negatively impacting the review he or she is likely to leave.

Infographic: Reputation Management Tips For Financial Advisers #3

15. Protect Your Clients

Just as you don’t want your private life shared for everyone to see, neither do your clients. It is both a matter of legality and courtesy that you do not say or allude to anything that could compromise the privacy of your clients when you address them publicly. 

Know the laws surrounding client privacy in your jurisdiction and follow them carefully. If you respond to a negative review without thought of client privacy, you can do more than damage your reputation – you can land yourself in court.

16. Embrace Transparency

Today’s clients demand transparency, and the financial advisors with the most transparency are more likely to win client business. Clients want financial advisors that they can trust not to withhold information. They want the facts, not an amazing sales pitch.  

Provide clients with detailed information on your years of experience, your valid certifications and your active memberships. Many financial advisors will list fake certifications and inactive memberships in attempt to bolster their images. 

Do not be one of these professionals. Instead, link to the organizations with which you are affiliated and show your clients that you have nothing to hide. Also, consider placing a section addressing the importance of transparency among financial advisors on your firm’s website, encouraging clients to do their research and thus gaining their trust.

17. Research Your Competition

Take time to read reviews for competing financial advisors in your area. Look for things that clients do and don’t like, and learn from this information. The successes and failures of your competitors can serve as valuable lessons to shape your own firm.  

Not only will you learn what to avoid in your practice, you’ll gain information on marketing and sales tactics that are working for those in your field.

18. Set Up Your Team Members for Success

Every member of your firm should know and understand your brand, your ORM strategy and your customer service policy. This ensures that, no matter who your clients talk to and for what reason, they have nothing but good to say.  

A client could easily love your services, but feel offended at the manners of your phone clerk and subsequently leave a negative review. Reputation management must be a team-wide focus if it is to succeed.

19. Hire an Online Reputation Management Specialist

If your schedule prevents you from paying as close attention to your online reputation as you would like, or there is an issue that seems out of your grasp, hiring a reputation management firm may be the right solution for you. 

By outsourcing to a reputation management firm, you gain a team of trained professionals who are as versed in ORM as you are in finance. You wouldn’t want someone who’s not qualified to manage your bank account, so why would you let unqualified hands craft your reputation?  

An ORM specialist does more than maintain your social media or push down unflattering content. You’ll also receive professional advice on adjusting your brand and finding improved success as a financial advisor.

20. Be Patient with ORM

The value of patience is no secret to a financial advisor. You’ve likely reminded many clients to keep a long-term view of their financial portfolios and to temper their short-term expectations. This is also a quality required for working with an ORM Specialist. 

Even if you hired a full-time ORM team today, your reputation would not be perfect next week. Google and other search engines recognize changes in index profiles every few weeks, not every few minutes. If you approach ORM with a long-term mindset, though, you won’t be disappointed in the results that a skilled ORM firm can offer.

Infographic: Reputation Management For Financial Advisors #4

In Conclusion…

As much as you might like to, you cannot opt out of reputation management. The twenty tips above are just the beginning. ORM is a comprehensive field that requires just as much expertise and focus as your company’s finances do. 

In fact, some consider it more important, because poor ORM will cause your finances to suffer. Regardless of what your online reputation looks like today, hiring an ORM specialist can only serve to boost your business. 

The internet’s influence over client decisions is only going to continue increasing as more and more people turn to internet research before critical decisions. Just like saving for retirement, the time to start considering your online reputation management is now.

Status Labs is the premier digital reputation management firm, with offices in Austin, New York, Los Angeles, London and São Paulo. For more information visit StatusLabs.com or sign up for a Free Consultation.

 

 


Source: Status Labs

The Top 10 Reputation Macro-Trends Every CEO Should Know – Our Year-End Reputation Wrap-Up 0

Top 10 Trends 2017-18When it comes to macro-trends that impact reputation, 2017 has been quite the year. As the global economy becomes increasingly impacted by the intangibles that continue to shape and define the reputation of companies – we look through the rearview mirror of 2017, while keeping a mindful eye on where the world is going in 2018. In short, what we have developed is based on our extensive global database of reputation insight. We highlight the key macro-trends that every CEO needs to know as they shift to 2018 and beyond.

The 10 Trends in Reverse Order of Importance. We are delighted to share the most important trends that are likely to most significantly change the world of corporate reputation.

10. Millennials Still Matter

Millennials are key to driving quality in reputation – they represent more than a quarter of the US population and spend about $200 billion a year on goods and services. Their active indulgence in social media, voracious use of mobile devices, and belief in social responsibility, makes them highly influential in shaping corporate values and innovation.

9. Tweet Ranting Replaces Journalism

The addictive tweeting by newly elected President Donald Trump, and willingness to share provocative political commentary that’s unfiltered, is symptomatic of a new dynamic of content influence. Earned media stories and journalistic reporting are no longer driving public relations the way tweet rants will likely continue to dominate the social media airwaves.

8. Workplace Culture Grows More Important

Millennials are judging companies through a new lens: workplace culture. They are less impressed by an organization’s core competencies, and more focused on how a company can deliver to their prioritized work/life balance. With increasingly low unemployment rates, the potential to attract and maintain employees of choice is more likely to be shaped by intangible benefits such as workplace environment, flexible work hours, and organizational values.

7. Cultural Narrative of Sexual Equality Advances

The hall of shame is expanding in terms of sexual harassment allegations associated with major companies, as the list of corporate leaders, politicians, and celebrities accused of inappropriate behavior grows. Additionally, employers, investors, and the general public, are increasingly aligning behind a movement to support gender pay equality. Failure to adhere to 0% tolerance / 100% compliance puts companies at great reputational risk.

6. Cybersecurity Precautions Are a Must

It’s no longer a case of if your company is going to be exposed to a cyber-attack and data breach, and more a case of when it is going to happen. 2017/18 will set new records on the number of companies compromised and as the recent crisis at Equifax has proven, failure to effectively manage the crisis can be devastating to your company’s reputation. Effective crisis communications plans must proactively be set in place.

5. Interpreting Fake News from Truth

In an era where dishonesty, defaming mistruths, and opinion without the substance of fact or integrity can be virally spread at the speed of thought, the risk of fake news becomes more of a clear and present danger for every company. The jury is out among the general public, and the credibility of the main stream media is being call into question.

4. Corporations Are Finding a Higher Purpose

The best-in-class global companies and leaders in reputation are living proof that organizations with a deep-seated sense of purpose enjoy elevated levels of economic success. A higher purpose yields higher reputation, and this translates into higher profits. Companies without purpose are less likely to win the hearts and minds of potential consumers – and are inhibited in their potential to be more successful.

3. Everyday Influencers Continue to Rise

The events related to the Presidential election win of Donald Trump in the US, and the shock vote behind Brexit in the UK, have revealed the power of the “everyday influencer.” With average levels of education, and the power of influence through word-of-mouth and social media, the so-called everyday influencer is an ordinary person who can have an extraordinary impact on the reputation of companies.

2. The Debate Continues: Nationalism vs. Globalism

There is an emerging cultural tension in the world between the push and pull of nationalism vs. globalism. The allure of the multi-national company is waning, as in key markets including South Korea, Japan, and China, where there is some degree of backlash against globalization. The home-country advantage and power of being a patriotic and nationalistic company creates new opportunities and challenges.

1. CEO Activism is a Priority

Audiences are looking beyond government and have increased expectations of companies and their willingness to take a stand on societal issues. This raises the bar for CEOs and puts them under more pressure to stand up for what’s right, even if it does not always translate to higher profits. CEOs with a moral conscience are more likely to become respected, trusted, and followed.

What does this all mean for corporations and corporate leaders around the world?

To succeed in the reputation economy, companies must take a 360-degree view approach to how they manage reputation. The value of any given company is more likely to be shaped by the intangibles associated with reputation macro-trends. It requires a higher level of investment to not only crisis-proof a business against reputation risk, but to also proactively manage the issues that can serve to enhance a company’s reputation. Adapting to and harnessing the 10 macro-trends identified can yield enhanced success and help companies leverage their reputation as an economic multiplier.

stephen-hahn-griffiths

Stephen Hahn-Griffiths
Executive Partner, Chief Research Officer
Reputation Institute
shahn@reputationinstitute.com
@shahngriff

 

 


Source: Reputation Institute