SEO and Social Media are Inextricably Joined at the Hip.

Is it reputation management, perception management? Or search management?

I was recently directed by Tom Martin to read an updated post by Rohit Bhargava on Social Media Optimization and while it did get me thinking again about something I had not given much thought to in a while, it, like many other blog posts, opened up another footlocker of thoughts.

As I’m wont to do oh so frequently, I started thinking about the term reputation management and what that really meant. Literally defined for us in the digital world, it’s the practice of managing your orgs reputation online.

For most of us lay people, reputation management means trying to control or do something about the bad comments that show up on Google’s first page of search results about our brand.  That something is usually defined as using social media and search techniques to make it go away or… Could we say that might be… Social Media Optimization?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Rohit’s definition or ” new rules” of SMO

  • Create shareable content
  • Make sharing easy
  • Reward engagement
  • Proactively share content
  • Encourage the mashup

But you see, at the end of the day the number of  social interactions/engagements you have, and the number of social profiles you have, and the number of social platforms you play on, all to a certain degree will be reflective in higher search rankings. So essentially Rohit’s 5 new rules contribute to better search results.

# of social interactions + # of social platforms + # of profiles = Better search results

Which means the reality is the sum total of all of this activity will alternately end up driving perception. So given that SEO is a key component, ancillary as it might be to contributing to social media, it still is the key determining factor in driving perception of people and brands.

I will say it again.

SEO and Social Media are inextricably joined at the hip.

So is managing your reputation via search and social also include your ability to understand the key components of search?

You bet it is.

Which means that bad companies ( poor customer service, bad products, etc.) could be very adept at SEO, and given that your perception may be controlled or driven by a manipulated or “gamed” search hierarchy, you would never know they suck.

Your perception of their reputation is skewed by a high search ranking and a search result that may have also been manipulated or influenced by surface level social media participation as well.

Which means that the algorithm is flawed.

Given that most of us are intent on putting our best foot forward and are hell bent on quelling or snuffing out negative press-it would seem to me that a full understanding of the implications of search along with a full understanding about the power of how all of your social interactions influence reputation management would be a sound business decision.

So here’s your takeaways.

  • Know that search and social media are tied to each other.
  • Do not treat the fact that you can control these things lightly.
  • Search can be your friend as much as it can be your enemy.
  • Understand that everyone has the ability to game the system.
  • Do not want to wait to address negative search results after the fact.
  • Dive deeper when doing your homework on companies and people.
  • Create meaningful social profiles
  • Participate in social media because you want to, not because of the SEO benefits.

A word to the wise is sufficient.

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Social Media Rock Star Syndrome

Twankers, Rock Stars & Gurus – Authenticity In A World of Exploding Egos

The term “Authenticity” get played out a lot.  I mean – ALOT!  It gets used to discuss personal branding issues like what kind of avatar should you use and how to disclose if you get paid to communicate a product or experience.  Authenticity is used to discuss ethics in business including can you outsource moderation of your community or what if corp communications manages the CEO’s blog?  Most of the discussion comes down to the distaste for people trying to be posers online.  The fact is whether online or off, people are going to stretch the truth (or outright lie).   It happens.

This week, we wanted to change up the conversation a bit and look at it from a personal perspective.  Authenticity is a way of being and not something that can be attained by following some corporate policies.  While there many people who start out being truly authentic it’s interesting what happens when some get a few wins under their belts.  Somewhere they begin believing everything they hear and their ego gets in the way of what was once rational thinking.  Kind of a “forgetting your roots” scenario.

Then we have the people who stay true to their character despite success or sometimes fame.  Our moderator this week certainly fits the latter description.  Rohit Bhargava is a SVP at Ogilvy 360 Digital  Influence (which he was a founding member) and is the author of the award winning book Personality not Included.  Despite his success, he remains truly authentic at every level.  How does he do it? We”ll find out this Tuesday at noon EST.

Something a bit different this week as we will start out with everyone sharing their thoughts on who, today, exemplifies authenticity whether famous or not.  Then as everyone joins we will start with Q1 that asks an interesting question.  For businesses looking to get established in social media, do you need to task someone who has already built up their own personal brand or can you be successful in building a corporate brand even though your personal brand is not established?  The next question should be a hot one.  Let’s say you have social media success in the consumer packaged goods industry, are you qualified to lead a team from the healthcare industry?  In other words, is social media the same across industries or do you have to specialize.   Then Rohit will tackle a question that centers around the idea that some contend extensive personal branding can detract from a company’s branding efforts.  This week’s topic and questions:

Topic:  Twankers, Rock Stars & Gurus – Authenticity In A World of Exploding Ego

Pre Q1: Who do you feel lives up to being authentic in the digital world?

Q1: Do you have to ROCK your personal brand in SocMed before you try to ROCK your company’s?

Q2: Does Social Media expertise transcend industries?

Q3: Does personal branding compete with or add-to your Company’s market influence?

With Rohit, we are in for a fun chat that is sure the raise the bar for all of us.  Plan on joining us Tuesday at noon EST by following the #sm34.l

 

The only 2 questions an SMB will ask about Social Media

I had been throwing the following around in my head after meeting with a quite a few business owners and talking with some respected thought leaders in the social media marketing space and I want to know what you think.

As an SMB you need to ask two primary questions when pitched with incorporating some aspect of social media in to your business and they are:

#1  What is in it for me and my business?

#2  What’s in it for my customer?

Simple enough right?  But we’re forgetting someone. Someone as critical to the business as the customer is. Do you know who it is? One of the beauties of social media is that there are so many layers, aspects and dynamic components that allow it to address people it all levels of an organization. Including the sometimes forgotten and under appreciated employee.

So Mr. or Mrs. SMB, what we are really saying is that, if social media is pitched or considered then, the pitcher/social media practitioner, should be focusing on 3 aspects of the business:

  • The business owner
  • The customer
  • The employee

For the business owner you will want tangible hard core proof of “If I do this, this is what I can expect for my business and my employees and If I do this, this is what the customer can expect or will do, or this will be the customers reaction. It’s that simple.

If you are a social media marketing…person,  show the SMB what the expected results will be. Give them examples of either what you have done, or… if you are in the majority and are just starting out as a social media marketing N00b, utilize the many URL’s that are starting to crop up citing examples of other companies using social media components within their organizations.

Here is a list of links that SMB’s can utilize that may help them in at least understanding more of what is going on should they be approached by a “social media marketing consultant” or are thinking about doing it on their own. At the least, you will get a better understanding of what’s in it for you, and whats in it for your customer!

Why Executives Don’t “Get” Social Media This is a good article on executive level mindsets as they wrestle with including social media into their companies.

The Ultimate Small Business Twitter List This is not only a great list but it also includes a list of Orgs. and their employees or Reps. that serve the small business market.

Here is a great link on Facebook titled, Social Media for Small Business that some of you should check out.

Why Social Media Is Worth Small Business Owners’ Time Taking advantage of all the Web has to offer is like eating your vegetables or getting exercise — most of us don’t do enough, and even those that do could always do more.

My friend, Amber Naslund, who now works at Radian 6 has 2 posts that I think are worth reading. here is the first Getting a social media foothold and The social media starter kit. Self explanatory right?

Lastly we’re going to finish with some video. I encourage all of you SMB’s out there to watch it, as well as newcomers to social media marketing. It includes a number of my friends and colleagues and thus, I would put a lot of stock in what they are saying. They are the genuine real deal:  Brian Solis, Rohit Bhargava, Tim FerrisToby Bloomberg, David Alston, Liz Strauss, and Paul Chaney,

Lastly, let me say this. IF, you are a social media marketer, wannabe, or whatever… At the end of the day, you better do a pretty damn good job of stating your case. Because no one, and I mean no one can afford to screw up right now and the last thing an SMB wants is for them to be your test case!

The social media food chain and A-listers

A-listers, movie stars, superstars and rockstars, every industry has them. Including ours. Social media, PR and Marketing. We love to worship them don’t we? We watch their every move. We’re fascinated by them. The only thing they might lack are the paparazzi and a posse. There’s just something about what they say and do and write that mesmerizes us. (Cue the chorus of angels) We have decided by our adoration that they hold the keys to the kingdom and thus we need and have decided to quote them and listen to them and follow them whenever we can. Is it wise? Seriously. Is it?

Admit it, you’d take some of that “rockstar” love if it was thrown your way. By that, I mean if you became an A-lister yourself, you wouldn’t turn down the title. Additionally, If they showed interest in you, or talked to you-you’d take that “bounce effect” as well, in a heartbeat. Hell, it might be why we all blog. We want what they got. It’s just that some of you might not admit it. It’s Ok. It’s not why I blog but the residual effect of the blog has certainly brought some notoriety with it that I was not prepared for, and thus I’m not going to reject it.

When you get right down to it, and where I might be in the social media food chain, I think I might be a J or K lister. And while we’re on the subject, lets ask ourselves why we are blogging.  That’s right you- “Mr. or Ms. Stranger that I don’t know yet I trust more than an advertiser”. You, The New influencer, What is your endgame goal here? Is it to be a new influencer?  To be a difference maker? A game changer?

Lets back up though.  That’s not the sole purpose of this post. The duel purpose is to figure where we should place the A-listers in the social media food chain.  Lets ask ourselves who’s eating who here? For example: I recently asked at one conference whether advertisers realized the influence that A-listers have just in the Twitter-sphere. I didn’t really get an answer to that. My point: Twitter followers look for A-listers, follow them immediately, and then jump all over those A-lister quality tweets. And why?

So let’s ask ourselves. What, if any, value or credence should we place with an A-lister when they utter anything? Be it in a micro-blogging platform, a conference, a blog post, a book, an e-book or a podcast. I know some have a body of work that certainly can belie their status. Others, are a tad bit more fuzzy. But even then, we have to be careful and we have to be selective of what we choose to listen to.

I say we read the menu, sample what you want, chew on what tastes good, and digest what will stay down.. Their’s is not the only restaurant serving something hot.

A couple of days ago,  Mack Collier wrote about why he enjoyed the SMBU more than SXSW because it was more of a teaching gig than it was a big “look at me” Rockstar, fest. and frankly, I’m down with that. In fact, if I think back on the last 6 speakers I’ve listened to at various engagements, 4 of them had the same M O.

You see, we’re all guilty of our own MO or modus operandi, as well. Ours might look something like this: We show up at a conference, and wait for “the name” or the “A” lister to talk. When they take the stage, we sit on the edge of our chair, try to tweet something sharp and clever and original and game changing that he or she might say in their slotted time. Then we watch them hustle through their slides and then.. . they answer 4 questions, and poof, they’re done. I know thats not always the case but bear with me.

We then sit there with a few thoughts: They are: “Have I just seen the second coming? Or, WTF was that?” Or, “Did I get anything out of that just now?” Or maybe, “I can’t believe he or she really looks and sounds like that”. All the while the A-lister has stepped off the side of the stage into a throng of social media, marketing or PR groupies. At which point, the exalted one” answers maybe 1 or 2 more questions while 15-20 others hope that he or she looks their way. It’s at this point that I might shake my head, mumble something to the effect, “when is a speaker going to learn how to at least  properly close their talk with something other than, “well it looks like my time is up, thanks.” Perhaps they should read Rohit’s blog post about how to avoid being a bozo when presenting?

In closing, I see that my time is up. But here’s your takeaway. There are a lot of people to listen to in this space. Some of them are not even close to being A-listers, and you know what? They still know their stuff. Maybe even more than the A-listers. Chances are, the A-listers might even be pulling their thoughts and content from them. It’s up to you to decide who you engage. Step back and decide why you are listening to them. Is it because “everyone” else is? Or because they make sense to you. If that’s the case, then stay the course. One last thought: If you’re blogging and you have a dedicated following, you might just realize that you are a thought leader yourself and not a follower of a social media A-lister with clay feet.  And there ain’t nuthin wrong with that.

7 sites to visit today.

 

I’m going to make it easy on you. Here are 7 things that were interesting to me and maybe you should read them in your spare time today or tomorrow.

Chris Kieff says that Seth Godin screwed up, I know it’s shocking isn’t it?

Adam Cohen thinks that there is a danger of communities becoming too diluted I think what he means is that social networks are becoming too water downed, too many choices perhaps? You decide.

Kami Huyse espouses that a course in basic human etiquette might be better than one in blogger relations, which I think we could all use since manners and etiquette have gone away quicker than you can text BRB.

Discover the real you here at Signal Patterns

Rohit Bhargava, freshly back from China, posts on an Insiders guide to marketing on Flickr, in detail.

Brian Solis with the second part of his three part series the socialization of your personal brand

Here is a rockin post by Geoff Livingston that you have to read, titled The Naturals