Archive for the ‘Business & Finance’ Category

How to Effectively Deal With Online Defamation

The Rise of Online Defamation

Online defamation occurs when a person posts and distributes negative information about another person or business, which is generally untrue information. This online defamation can occur in any number of online settings, including blogs, forums, review sites, emails, mass texts or social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Often this type of negative publicity is intended to cause damage to a business’ reputation. This type of negative information that is posted and distributed online has a tendency to rank quite highly on the search engines, making it easily noticeable, and particularly damaging to the business.

As more and more people find these negative results after typing in a search query related to a business, increased damage can occur to the company’s sales and revenues due to the negative reputation that the company has developed.

Many people that write slanderous comments and reviews about a business continue to do so with the comfort of knowing that most of the time these posts are anonymous, and essentially cannot be erased from the web unless they themselves delete the post (depending on where the comment is posted). The internet has had an incredible impact on businesses around the globe, whether positive or negative.

Defamation lawsuits have been on the rise with the advent and popularity of the internet. Even though defamation has been around for decades, the use of the internet has exacerbated the problem, causing businesses everywhere to seek help from SEO and SEM services and others to help them counter this problem that may otherwise seem hopeless. Anything posted on the internet is potentially there for life, unlike defamation in print, which has a limited shelf life.

Countering Online Defamation

The good news is that although anonymous negative posts and comments are nearly impossible to deleted off the internet, there is a possible solution to this growing problem. While filing lawsuits and attempting to have these comments deleted from the web may be difficult or futile, there are SEO and SEM methods that can be implemented to limit the damage caused by online defamation.

Taking the steps to infuse the internet with positive comments, remarks and posts across the internet and all its mediums can effectively help to outrank other webpages where negative posts of a particular business are found. Although this solution may not necessarily be absolute, it can be a highly effective method of dissipating negative posts by pushing them down the page ranks of Google, and restoring a business’ reputation among the public.

Having an understanding of how the internet and search engines work is crucial to countering and fighting the slanderous information that may exist about a business or entity. In addition, gaining an understanding of the type of readers that are viewing this negative online information is important. There really is no regulation of online reading, unlike newspaper and magazine reporting.

In particular, social networking sites seem to be an increasingly problematic area of the internet where online slander and defamation are occurring more and more. Anyone can post a negative comment about a business, without much regulation involved. The popularity and recognition of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook make the negative comments easily accessible and viewed by potentially thousands and even millions of people around the world.

It is imperative that businesses have a system in place that essentially monitors sites like these on a regular basis in order to be able to immediately counter the negative comment in an effort to combat the damage that the comment may cause. There are a variety of tools available that can provide this monitoring in order for companies to be notified immediately when any comment has been posted about a business.

By being active in these same sites where negative comments are being posted, businesses can post comments and positive factual responses as well, in addition to posting information on other online publishing channels that people regularly view.

Using SEO and SEM to Combat Online Defamation

It is critical that companies immediately get involved in internet posting in order to counter the problem of online defamation. By actively posting on forums, social media sites, blogs and other areas on the internet, the negative results that turn up on the search engines after certain keywords are typed in can effectively be pushed down the ranks. Outranking these negative results can make them much less visible, and can effectively cause the slanderers to cease their false posts due to the fact that they are not receiving the attention they once did.

There are many ways to outrank these negative search results, including doing the following:

  • Creating a website specifically designed to post positive information about the company
  • Starting and regularly contributing to a blog
  • Sharing and commenting on photos of the business online
  • Creating a social media profile
  • Creating an online business profile
  • Contributing to forums on a regular basis

Conclusion

Negative press can be short lived with continued counter attacks with positive information posted. It would require those that began the online defamation to continue their efforts to posting negative information about a business. With continued counter attacks on behalf of the business being slandered, online defamation results on search engines can be overshadowed.

Using Search Engine Marketing and SEO to Manage Your Online Reputation

What is Search Engine Reputation Management?

Protecting your online reputation can involve a number of tactics, including search engine marketing or search engine optimization. When a person posts a negative review or a complaint about you or your business, countless people surfing the web will be able to see this negativity about your business, and will most likely have a negative impact on how they view your organization.

Dealing with any negative images of your business online can have a significant impact on your business’ profits and success. People can be easily swayed away from making a purchase on a product or service from your company if they see reviews and complaints that do not paint a positive picture of your business. Unfortunately, there is no way of anyone deleting a comment or remark from the search engines.

One of the ways of dealing with negative reviews online is through the use of search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Search engine reputation management (SERM) involves monitoring search results that are related to your name or business, and the associated keywords. This will show all the results that people are seeing when they type in specific keywords associated with your business in major search engines, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo!. Ideally, the top ranked webpages are ones that portray a positive image of your business. However, there may be times when one of the first things that will come up in Google after a certain keyword phrase is typed in are negative results. The goal with search engine reputation management is to somehow outrank these negative results with much more positive ones.

Considering how popular Google is in searching for just about anything, including products or services for sale, Google has become much more than just a search engine. It can be a source of potential clients for your business, and has proven to be a major reason why many businesses are doing as well as they are. However, businesses can just as easily lose these potential customers if all that ranks on page one of Google are negative results. If all the wrong results turn up after a Google search, businesses stand to lose a great deal of sales and profits. For this reason, effective search engine reputation management is essential.

How to Incorporate SEM and SEO to Monitor Your Search Engine Reputation

There are many tools that can be used to effectively monitor your search engine reputation. Just about all of them cost nothing, and can even be put on autopilot to constantly monitor your online reputation among the search engines. The following is a list of tools to help manage your reputation online through SEM and SEO:

Google Advanced Search – This tool allows you to conduct a daily search on your name, business or any other search term that may affect your online reputation.

Google Alerts – This tool will automatically send you email alerts when your name or business is typed in as a search query. A list of content that includes your keywords found by Google will be alerted to you.

Twitter Search – This works in much the same way as a Google Search to provide you with information about what results come up when your name or business is typed in.

Twitter Alerts – You’ll be alerted through an email on a daily basis about what results appear when a person types in your name or business in a search query.

Monitter – This tool enables you to track Twitter updates that are related to specific keywords about your name or business in real-time. This provides you with the opportunity to respond to these Tweets right away to and help respond to any negative remarks.

Web Analytics Tool – This tool allows you to see where the traffic to your website is coming from. You can then follow those links to blogs or websites to see what people are saying about you there.

How to Combat Negative Results and Facilitate Positive Results

There are many ways in which to use SEO and SEM to outrank the negative results that appear in Google from specific keywords about you or your business. Here are a few techniques to accomplish this task:

Brand Your Own Website – Most businesses probably already have a website, but it is surprising that some do not, especially considering the incredible effect having an online presence with a website provides. If you register a domain name that has your specific business in the domain, anyone typing in that term will very likely see your website near the top. This is a great way to be able to paint a positive picture of your business through your website, and have it rank highly due to the business name being directly tied in to the URL.

Start a Blog – Blogs tend to rank well. By setting up a blog that you regularly contribute positive information to, you can potentially get these positive results to outrank negative ones.

Create a Social Networking Profile – Profiles on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace can rank quite well on search engines. Setting up a profile with your name and business can be a great way to help outrank any negative search results that appear after a specific keyword phrase is typed in.

Share Photos – Submitting photos to websites like Flickr.com is a great way to rank well with Google. You can share photos of anything to do with your business that portrays it in a positive light, and add comments to the photos as well.

Obtain a Free Page From Google – Getting a free page from Google Page Creator can be a very useful and effective way to get a powerhouse like Google to help repair your online reputation.

Create a Business Profile – Setting up a business profile on LinkedIn is a great way to get great rankings for your name and business. This gives your business the opportunity to be found first by your LinkedIn profile before any negative results appear.

Conclusion

Although eliminating a negative search result is nearly impossible, there can be SEO and SEM methods that can be implemented to essentially outrank these negative results. By getting your links and webpages to rank much higher than other webpages that don’t describe your business in a positive way, there are still many ways to get your own webpages to outrank them. Implementing a variety of methods is your best bet, rather relying on just one. Providing Google with a better mix of good web content that displays your online reputation in a positive light can be a great way to repair your online reputation.

Developing a Public Relations Plan to Create a Positive Image

Public Relations For a Positive Image

There are few ways in which people and companies promote and market themselves in order to create a positive image and reputation about themselves or their business. Public relations is one particular realm that involves a variety of promotional activities and tactics that helps to develop a positive public image of a company. By helping the public to understand how the company and its products and/or services can benefit its consumers, it can create a strong image of the business to the public.

This needs to be done properly in order to reach as large an audience as possible, without having to employ the use of large costs as is common with conventional advertising and marketing strategies. The realm of public relations is becoming more and more important and common among marketers who strive to get their companies’ names out there, and to create a reliable image of the business.

How Public Relations is Implemented

Communicating with the public is essential when marketing. The essence of public relations involves reaching as many people as possible all at once, and persuading and informing them through a variety of mediums, like television, radio and the internet.

It is important to differentiate between public relations and marketing. While marketing has a focus on persuading the public to buy a product or service to increase profits – which usually costs quite a bit of capital to accomplish – public relations works by earning media to get stories and information covered about a particular business and its products and services, which usually doesn’t cost a cent.

Public relations involves actions and stories that garner the attention of the public through newspapers, television, and so forth. It’s important to understand that this “earned media” can be both positive and negative. While businesses can often get press coverage based on positive things that they have done, they can just as easily gain press and attention for negative aspects as well. How businesses handle the negative publicity is equally as important as how it handles good publicity.

Tools Needed For Public Relations

Traditionally speaking, tools such as press releases, press conferences, town meetings, speeches, letters to the newspaper, radio show appearances and guest columns have all been conventional methods of implementing public relations. In today’s day and age, the internet has taken full force and has greatly influenced how the public communicates with each other, and how it is communicated to.

Based on the technological and internet age of today, the following tools are highly used by public relations professionals:

  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc
  • Video marketing
  • Online imaging
  • Email campaigns

Using these tools can be quite useful in both informing the public about certain products, services or events related to a specific business, as well as persuading the public to consider the positive aspects of the business.

Steps to Developing a Public Relations Plan

A well thought out public relations plan is essential to developing an effective program. Taking things step by step in proper order can be very helpful in creating a public relations strategy that will help to improve the image of a company. Here are some of the steps involved in the process of developing a public relations plan:

  • Step 1: Define the objectives for the publicity plan;
  • Step 2: Define the goals of this objective;
  • Step 3: Determine the target audience;
  • Step 4: Develop a schedule for any public relations campaigns;
  • Step 5: Develop a plan of implementation, including the exact communication vehicles that will be used to get the message across to the public;
  • Step 6: Develop measures to effectively track the results of the public relations campaign.

Advantages of Employing Public Relations

Considering how much public relations is talked about among marketing and advertising, it’s no surprise that most people in business know the importance of public relations in their business. However, the advantages to engaging in public relations is often not always fully understood. Here is a list of the some of the major benefits of public relations to a business:

  • Inexpensive means of reaching the public
  • Effective way to reach large audiences
  • Improves and strengthens the business’ image
  • Creates an image of the company as one of action and innovation
  • Develops credibility for the company
  • Gives the company an edge over other companies that are not actively engaging in public relations
  • Improves visibility of the company in major search engines

Conclusion

Developing a well run public relations campaign can have significant benefits to any company that puts the program in gear. The impact that public relations can have on a business can be astounding. This method can provide a company with a means of developing a positive image, while helping to effectively deal with negative publicity with dignity and transparency. It has been proven that companies that employ a public relations program are able to have a much greater credibility factor than those who don’t.

Personal Branding – Discovering and Developing Your Brand

What is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is a method of marketing yourself, and creating an image of yourself to the world. What other people think of you has a lot to do with your approach to personal branding, and your influence in your image, in addition to outside influences that you have no control over.

While many times personal branding is a proactive approach to creating an image for yourself, there really is no avoiding personal branding. As you interact with various individuals, they will automatically generate an opinion and image about you, whether consciously or unconsciously. Considering how our brains are formulated to form associations with things and people, there is no way to avoid anyone formulating a label for you. As people form an opinion about you, your personal brand develops.

Personal branding occurs on a variety of levels. Simply speaking with a person, emailing a friend, and dressing a certain way will inherently develop your personal brand. In essence, personal branding involves all of the associations about you that people have formulated in their minds.

The Importance and Popularity of Personal Branding

Considering the rapid growth and popularity of the internet, personal branding is becoming a hot topic that is extensively discussed among people and businesses alike. The exponential rise in social media have made positive personal branding much more personal and much more within reach.

When it comes to keeping a business profitable, personal branding – whether on a small or large scale – is essential. The association formed with customers will have a huge influence on whether or not they make a purchase. Whether it’s the company at large, or the individual salesman, the branding and opinion that customers have on either party will influence their purchasing decision.

The internet has a huge impact on personal branding. It is extremely easy for anyone to write a negative comment or review of a product or service that consumers have experienced, which in turn have a great influence on other potential customers. Getting a handle on these negative complaints can have a serious impact on a company’s revenues. The only way to effectively deal with this online community of reviews and complaints is to establish a level of transparency and authenticity, and to leverage social media tools to level the playing ground.

The following is an outline of how to successfully create a positive personal brand to help you gain success in your business:

Create Your Personal Brand

There are many marketing methods that you can engage in to help develop a positive personal brand for yourself and your business. The following is a list of some of the more popular methods that can be employed to accomplish this task:

Create a business card – Business card usage has been around for decades, and although the world is more of a technologically-based place (as opposed to paper-based), this can still be an effective means of personal branding. This is one of the oldest ways that businesses have branded themselves, but it can still be quite effective.

Create an online portfolio – Having an online portfolio can showcase the work that you and your business have done in the past. Having an online presence of your previous work can showcase your ability to accomplish great results for future work.

Create a blog – Blogging can not only help to create and develop a positive personal brand, but it can also help any website associated with your brand to rank highly in the search engines. Those who contribute to their blog on a regular basis can have an even better search engine ranking, as well as have a better opportunity to further enhance their personal brand.

Create a LinkedIn profile – This is one of the best social media sites for businesses and professionals who wish to create a positive presence in the business realm. This social media network gives people the opportunity to combine their cover letter, resume, references and network base that can be used to do some personal advertising, look for new opportunities and interact with like-minded people that can help further enhance your personal brand and your business.

Create a Facebook profile – Facebook is not just for people to find long lost friends, or to post pictures of their weekend escapades. Facebook is used more and more by professionals who wish to establish their personal brand online. Considering the incredible popularity and use of Facebook by millions of people around the world, using this platform wisely can create a positive image and brand for you and your business.

Create a Twitter profile – Twitter is also a superior social media platform that can be used to develop your personal brand, if used wisely.

Benefits of Creating and Developing a Strong Personal Brand

There are many advantages to developing a positive personal brand:

  • Enhancing your self-awareness
  • Clarifying and attaining your personal goals
  • Creating presence and visibility
  • Creating a distinguished presence
  • Providing power and control over your business
  • Creating wealth by increasing revenues
  • Creating resilience by making your business stand out from the rest

Conclusion

Developing a positive personal brand can be time consuming and can require quite a bit of effort. However, it is all well worth it in the end. By engaging in personal branding, and effectively communicating to the world who you are and what you have to offer, you can successfully create a positive brand and image that people will be attracted to, which in turn can have a hugely positive effect on your business and your revenues.

Reputation Management: What it is, and Why it Matters For Business

Reputation Management to Maintain a Positive Image of Your Business

The reputation and image of a business is crucial to maintaining profitability and success. If your business has a negative image or reputation, this could have serious repercussions on the viability of the business. Maintaining a positive image is crucial, which is why many businesses nowadays are implementing reputation management into their overall business strategy.

What is Reputation Management?

Reputation management involves building and maintaining a positive image of a particular business. This involves trying to shape the public’s perception of an organization by influencing online information about that particular entity. Reputation management can actually be divided into three different categories:

1) Building – This reputation management strategy involves building a positive reputation and image for a business – particularly one that is just starting out and is looking to build a good image from the get-go;
2) Maintenance – For companies and corporations that are already established and currently have a positive image, maintenance involves keeping this reputation as strong and positive as possible;
3) Recovery – This type of reputation management involves improving upon a bad reputation that a business has received and built up for whatever reason. This involves taking active measures to instill a sense of positivity about a particular business, and spreading a positive image about the business.

Benefits of Reputation Management

There are huge benefits of having a positive image among consumers, and of employing reputation management methods. The following is a short list of how a business can benefit from reputation management:

  • It helps to build trust and communication between the business and its customers
  • It helps to bring in more sales through the advent of a better reputation
  • It helps businesses to gather information about their competitors that can be used for product development
  • It provides a monitoring system that helps to detect early warning signs that a negative view of a product or customer service is developing
  • It allows businesses to have a proactive approach to hear what people are saying about the business and its products and services

Methods of Developing a Good Reputation For Your Business

A big part of a business’ reputation comes from what current and potential customers see online about a particular company. Anyone can post a bad review or a poor description or experience that they have had with a specific company. The more people see this bad review or experience, the more that business will develop a bad reputation among online consumers.

Considering the fact that the web is connecting consumers across the globe more and more each day, it’s imperative that businesses incorporate an online reputation technique to maintain a positive reputation, and improve on a negative one. Here are a few techniques that can be used for reputation management practices:

Be Proactive – Being proactive instead of reactive can have a great influence on how your positive image is maintained. Trying to stay on top of any negative reviews or experiences documented online can make things much easier for your business, instead of always coming from behind to improve your business’ online reputation.

Be Transparent – Being totally transparent and actively providing public disclosure can have a great positive influence on consumers about your business. If a mistake is made, it is essential that the business steps up and admits the error, and tries their very best to rectify the situation. Having such transparency will give consumers a better impression of your business’ practices and will build a trust factor among consumers.

Blog Regularly – Blogging every day about a positive aspect of your business will keep you active in the minds of your consumers, and can help to provide an image of the business as one that is relevant and cares about the consumers.

Engage in Social Networking – Getting involved in social media is a great way to communicate with your consumers, and essentially go one-on-one with the online community. Maintaining a presence in social media sites can help to build and maintain a positive image of a business that listens to their customers.

Be Charitable – Investing in charitable organizations can have a positive effect on your business’ reputation. These charitable donations do not need to be too large for what your business can afford – simply the act of helping the community will provide a positive image of any business.

Conclusion

Effective reputation management is a practice that should be incorporated into any business strategy. With the strength and dominance of the internet, it is imperative that businesses do their best at building, maintaining or repairing their reputation and image in order to develop customer ties and in turn lead to increased sales and profitability. Keeping up with these reputation management practices on a regular basis is key to building and maintaining a positive image of a company in the eyes of the consumer market.