Businesses Should Fight Back Against Online Attacks

Social media and online reviews bring an incredible new level of accountability to the customer service equation. The internet enables consumers to reach out to companies and service providers in brand new ways, and I believe the transparency that exists because of these online tools is a great thing for commerce. However, there’s a difference between feedback and online attacks.

Companies that fail to deliver on their product and brand promises are quickly weeded out, and frankly, it’s keeping many business owners on their toes. However, sometimes these powerful tools are misused, and it’s important for both individuals and businesses to understand that one should not go on social media and bash a company without considering the consequences. A couple cases have been publicized recently.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter caught considerable heat recently for her online tantrum about Delta Airlines. If you haven’t heard the story, Coulter had her seat assignment changed and got very upset.  I guess sitting by the window or aisle or whatever is extremely important to her.  She felt wronged by Delta, yet before the airline could even make an apology to her, she started tweeting and tweeting and tweeting her disgust.  She wanted to really hurt the airline; instead, she ended up just making herself look petty and foolish.

Here’s the thing, we all make mistakes. In the grand scheme of life, Coulter’s seat change is a pretty minor thing, and most of us understand that businesses make mistakes. But Coulter went bonkers, and her acrimonious online attack didn’t fit the crime.  Delta, thankfully, did not roll over for her. The airline apologized for the mistake, gave her a refund for the change fee and then did something that I thought was really important. They scolded her.Read More

Social media policies in order after “covfefe” kerfuffle and Kathy Griffin photos

COVFEFE definitionWhen President Donald Trump tweets gibberish (“covfefe” anyone?) and comedienne Kathy Griffin loses her job over a photo depicting the same president beheaded, it makes me wonder if either has even heard of social media policies.

Before jumping to the corporate world, here are a few personal tips when it comes to communicating in modern times.

  1. Don’t drink and dial (or tweet or text or snap.) Goes without saying that impaired communication doesn’t go over well with your boss or your ex.
  2. Don’t argue via instant message. Whether its via Facebook messenger, What’sApp, text message or another form of instant messenger, it’s best not to fight or argue only using your thumbs. The nuance of language is lost, and you may permanently damage a relationship.
  3. Put a second set of eyes on social media posts. If you are tweeting for your company, care about your personal brand or have anything to lose on social media, don’t distribute anything even remotely controversial without having another human being look at it.  This is a must for corporate social media postings and anyone running their own business.  A costly mistake could be averted with a second set of eyes.

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3 Pieces of Advice From an Online Reputation Fixer

Originally published on PRDaily.com

For the past two years, I have been building a segment of my business around helping people with online problems.

Striving to get negative content removed from search on behalf of my clients has been, without question, one of the most interesting things I have done in my 25-year career in public relations.

I gained interest in the practice due to a number of factors. Part of it was directly related to hearing an increasing number of online horror stories, and the other part of it has to do with my sometimes overly righteous personality. I have strong opinions about what is fair and what is unfair in life, and the Internet can be incredibly unfair. It enables people to say almost anything they want. The door to the online world is wide open for crazy people, mean people and folks with an axe to grind.

As I develop my own reputation as something on an online reputation fixer, I have learned that a huge number of folks have issues with our digital world. The Internet plays a major role in how we are perceived, and many of the challenges facing PR professionals today have to do with online issues. Quickly and steadily, the two worlds are starting to collide.Read More

If I Were LeBron’s PR Guy…

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The winds of backlash are again brewing near the shores of Lake Erie as Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans await “The Decision” part two. Rumors are flying that basketball superstar LeBron James may part ways with the Miami Heat and play for Cleveland. The idea that the Akron native might return to Ohio is not outside the realm of possibility. Read More

Disruptive Technology Merits Disruptive PR

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One of the big stories of the summer is the rise of ridesharing services. You may have heard of the major players (companies Uber and Lyft) or seen one of the Lyft cars — distinguishably marked with a rather undistinguished-looking pink mustache.

For the uninitiated, ridesharing offers an alternative to traditional taxis. Read More

Should the U.S. have Google’s “Right to be Forgotten” too?

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Google last week unveiled a system which enables citizens of the European Union to ask the search engine to remove results from its listings. The move comes in response to a landmark E.U. court ruling which gave people there the “right to be forgotten.”Read More

Every Business Needs a Reputational Firewall

In 2006, 60 Minutes aired a story about a famous, yet secretive hedge fund billionaire who was embroiled in a stock-shorting lawsuit. While the story itself was interesting, one thing that struck me was that 60 Minutes didn’t have a photograph of the famous trader. The background was that he had purchased the rights to any photos taken of him and prevented his image from being published anywhere.Read More

Online Image Repair: From “Do Nothing” to “Black Ops”

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Managing negative internet content has become part of the marketing mix for many companies.  And if we judge by the frequency of ads on satellite radio for online reputation management firms, it might lead you to believe that we all have a problem that needs fixing.Read More

Seahawks Player a Quick Study in Crisis PR

Like millions of other football fans, I watched the NFC championship game when the Seattle Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl.  At the end of the game Seattle defensive back Richard Sherman was interviewed by Fox’s Erin Andrews, and he proceeded into an epic rant disguised as an interview.  The Seahawks had just advanced to the Super Bowl, but the only thing Sherman wanted to do was disparage 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree.  The vitriol spewing, wild-eyed Sherman appeared unhinged.  Take a look.Read More

What Does the Source Say?

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When I was in high school, I read All the President’s Men, by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein about the Watergate scandal.  Aside from being a fascinating read for a young guy who loved journalism, it was one of my first exposures to the concept of media sources and how they are treated by reporters and editors.  Read More