Friday, August 9, 2013

Pictures Are Worth More Than 1000 Words

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My Grandmother totes a small digital camera to graduations, birthdays, Christmas parties, and weddings. She attempts to capture every gift being opened, every smile on every face before the moment passes. Unfortunately, this endless family scrapbook has not yet been uploaded to a digital platform.

If these photos were uploaded to a social networking site such as Instagram or Facebook, the entire extended family could spend hours, even days, pouring over images, recollecting our past. Of course, this desire for pictures goes beyond my own family. Capturing our existence in photographs is of global interest.

The evidence is outstanding; photo uploads to the social networking site Facebook total 300 million per day. Those 300 million photos are uploaded and downloaded from around the world.  This is just the statistic of one social networking site. There are countless other online sources for photographs. These sites show the significance of visually engaging users, and what it can do for business ventures as well.

Numbers like these explain how important the use of images is to your business and your online reputation. With the help of images, you can quickly communicate with your viewers. In the blink of an eye, in a fast glance, a Facebook user can gather a wealth of knowledge about any particular subject.

A picture can summarize an entire article, it has the ability to add credibility or evidence to a claim, or it provides an opportunity to illustrate and highlight the capabilities of a brand or product.  In can also inspire a viewer, or intrigue them to investigate further into an article or the post attached to the image or thumbnail.

In the representation of brand reputation it must be taken into consideration that there are 300 million other photos, 300 million other first impressions being made each day, by competing brands. It is not just a matter of using images, not as simple as being a part of that trend, you must be competitive. Keep in mind that a viewer will only see your image for a few moments. It is necessary to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of your photo, and determine if it will stand out from the other 300 million, if it is a picture worth remembering, if it’s a picture worth more than 1000 words.

Reputation Rehab

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“Reputation rehab” is an expression used in Hollywood to describe an attempt to control the public perception of a misbehaving celebrity by sending them to a rehabilitation center for the PR value alone. These attempts at rehabilitation are typically short lived, and provide little substance for the celebrity to make lasting and real changes in their life.

Like a car accident with rubberneckers slowing down to look, a celebrity’s downfall usually becomes a public event, with everyone feeling entitled to know what's going on. Today, social media deepens the impact of a ruined reputation, netting countless onlookers and attackers.

Instead of using rehab as a publicity stunt, you can legitimately put your brand reputation itself into rehab. There are measures you can take to prevent damage to your online reputation, but, if it’s too late for prevention, here are the twelve steps to rehabilitating your reputation.

1. Acknowledge. As with all programs, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

2. Move quickly to assess the situation and damage. You cannot properly respond to a reputation crisis if you do not understand the depth of the issue.

3. Act as if, eventually, all truth will be known. You may have gotten away with certain actions or poor behaviors in the past, but do not continue to assume you will get away with them again.

4. Control your emotions. When your personal emotions begin to swell, you must conquer them and think strategically.

5. Keep your focus directed toward social media. You may be tempted to withdraw from social networks, but keep yourself and your brand involved.

6. Determine the correct message and medium of response. If a Tweet was the cause of controversy or upset, use Twitter as your first avenue of response.

7. Never make a public denial. Accept responsibility and present an acknowledged apology.

8. Be original. Each crisis is different, never copy the responses of others.

9. Use the opportunity to reset the moral compass of your brand. This is a perfect opportunity to restructure old ways of thinking in how you communicate with the public.

10. Redirect focus. Present your accomplishments, past and present, to the public.  

11.  Establish lasting, game-changing solutions. Develop strategies, or hire brand management companies to assist in future crisis’ and implement procedures for daily interactions on social networking sites.

12. Move forward. Don’t dwell in the past, otherwise the public's attention and your reputation will remain in the past as well.

Avoiding the Rumor Mill

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It is tempting to gossip in both our personal and professional lives. Around the water cooler at the office, the mirror in the ladies room, e-mail or Facebook, gossip happens everywhere. We've all received and repeated information that may be harmful to someone else's reputation. At times it may seem innocent or without consequence, but gossip can be dangerous to your appearance.

It is common to be the victim of rumors and gossip, yet even with first-hand experience of the discouraging, damaging result, we continue the cycle by spreading dirt ourselves. This come from our failure to  take the consequences into consideration. If we talk slanderous to one person, they may repeat the information to another, leading to a wildfire of gossip that will injure not only the person of topic, but your professionalism as well.

Spreading gossip is unquestionably poor business practice, even if shared in a private setting. Obviously, there is nothing private about social networking sites and online media, so relaying gossip in these arenas  can be even more damaging. The best action is to avoid spreading rumors in the first place. Don't gossip, especially about competitors or other brands, and don't slander someone else's name.

With all the destructive, classless mud-slinging we see in the media, particularly in the realm of politics, it can be difficult to prevent ourselves from following in their footsteps. There are too many role models in society that set poor examples for those trying to establish business models. It was common to grow up being told that "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." But, as adults, and as business conscious individuals, sometimes finding the "nice" words to say fall outside what's best for our interests.

In other words, gossip may seem like a necessary path to follow. Revealing a negative truth about someone else could look like a way to build your own reputation. But, in reality, this doesn't reflect how good of a worker or employer you are, it only reflects how that other individual isn't. Before you head down the road of selling out someone else's shortcomings, keep in mind that if you get your facts wrong, you will be the one who is hurt.

Instead of drawing attention to your competitors downfalls, focus on drawing attention to your own positive qualities. In time, the consumers or superiors will see, on their own, the margin between you and the poor quality of your competitors. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why It Might Be a Good Time to Change That Bad Press

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Celebrities, no matter if they're a film actor, reality television star, athlete or radio personality, are constantly in the public eye and subject to media conversation. Unfortunately, it seems the worse their behavior, the bigger the splash, and the longer the discussion continues. This has been true for decades, from the era of paper boys in flat caps to our present ability to instantly stream news on our mobile devices, more papers are sold when the news is negative.

 There is a saying that any publicity is good publicity. You may think this to be true if no one has ever heard of you or your brand, since your brand has no reputation to corrupt in the first place. The public cannot form an opinion of you, negative or positive, so fifteen minutes of fame may seem beneficial. However, it is never advisable to begin your public reputation on the wrong foot because a poor first impression can be long lasting. Eventually, after the turbulence settles, it's the reputation that ends up taking the hit, possibly tarnishing it forever.

If you're struggling with brand management and reputation, then you may want to listen to a few words of advice. First, you need to devise tactics that can battle against negative accusations or comments. A wrong way to handle these situations would be to become defensive and deny any wrongdoing because it comes off as unprofessional and immature. Instead, you should take on PR problems with a productive approach. Focus on what you or your brand has done right or positive goals you have for the future, because doing so will shift the story from any poor behavior to your accomplishments and aspirations.

So, even though it may seem that all press is good press, because getting your name in the papers may peak interest and traffic to websites or blogs, in the long run, it can affect your career, along with all those connected with you. The ripple effect will reach a large pool of individuals and corporations that have taken either a personal or professional interest in you. When met with difficult situations or events that can have a negative impact on your reputation, don't focus on the allegations or other negative accusations. Instead, redirect your focus to past or present accomplishments, positive qualities or future goals. Leave a fresh image of optimism in the mind of the public.

Your Reputation Beyond the School Yard

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Our reputations can change at many different points in our lives. Billy, for example, had a reputation of being a difficult child to birth, his mother bragged about his ability to walk at an early age, and eventually he had the reputation among the daycare staff as having the most terrible temperament of all the toddlers.

On the schoolyard Billy was a bully, verbally teasing the other kids. This was a point where he began to have control over his reputation through the words he spoke and his behavior towards others. A change in neighborhoods meant Billy could begin high school with a clean slate. With no one knowing that he was previously a bully, he could rebuild his reputation. Billy had several more opportunities to repair and manage his reputation, like when he started off college, began his career, and joined new communities, along with the times he gained new experiences, and built social and business contacts.

At other moments in time, we no longer have the ability to start over, to have that clean slate; our reputations follow us, they precede us, in good ways or bad. After Billy had been with his company for five years, he had an inappropriate outburst of anger in a confrontation with a co-worker. The situation resulted in Billy’s termination from the company, and unfortunately, when he applied for positions with other companies, tainted his reputation, all due to his own actions and behavior.

    In the earlier scenarios of Billy’s life, his reputation was beyond control. In the later examples, his reputation was corrupted and tarnished due to his own lack of reputation management. In our day-to-day lives, we often receive new opportunities to begin rebuilding our reputation. However, we don’t have this same luxury in online formats. Content can be published, including pictures, videos, or commentary focused on us that is permanent in many ways. Once it is published online, in many instances, it becomes impossible to remove or undo.

Your reputation is perpetuated by your own actions, those you have control over and those you don’t. Your reputation is also determined by both yourself and others. If you have a desire to succeed in your business or personal life, it is necessary to manage your reputation in all arenas. 

Your Virtual Happy Place

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"Close your eyes and go to your happy place." We've all heard this line so many times it has become cliche.  But, keeping that "happy place" in mind can help you approach web ventures from a different perspective. For you a "happy place" may be a large, open room with pale yellow walls and hardwood floors, fresh flowers and windows looking out over a lake, curtains floating in and out with the breeze, quiet, and restful. Or, maybe you prefer a plush leather chair in the corner of a crowded coffee house, jazz music playing, your legs curled under you, like a cat, nestled in with a newspaper.

In one paragraph I have created two very different and realistic virtual realities. Appealing to all the senses, utilizing color, size, shape, sound, feel, and visual surroundings. Much like these imagined places, your website or social mediapage is a virtual destination for all your viewers. Your first impression online can be captivating, uncomfortable, calming, or boring for your viewer. Depending on how you utilize tools such as website layout and design, photographs uploaded to Facebook, and videos streaming on YouTube, you can create an oasis or desert for the visitor.

In whatever online interests you have, the makeup of your virtual reality will be the difference in your audience's reaction. Aspects such as the options of background color is much like the paint on a wall, the layout of text and pictures are similar to the placement of furniture in your living room. These features are the rooms of your virtual home, and with the correct organizing and effort they can create a very satisfying place for your viewer.

Depending on the size of your virtual “home,” it may be necessary to hire a designer, a company or individual to give your website and your social networks the sprucing and customization that they need. It is a large task and an exhausting undertaking to design all the online content, and to do it effectively is another task altogether.

Without a welcoming and inviting space for your visitors, they will quickly become restless and frustrated at the lack of effort you put forth. A professional can assist you in creating a virtual space that your viewers will enjoy, and consequently a space they will spend more time in, visit often, and tell others about.

Gain Attention Through Twitter

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Twitter can be a great platform to make your voice heard, giving those who wish to be noticed a chance for their popularity to grow. If you're interested in gaining attention for your blog, career or any other reason, then you may want to listen to a few quick tips first. Many use Twitter casually, following celebrities, figures, family and friends just to stay connected with the world and what's going on in the now. And, believe it or not, making an account geared towards expanding your name should retain some of those casual elements if you truly want to gain followers. Just like in the real world, you need to build a network from the ground up, one that gives you more clout and a chance to be noticed by a larger number of people.

A casual Twitter user wants to remain in touch with people they care about, either ones they know personally or celebrities and figures they want to know more about. To be noticed on Twitter, you should first establish a similar platform, following people you know and want to know. Give your Twitter page an identity and character, so that when you do gain more followers, they see that you're invested and not some hollow figure without a purpose. After you maintain a solid base, it's time to think about what you can offer to Twitter that can gain you followers.

To begin establishing your name, you should come up with a goal for using Twitter. Do you want to tweet about a specific topic or do you want to use Twitter simply as a way to speak to the public under your own name? The way people react to your page will be determined by what your Twitter interests are, so make sure you choose something that you truly want to follow through with and can keep consistent. Now that you have your purpose, it's time to branch out and begin building your network.

To gain followers, you need to be active on your Twitter account and tweet regularly. Responding to other's tweets will get you seen by more people and spread your name further. Be a part of conversations in as many different places as possible using creative tweets that can attract people who agree with you or like your personality.

If you still need help gaining followers, check out Centel Media™ social media promotion service.