Internet Marketing - a Practical Approach
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Digital Marketing: a Practical Approach

CHAPTER 9 : SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

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9.1     INTRODUCTION

I would hope that by this stage of the book you are already used to looking up the various subject areas on my main site. However, for this chapter, its associated pages in tips, hints and advice and interesting articles are particularly interesting - though you will note a certain scepticism in my comments that I could not use in an academic text.

The following articles may be from 2009, but I wonder if things have changed much since then - Social Networking Generates Leads, Closes Sales for Marketers and Half of Americans Don't Use Twitter, MySpace, Facebook - which seem to present conflicting statistics. For example, according to these articles, 86% of marketers use Twitter - but only around 5% of online users access it. From this we might assume that plenty of 'tweets' are sent, but few received. For an excellent commentary on the state of social media [at the time of the article], take a look at Social Media Generates Hype; Fails to Deliver Marketing Punch. Furthermore, social media marketers are not totally sure about the effectiveness of their practices, see Social Media Best Practices.

Marketers don't know social media includes some interesting data - and views upon it. Whilst I agree that for SMM to be effective it must be engaged fully, the author has a SMM bias which suggests that the concept isn't working because the marketers aren't using it properly. Could it be that they are not using SMM because it isn't working for them?

On the subject of defining social media, search engine expert Danny Sullivan suggests that there are five variants and it appears I am not the only one who has trouble with a definition, see Defining Social Media.

Mini-stat - the reasons people use social networking. May 09 saw Facebook overtake MySpace in the US top 20 social networking sites, and at Christmas of the same year the social networking site was the most visited site in the US [well, maybe].

This article - Web 2.0 is about giving up some control - is worth reading if only for the quote :
'But it is classic IT-thinking. As if the tool was the be all and end all, and the only purpose of life was to discover the right one. As if it was the type of quill that Shakespeare chose that made him the writer that he was.'
Brilliant - it is not the medium that is most important, it is the message.

For further comment on the online application of Granovetter's concept, see The Strength Of Weak Ties and Search by Gord Hotchkiss - who also presents an interesting take on the way SM is evolving in The Paradox of Social Media: The More Social it Gets, The Less Social We Become .

In chapter 2, I raise the issue of what is the 'dream team' for website development. Well, this article - Eight Things You Need to Manage Social Media - includes a similar list for social media marketing [note that the first comment - at the bottom of the page - is mine] - Who Should Be on Your Social Media Team? treads a similar path. This article - Who should own your social media monitoring? - concentrates on the watching SM rather than participating, but I think the concept could be used for both. In more practical mode, take a look at the skills and experience necessary to do SM for the president of the United States, see Social Networks Manager Application. Related to who does the work, take a look at Social Media Overload: Enterprise Companies Average 178 Company-Owned Accounts.

In my sessions I always raise the issue of who will actually write the content for the organization's SMM - many SMM evangelists and supporters often conveniently forget that it is a time consuming process. And if it consumes time then it costs money [how many times have I read that 'Facebook is free'?]. Here's an article that addresses the issue - Let's Get Social The Difference A Company's Size Makes In Social Media - whilst my contention that social networking is not something you can leave to run itself is endorsed by the research in Twitter Users Want Businesses to Answer Them.

On a related subject is this one - Who should be responsible for social media - PR or marketing? My own view is that too often PR is divorced from marketing [in my own university they are taught in different faculties] and so is often seen as an independent aspect of business, and - wrongly - practiced outside of any marketing strategy. If PR is to take responsibilty for the organization's SMM - which I think it could - then it must align itself with other strategic marketing efforts. This article Why your social media strategy shouldn't be owned by a PR or ad agency takes up the same issue [make sure you read the comments at the end of the article]. Who Is the Rightful Owner of Social? takes up the same theme - but in this case, the email team is declared as the most suitable for handling SMM, and which department should own social media? considers the subject from a wider perspective.

Determining the ROI from SMM is difficult. This article - Does social media lead to better financial results for companies? - offers some analysis.

If you think SMM is for you, then consult this - Social Media Strategy Checklist - before you start. I think [hope] I address all of the issues raised in the chapter, but this list gets to the point in fewer words. This chart is from an interesting piece of research, but I have included it here as an example of potential objectives for SMM, whilst this quote sums up the ethos behind the concept.

Mini-stat - the alliance between retail and social media.

In the text I make the comment that hard data on the ROI for SMM was still lacking, and in each aspect of SMM in the chapter the 'decision time' considers the advantages of using that element - but I do not have a specific section on the overall ROI for SMM. Here's an article that goes some why to addressing that omission - Social media ROI: The best of British opinion.

It is becoming more and more the case that social media sites are a great source of market research data [so much so that maybe it should be part of this chapter rather than an aspect of chapter 2], this article from Facebook - What's on your mind? - gives you some idea of the data that can be gathered. Of course, in this instance, the data is used for advertising on Facebook.

I have included Twitter Study: Mainstream News Are Carbs, Blogs Are Protein For Your Marketing for a number of reasons. The first - obviously - is that it is of interest. The second is that it indicates the power of SM. For those who have read my thoughts on the subject [or been in one of my classes] will know that I am sceptical about this route to market being one that can be used by many organizations. Indeed, by their very nature, they are more suited to raising the profile of individuals. More specific, however, is the problem of becoming recognized as an 'expert' through blogging. It is not something that - even if you can achieve it - will not happen over night. My final reason for including it is the last paragraph: Marketers are already doing this. But it's nice to have academic confirmation of what we already know. If you know me, have been taught by me, or have read some academic papers are simply worthless in the real world you will know why I make this comment.

Survey: Facebook Is The Most Popular Site To Market On For Local Business Owners is included for a number of reasons. First is that the stats are interesting. Second is that I find the stats difficult to believe. Thirdly, if the stats are accurate about small businesses joining Facebook; (i) are they actively engaging with customers on the social networking site [are there any customers 'friending' or 'liking' it?], or (ii) have they just spent ten minutes in 'the creation of a profile on a social network' - the 'most popular' response in the survey. Ahh Alan, you sceptic, you might say. You could be right. But here is some advice for students on checking the validity of research. Look at the methodology of this survey. It was online. That means that - naturally - respondents might have a leaning - bias even - towards the Internet as a medium of marketing. What about some offline research - try walking round the estate on which I live on any given weekday and ask the various tradesmen there if they have a Facebook presence. I asked three who passed my house while I was washing my car [OK, not too scientific a sample, but hey ho]. The window cleaner, a guy collecting metal for recycling and a women posting flyers for her take-a-way didn't even have websites or email addresses, never mind a Facebook page.

Following on from the last paragraph Social Media's The Place To Go is another survey, the findings of which, I view with interest [I do not doubt the actual research, it is from one of the world's top research companies]. As with the previous research [above] the respondents were in America, so perhaps social media usage is different over there than over here in the UK? My main issue, however, is that we are interested in SM as a medium for marketing, not socialising. OK, I know SM can be used for marketing - but as I say in the book and on this web page, that is a limited application. Students - and organizations - should take care in analysing any data presented. For example, this report states that Social networks and blogs ... now account for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet - well yes, of course it would. I am surprised it is not higher. Why? Because a Facebook user might spend an hour 'chatting' to friends or reading about their activities, but it would take only a couple of minutes to by a book on Amazon or conduct any one of what we might refer to as 'marketing activities'. My final point is one which I have made repeatedly about the state of mind of SM users: When they go to Facebook they are looking to socialise. They are not in 'customer' mode and so are not [very] receptive to marketing messages. When they go to Amazon, on the other hand ... Similarly, that 70% of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12% more likely than the average adult Internet user is hardly suprising - heavy SM users are more likely to be 'into' the web and so be comfortable using it to make purchases online.

The gist of Shoppers Spurn Social, QR Codes is that if you are going online to buy something, you don't go to social media sites. Maybe I like this research because I agree with its findings? :-)

I've used What Do Facebook Users Expect from Brands? as an example, but there is a lot of research available which is saying much the same thing. I would suggest you take a while to examine these results. Of particular interest to me is that the [joint] top reason for joining Facebook is to receive discounts or promotions and yet the main reason for not 'liking' a company is don't want to be bombarded with messages or ads. Now that has got to be a tricky juggling act for a brand to get that right.

In the book I say that Internet marketing has [only] three key objectives, and too many students - and marketers - seem to concentrate on 'branding' and 'income generation', so I've included Social customer service: eight things to consider before you start as an example of how the third of my objectives can be applied in social media.

It wasn't really common enough to be included in the book, but group buying has become more popular since it was published - Getting Started with Group Buying is a good basic guide to the practice from a marketing perspective.

It is easy for someone in the UK who reads [mainly] about digital marketing practice in Europe and the USA to forget about SM in other parts of the world. Here's a reminder 15 interesting facts about international social media use.


9.2     CONSUMER GENERATED CONTENT

For more of my views on what CGC can include, take a look at my musing on the subject.

At the beginning of the chapter I mention 'citizen journalism' - though I say little because it is not an aspect of marketing. However, to give an indication of its impact on both society and the news media, here are two examples of how it can work well and its significant flaw.

on the internet, no body knows your a dog The title of this research says it all - Pre-Shop Customer Reviews Important to Online Customers, whilst this research suggests that customer reviews are favoured over marketing information, and the title of 72% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations is self-explanatory.

Mini-stat - online confidence.

The title of this article - Consumers Want to Interact With Companies on Social Media - gives away its subject. However, it also include results of research into the subject - but you should also take a look at the responses. This subject, perhaps like most aspects of e-marketing, is not cut and dried.

As all marketers [should] know, different segments of the population act differently towards product - and social media is no exception. The title of this article - Boomers More Traditional Online - Not into Blogs, Social Networking - says it all.

'The social feedback cycle is a conversational loop that connects the experience of the past customer with the thought process of the next one' read more in - Four Tips to Put the Social Feedback Cycle to Work.

go online *pg 298* False reviews in the hotel industry: When the book was published there were a number of stories in the UK's Times newspaper on this subject - sadly, the Times Online is no longer free to access, so I have removed the links. However, this is from my own experience - take a look at the following reviews for the Rio hotel in Athens. I do not know this hotel, I have never visited it - but the reviewers seem to be talking about two different places. What do you think? I took the review screenshot in the summer of 2008 - why not take a look to see if the same reviews are still listed now on Tripadvisor. Here's an example of what not to do. Belkin: a case study in social media sin which catches out a company trying generate positive online reviews.
However, you might want to give Yell staff 'wrote thousands of reviews' for own website some thought. How wrong do you think this practice is - after all, the reviews are all from 'real' people. But were all the reviews genuine?
latest update Here's some input from Tripadvisor, TripAdvisor's Scale Ensures More Trustworthy Reviews.

The opposite of trying to influence CGC - but equally disastrous - is just ignoring it. As an example of what can happen if an organization fails to respond to online criticisms, take a look at this story of how Sony BMG handled a blog from Mark Russinovich that revealed shortcomings in software placed on user's computers by Sony. Sony BMG's Costly Silence. Even worse, is this one where the 'good Samaritan' CGC writer is actually abused by a representative of the organization - Ryanair: "Lunatic bloggers can keep the blogosphere".

Not only is overt commenting a risky practice but in Europe under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations [2008] the practice is likely to be deemed an offence.

In the text I talk about the power held by e-fluencers - the online version of influencers. This article is on the same subject, though the term used to decribe such folks is Global Multipliers.

The title of How many bad reviews does it take to deter shoppers? gives away some of its content - but there is some other good stuff on customer reviews.

On page 299 I say: 'Overt comments made in response to criticism, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect - with the public reacting positively to companies that are honest and up-front with regard to their failings', this research - Retailer Follow Up On Negative Reviews Pays Off - supports my opinion.

In the book I call them 'e-fluencers', in this article they are 'advocates', but Tapping the Power of Brand Advocates offers some good ideas on how the online marketer can use them best. They're 'influencers' in Brands Should Aim At Social Influencers.

go online*pg 299* Duncan Watts' Is the Tipping Point Toast?

Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff suggests that UGC [CGC] participants can be divided into six groups.

Mini-stat - Note that this research refers only one one demographic, but apparently Moms Place Trust in Other Consumers.

This article - Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute - is from Jakob Nielsen, so it is supported by research. Basically it is about consumer generated content, and is a must read if you want to get to grips with the concept.

The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, conducted by Nielsen Consumer Research [no relation to Jacob] shows the influence of review content on the web.

Ever had bad service and wanted to get your own back somehow? Well, social media provides a platform - and if you make your complaint into a song then millions of people might see it on YouTube. See, and sing along with - United breaks guitars.

In the book - and in my classes - I make the point that for some organizations the best use of CGC [and - perhaps - all social media] is as a source of market research. If 1 in 5 Very Positive Product Reviews Come With Suggestions is to be believed, then CGC can actually provide solutions to problems you may, or may not, be aware of.

Using pretty basic software [available free online, or more complex that you have to pay for] you can track entries on blogs or other CGM websites for keywords, like your brand or product name. This means you can be proactive in reacting to criticisms. Is this an example? See unintentional bait and switch by Argos. [Note that I have also included this link in chapter 2 where we consider the issue as part of online market research].

Here's an article on an element of CGC that I missed out of the book. It revolves around so-called 'social media deal sites', where sellers [mainly retailers] post special deals for products and the users endorse - or otherwise - the deal. In this way those deals that consumers feel are the best rise to the top of the listings. See How To Use Social Deal Sites To Promote Sales.


9.3     SOCIAL NETWORKS AND ONLINE COMMUNITIES

Things move fast in the online environment. Early in this section [in the book] I profile MySpace, Bebo and Facebook as being the main players in UK social media. At the time of writing [the book] Bebo had around a third of the market - and yet April 2010 looks like being the beginning of the end for that company, see AOL plans to sell or shut down Bebo.

research snapshot*pg 301* For more on the RapLeaf survey, see The Social Media Gender Gap.

If you thought it is all teenagers, think again - Women Over 55 Take Facebook by Storm.

go online*pg 306* Cyberbashing: It's rather ironic that the article I had a link to has been removed by legal action because one of those organizations that it criticized didn't like the comments - and sadly, I can't find another. However, just so you get an idea of what I'm talking about, here's one that's not cyberbashing exactly, but it is a good example of bad practice from a from a small business - Online Reputation Management of Offline Marketing Blunders.

If you read the comments on this article - 25 brilliant examples of Facebook brand pages - you will see that I have raised the question of validity of this practice, but some organizations have made their Facebook pages into mini-websites.

For more on the way LEGO has used the web see this article - Five More Keys to Engaging the Customer to Produce Real Innovation: Lessons From LEGO.

mini case*pg 308* Pop goes social marketing: Note that at the time of writing the book, the website thisis50.com focussed on the rap star 50 Cent - however, the site has now taken on a more generic 'pop community' role. More recently, 50 Cent has been identified [exposed?] as a ghost tweeter on Twitter - read more about this social media practice in - When Stars Twitter, a Ghost May Be Lurking .

practical insight*pg 309* Students beware - on the Internet, there's no place to hide: Here are a couple of examples of inappropriate 'twitters' - Twitter Search: Not Your Friend If You Tweet Something Bad and Be careful what you post, whilst these articles shows that HR depts do research applicants online - Job Candidates Both Hurt and Helped by Social Networks, Online SocNets Change HR Recruiting Game, 1 in 5 Tech Firms Rejected a Job Applicant Because of Social Media.

This article - In Social Networks, All Friends Are Not Created Equal - focuses on students' use of social media, but it has a wider message for organizations that assume everyone wants a relationship with them [they don't, something I mention in chapter 8 - on page 255 - where I comment on CRM]. As a footnote to this - perhaps you should not try to hide online?.

go online*pg 310* Chris Winfield's guide and Glen Allsopp's 15 Fundamental Truths About Social Media Marketing.

go online*pg 310* The secret strategies behind many viral videos I actually put this in the wrong section of the book - take a look at the last paragraph 'viral marketing' [below].

For an indication of how a brand can be 'marketed' by the general public on social media sites take a look at this research - Are Young Adults Really Brand-Resistant?.

It has long been an issue in business that employees might move on - to a new job, or set up their own business - and 'poach' customers. June 2008 saw one of the first cases go to court where the poaching was done via the Internet - in this instance, Linkedin, see - Ex-employee must disclose online contacts, rules UK court.

Before you all go out and pour resources into marketing on social networks, perhaps you should take a look at the results of this survey - Are Women Really Ignoring Social Network Marketing?.

Having reached chapter 9, I will assume you appreciate my conviction that the textual content of any website or email is the key to meeting your online marketing objectives. Well, that goes for social media too. This article - Twitter Postings: Iterative Design - shows examples of how to best use your 140 characters in a marketing 'tweet'.

At the end of this section [in the book] I make the comment that successful SMM is a strategic decision and that SMM that helps organizations meet their marketing objectives are '... not only well researched, planned and instigated'. This article - Five Tips for Building an Online Community - endorses this. Take particular note of tip number 1. Unless you determine your objectives - and I mean, really determine them, not pay them lip service - anything else is a waste of time.

This chart shows how a small business can use social networking.


9.4     VIRTUAL WORLDS

Perhaps confirming the view of a member of the older generation [me], this article - Real Kids in Virtual Worlds - suggests that it is kids who are playing in virtual worlds.

Apparently, 2009 was a Boom Time in Second Life. I can't see the attraction, and marketing opportunities are limited, but it does seem popular with some folk.

It would seem that selling virtual goods in a virtual world can equal real money, see - Virtual Goods Mean Real Dollars.

A close relative - and perhaps successor - of virtual worlds is social gaming, here's an article on how marketers might use it [which is just about the same as I list in the book for virtual worlds], see Social Gaming Shows Potential.

Maybe this section would have been better called 'social gaming' - that aside, perhaps I pay the pastime little attention because it is just not for me. For an online marketer to do the same might be an error ... take a look at Almost 120 Million People Worldwide Are Social Game Players - that's a lot of people to ignore. And here is an example of how to use social gaming as a medium for marketing: Discover Walks In FarmVille's Winter Wonderland.


9.5     BLOGGING

Technorati's latest State of the Blogosphere.

Some good statistics and comments on blogging in this article - Blogging Has Come a Long Way, Baby. With regard to the comment that '... users will read a blog at least once per month ...' I suspect that many of these will access a blog comment as the result of the search, so they visit the blog not as a 'continuous diary' but as a source of information. This research - Bloggers Few in Number; Wield Disproportionate Influence - however, offers a different view. Take note of the comment 'Yet, relatively speaking, very few consumers read or write blogs'. It's a good point, and should be considered carefully before committing resources to a blog [ie check potential ROI]. The FTC's interest in 'disclosure by bloggers of compensation by marketers whose products or services they review' is a legal response to my Practical insight; 'socially unacceptable'.

mini case*pg 313* Read Jeff Jarvis' own account of his 'Dell hell' in the Guardian newspaper. And here's another example of how an ill-judged response to a - in this case well-meaning - blog can become a PR disaster - Ryanair freaks out at blogger, disses Wordpress, shoots foot.

practical insight*pg 315* Socially unacceptable: In the text I raise the issue of bloggers being paid to 'promote' products or brands - well the same applies to 'tweets', see UK Regulator To Crack Down On Celeb Tweets

and Ad watchdog bans Keith Chegwin Twitter plug.

mini case*pg 317* The Grocer's Blog no longer exists - replaced by Facebook & Twitter perhaps? Or maybe no one read it?

go online*pg 318* WOMMA no longer list 10 Principles - see instead the organization's Code of Ethics.


9.6     VIRAL MARKETING

At the beginning of this section I justify why the subject is covered in this chapter, Understanding That Viral Isn't Really Social Media takes a contrary stance - and I do not disagree with the writer's sentiments.

Also at the beginning at this section I mention that 'viral marketing' is an extension of 'word-of-mouth' marketing. Although this article - Graze: A model for network marketing success - focuses on the online aspect, it is a perfect example of word-of-mouth marketing. Don't forget, 'word-of-mouth' and 'word-of-mouth marketing' are different. In the latter, the marketer offers an inducement for the message to be passed on, whereas the former is dependant on the consumer telling other people without reward. Note also how the article's author calls the practice 'network marketing' - perhaps an attempt to use a title more in keeping with social media marketing?

It is too easy for both society and business to assume that the Internet has taken over the world [as it were]. However Word-of-mouth still largely an offline phenomenon suggests that some things still work better offline.

go online*pg 319* Get yourself a free copy of Unleashing the Idea Virus.

This article - Are Your Emails 'Shareworthy'? - lists why people might forward a message - and how e-marketers can encourage it.

So successful was the 'drumming gorilla' ad that Cadbury Schweppes' chief executive began his presentation of the company's results by dubbing 2007 'the year of the gorilla'. Here's the video.

practical insight*pg 320* here are the Ford Ka 'eviltwin' viral ads : WARNING : NOT FOR BIRD AND/OR CAT LOVERS. On the subject of 'fake' or 'sub-virals' here is an article on the subject from the Guardian Have you seen this? [note the date on this article - this stuff was around long before the likes of Facebook and Twitter] and a later one from the Wall Street Journal J.C. Penney Faults Fake Ad on YouTube.

mini case*pg 320* sorry - the websites with this story have all been taken down.

Happy meals go viral? 'At any one moment, there are 26,500 YouTube videos about McDonalds' says Jill McDonald, McDonald's chief marketing officer in the UK and Northern Europe in an interview with e-consultancy, July 2008. Read the interview in full.

mini case*pg 322* Dove's Evolution viral, and its parody.

Here's a good article on the subject of viral marketing from David Meerman Scott.

As I say on my own website where I link to this article: this could be the only one you need to read on this subject. I love both this article and the furore it causes amongst the folk commenting on it. My view? Did you really believe that the video that launched a new pop career [or whatever] was made by some girly on her mobile phone in her bedroom and then she put it on YouTube and millions of people just happened to see it? Yeah right - of course it was. Hello, welcome to social media marketing. The conclusion to this article says "You simply can't expect to post great videos on YouTube and have them go viral on their own, even if you think you have the best videos ever. These days, achieving true virality takes serious creativity, some luck, and a lot of hard work." See The Secret Strategies Behind Many 'Viral' Videos, make sure you also read the follow up: Dan Wants Another Word.
And if you thought that the Harlem Shake went viral naturally , think again - see You Didnít Make The Harlem Shake Go Viral - Corporations Did.

Don't forget there are also viral marketing sections on my own website in tips, hints and advice and interesting articles.


9.7     ONLINE PUBLIC RELATIONS AND REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

It is worth noting that some elements of this section have relevants links in other aspects of the chapter - in 'blogging', for example, there is the 'Dell Hell' case study.

David Meerman Scott has an excellent book called 'the New Rules of Marketing and PR' that is well worth reading - here is an abridged version. Take particular note of the 'old rules of press releases' which supports my argument that 'journalists were gatekeepers of PR'.

That PR is now picked up by consumers [as well as journalists], see - How Journalists Use Social Media) is addressed in this article - Direct-to-Consumer PR Reflects Power of DIY - which offers tips for creating successful direct-to-consumer PR.

This article - The Overlooked Strategy For Reputation Management - supports my views on the subject of PR control and being prepared for problems before they occur.

I make the point that organizations can 'manufacture' events which they can then publicize. This article - How To PiggyBack On Events (And Get Great PR) - follows the same tack.

In some countries it is a disclosure provision of publicly listed companies that they 'release' any and all information about the company and its operations. A decision - in July 2008 - by the US Securities and Exchange Commission to [under certain circumstances] accept website and blogs as meeting public disclosure requirements has increased the use of the Internet as the medium for press releases. Naturally, such releases will appear on a variety of websites - all of which will link to the corporate site.

Although on the face of it Have You Been The Target Of A Google Places Hit Job? is about SEO - I think it is a good case study on reputation management.

In the book I mention a restaurant tracking social media for mentions in blogs and the like. Well here's a real life example. Note also in my classes I make the suggestion of hotels routinely putting guests' names into a search engine before they arrive - and then offering a personalised service based on the SERP results [if the guest is listed, of course]. Can't see the idea working for budget accommodation, but what about the five star hotels - or B & Bs that don't have too many rooms to check guests for?
Do I need to add that this comment could be in chapter two where we consider using the web for primary market research?

mini case*pg 334* Telecoms company appoint a 'Twitter-monitor': This article in 'Business Week' - Comcast's Twitter Man - describes Comcast's 'twitter guy' as 'the most famous service manager in the US'. A similar post is held by Guy Stephens, tweeter for Carphone Warehouse - and here is his advice for running a corporate twitter - Confessions of a corporate tweeter.

When I was in retailing, we had a maxim that if you could turn around a complaint then you had a customer for life. Well, this article - How to turn negative online feedback into a business advantage - has an element of that within its message as well as some good tips.

mini case*pg 335* Managing away bad reputations on the SERPs: For a [probable] example of the practice, take a look at this page. Whilst this example uses organic SEO, you could address the same issue with advertising, see Beating back bad press with Google AdWords.

Here's some good data on methods used to minimize the impact of negative online comments.

Don't forget there are also online PR & reputation management sections on my own website in tips, hints and advice and interesting articles.


CHAPTER EXERCISE

Although the chapter's exercise includes mention of a 'dummy blog' - actually, there are two. The first is that of a patient and the second a surgeon. Note that these are fictitious, and the pages represent simply a snapshot of on-going blogs from which you can draw conclusions. For each, comment on how these blogs might be advantageous to the Foundation and how they might be potentially damaging. The blog of E.B. Marston an anaesthetist, and The blog of Oliver Wendell Jones, a spinal injuries patient


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