Tag Archives: twitter

Protect Your Online Reputation

The internet marketing agency that I work for has been looking to hire an SEO/PPC specialist for a few weeks now, but we’re having a hard time finding the right person.  We’ve been posting ads and getting a decent amount of responses, but not too many people are qualified enough for what we’re looking for.

Today I received the resume of a person who seemed to have just the right amount of work experience and knowledge.  Before I attempted to schedule an interview I decided to Google his name and see what comes up.  There was the usual- links to his LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest accounts (which always rank high), his blog, a popular SEO site that he’s probably mentioned on and his mug shot.  Wait, mug shot?

Guess who just missed out on a job opportunity.  Especially being a search marketing professional and all, the least I expected from the guy was to have a clean online reputation.

At least once in your life, someone important will look you up on Google.  There’s a good chance it’s already happened, as search insiders estimate that that non-celebrity people searches account for more than 10% of Google’s search volume.

Admit it; you’ve Googled yourself at least once just to see what came up. But who else has?  Recruiters and hiring managers will likely look you up on search engines before offering you an interview or job. Colleges have been known to look up students before accepting them.  In my single days I wouldn’t go on a date without Googling the guy first.

Having a person Google your name is something that’s going to happen (again) in your life. If there’s something negative that might come up and hurt you, it’s up to you to fix it.  Here are four easy things you can do to manage your online reputation.

Google Yourself

If you haven’t done this already, start by going to Google and typing in your name.  Make sure you’re logged out of Google so you see standard results rather than personalized ones. Consider the first page of search results for your name your own personal home page. Studies show that about 75% of search engine users never click past the first page, so it’s extremely important to use that real estate to your full advantage.  If you have a common name and share it with some scandalous characters, I would start using a middle name or initial on job applications, your resume and social media sites.

Own Your Name

The term “own your name” refers to “owning” all of the domains that come up in the search results.  I’m lucky- there are no other Casey Kurlanders in the world that I know of, so I don’t have any competition.  But if you look, every search result on the first page for my name is something that I created and pretty much have control over.

SERP

Here are some tips on how to own the first page of results for your name:

  • Get your Linkedin profile to show up first by making sure you have a custom URL with your name.  For example, my LinkedIn URL is www.linkedin.com/in/caseykurlander/ and it always ranks high because the URL matches the keyword searched and LinkedIn has high SEO authority.  To create your own custom LinkedIn URL, go to the “edit profile” section and it’s right there.
  • Google-owned properties like Picasa, YouTube and Google+ often rank high, so make sure to utilize them using your name.  Google+ is great because it’s free and it offers lots of options for providing links, photos, and information you may want to highlight
  • Start a blog and make your name the title.  Also make sure that your name is in the URL.  I recommend using WordPress, as it’s the blogging platform that seems to rank the highest.  It’s also free and extremely easy to use.
  • Be mindful of what you use as your default photos on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn- those also rank high and are often one of the first to show up in Google Images. This also applies to photos that you post on your blog, as many of them will come up.

Fight back!

Depending on the website, the instructions for removing or hiding results vary.  However, information that’s been indexed in Google’s database cannot be extracted from Google search results.  Google has ownership of its database and will not act on negative publicity.  Even if the offending article is removed by the publisher, the content still exists in Google’s database and could be found in a search.

One of the places that you can fight back is Facebook.  There you can mark specific content as public or with varying levels of privacy. To protect yourself, it is best to keep Facebook content limited to friends only. If your online reputation is really bad, you can always give us a call at BMI Elite to remove negative or undesired content associated with your name.

Prevention

The best defense is a great offense- don’t wait until there’s something negative in the search results to improve your online reputation.  A great defense strategy is to have an abundance of positive content on the first page of results.  Go ahead and tweet, post, comment and blog!

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Boca Raton is Least-Tweeted U.S. Presidential Debate of This Election

The presidential debate between U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney was right here in Boca Raton, Florida last night.  It was the third and final face-off, but instead of getting into the spirit just two weeks before the election, social media numbers suggest that people have lost interest.

Perhaps it’s because the debate, which focused on foreign policy, was competing with Monday Night Football and Major League Baseball’s NCLS Game 7.  Either way, last night was the least-tweeted debate of this election, generating 6.5 million tweets- less than New York’s 7.2 million tweets and Denver’s 10.3 million.

According to Twitter, the debate’s hottest topics were foreign policy with 54% of the night’s tweets sent, the economy with 20%, terrorism with 9%, taxes with 7% and energy and the environment with 4%.  Tweets-per-minute peaked at 105,767 when Obama hit Romney with the remark, “We also have fewer horses and bayonets,” when referring to the size of the U.S. military force.  What’s interesting is that Google’s search engine also shifted into high gear after Obama’s remark, with a “sharp spike” in Google Searches for “bayonets.”

What did you think of last night’s debate?  Let us know in a comment!

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Think Before You Tweet!

Once again, two large companies have angered lots of people and bruised their reputations by making a simple and increasingly common social media mistake.  The latest two companies to post offensive tweets on their Twitter pages are StubHub and KitchenAid, who each stirred up controversy last week.

StubHub’s tweet, shown below, is estimated to have come from a StubHub employee, or someone pretending to be one.

The tweet was posted at 7:33 p.m. ET. Almost an hour later, at 8:20 p.m., @StubHub posted an apology tweet:

StubHub currently has 19,062 Twitter followers and many of them screen-captured the tweet and posted it all over the site.   According to StubHub’s public relations, the account was most likely hacked, or the user thought they were tweeting to their personal account.  Or perhaps it was just a distraught employee having a really bad day.

StubHub was not the only large company to experience a Twitter disaster this month.  KitchenAid is now doing some serious damage control following an insulting tweet sent out during the presidential debate.  The tweet, shown below, referenced Obama’s deceased grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died a few days before he was elected president in 2008.

KitchenAid also quickly deleted the tweet and issued an apology, but it has already been retweeted many times.  Several hours after the original tweet was posted, Cynthia Soledad, KitchenAid’s senior director of branding, took to Twitter to explain what happened and apologize to President Obama.

Stubhub and KitchenAid aren’t the first to bruise their image via Twitter.  The following are some other notable PR nightmares that came as a result of a Twitter fail:

  • Just days after gunman James Holmes murdered 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in July, UK-based online retailer CelebBoutique tweeted that their Kim Kardashian-inspired Aurora dress was the reason for their city being on the news.  The tweet said “#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress 😉 Shop: celebboutique.com/aurora-white-pleated-v-neck-strong-shoulder-dress-en.html …”
  • While Egypt was going through a period of violent political protest, Kenneth Cole’s brand took a beating after the company’s Twitter posted a tweet that said: “”Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”
  • An employee of the American Red Cross released a tweet that said: “Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer…when we drink we do it right #gettingslizzerd.” It may have been some awesome free advertising for DogFish Head Craft Brewery, but it was a PR nightmare for the Red Cross.  Luckily, the two companies worked together and managed to turn the disaster into a brilliant fundraising opportunity for the Red Cross.

So what can we learn from these Twitter fails?  Here are a few PR tips on how to draw positive attention to your company’s Twitter page:

  • Choose your account administrators wisely.  Make sure they are professional, responsible, and well versed on the risks of social media.
  • Be attentive and involved in all online conversations about your brand.
  • Realize that mistakes do- and will- happen at some point and have an emergency plan in place.
  • Respond quickly and directly.
  • Have a social media policy and make sure employees and outside agencies hired are aware of it.
  • Be honest, genuine and transparent.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Your audience wants to see the human side of your brand, so have some fun with it.  Just make sure not to have too much fun though!
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Video SEO

Internet videos have become a very useful method of sharing information.  Video content should be part of your content strategy if it isn’t already.  It has become extremely popular with Internet users and it can be easier to rank video content for competitive keywords than ‘normal’ content when video results are incorporated into the SERP.

Video SEO is:

  • Optimization of the video content on your website.
  • Optimization of your video content on other sites (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • An extension of SEO

The following social engagement numbers demonstrate the huge reach that videos have.  By applying video SEO techniques, you can make your videos search engine friendly and make your videos more likely to show up in a search.

  • YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google and it has a massive reach across social networking sites.
  • Video views on YouTube have increased by 25% in the past year, to an astounding 4 billion views per day.
  • People watch more than 500 years’ worth of YouTube videos on Facebook every day, and they share about 700 videos on Twitter each minute.
  • According to Forrester Research, videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first-page ranking than traditional content.
  • 52% of B2B marketers are planning to use video as part of their content marketing strategy in 2012.
  • Video results appear in about 70% of the top 100 listings, the type of content most often displayed in universal or blended search results.
  • According to Cisco, video will increase from 30% of Internet traffic to 90% of Internet traffic by 2013.
  • Q4 2011 saw video views on retail and brand sites increase by more than 3x over Q3 (Invodo research, January 2012)
  • Videos in  universal search results have a 41% higher click through rate than plain text (AimClear 2011)

 

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Shazam Can Now Tag TV Shows!

Shazam has been an awesome companion to the radio for almost a decade, tagging songs so that anyone can find out what they are listening to at any time and giving users the option to download tagged songs instantly.

Now Shazam is reinventing itself by breaking into the TV market.  The app has launched a significant update that will enable its 80 million users in the U.S. to tag any TV show on over 160 channels, with the exception of some local-only shows such as news broadcasts.

Here’s how it works: if a viewer is watching “Dexter,” they can tag the show to identify not only what the show is, but access cast information and celebrity gossip, play trivia, engage with other viewers on social media and identify the music being played.  If it’s a sports event, the app will show schedules, scores and statistics.  TV shows are tagged the same way you’d tag a song, by opening the Shazam app and tapping the big button.

In addition to expanding the TV functionality of its app, Shazam is also becoming more social.  Users will now be able to see what their Facebook friends are tagging, and to comment on and discuss those tags.  Users will also be able to socialize over Twitter and Google+. These features will be launched in the coming weeks.

With this update announcement also came the news that Shazam has been used (not just downloaded, but actually used to tag content) by over 250 million people worldwide.  Time will tell whether these millions of users are as interested in tagging TV shows as music.

The app is available free on all major platforms including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.  How do you feel about using it to tag TV shows to get information?

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GoDaddy Goes Down

GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain registrar and one of the biggest web hosts, is experiencing outages today, possibly taking millions of websites down as a result.

“Status Alert: Hey, all. We’re aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We’re working on it,” @GoDaddy tweeted.

While GoDaddy.com’s site is up and running, websites hosted by the company are still experiencing outages. If you are being affected by this, you might be interested in switching to a new registrar as soon as GoDaddy returns.  Here are the steps on how to do so:

  1.  Login to your GoDaddy account and click on the “Domain Management” section.  This will open a page that allows you to manage your domain names.
  2. Next to your listed domains are different icons that allow you to access certain domain features.  Hover over the “lock” icon to check the status of your domain.  If it is locked, follow the next step.
  3. Unlock the domain (it was locked by registrars by default so that nefarious parties can’t transfer the domain out from under the real owner, but in order to transfer a domain you have to unlock it).
  4. Uncheck the box next to “lock domains” and click OK.
  5. Get the authorization code (sometimes called an AUTH, EPP or ACK code) to bring to your new registrars.  Click on the domain name you wish to transfer and on the “Domain Details” page, scroll to where it says “Authorization Code: Send by Email.”  Select this option and then check your email for an authorization code from the site.  You can now give this information to your new registrar.
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How Social Media Helps and Hurts Romantic Relationships

Social media plays a huge role in romantic relationships today. It affects everything from the beginning, middle to the end and can make or break a couple.  Here are some of the ways that social media can be good for romantic relationships, as well as some advice on how to avoid the things that can hurt it.

How it can help relationships…

It’s another way to show support and cheer each other on.

Many people use social media to share what they are currently up to or working on.  People often share when they are training for a marathon, trying to eat healthier or putting in extra hours at the office hoping that it pays off.  These posts are an extra chance to show each other some support and say something nice.  While it shouldn’t replace words spoken aloud and actions, it’s an extra way to say “I love you,” “I care about you,” or “I’m thinking about you” sometimes.

It keeps you connected while apart. 

When done right, social media can be a nice point of contact while you are away from each other.  When people are busy and don’t have lots of time for their partner, social media can be used as a way to keep in touch.  A quick line on Facebook or monitoring each other’s tweets can help a couple feel that much more connected.

How it can hurt relationships…

It takes away some of the excitement.

One of the best parts of a new relationship is discovering a little bit more about each other each day.  But now being able to Google someone and read their Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter profiles in full takes away a good amount of that initial mystery and intrigue out of getting to know someone.

It’s hard to hide the embarrassing parts of your past.

Remember that one night back in college that you got really sloppy, fell in the bushes, made out with three strangers, puked on yourself, passed out on the floor and then your roommate drew on your forehead with a sharpie?  I’m sure that night isn’t really something you brag about today, but what if someone had a camera that night?  The scary part is that you never know when one of these photos may resurface and be a huge embarrassment.  Not only will your significant other not appreciate it, but it can make you look bad to employers, clients and your peers.

In this age of social media, instant uploads and tagging, it’s more important than ever to be careful what you are photographed doing.  It’s also another good reason to make sure that you’re in a relationship with someone who loves and accepts you for who you are and won’t judge you for the silly things you did in the past.

It can cause unnecessary insecurity and jealousy. 

“Who’s Gloria?” I once asked my boyfriend about the woman who liked the sexy picture of him hanging out by the pool.  She turned out to be one of his mother’s friends.  Why she liked that picture, I have no idea.  Perhaps she has a secret crush on my boyfriend who is 25 years younger than her, or maybe she just liked the flowers in the background.  Either way, she’s not a threat at all but it still had me a little jealous.

In turn, my boyfriend has asked me a few times about questionable comments that guys have left on my page that were totally harmless.  Some of them were inside jokes, and I can see how they could be easily misinterpreted by an outsider.

How many of you can admit that Facebook has made you feel jealous or insecure at least once?

Some people think it’s the place to fight.

Repeat after me: “I will not fight with the person I love on social media.”  Why do some couples feel the need to air their dirty laundry to their 746 Twitter followers?  Aside from the two or three friends who might actually care, 743 people are rolling their eyes and laughing at how pathetic you are.  I’m embarrassed for any couple who fights it out online when they live together, own phones, or have any other method of fighting it out in private.

Oh, and maybe this makes me old-fashioned, but social media sites are not the place to break up with someone.  A study by Mashable reported that 21% of respondents said they would simply change their Facebook relationship status to break up with someone.  Yuck.

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London 2012 Olympics: What Was With All Those Empty Seats?

Despite tickets being sold out and nearly impossible to get (and really expensive for those who did manage to score some), I noticed so many empty seats during the first few days of the Olympics.

“What’s up with that?” I wondered while watching swimming, volleyball and gymnastics.  Not only were whole blocks of seats empty, but they were the good, lower-level ones.  It bothered me instantly, before I even knew or understood why it was that way.

Given that they were the hottest seats with the best views, I figured that they belonged to the corporate sponsors who never seem to give a shit about the event.  I’ve been to countless Heat games where I’ve watched the corporate big-shots show up halfway through the second quarter and sit in their courtside seats for about 40 minutes before leaving in the third quarter.  I love these people when it allows me to upgrade my seat and move closer after they leave, but mostly they just annoy me.

I felt bad for the athletes who didn’t have the full house that they deserve to cheer them on and create hype during the biggest performances of their lives.  I felt awful for their friends, spouses and family members who should’ve been filling these seats, but couldn’t get tickets.  Lastly, I felt bad for anyone else in London who was unable to get tickets through the complicated lottery process but would’ve loved to be there.  Give those tickets away to local kids, college students, charities, soldiers, anyone.  It would’ve made their year.  The organizers in London may not have anticipated this problem while planning, but since they had all those empty seats, why not upgrade those in the nosebleed sections to make the venue at least appear to be full?

It turns out I wasn’t the only one who noticed and was annoyed.  Commentators noted the unfilled seats—12,000 in all– and many people, including several Olympic athletes, turned to social media websites like Twitter to express their anger.

Indian tennis player, Mahesh Bhupathi, tweeted: “Been trying for 6 hours now to buy my wife a ticket to watch me play tomorrow. Still no luck, and the grounds here feel empty. Absurd!!!”

Irish swimmer Barry Murphy tweeted: “Hundreds of empty seats again in the Aquatic Centre. My parents would’ve given an arm and leg to get in.”

Since this outrage an investigation has been launched by Locog, the organizer of the London Games.  It comes after they have faced a lot of criticism for the number of seats given to—you guessed it—corporate sponsors as well as Olympic officials and “VIP guests.”

A spokesperson for Locog said: “We are aware that some venues had empty seats. We believe the empty seats are in accredited seating areas, and we are in the process of finding out who should have been in the seats and why they weren’t there.”

There are many theories and ideas as to why so many seats were left unfilled during the Olympic events, including the following:

  • Long queues and transport problems left many ticket holders unable to get to their seats in times to watch the main events.
  • Some seats were reserved for dignitaries that did not turn up.
  • Some premium tickets were held back by foreign ticket agencies hoping to make a killing by selling them at grossly inflated prices at the last minute.  Yuck.

The London Olympic Organizers did end up giving British troops and schoolchildren free tickets, but a lot of damage has already been done.  While I find it easy to blame most of the issue on Locog giving too many tickets to corporate sponsors, some major sponsors including Coca Cola, Visa and McDonalds have issued statements denying that they have failed to use their allocated tickets.  The fiasco has turned out to be a huge embarrassment for Locog and the city of London, and I cannot wait to hear what the investigation turns up.

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New Ways That People Will Watch The 2012 Olympics

Opening Ceremony London 2012: Google Doodle Celebrates The Festivities

Today’s Google Doodle is one indication of just how excited the world is for tonight’s opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.   The day has finally arrived to kick off the event that London, athletes, advertisers and brands have spent years planning and preparing for.

Ten-time Olympic medallist Carl Lewis captured the building sense of anticipation best:

“The Olympics is the only event where the world stops,” he said.  “If you’re the smallest country with the fewest people in the world or the biggest country with the most people in the world, everyone’s allowed and everyone is invited, so it’s a great thing because you get to see the world and the world sees you.”

Mr. Lewis couldn’t be more right.  An estimated 1 billion people around the world are expected to watch the Olympics opening ceremony and games, and this year there are more ways to watch than ever before.  The 2012 Games are full of new records and firsts and we haven’t even seen what the world’s greatest athletes will do yet.

In terms of ads sales, this is the biggest Olympics ever.  According to NBC Universal, its ad-dollar take for the Olympics has reached $1 billion, about $150 million more than its total take for the 2008 Beijing Games.  Here are some other cool new Olympic debuts that are happening as a result of the newest technology and advertising/marketing strategies.

Live Streaming on Mobile Devices and Tablets.  The iPad didn’t exist at the last Olympics, but when the games begin Friday millions of people will watch the action on tablets and smart phones.  NBC Universal is live-streaming every athletic competition — more than 3,500 hours, including all 32 sports and all 302 medals — on NBCOlympics.com and, for the first time, on Androids, iPhones and iPads.  Users can use the free NBC Olympics Live Extra app to watch the coverage from wherever they are on their devices.  The app is free, but only customers who have a cable or satellite subscription will get full access.

The app lets users set reminders for events and share their favorite video clips on Facebook and Twitter.  During live events they can switch camera views to watch from different angles and toggle between different events happening at the same time.  If there is too much going at once, users can record events to watch later.

A companion app, called simply “NBC Olympics,” features additional content like athlete interviews and bios. The two apps are interconnected, so users can launch one through the other.

The pair of mobile apps is part of NBC’s far-reaching plan to roll out the Olympics on a variety of media platforms.  NBC is hoping that this goes smoother than its last big streaming event, the Super Bowl.  While the 2.1 million livestreams set a record for the Internet’s most watched single sports game, many users complained that the stream was blurry, choppy and had a time delay.  Let’s hope that NBC learned from the Super Bowl mistakes and have worked out all the kinks over the last six months.

Social Media.  Social media is changing the Olympic reporting landscape, becoming the most tweeted, blogged and reported event in history.  It was around during the 2008 Games, but the numbers that are attracting sponsors this year are incredible.  There were 100 million Facebook users in the 2008 Summer Games, versus 900 million this year, and roughly 6 million Twitter followers during the last Summer Games, versus about 500 million today.  Dubbed the “Social Games” for the big-spending sponsors, social media is being utilized by them to reach this huge amount of users.

One of the most popular social media activities has been to follow the athletes as they go into the Games.  While some will take a break from their social media accounts in order to focus, many will be tweeting and posting along the way.

To serve as a reminder to be careful what they post is the case of Greek triple jumper Paraskevi Papachristou, who was the first Olympian forced to pack her bags because of a racist tweet.

3D Olympics Coverage.  Those with 3D digital televisions (and the glasses that work with it) will have the opportunity to watch the Opening and Closing ceremonies, men’s and women’s gymnastics, cycling from the Velodrome, swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, water polo, full coverage of track and field, and the medal rounds of basketball in 3D.  A total of 242 hours of 3D coverage will be available over the 17 days of the Olympics (approximately 12 hours per day).

The downside to 3D coverage is that it will not be broadcast live.  Instead, the events will be aired the next day on special 3D channels from DirectTV and other cable providers.

This year’s Olympic Games will last until August 12, with more than 10,000 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees participating.

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