Category Archives: Reputation Management

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social Media

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social MediaSocial media is a vital element of any online marketing campaign when it comes to expanding a customer base, search engine rankings, and brand recognition. And as major players, Twitter and Facebook are two of the most important and popular social media networks frequented by millions of users worldwide.

Fan and follower count is often considered a status symbol on these networks, and growing a large and dedicated following is a landmark goal of many Twitter and Facebook users. However, getting users to follow or like your page organically is quite challenging, unless you are a celebrity or a major corporation.

Many users are tempted to buy followers via outsourcing websites. And while this may seem like a good idea because more followers means a higher klout score, more visibility, and increased engagement, companies also run the risk of exposure which can be embarrassing.

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social MediaIn fact, Google Adword keyword tool shows that over 100,000 Google searches are performed monthly, for the keywords “buy Twitter followers,” and over 160,000 for “buy followers,” confirming that this once well-kept secret is now common practice.

The concept of buying popularity online may seem like a strange one, but this idea has been around since the birth of social media itself− and possibly since the beginning of complex human interaction. (We’ve all seen the character in a movie who is paid off to befriend another, less popular character). For years now, companies have been offering services to purchase Twitter followers, Facebook Likes, and YouTube views—but recently, these activities have landed among the not-so-savory new trends in social media.

The New York Times recently ran an article exposing major Twitter “celebrities” for purchasing fans rather then growing a following naturally and progressively. The author, Nicole Perlroth, wrote, “social media experts say there are several reasons why Twitter users would want to acquire large volumes of Twitter followers. For some people, it simply feeds the ego. For people and brands, a large Twitter following or Facebook fan base helps increase their visibility. If followers are constantly clicking on links to a brand’s landing page, it also lifts the brand’s position in Google’s search results.”

It is natural for brands to want to build their Twitter and Facbeook accounts because they are constantly looking for ways to expand awareness of their products and services. Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst at the Altimeter Group, says that, “many brands struggle to measure the top line value of social media, so there is a thirst to show momentum in different ways, one of which is to show that the brand has a bigger audience today than it did yesterday.”

Some major brands are skeptical however. Coca-Cola for example, has 700,000 Twitter followers and more than 60 million Facebook fans− more than any other brand on Facebook− but a corporate study found that online buzz had no quantifiable impact on short term sales.

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social Media

This is probably because social media fans are volatile, and may start to follow a brand for a specific reason and then drop off when a contest ends or interest fades. Other users with inflated followings, like 50 Cent, Mercedes, Diddy, and Pepsi have been called out publicly when their followings spiked dramatically and then dropped substantially without explanation.

These celebrities and brands have denied the purchase of followers, but most experts agree that there is no other justification for this kind of strange activity. When a following rises by the thousands and then drops by the same amount, those who are paying attention will notice, and may publicly chastise your company for unethical or unauthentic practices.

With a simple swipe of a credit card, you can obtain legions of followers, but is it worth it? Are they helping your campaign or boosting your overall profit? And if those followers or fans are not interacting with your content are they really friends of your business at all?

Find out more in our next article, which will break down the pros and cons of buying followers and fans.

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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The Conscious Commander, The Modern Manager, The Diplomatic Director

How You can Mold Employees Without Offending or Creating Resentment

The Conscious Commander, The Modern Manager, The Diplomatic DirectorWhether you run a Fortune 500 company, own a local coffee shop, coach little league, or hold a respected position in your community—being a leader sometimes means you have to correct and guide the people you are in charge of. But how can you encourage the behavior that you desire without offending people or arousing animosity? Also, are there ways to get your employees or friends to do what you want, need, and expect without attacking their ideas and damaging your relationship?

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote and published a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People; it quickly became a best seller and is still popular amongst business leaders and communications specialists. The book is packed with advice and short stories that are meant to help foster successful communication in the office and in life outside of work as well. I want to focus on Part Four, where Carnegie teaches us how to speak to others respectfully, how to manage a group of people tactfully and honestly, and how to improve work ethic and stimulate enthusiasm for any project.

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation|

Be constructive and diplomatic. If you notice your employees could be doing something better, start by pointing out what he or she is doing well—then get to the areas that require improvement. As Carnegie puts it, “Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain killing. A condemnation is easier to hear when preceded by a compliment.

2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly |

Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking.” Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read? Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule – and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important. It’s hard to keep from respecting and appreciating a boss like that.

Simply changing one three-letter word can often spell the difference between failure and success in changing an employee’s behavior without arousing bitter feelings. Many peopleThe Conscious Commander, The Modern Manager, The Diplomatic Director begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word “but” and ending with a critical statement. For example, “Sam, I’m really impressed with your work on this presentation, but if you had worked harder on the last part, it might’ve made a stronger impression.”

In this case, Sam might feel encouraged until he hears the word, “but”. He might question the sincerity of the original praise. This could be easily overcome by changing the word “but” to the word “and.” “Sam, I’m really impressed with your work on this presentation, and with some more focus on the ending, it will be that much stronger.”

Calling attention to one’s mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.

3. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders |

No one feels comfortable taking orders from a barking, power hungry, boss—or even a sweet, calm one for that matter. Try giving suggestions, rather than demands. Instead of, “Do this or Do that,” or “Don’t do this or don’t do that,” try, “you might consider this,” or “do you think that would work?” Always give people the opportunity to do things for themselves—that way they can learn the proper ways to complete tasks and can learn from their mistakes.

A technique like this makes it easier for a person to correct his or her errors and can save a person’s pride. It makes an employee feel important and encourages cooperation instead of rebellion. Resentment caused by a brash order may last a long time—even if the order was given to correct an obviously bad situation.

Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable, it often stimulates the creativity of the person or people whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

4. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to |

What are your options when a person who has been a stellar employee begins to turn in work that is under par? You can fire him or her− but that is only a temporary solution. You can berate the worker, but this will definitely incite resentments. The average person can be led readily if you have his or her respect and if you show that you respect that person for some kind of ability.

If you want to improve a person in a certain area, act as though that particular trait were already one of his of her outstanding characteristics. Assume and state openly that other people have the virtue you want them to develop. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make extraordinary efforts in order not to leave you dissatisfied.

5. Make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest |

Good leaderThere are many tasks that will seem banal, difficult, or pointless to your employees− but you are the leader, and you have a method. Sometimes by making something seem like an honor, your employee will feel like he or she is doing you a favor− and that feeling of importance will make for wonderful motivation. But be sincere; do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.

Make clear exactly what you want the other person to do, but remember to be empathetic− ask yourself, “what is it the other person really wants?” Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest and match those benefits to the other person’s wants.

Finally, when you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he or she will personally benefit. You could give a curt order like this: “John, we have customers coming in tomorrow and I need the stockroom cleaned out. So sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves and polish the counter.”

Or we could express the same idea by showing John the benefits he will get from doing the task: “John, we have a job that should be completed right away. If it is done now, we won’t be faced with it later. I am bringing some customers in tomorrow to show our facilities. I would like to show them the stockroom, but it is in poor shape. If you could sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves, and polish the counter, it would make us look efficient and you will have done your part to provide a good company image.”

He might not be thrilled to complete this job either way, but he will feel better than if you hadn’t pointed out the benefits and just demanded he complete the task. Assuming you know your employees take pride in their work and are interested in contributing to the company image, they will be more likely to be cooperative.

It is naive to believe that you’ll always get a positive reaction from the people you lead when you use these approaches, but research and experience have shown that individuals and groups will be more likely to work with you and not against you if you use these principles. And, honestly, even if you increase your successes by a mere 10 percent, you have become 10 percent more effective as a leader than you were before – and that is your benefit.

By Sasha Novikov, Published on Jeff Pulvino’s blog.

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I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]Do you care about being liked? Most of us do. As an adult you eventually adopt the “you win some, you lose some” mentality− but as a businessperson, it is important that people hold positive associations to you and your company so that when they see you or think of you or your brand, it is with a mental smile.

Your reputation follows you, not only when meeting with clients or customers face-to-face, but also on the Internet. At the end of the day, being liked does matter. The way that you are regarded by others can affect your business the same way it can affect your mental and physical health. People who are liked have larger social networks, which, in their personal lives, provide them with more emotional support− and in their professional lives, provide them with increased levels of success.

We all have friends or coworkers who are quick to praise or condemn a particular experience at a restaurant, store, or other establishment using their social media networks. I can admit that I’ve even left a Yelp review or two. How can you, as an individual, ensure that social media has a positive impact on your business? Confident, honest, and engaging business people tend to notice a steady increase of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, or real-life customers.

If people are keen on you, they are more likely to help when you need a favor, for example− promoting your business through word of mouth, or via the web− both courtesies, which hold immeasurable power. When people like what you represent as a person, they are likely to identify with your brand, your ethical foundations, and your goals− and as your business ideals are often rooted strongly in your character, the people that like you as a human will extend those sentiments to your company and show their appreciation− these days, using social media.

Just like with your personal relationships, in your business affairs, simply getting along with people is not the same as being liked or respected. There is a fine balance that needs to be reached between meeting your needs and making sure they are inline with those of another. Whether you are trying to make new friends or solidify business partnerships, these tips will boost your “like” factor− tangible and digital.

  1. Don’t be boastful. Overemphasizing your success comes off as pretentious. No matter how fortunate you are, remember to stay humble. You don’t have to down play every single achievement, but there’s no need to make them overly apparent to everyone, each time you speak. Timing can be very important. If you learn to express your accomplishments in a manor that is nonthreatening, people are less inclined to write you off as arrogant. You can demonstrate that you are a competent person without being a show-off.
  2. Become genuinely interested in others. People can usually recognize someoneI Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation] who is trying too hard to be liked. In fact, the desperation of approval is directly associated with phoniness. Remember, there is no need to put on a false front just to get people to like you. When you show interest in the activities, ambitions, and triumphs of those around you, they will feel appreciated and acknowledged. Not to mention, you may be able to learn something new. Be a good listener, ask plenty of questions, and encourage others to talk about themselves. When they bring up something you find interesting or a mutual passion you should begin a deeper conversation on that topic because it will make the other person feel important. But be sincere, do not interrupt when a person is speaking to you− there will be an appropriate moment for you to share your own stories and experiences, but not at the expense of someone who believes you are listening to what they are saying.
  3. If you are positive, your presence is positive. People can only stand a “Debbie Downer” in moderation. They are difficult to befriend because they make us uneasy. If you are overly critical, even your closest friends will find you unpleasant to be around. It’s fine to offer constructive assessments, but be ready to provide several solutions or ideas to resolve the issues you point out. What good is a cynic with no better cause? Most people do not enjoy reading the status updates of that one friend who is always whining and complaining− and that woe-is-me attitude does not translate well in the business world either.
  4. Smiling, it’s a simple salutation! Maybe my obnoxious alliteration will help you keep this one stored in the memory bank. A smile is like a decorative, “Welcome, I’m friendly” banner− on your face. It’s your first chance to invite someone into an interaction with you. Not only do you seem more open and nice, but you also feel better on the inside, and that is a proven formula for gaining people’s affections.
  5. Leave the judging to the American Idol panel. You don’t need to build your own reputation on the failings of others. Instead, let your own stellar qualities stand for themselves. When you root for the success of your coworkers, friends, or family, they will return the support. As a leader in your community, business, or social circle you need to accept and appreciate those around you− quirks and all.

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]In an age where every single opinion is tweeted and then retweeted, it is crucial to maintain a positive reputation in your personal life because that will echo in your professional decisions. This is especially true if you’re company is using social media in business because your character must remain completely transparent in order for you and your business to be perceived as authentic.

In reality, no matter what you do, what you say or look like, how you behave, dress, or what you believe− some people will like you and others won’t. But as a business leader, you need to increase your odds by following the methods in this article and working even harder to be reachable as well. Connect with others on a one to one basis by allowing them to penetrate your private bubble. Letting people get to know you, being nice, and caring about others− whether about their personal or professional endeavors− will ensure the same feelings from them in return.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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