There isn’t a week that goes by where someone goes on Social Media and makes a bad situation into a nuclear meltdown. In this age of instantaneous glorification for positive and negative actions, reactions having instant delivery and effect causes a huge need for pause and understanding.

Take a look online at any major event of the last year and you will find someone who has taken those events and attached themselves in a negative way. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook once used to talk about feelings and plans for a weekend are now turning into life changers, career killers and worse for those who chose to act first, and think later, when it is too late.

When a Touchdown Becomes a Fumble

The big story this week is NFL Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito and his bullying of team mate Jonathan Martin. Now it’s not the bullying that made the news or the reaction so potent. Sure bullying is a hot topic in the news, but there’s more that made this issue the lead sports story it’s become.

The Incognito story exploded more when texts and posts began showing up on Twitter, some from Incognito himself. Sure, it’s pretty obvious Incognito has some issues with his temper that have been well documented (Sociopath has been used to describe him in many outlets).

When reports began to surface, the reaction from Incognito came in the form of Twitter posts to dispute the reports. It was the tone of some of the replies that left little room to doubt the stories coming out. In one Twitter post, Incognito in as many words offered to meet reporter Adam Schefter for a fight to “clear matters up.”

You Can’t Dress Up a Disaster and Make it Go Away

Halloween is a fun time to dress up, but it seems it’s also a time to lose common sense. In two separate cases there were people that dressed up in costumes that were at the very least classless and at worst… well that is still playing out.

One woman dressed for Halloween as a Boston Marathon victim, another group of men dressed as Travon Martin, in black face, and George Zimmerman. The lack of common sense and better judgement (and brains) would have been a localized incident that would surely have upset anyone but was made into a national issue due to photos being uploaded to Social Media sites, including Twitter and Instagram.

The outcome in at least the Boston Marathon costume case was death threats, nude pictures made public and loss of job and continued attacks on Social Media that are directed beyond the initiate, but also to their family.

All over posts on Social Media.

What’s the point of this all?

Many businesses use their Social Media pieces in their marketing. We can get into how businesses have used Social Media improperly and it’s ruined their businesses and their lives. Most business owners forget that in many cases, they are also part of their brand and it’s main representative.

Not controlling how you run your personal Social Media accounts properly can have severe ramifications to your company. Sure we all have something we want to say, but is it something we want everyone to know?

Even your employees can be detrimental to your business efforts if they act as public representatives for your company or services.

What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Social Media Disasters?

It’s easy to react without thinking. We’ve all done it. If you have a combative personality as a business owner, there’s no doubt you’ve have issues in your business. Do you want to carry that online where events and issues can be made aware to many more people for a much longer period of time?

Also, who controls your Social Media accounts? It’s a good idea to make sure your accounts are in the hands of someone who understands important protocols of communication and has your company and it’s best interest in mind.

A few things to remember:

  • Think first! – sure it seems simple, but it’s imperative to not react or initiate anything without considering the ramifications of your actions.
  • Plan – Do you have a post or idea you want to throw online? Write it out, and let it sit. If it seems like a good idea an hour from now, then roll with it. If not, delete, delete, delete.
  • Take YOU out of your Business – Still hard to do, but your business many times needs to operate as a “generic entity” with no causes, beliefs, feelings one way or another. Leave religious, political, and other sensitive issue beliefs in you head or in your circle. Remember, just because you believe in something, you have to respect others who don’t, especially if those who don’t mean dollars in your pocket.
  • Control who sees your information – Still having issues? Allow control of who sees your information to a select group. It’s still not perfect, but could help. In many cases, if you do something or many somethings bad enough, it’ll get out.
  • Hire a Professional! – Many times it’s best for business to hire a company with experience running a successful Social Media program. They understand the in’s and out’s of what best practices are. Whether it is for completed Social Media Management or to come in and consult and help you organize your business with best practices, consulting a professional in many case is what is best for business.

This issue isn’t one that will go away anytime soon. This will be a topic often discussed and there will be more events to transpire where someone misuses Social Media and destroys all they’ve worked hard for.

Social Media is a very powerful tool. In the right hands used properly, it’s gold and in the wrong hands done improperly, it’s a ticking time bomb. Remember these points every time you go online and comment on a blog, post a photo, or post a status update. It might be the last one for your business.

In our ongoing efforts in refining our SEO Strategy periodically, achieving awards from advertising, marketing and paid promotions will pay off in the short and long terms.

As discussed in my previous article, a well-organized and successful local search engine strategy does take focus planning, systematic implementation and long term dedications.  The long hours of work will pay off with higher search engine rankings in a short period of time.

Here are five tips:

 

Google Local Listings

 

Google has the most accurate local business database.  They have combined this listing data with Google maps and Google plus profiles.  Users can list their businesses after small business verification process.  Google continues to improve its map navigation features in Local business listings.

 

Google+

 

Setup Google+ for your business and furnish it with interior shop images as these can be viewed when using the Street view, adding great value to new audiences, engaging videos and relevant topical posts that support your brand identify.

 

Submit to Local Directories and Create Local Search Profiles

 

It is important to complete local profiles of the three main search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo.  These local search profiles are featured prominently on a search engine results page for a local search.  Basic listings are free but paid enhanced listings offer more options like pictures, logos, graphics and a more detailed description of your business.  Include local directories like Yellow Pages and Local.com and for many businesses it makes sense to have a Yelp presence.

 

Establish a multi-network presence

 

Create a multi-network presence by building your businesses profiles on as many social networks as possible, Linkedin, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest and Medium ensure your businesses address and contact details are filled out on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Think about your customers search habits

 

Where are they?  Are they searching from home or are they using their mobile devices?  If they are on the road, are they going to use speech recognition to search?  If so, it may be wise to adopt a far more diverse, set of long-tailed search queries, as your keyword focus?

Look at it this way, if a customer finds you in the listings, will they be put off by a poorly designed mobile site?  I hear over 50% of users say they would not recommend a business with a badly designed mobile website.

Conclusion:

Search engine results are personalized and depend on factors including your search habits, your social media connections, and your location.  Therefore, it is important for businesses to have a local search presence, especially if the business is one that only operates locally.

Social Media continues to move toward business integration.  Communication, coordination and collaboration are major keys with social media.  Social media presence is vital to a company’s survival and success.

Giants such as Google/Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Bing, and Yahoo continue to skyrocket in growth and popularity.

Three key social media trends that come to mind are:

  • Visual – Skype, video conferencing, pictured search results, phone cameras, videos, TV viewing, pictures, internet pictures.Visual content is King.The way that news and information is organized and distributed has gone visual and is getting bigger in popularity.  In today’s world people do not get the opportunity to read long documents resulting in the move to visual means.  It really is on the rise.  After a hard day at work, getting home to view visual material and content is rewarding.  People love to create, share pictures and video.  It also provides stress relief and keeps you in a good frame of mine.
  • Smartphones, iPads, Tablets, Notebooks – These items provide ease of sharing information. An estimated 139 million people now own a Smartphone.  Web Applications, business internet, education, internet shopping, internet sharing continues to increase in popularity and text messaging.  How many times have someone shared photos, business information, movies and in general keep in touch with these communication resources.
  • Ever growing entertainment channels – Television, reality programs, variety of music, all sports, computers, internet and cell phones.People are turning to the internet to receive their daily news, current events, education, entertainment, shopping, share with others, keep in touch with friends, family, businesses, work.

Conclusion:
Companies need to embrace the awesome power of social media and be aware of how it applies to their business needs to have that competitive edge.  We want to capture and engage the audience at all times.  Most companies use customer surveys as a great tool to measure business success.

People want to stay connected, involved in current events, celebrities, sports, family and friends, business, education, just to name a few.  While reading and viewing messages and video, people through social media enjoy providing feedback expressing their views, opinions, suggestions, recommendations and thoughts.

For more information on Social Media Optimization or Social Media Consultants in South Jersey, contact Impact @ 856-778-7308 or our Contact Form Here.

The recent Paula Deen fall from grace and events in similar veins always bring to the forefront how important it is to maintain a strong reputation. The greater view you have of the public eye for good, the wider view you have in negative times. Seems we only grow in exposure during a negative event, and the bigger you grow, the harder the fall.

The field is littered with casualties of those who were mislead or through their own undoing lost everything due to poor Online Reputation Management. In this day and age, this isn’t something you can do after the fact, you must now be constant and continually proactive to maintain your good standing and your proud reputation.

Here are 2 simple tips to start managing your online reputation.

1. Sign up for Google Alerts!

Sound simple, but many people outside internet related industries aren’t aware of it’s existence. It’s a great tool to know what’s going on with your business, website and you! Set up alerts for the business name, the website address, and any members of the organization that might have a chance at being mentioned. This includes the business owner(s), and principals, managers or anyone that you have acting as a face for your company.

Using Google Alerts to start your Online Reputation Management is the beginning to identifying where you stand online and what’s being said about you.

2. Monitor your Social Media and Engage.

People will come to your business page on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Most times it will be for something positive. When this happens, be sure to engage the customer positively. Thank them, show your appreciation for their business. Encourage them to spread the word, to keep checking back. If a customer feels appreciated, they will be less likely to do business elsewhere.

If for some chance the engagement is negative – stop! Think before you act and when you act act professionally. You can’t please everyone, even when you try your best to. Bad moods, bad circumstances, misunderstandings all lead to catalysts that could cause a bad experience. Or maybe you just didn’t do something right.

There was a restaurant making news recently, Amy’s Baking Company, who would engage with their customers by fighting with them. They were on the show Kitchen Nightmare’s where their experiences and bad reputation was only magnified a hundredfold. The fought with their main source of income and business, their customers. This is an example of how to do everything wrong. Once this became know, the door was open and everything came out and this business will never recover and most likely we’ve seen the end of them.

Address the issues at hand, and try to establish dialogue that shows the customer you have heard their concerns and wish to make amends, or take steps to prevent those issues in the future. If you potentially lose that customer, others may see you took the time to address issues and decide you’re worth giving a shot.

If you have a tendency to overreact, fly off the handle, act impulsively, or are unable to manage your online reputation, it is best to go with a company that professionally runs your online reputation management services properly and effectively.

Social Media has become an effective tool to communicate across many different cultures, situations and distances. In many cases, it is becoming the preferred method for many to communicate in general. Whether it be FacebookTwitterGoogle+, we use this to document where we are in life at that moment.

It’s with no surprise that Social Media took a forefront during the recent tragedy in Boston and the Boston bombings that took place. Many took to Social Media to document their conditions and comments. Others in force navigated to their chosen platform to send sympathy and prayers for those who were and are affected by the senseless and incomprehensible tragedy.

While it’s hard to focus and remain calm during tragic events, it’s important to prepare for such occasions in case you have been put in that situation and need to communicate with the outside world.

If You Are Involved, Update Your Loved Ones as Clear as Possible.

Nothing can prepare you for going through a tragic event. No matter how many times we see something happen on television or hear about it on the radio, you can’t be prepared enough to go through chaos, craziness and sheer panic that comes to the forefront. You just need to watch highlights of most the recent attacks over the years to see panic in the eyes of those on camera and those same people running around in fear and confusion.

It’s extremely important to focus on yourself first and foremost and not worry about getting to Facebook or Twitter to post if it means you’re not seeking care. If you need to update loved ones, ask someone to do it for you, or wait until you are safe and secure to do so. Be sure when you finally do get to update your Social Media account that you give the best details on how you are and whether you are okay or not and help alleviate the worry that might be there.

Just be sure you and those around you are okay first.

Know Someone Who May Be Involved, Don’t Panic.

Wait. I can’t state that enough. Remember panic doesn’t breed calm. If you have the unfortunate situation of having a friend, family member or loved one involved in a tragic crisis, like the bombings or shoots recently in the news, be sure as hard as it is to wait until you hear from them. Texting, flooding the web with post after post does not make things better. In fact, it adds additional worry that is not needed.

Be sure to follow passively at first and once you have information on the situation, it can be good to remember there may be others who are in the same situation. Work towards helping inform others in the social circle so that whoever is involved doesn’t have to worry about telling dozens of people how they are. Its social media, so create the network of information that helps the flow. Another thing is to remember that information is coming in all directions so wait until you hear directly from those involved before jumping towards conclusions that only cause more stress.

Listening to the News? Wait Until All the Information Comes Out.

You may have seen during the Boston Bombings many different reports about the type of bombs, number of victims, persons of interest, etc. Reports flooded Social Media with varied stories of the events transpiring as they were developing. This is where Social Media is a double edged sword. It’s amazing how this tool can help propagate information across the world, but it becomes a negative venue for jumping on misinformation. It’s a tornado of experiences that are mostly happening inside the eye of a hurricane. It’s not unusual for different stories to come out, personalized versions of how someone personally interpreted the circumstances, and misunderstandings of event to come out well before the truth.

As a new watcher and Social Media viewer, take what you see at first with grains of salt. Wait until time passes, the experts are on scene and the events clear up to gauge what the story really is. If you have some level of involvement, take care with your information as misinformation can lead everyone, including family and investigators, down the wrong path.

Right now, officials are scanning Social Media looking for documentation of events, photos and videos of the scene and using them to determine events. If you can help, please help – always. If you have nothing to contribute, don’t. Your best place is to watch and not mess around. If you are not involved, don’t spread rumors as fact just to be the first to tell the story. Spreading misinformation is a severe detriment to any situation. In many cases, the wrong suspects and leads have been chased down only to lead nowhere but away from the truth.

Remembering the Victims

The Boston Bombings were a sincere tragedy that we hope does not become the norm in America. Our hearts deeply go out to the families of the victims and the victims themselves. Senseless is the only word we have and be sure that we all show support via our actions offline as well as online and do our best to watch out for events like this in the future.

Social Media is a powerful tool and one that has shown its long lasting value during these tragic times. The world may seem crazy during times like this, but tools like Social Media make the world seem closer and more united, especially against evils of this sort.

Instagram has announced today that they never intended to sell your pictures for profit, that it was “confusing nomenclature” that led to misunderstanding of their intent. While they are now saying your pictures are safe and will not be a profit center for Instagram, one has to wonder if there is more to this than simple misunderstanding.

The feeling is Instagram put the content in their new policy to see what the backlash would be. Facebook recently allowed certain policy changes to be voted on, and the “turn out” was next to nothing. With a precedent set with Facebook, Instagram could have been left feeling overconfident that pushing out a change of terms to include future revenue streams based of user submitted content would be largely ignored, or at the very least not cause such a backlash.

Backlash it did, because it cause celebrity’s and other internet denizens to cancel their Instagram accounts in masses. No numbers just yet, but it the very public reprisals led Instagram to announce a statement to counter further such activity, and save lost users.

Perhaps it was a test to see what user will put up with, always with a backup plan to save face. We’ll have to wait to see what to new language will be in the revised terms of service policy, especially now that all eyes will be ready to review. You still have to January 16, 2013 to cancel your account without accepting the new terms.

This issue raises the continued questions of “what is FREE?” and “is it fair to change the rules after you are playing the game?”

Sure, offer a taste, you’ll want the whole thing. Many products offer free trials with either a time period to evaluate, or limited features, to allow you to develop a need and desire for a product. Now the trend is to offer a product for free, that legitimately would be worth paying for such as Twitter or Facebook, then change the status quo along the way. More ads, potential loss of content rights, moving to a paid model… but in the end, are we not a smart enough, informed enough user that we know the potential for these issues to arise?

I read an article on news site that the author stated that we are at fault and we should get over it. Instagram has every right to make a profit, and in some ways I agree. Then again, if the potential for losing rights to your photos and having them sold for profit that you 1. have no control of and 2. receive no monetary benefit from wasn’t established until two years after you’ve been a solid user, then I do not fault the user, I fault the service.

So the question I’m sure is will the be the end of Instagram and is this the end for the photo sharing social network? My opinion is no, this is not the end, and while it gained them bad PR, the attention span and addictive nature of the product will leave most with convenient amnesia shortly after the new year. Why else does Instagram release this during the holidays when many users attention is focuses elsewhere, and a time when many photos will be taken and many users just itching to share, and just after a national tragedy that has the attention of the world. Sadly this feels like it was slipped in with the hopes of lack of focus and indifference due to other priorities.

Instagram will most likely survive with little ill-effect. I could be wrong, but one thing we should all take from this experience is we should be more aware and careful with our content and property. We should take into consideration any potential future repercussions before we hit the submit button and maybe keep those important photos and information in our albums and on our on PC.

Better yet, remember there’s always a catch!

Instagram, the free photo sharing, social network service, announced today that in January 2013, their terms of service are changing to potentially allow them to sell and profit off your photos.

Did Instagram just nail its own coffin shut?

Started in 2010, then sold to Facebook in April 2012, Instagram has seen a huge rise in popularity since its launch. The program allows users to share pics, along with stylish filters and editing feature, which made millions of users armchair photography masters. Users would share everything from a day at the office, to wedding and party pics, their favorite lakeside sunset, to a picture of their child’s first birthday party.

Now what Instagram is purporting to do is take your child’s photo and potentially sell it to another company as stock photography, without your knowledge when and where or who, and keep 100% of the profits.

Hey! Why is my face on Lice Medicine?

This reminds me of an episode of the Simpsons where the family visit Japan only to find out Homer is somewhat a celebrity as he looks like Mr. Sparkle, the mascot for a detergent. At first he relishes the notoriety, but eventually it becomes too much to bear.

Feel like winding up on a box of hemorrhoid cream somewhere in Germany? Want to be known forever as “that guy?”

Even with illegally obtained photos, pictures of celebrities wind up shilling adult phone lines in advertisements. Now image them selling a photo of your 15 year old daughter in a bikini with her friends at a pool party to one of these companies, who can use it for however they see fit, because they paid for it.

So, what’s worse, not giving you money in return, or taking away your artistic and proprietary ownership of your work? Would you surrender this level of rights in any other business? Can you imagine walking into a Walmart or Taco Bell and before you leave, by paying for your purchase, you agree to promote their product, or be they’re spokesman, or agree to future charges for the heck of it… just because they said so.

Sure, that’s a bit extreme, and while a bit of hyperbole and what if’s is fun to speculate on, but this is a serious matter. We have become too reliant on the term “free” and when something is too good to be true, it usually is. Photoshop costs $650-1000… and people spend YEARS learning it and becoming masters at it. So, now here’s a program that will let you pretty up your pics for FREE, almost as good as Photoshop and then I can share with my friends and family online just by uploading to their website/server.

Would you hand someone your wallet or purse what easily? If so, I’ll be right there.

Who’s to blame in this situation? Is it Facebook for creating this trend, or at least propagating it? Is it Instagram? Most of the fault lays with us, the users and our sensibilities  or lack of in this case. Where did we think our photos were going? Didn’t Facebook put us through something like this, and how our info is still store even after we delete our profiles? What made us feel safe in this case? Did we just loose out to wanting to feel cool and use the “hot product” on the market like all our “friends” on Facebook, so they could see your status update with your Instagram pic.

Already only hours after the announcement, celebrities have taken to Social Media to announce their departure from the service. While the names thus far are still coming out, enough of it is making news on celeb gossip sites and even CNN, NBC News and other popular news outlets. It seems that if they’re going to the trouble to delete their accounts, others are soon to follow, and along with that so are their fans.

Those examples I mentioned above, they’re not that far off. It could, and probably does happen. Here’s an example of a family’s holiday card pic used in an advertisement in Prague. Don’t think it could happen to you? Neither did they.

Google Panda and Penguin updates have hindered a small businesses potential to succeed online to a somewhat noticeable degree. Many small businesses are finding it tough and costly to gain back their previous standing within SERP rankings. Social Media Marketing and Social Media OptimizationSMM or SMO, are ultimately one of the most beneficial implementations for this purpose. Business products or service promotions will obtain greater mileage through utilization of this approach. Additionally, SMM/SMO is another economical tactic to dictate SERP ranking and organic listings of the popular search engines like Google and Bing.

Here are 5 helpful to help your business or brand with its SMM and SMO strategy.

  1. Identify the best and popular social networking site that is populated well with your prospective customer base. Nowadays, internet users are more into Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and some more for their product needs. Never ignore any of these social networking sites for your SMM needs and create an admirable presence on every popular social networking site you feel your customers will use.
  2. The first few days into Social Networking should be spent for locating the competitors and their performance on each popular social networking site. You have to gather complete information about your competitors like their content, followers, fans, page views and more. This observation will offer you a great idea about your winning approach at all the social networking sites. Create some viable and winning strategies based upon the observed information.
  3. Offers are the first best step to gain attention from the social network groups. Create some special offers, discounts and coupons for this purpose and promote these offers at all popular social networking sites in a way your each prospective customer can pay attention towards your presence at the social media platform. This can gain reasonable attention and chances for growing your customer base for your business product or service.
  4. You have already gained attention from the prospective customer base through above step and it is time now to keep them engaged with you. Create appealing videos, blog posts, articles, future product information and more to keep them engaged. Importantly, pay more attention and spend time on the product description with its features along with an ability to answer queries from the prospective customer base. This kind of attention through the answers for their queries can make you popular within no time along with obtaining more mileage for your business product or service.
  5. Always conclude your presence at the social media for providing information about your product through articles, videos and promotional offers. Never dare to sell your product directly as it would result into spoiling your presence and gained popularity within minutes. Attract customer base through the well created business profile, product information and offers. This is the perfect shortcut to achieve trust from the customer base for the business.

Utilization of the above tips for your SMO and SMM will generate unlimited popularity for your business product or service within time. Remember, once you begin doing SMM and SMO, you need to continue this strategy in a regular, on-going manner. A successful SMM campaign will payoff in time. You need to give your customers a base to begin and security that you will be there each time they point their browser at you. This is completely cost effective and creates brand popularity for your business. In order to be successful, you need to implement a continued, sound strategy, and the tips above are a good place to start, and experimenting from time to time with new strategies allow you to develop the best method for Social Media Marketing success.