Friday, May 31, 2013

A Long Road Ahead

At some point in time we have found ourselves in an awkward situation having to come up with the best explanation to dig ourselves out of that hole. While explaining may be the easy part to some the universally hard part is whether or not those we are explaining ourselves to choose to believe us. How we are looked at amongst our peers holds major weight with us and to some people how they are viewed is the only thing in life they have that's precious to them, sad but true.

In business you always want to be the company that others admire, envy and desire to be. In order to stay atop that mountain you must have all aspects of your business in check. But as we all know nothing in life is perfect and few things are guaranteed. Eventually you will come across some unsatisfied customer and you will definitely have few rivals as friends that is just the nature of business competition. The customer can have a more damaging impact on your company than any rival could. Any infraction that occurs with a customer can hopefully be forgiven with proper press and time of course, but dealing with the internet keep in mind that it won't go away....ever!!! As a business your best bet is to take advantage of any Online Reputation Management available to you. Just letting things die down is not a sound strategy and in some cases has done much more harm than good. Some things are out of your control and if not acted on immediately can snowball into a bigger disaster than it started out as.

Reputation Management can not only help with just online searches but dealing with Social Media as well. Living in a global society you'd be surprised how much of an impact you can have on a country all the way across the world. If you choose not to properly deal with your issues at home when you go abroad they will be even bigger because of the image you have given your brand as one who doesn't care about it's customer. Dealing with any issue head on is always the best way to approach any customer related situation. After all customers talk and when the negative words get out about your company you will most certainly suffer the consequences. While the negative press won't go away automatically the effort you show in making sure you're providing the best service possible can only benefit you in the long run and after all the long run tells more than the short run.

Lost In Space

The power of Social Media can be used for good or evil depending on the situation. The good we are in constant connection with our friends and family updating them on every detail of our lives. As good as that is there is also a bad side to Social Media connection, more recently many people have gotten caught up in sexting or having personal messages end up in the hands of the wrong person and find them on some gossip site or underground website.

What these actions have exposed is the loose restrictions that Social Media operates under. Yes they do ban lewd or obscene content but not all is caught, and when that happens it leads to much controversy about how much of a role Social Media plays in our lives and are we in fact indulging in it too much. More often than not teenagers are the victims of this action. They become victims of their own immaturity and poor judgment when it comes to Social Media. Having thousands of friends on any Social Media network is a wonderful thing but the moment you find yourself caught up in any scandal or the wrong picture gets out believe that those thousands of friends will get the picture. The fact that a teen would take or even trust anyone with this kind of content is very troubling and shows a flaw in the relationship between them and their parents.

Parents should oversee any activity that their child participates in when it comes to Social Media. They cannot leave it up to Social Media moderators to protect their children from the creeps that scour the internet looking for easy targets to get caught up. Educating your child on the pitfalls of Social Media is imperative and in today's society has become a lesson plan in parenting. Proper education can be the difference between your child falling for some scam and them not falling for one. They have to know that what they do will follow them all over, the internet doesn't totally discard your dirty work and all it takes is a couple clicks to find any picture you thought was long forgotten about. Our reputations never leave us whether it’s in person or online and when something like sexting tarnishes that it takes years of hard work to repair our reputations because this type of damage can spread globally and impact you in ways you didn't think could. Preparation and education are two of the best ways to avoid these pitfalls.

Ready Or Not, Here Comes The Penguin

Whether we like it or not, all things have to change. From the weather to your favorite sports team, we just hope the change is for the better. When it comes to technology, change comes more often than any other part of life. Look at almost any OS and you will see an update right on schedule about every two months or so. Though it may seem tedious, it is needed in order to ensure the best quality product for the user. We may not want to automatically embrace the change, but we soon get used to it after some time spent using the product. We finally give in to the fact that what used to be in one place is now in another, or possibly gone, replaced by another useful product.

When it comes to reputation management, change is expected. After all, its purpose is to change how your brand or company is viewed when searched online. As a business owner, it would be in your best interest to take on the change and master it. It can only be a benefit to you. Systems that don't change can become easy targets for hackers who can master the algorithm of how it is designed and from there make life miserable for everyone. The updating of a system also benefits you in a structured way. You might be breaking a rule by having a direct or indirect relationship with a site or link that delivers spam. When the system is updated, you are alerted of this and immediate action is taken to ensure you are no longer in contact with those malicious links who may have been contributing to your negative online reputation.

The biggest part of completing a change from the ordinary is getting your team on board with it. When your team can adapt easily to a change, it make your life easier and the company keeps flowing without missing a beat. When your team resists change or isn't able to quickly adapt to every function, business slows down. You are now faced with the task of not only getting everyone on board, but as a company, trying to make up for lost time and lost profit. The best way to avoid this situation is to prepare your team ahead of time. Tell them about the change. Offer any tutorial classes or workshops that can explain everything that needs to be known about the system change. When you're proactive when it comes to major changes like this, it can only benefit you, your team and, most importantly, your company. From there, you can continue to provide top notch customer service.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Centel Media Reviews First Impressions

Imagine working hard to build your brand from the ground up. Imagine the blood, sweat and tears, the sacrifices you've made to ensure that your work reaches the masses. But, in one instant your dream becomes a nightmare. Slander, false information and other negative reviews are what people come across when they Google you or your brand. This is sad, but it’s often a reality for any business big or small. No matter the size, the effect can do damage that can take years to correct.

When looking up a company, as a consumer, I want the most honest reviews and results that can be given so I can decide if its worth doing business with this company. Negative results won't deter me, as they are a part of business. You take the good with the bad, no one is perfect. However lots of times there can be an overwhelming amount of negative reviews that may seem too good to be true. Most of the time, a company has fallen victim to someone giving false reviews about their company. An action like this can't be ignored no matter how much money your company makes. We live in a global society and word can spread very fast. Before you know it, revenues from all over the world are dropping as result.

In a perfect world, you want to entirely avoid having this happen. But as it turns out, it’s very hard to control billions of people with access to the internet and time on their hands. What we can do in the meantime is use reputation management. Reputation management helps a company give a wonderful first impression when searched on Google, Yahoo or any other search engine. What you see is what you get, and as a business, you most certainly want your customers to see you in the most positive view possible. Along with favorable Google searches you will also have great exposure to the social network, which is just as important as anything else. In fact, one can argue that in today's society, a proper social network reputation can assure your brand’s success as it connects you all over the world. While false reviews and slander can never define your company, they can impact your market share and revenue. Most importantly, they can impact your relationships with customers, both current and new. It's imperative to make sure you are doing everything in your power to make sure we see the best that you have to offer as a business and you won't have a problem building a strong loyal customer fan-base.

All That Posts Is Not Gold

When we hit that post or send button, there is no taking it back; no do-overs or mulligans. It’s on its way to the legions of followers you have on your social network pages. Whether it was meant to be seen or not, it’s there for all the screenshots to be taken. Depending on the severity of it, it may even be on the front page of the next day's newspaper. The power of posts, tweets and the presence of social media never ceases to amaze. They have become the go to place for any news on a personal level and surprisingly, on a professional level as well.

As a business, your main goal, besides making profit, is to make your customers experience shopping with you a memorable one, so they keep coming back. Social media has done a great job of getting the customer as close to their favorite company without actually going inside the factory. Situations arise sometimes and it becomes hard to decide how much information to disclose to the public. It often gets the company in hot water, not just with its customers, but governing bodies who regulate and set rules for what information can be released. Businesses also have to deal with their employees using social media to post things about the company that was not meant to be disclosed just yet. It now puts the company in a position to have to enforce policies about the proper use of social media in regards to their company. Businesses also have to deal with their employees venting about their displeasure with work, or in some instances, about a customer who they feel stiffed them on a tip.

Proper use of social media is now more important than ever. You're no longer dealing with your own personal account when you are in charge of your company's account. Today, businesses must hold training classes on the dos and don'ts of dealing with social media on a corporate level. What social media can offer you in growth and exposure, it can also offer an unimaginable amount of negative press. Educating everyone from the CEO to the stock clerk on how to conduct themselves on social media can be the difference between a successful company and one that isn't. Someone is always watching looking to catch the slightest infraction, which could have been avoided if your company was properly trained on using social media.

Centel Media Faces Cyber Bullies

At one point in our academic lives, we have all come across a bully, whether it was grammar school, middle school or high school. You've tried your hardest to duck and dodge them but to no avail and you come to the conclusion that they will be a thorn in your side for the next few years. Over the years, bullying has become a huge topic for debate as the results of bullying have often been fatal in the last few years. Just when you thought the bullies from school have gone away, they have come back taking their place behind a computer screen with all intentions to bring you back to 8th grade chemistry class.

Cyber bullying, as we know, has become the new form of harassment. However, now it can be done from the comfort of ones home, where facing your victim is not needed, just a few typed words and the enter button on your keyboard. Social media has most certainly played a part in cyber bullying. There was a time when you would have to face a bully in school. Now, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, it's a non-stop, 24/7 ordeal. Cyber bullying has recently made its way onto the comment sections on any type of forum that allows for people to express their opinions.

People in positions of power often don't give those who make thoughtless comments the time of day for two reasons. Either they are too busy, or just don't care what anyone has to say, especially if it's non-constructive criticism. But everybody has their breaking point. They've had enough and will eventually respond back. Though it can get rough at times, you have to remember you're representing a brand. The moment you choose to respond back, especially in a negative light, you are diminishing your brand.

When you choose to respond back, you're no better than that person sitting behind a keyboard. You have brought yourself down to their level. So begins the senseless back and forth insults that doesn't result in any profit for your business, but in fact will have a negative impact--we see how easy it is to upset you and it becomes a game to see how far you can go. Words hold a lot of power and in some instances they can have such an impact it can destroy all of what you worked hard to build. When we keep that in mind, we make cyber bullies, trolls or whatever name we choose to call them victims of their own foolishness. You become a stronger person for not responding. Furthermore, your business prospers as well.

Remember to Keep Calm when Dealing with Negative Reviews

The most frustrating and irritating part of being a business owner is having to deal with negative reviews. It is understandable that you are going to be extremely upset at the negative reviews that you receive regarding your business, but keeping calm and taking a certain approach on how to deal with this issue will benefit you in the long run. The worst thing you could possibly do as a business owner is to respond to the negative reviews in anger without reflection. Responding in such a manner usually puts the business owner in a bigger hole that could have been avoided all together using the right approach. Recently, a Business 2 Community article addressed this issue and offered a five step approach on how to deal with this problem effectively.

1. Breathe.

No business owner takes a negative comment with appreciation and of course you should not either, but remember to take a step back and breathe before responding to the comment out of anger. Acting out of emotion will only make your situation worse because you are damaging your reputation. You want to approach this with taking some time to reflect on the comment made about your business, and construct a much more professional and effective response. Here at Centel Media™, we work towards pushing those negative reviews from the first few pages, and thus having more positive reviews regarding your business.

2. Take it Personally.

One might think that approaching a negative comment with a positive attitude is the best way to approach this issue, however Business 2 community says otherwise. The article states that a business owner should thoroughly evaluate those negative comments made about their business so that they could correct and improve their product and/or service that they are offering. If you intend to take this opportunity to improve your product/services you will make your company better and avoid having the same negative comments made about your business. Here at Centel Media™, we are about Management and Control. These negative comments that are not taken care of correctly could lead to customers going somewhere else because of the comments others have made about your business. Centel Media™ wants to give you the control over your own reputation and make the internet a much better and satisfying experience. 

3. Respond Politely. 

Being polite in all aspects and situations in life is extremely crucial, however it is even more so pertaining your business. The last thing you want to do it is provoke the person who made the negative comment about your business. Remember that this person has already shown that he/she is not afraid of expressing his/her opinion and responding to this comment in a negative and emotional way will only provoke him/her making the situation a lot worse.

4. Do Not Ignore.

Business 2 Community's article states that ignoring a negative comment is not a good idea by any means. Not responding to a nasty or borderline defamatory statement made about your business will only raise questions and attract unwanted attention. 

5. Do Not Use CAPS LOCK 

The last but not least approach that Business 2 Community emphasizes on is to not use caps lock when you are responding to a comment. Using caps lock is the equivalent of screaming in the internet world. As explained earlier, you want to appear calm and professional when you respond to a comment. Using caps lock is not way to impose these characteristics. Keeping your cool and not responding out of anger and emotion can not be emphasized enough. Responding politely is not at all easy when a negative comment is made about your business. The last thing you want to do is hurt your business by losing customers, remember to use this approach and avoid digging yourself in a bigger hole.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Love And The Web

Just when you thought employers were the only ones checking your online profile, in comes an unexpected guest--one who you never thought you would have to worry about yet. Potential suitors are now starting to really do research on who they are courting on dating websites. We have all heard the saying "watch what you do because you never know who is watching you" and that has never held more truth than it does in today's technologically advanced world. As it turns out those pictures from that weekend in Miami will not only hurt your chances of getting a job you really want but if you're engaging in online dating it could potentially cost you a relationship.

We tend to think what we do in life only affects us and should have no bearing on a future job and or relationship. In some instances this is very true. People, if given the chance to change mostly do, and their past can be swept under the rug. Unfortunately, when you include social networks as well Google and other search engines, your past can be dug up without your permission and sometimes be unfairly used against you.

We have to consider our online profiles a part of our brand. Its an extension of us that people won't see in person, but they can get an idea of who we are based on what they see when we are being checked out. The reason employers do background checks is to see how well you represent yourself when you are not in the office. They are looking to hire you and now you are not only a representative of your brand, but you are now a representative of your employer. Image is everything and one bad apple can cast a dark shadow over a company that it has to dig its way out.

What has been discovered is that the online dating community doesn't fully trust the profile that is created on the websites itself, so they take it a step further and begin to search social media profiles and do Google searches that dig even deeper into a persons authentic profile. While it may seem like its jumping the gun to go through all of that--and there's is no guarantee that you and your potential partner will ever date--it’s a sound strategy that that can help avoid any unwarranted situation. As it turns out, the place to let loose or participate in any illicit activity has no place on the internet if you are looking for love online or are hoping to score a job with a respectable corporation. Your actions are documented whether you like it or not and will always be accessible with a little typing and searching. While social networking is a chance to let loose and communicate always keep in mind there is always somebody watching you.

Centel Media Weighs the Good and Evil of Social Media

Much can be said about the influence of social media and its role in today's society. Some of it’s good and some of it’s bad, but there is no denying that it has firmly entrenched itself in all of our lives whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. As the years have progressed, the role of social media has expanded from simply connecting with your family and peers, to Fortune 500 companies throwing millions of dollars to networks like Facebook to advertise their product to the millions of users that visit each day. What this shows is that social media has now become, in some instances, a savior for businesses who begin to track how many hits their Twitter feed might get or how many likes their Facebook page has.

Businesses are taking a more active role in social media and are capitalizing on its ability to connect with fans from all across the world. Visit any website and you are bound to see a company promoting their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Not engaging in social media is too risky in today's fast moving world. Most major business can afford to hire their own social media team to make sure customers are getting constant updates, as well as any perks they might be offering (such as discounts for following on Facebook). Being able to connect with your fans is a great thing, but we can't forget that the main purpose of a business is to make money. Visibility through social media strengthens that.

Social media has unintentionally become a tool for spying on rival businesses. Businesses  are realizing that merely competing for market share or earnings will severely stunt their growth. They are now trying to out do each other based on how many likes their Facebook page gets. This has been used as a measuring stick for success. More is better. More likes means more hits to your website. This results in revenue increases because you gave customers an incentive to purchase something by offering them a discount for following you on Facebook or Twitter. It’s a domino effect on a larger scale and when competing businesses see that the revenue for their rival goes up with the help of social media--they quickly want a piece of the action. The world of business has changed right in front of us with the help of the consumer and our never ending desire to have access to all things we love 24 hours a day. The landscape has changed from 10 years ago when you would look to your daily paper for coupons. Today, we can simply have coupons sent to us via email from any social media site, and we are able to redeem the offer in the store right off of our phones.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Tools for Online Brand Management

Centel Media™ online Reputation Management has found a way to manage and decide what results will be shown first when entered into a search engine. Putting your Business online is a way of expanding from the normal brick and mortar stores that we have become accustomed to seeing, while having a website is a surefire way of increasing sales it can also be a feeding ground for rival competitors, hackers and the worst of all dissatisfied customers who will stop at nothing to continuously tear your brand down. When you search any company within the first few results you are more than likely to find a site or two that gives reviews positive and negative. Reviews are beneficial for both the consumer and the producer but in certain instances you get faulty reviews that can discourage a shopper from giving their business to that company because of what they have read online which may or may not be true. Even well-known established brands can be hurt by faulty reviews and it can severely hurt not only your sales but your image as well.

One must also take into consideration the global impact that can be felt from these actions, relationships with customers overseas can be damaged and you will most certainly see a revenue decrease on a global scale which is never a good thing. You put your business online to appeal to customers not only in your home country but abroad as well. Someone in Paris who may love the product you sell but may not ever get the chance to visit your flagship location, so online is the only way they would be able to give you their business. Losing any customer is never a good thing but in business it happens but you don't want to lose them from some false claim or malicious attack on your brand.

Living in the "Golden Age" of social media word can spread very fast and often times there is nothing you can do to stop the wheels once they are in motion. What Reputation Management has done is found a way to filter through all of the information that is provided about a website and provide the best results when it is looked up in search engines online. Centel Media™ has made it possible for only the best review sites to be included in searches so that customers are getting a non-biased, honest review of the company they are searching. You work hard to build and maintain your business and for it to be ran through the mud on false claims is a tough pill to swallow, but Reputation Management has stepped in to make that pill a lot less painful to take. Giving both you and your potential customer the best opportunity to form a relationship that will last many years.