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Go ahead. Google me.

young man with binoculars surprised

Online reputation management is not just for business.  It's for you too.  When last did you google yourself?  What did you find?  Your online reputation can affect your future employment, the success of your business, your friends, your family and even your relationship with your employees. You have to remember that anything you say online could live forever.  EVEN IF YOU DELETE IT.

Think of yourself as a journalist whenever you are posting something online and ask yourself these three questions before you click 'post';

  • Would it get past your editor? 
  • Would you want your editor to see it? 
  • Would you be ashamed of it if it went viral?

Now, some steps to take to correct the past and manage your way forward to a squeaky clean online reputation! 

  1. Run a Google search on your name and look for any articles and photographs that appear in the results.  Make notes of anything that you'd prefer to be hidden and then go to those sites to see if you can hide them in settings or if you can request that friends or family remove them.  You may need to contact website managers in some cases to ask if content can be hidden or removed.
  2. Set up Google Alerts so that you receive notifications when your name is mentioned or a photograph of yourself is posted online.  This will help you keep track of new information posted.
  3. Don't be scared of social media.  Get with it!  Social media platforms are flexible and can be used to portray anything you choose - so there is nothing to be worried about if you have two brain cells to rub together.  Pick the platforms that appeal to you most, fill the profiles out to the best of your ability and get connected!  People like to do business and share information with people that they know (even if it is through 6 degrees of separation!).  Social media platforms are here to narrow the gap between you and the opportunities that await you!
  4. Connect your profiles to one another and your website to your social media platforms.  Most social media sites allow you to connect with other platforms that you have a presence on.  Doing this will allow for search results to push you further to the top.  Think of it as a verification exercise - the more online presence you have the more legit you look and the higher your ranking will be.
  5. Customise your domain names to make yourself discoverable.  Managing your online reputation is not just about hiding information that you don't want seen, it's also about putting positive content out there to be associated with.  For example - your Facebook profile, when created will allocate a domain name that reads www.facebook.com/(number) - you should change it to www.facebook.com/johnsmith.  Now we can find you!
  6. Don't take for granted that people will know who you are, remember, you're not the only John Smith out there.  When you run a Google search on yourself you may find that there are articles, news reports and pictures of another person with the same name.  This could be good or bad information. Either way, you want your name and your information to come up first in search results (Obviously if the other John Smith is a serial killer you want to deal with this very urgently). Post regularly on your social media platforms and if you have a website you should make an effort to mention your own name on it in some of the posts.  New and legitimate information will be given preferential treatment in Google searches and will push those results that you don't want seen off the first page of the google search.  This is great, because nobody goes to the second page of a google search.  Ever.
  7. This may seem obvious, but it must be said because to this day (unbelievable I know) people are still burying themselves online - Don't ever swear, post nude photographs or say anything racist, sexist or insulting online.  Basically, if you can't say it to your boss or do it in front of your boss (and keep your job), then best to leave it unsaid.  There are enough examples out there of how devastating this can be, you don't need to be the next.
  8. And finally, don't overestimate your privacy settings on social media platforms.  You're sharing information with (on average) one hundred friends and acquaintances every time you post something.  And while your settings might only allow for them to see it, it doesn't stop them from sharing it, taking a screenshot or posting it to another platform.  Think of everything you post as a world broadcast, because usually it's the one thing that you don't want to go viral, that does!

These steps should go a long way to helping you manage your online reputation, but if you feel you still need assistance you can contact the JoziTown team.

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THE BEST THING SINCE POPCORN!

It was very intriguing when Periscope, Blab, Google+, Hangouts and Meerkat offered live video streaming to users because the marketing opportunities that come with this tool are endless.  Now Facebook has followed suit and with it our clients have been given the key to success because there's an existing audience to engage with, and what better way to do it than to go live!

Facebook first made this feature available to verified public figures and has steadily released it to the rest of us since.  It is now available to some iPhone users but not yet to android users.

Facebook Live allows you to broadcast events, vlogs and even arbitrary every day banter and the best part is that your viewers can react and comment in the moment.  The Facebook reactor buttons allow viewers to tell broadcasters what they think of their content (Like, Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad and Angry) and the comments stream gives them the opportunity to interact with the vlogger by asking questions or giving their thought.  This tool now allows a viewer to get what they want (provided the vlogger sees and responds to their comments and questions) and it helps the broadcaster to better customise their content to the wants and needs of the viewer, in the moment. You can't ask for much better engagement than that!

Start incorporating live video into your social media strategy now if it is available to you.  If the Facebook Live tool isn't available to you yet then start with some of the other tools in the meantime (mentioned above).  Here are some tips for your consideration before you start your first broadcast:

 

  1. Make sure your description and headline draws your audience in and then stick to it.
  2. Your content needs to be focused, don't babble.  There's plenty of time to create posts about a variety of topics, so keep your current topic in front of you and answer relevant questions and comments.
  3. Make sure your audio is not interfered with by surrounding noise or wind.  Also make sure you speak clearly so that your viewers can hear your content with ease.  You don't want them to be distracted.
  4. Use the button on the top right hand corner of your screen to toggle between front and back cameras.  While you're broadcasting you may want to show your audience your surroundings or focus on what it is you are doing, but in order to connect with your audience you should show them your face. 
  5. Viewers like to be acknowledged and mentioned during live video streaming especially if the viewing audience is large, so when you're responding to comments, questions and suggestions make an effort to mention their names and thank them for their feedback.
  6. Don't fight with trolls.  While you may want to discourage or address negative feedback and commentary in your live video you need to be careful.  Don't respond to profanity or viewers who are deliberately trying to disrupt your flow.  Be positive and proactive, address comments and questions that you think will benefit your larger audience.
  7. Mention your call to action.  Do you have one?  What is the purpose of your post?  Tell your viewers what you want them to do and use the Facebook CTA options to follow through after publishing for later viewing.
  8. Don't broadcast for the sake of broadcasting.  If there's nothing to talk about don't broadcast.  You should try to have valuable content lined up on a regular basis so that your viewers know when to log in, but don't have them log in for nothing.  They won't come back.

Take a look at these Facebook links to better acquaint yourself with this new brilliant tool!

We hope this post has given you some insight into yet another remarkable social media tool for you to use to engage with your customers and your online audience.

Contact JoziTown Projects if you'd like us to create a social media strategy for your business.

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MORE CONTENT, LESS FLUFF

Hand point to Light bulb

If you've got nothing to say, then it's best to say nothing at all.  Putting content out to your audience without a clear cut message is just fluff, and fluff doesn't compete with the millions of other businesses who want the attention of your audience.  Before you write anything, ask yourself if your thoughts add any value to your readers.  Is what you're saying going to change the way they think, act or do business?  If not, what's the point?

Use these guidelines to avoid fluff and create valuable content:

  1. Have a plan - an overview of your social media and for every bit of content that you create.  The plan will keep you on track and will stop you from going off on a tangent.
  2. Sharing relevant content from other sources is not out of the question but original content is key to building and keeping your audience.  Too much shared content will give the impression that you have nothing to say.
  3. Other sources keep your stream full but redirect your audience to other websites and social media feeds which is not what you want.
  4. If your business or industry calls for it, you might need to position yourself as a thought leader in your space.  Make sure that the information you're giving to your audience is considered, researched and correct.
  5. Internet readers skim, they don't read the way one would a book - so get to the point quickly.  Content creators are now structuring their content differently, they tend to start with their point or conclusion to grab interest and then they fill out the article with the facts that lead them there afterwards.
  6. Write like you know what you're talking about.  Don't be tentative.  If you don't have confidence in your content not only should you not be writing it, but nobody will listen.

Sometimes creating content for your website and social media platforms feels like a burden because it's a never ending task.  You have your business to run and your business is not content creation.  Well, it's our business - JoziTown Projects offers social media, blogging, content research and writing services for businesses like yours.

Get in touch and we'll take it off your hands.

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Secretary or Social Media Pro?

 

 

 

Managing a social media community for a business is not a slap dash thing and shouldn't be squashed into the bottom of your secretary's 'to do' list.  It requires time, energy, knowledge and strategy.  Your customers/audience will know if you're just coasting along because your content wont have the substance they need and they simply wont waste their time on it.  Problem is, if you don't have audience engagement then the whole exercise becomes futile.

Secretary.jpg

Do you know how much you're asking for?

Social Media marketing and strategy is a job on its own and if you make it part of an already-busy-person's job, the one thing that inevitably suffers is the social media.  That's because social media is not just about being reactive when required but is mostly proactive work to make it function at its best.  This means that the person managing your social media community needs to reach out to your audience and engage regularly.  They need to create valuable content for your followers and they need to be available to engage whenever a fan or follower wants to.  Basically, if she/he doesn't have the time to do all of this, then you're setting them up for failure.

Content is key, and it's the hardest part...

You may not be aware that Facebook doesn't allow everything that is posted by you to appear in your fan's news feed unless it is sponsored (paid for advertising, which is of course how Facebook makes loads of money).  There are algorithms that push quality content to the top and poor content doesn't even get a look in.  This means that if your posts are regularly discarded or there is little to no engagement then Facebook's algorithm assumes that it is just not valuable enough to appear.  So once again, unless you are pushing out some content worth seeing the whole exercise becomes pointless.  The lesson here is that you should focus less on quantity and more on quality when you are posting on behalf of your business. 

Thought leadership articles where your audience is interested enough to engage with you is what you should be aiming for.  Achieving this takes experience and knowledge of your brand and business. Has your secretary got the time, the knowledge of your business and an understanding of your targeted audience to be able to create content that will grab their attention and keep it?

If so, it might be time for a promotion, otherwise, you may need to get a pro on board!

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