How To Use Twitter For Online Reputation Management

December 1, 2008

nick_nolte1

Clean Up Your Online Persona

If you have a personal website or social profile, check it for embarrassing information.  You should think twice about blogging on topics that may not reflect favorably on you. People are regularly “Googling” others. Beat them to the punch and Google yourself. 

You should know what the Internet reveals about your past. More importantly, people and employers are increasingly gaining access to social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to see what they can learn about you as well.  There are many ways people (and employers) can gain access into all the social Web 2.0 sites. For example, employers are tasking staffers to do candidate research. We have blogged about this before. So, be sure to remove incriminating photos and any statements on your profile(s) which could be embarrassing. More importantly, set your privacy settings as high as you can.

hasselhoff-drunk1MOST OF ALL, know yourself.  Make a list of your strengths, goals, values, accomplishments and abilities to use as a general reference for all who find any of your links. Make a list of the top five things you want a people to know about you.  This will help provide your answers for the majority of the things people want to know about you, such as what makes you of value, what makes you unique?

Let’s talk about Twitter for online reputation and brand building…

twitter If you don’t have an account there as yet, go ahead and sign up. It’s easy, upload a photo and short Bio, and join the “conversation”. All “tweets“, as they are known, are limited to only 140 characters, so this is a great way of using social media to position and brand yourself online. An additional benefit is that Twitter pages rank well in the search engines when your name is searched. Our recommendation is to USE YOUR REAL NAME, not a fantasy profile.

Many of you already know that Twitter is one of the fastest growing web 2.0 websites. There are literally thousands of new members joining Twitter every day. It’s an ideal enviroment to network with like minded people.

The short and immediate tweets allow you to interact with others, to build relationships and to establish yourself as a credible expert.. with a personality! What if there was a way of firing up your followers with energy and enthusiasm? Up until now, the traditional way of staying in touch with your target audience was through email. The vast majority of people on your list are likely to object if you were to send out more than two or three emails a day. In fact some would object to getting more than two or three emails a week.

However, Twitter allows you to publish updates all day long and, if your followers don’t wish to see your updates they can simply “unfollow” you. And, whereas you will get some replies from your list subscribers, those replies are one-to-one. Your replies on Twitter will be seen by many which engenders even more conversation and participation. The greatest benefits offered by Twitter is that it allows you to engage your audience, build your credibility, and to establish yourself as an authority in your niche market.

While some direct sales can be made on Twitter, it is much more effective to sell yourself, to build your reputation and to get involved in relevant conversations. And that is where the real value lies…The real value in using Twitter is that it’s an excellent source of targeted traffic. Rather than use the hard, direct sell, you should approach Twitter with a long term goal in mind.

Include links to valuable resources, relevant articles. Keep your audience up to date with the latest news in your niche. Announce new blog posts, product launches. Set up polls and surveys to get feedback. Use Twitter creatively!

The Powerful Targeting Of Your Twitter Audience…

In an increasingly competitive marketplace is it vitally important that you are able to maximize your influence. Twitter offers you the environment to do just that. You can quickly and easily connect with people who share the same interests that you do, people who will be interested in sharing information on a common topic. People who want to engage in a conversation with you. Nothing else can compare with the Immediacy of Twitter…

Furthermore, with the current economic climate, it’s even more important that we build strong relationships with our target audience. The real competitive advantage comes from being the first person to break the news, to be able to respond to the needs and demands of our market with lightning speed. With a strong presence on Twitter, you will be perfectly positioned to keep your followers up to date with the latest news in your sector.

You will be ideally placed to recommend new products.

You can..

  • Drive Traffic To Your Blog.
  • Build A Targeted List.
  • Enhance Your Customer Service Credibility.
  • Bolster Your Reputation As An Authority.
  • Recommend Other People’s Products & Services.
  • Promote Your Own Products.
  • Collect Competitor Intelligence.
  • Spot New Trends.
  • Build Long Term relationships.
  • Recruit New Affiliates and JV Partners
  • Find Specialist Suppliers.

In summary, with Twitter you will gain much more credibility in your market niche and build your online reputation as a real authority.

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Online Reputation Management Means Knowing Where Your Secrets Are

November 3, 2008

Well, our previous blog post (10/20/2008) opened some interesting conversations…fortunately we moderate comments. Having been in communication with a couple of “buyers” of products from some of these Internet gurus, a message was forwarded to us whereby one of these gurus sent an ominous message threatening to lynch the member. He actually used that word in his email. So, here is a perfect example of how to ruin one’s online reputation. What’s interesting, since today the word lynch is not politically correct — let’s face it, had such an email been sent to an African-American, it would be considered a “hate crime”, a serious felony that would have resulted in the arrest of that Internet guru — is that this so-called smart Internet marketer was so stupid as to write such an email creating a document that will now live forever.

This will seem a little amusing right now, but some years ago I attended a high-level CEO management forum with about 800 C-suite types from all over the country involved in technology and/or the Internet in one way or another. The keynote speaker was then Attorney-General Elliot Spitzer. Yes, that Elliot Spitzer, and how apprapro to now be speaking of him in an online reputation blog. Anyway, his opening remarks, which he often used in these keynotes, went like this: “First of all, I want to let all of you know that before I came in here today, I have already read all your emails.” [This brought lots of laughter, achieving his intention of opening with some humor.] He then went on to say, “Here’s the message I can give you for your business practices. If you can nod, don’t speak, if you can speak, don’t write, and if you have to write, don’t record or save.”

You may recall that it is always discovery of EMAILS that brought down his targets and resulted in so many successful prosecutions for him that eventually led to him being elected governor of New York. Apparently, he forgot to follow his own advice. This is the hubris of success and moral depravity I touched on in my REPUTATION 2009 – THERE WILL BE BLOOD posting below, only now, in some cases, because of the fear in the economy, and job losses, it is spilling into this latest “bubble” of Internet marketing to the gullible and ill-informed. If one is qualified, and has done their homework, great! But when I read about someone who just spent over $5,000 buying one suspect online program in the last 30 days or so, who, for 25 years has spent 12 hours a day as a plumber/welder and is “hoping 2009 is the end of my day joband can’t wait to get started…” [obviously a newbie], my message to the Internet gurus is similar to that given to brokers who sell other types of investments: “Know Your Customer“, avoid obvious over-the-top puffery, avoid earnings representations, and disclose everything with transparency. These are the basics of online reputation management.

How aout this headline from a squeeze page making the rounds now:

“The Turnkey Money Machine
That Prints
Non-Stop Profits
For You
Automatically,
The Lazy Way!”

“…I’ll make money automatically 24/7, even while I’m sleeping or having fun doing something else. I won’t be chained to my computer slaving away.”

===================================================================

Okay, you get the message…the FTC loves this stuff when they come after you.

Let’s move on to another potential reputation killer occurring in offices everywhere.

Profiles Are For Viewer’s Eyes Only

It could have been a workplace disaster of incalculable proportions. But thankfully, Bridget’s professional reputation got by without a scratch.

Here’s the story as she tells it:

“Many of my co-workers are blocked from seeing my more ”social” moments on Facebook . . . such as the booze-fueled housewarming bash I threw a few months back. Not exactly something you want the bosses to see.

So imagine my horror when I saw a co-worker (who had full profile access) not only browsing through my party photos at work — but also showing them to someone who walked by!

Lucky for me, the person who saw it already was my Facebook friend. And that co-worker quickly realized that a social network faux pas had been committed.

I thought I had it under control because I used privacy settings. I trusted that co-worker with access, but I didn’t take into account that the pictures could be shared with others at work.

So the lesson learned goes two ways. First, assume that things you see are for your eyes only. It’s disrespectful to let the whole department huddle around your monitor to look at someone else’s profile.

And, of course, don’t assume bosses won’t see a photo just because you blocked their access. Unless you block all co-workers, someone at work could share it in the office. Nothing is 100 percent safe from being seen just because you use privacy settings.”

Niala has experienced this same problem, a little differently:

“I’ve had a few incidents with co-workers who aren’t on social networks but like to get into people’s business. Hey, we’re all journalists — it’s sort of a hallmark of the trade that we’re all nosy. But I have to draw the line when they are hovering over my computer, and, in some cases, asking me to click on things in people’s profiles. I’m not sure that I’ve done the best job telling them to back off. I usually just tell them they need to open their own account.”

For some reason, people who would never read an e-mail on your screen have no problem being social network voyeurs. Sound familiar?

One more “secret” hideout that we’ve seen come back to haunt people, and companies: too many employees fail to erase or encrypt sensitive data on their mobile devices before tossing them out. To prove this point, one known to us, a university research team recently purchased 161 discarded handheld devices from online auction sites and secondhand outlets.

One in five (20%) contained details about salaries, company finances, business plans, or board meetings. A Blackberry once owned by the European sales director of a major Japenese firm, for instance, had the goods on company clients as well as the executive’s bank account numbers — along with his car make and registration.

Our general advice is to always delete your data, but the reality is not that simple. Someone inside your company has to set policy and tell people exactly what they should do when they get rid of these mobile devices.

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