How Companies Make Money on Instagram

How companies can make money on InstagramWe often hear about celebrities getting paid big bucks to endorse products on Instagram. Reality television personality, model and entrepreneur Kylie Jenner purportedly earns $1 million per sponsored post.  She has 124 million followers.  According to the Instagram Rich List compiled by Hopper HQ, others who are said to be cashing-in include singer Selena Gomez ($800k per post), soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo ($750k per), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ($650k per) and a whole slew of entertainers, sports figures and Kardashian family members making six figures. Note: I’m not certain that stars like Selena Gomez, for example, are actually getting monster checks per single post. A quick peak at her Instagram feed shows several sponsored posts for handbag company Coach – for which she has a widely reported $10 million promotion and design gig. Is part of her deal a number of Instagram posts per year, for example?  Regardless, when you have more than 100 million followers who value your endorsement, it equates to tremendous reach, even if the figures might be inflated.

While this is fun from an entertainment-news-brain-candy perspective, it’s not necessarily useful information for companies which don’t have million-dollar marketing budgets.  The typical small business isn’t paying a celeb like The Rock to rep their product.  So how should you use Instagram for your business?Read More

Top Online Reputation Trends for 2019

David PR Group Online Reputation Trends for 2019After a year that saw a slew of epic social media fails, like an Elon Musk tweet leading to a set of $20 million fines and numerous folks losing jobs over offensive posts, I can say with certainty that 2019 will offer a new batch of colorful online problems. Some of the old pitfalls remain, but there’s also hope as we learn to better manage our online lives – and hopefully be less judgmental of others. Here are five key online reputation trends for 2019.

Your job is watching you, but mainly if you screw up

While most employers truly don’t care what you do in your off hours, what you say on personal social media accounts can still get you in hot water and even fired. For example, last month Green Bay Packers Associate Head Coach Winston Moss posted on Twitter that the team needs to hold star quarterback Aaron Rodgers accountable for the team’s poor play. Moss was quickly fired. Lesson: Don’t publicly bash your organization’s most high-profile employee. Sure, we have freedom of speech in America, but you don’t get to say whatever you want with impunity. I’m not an employment lawyer so I can’t get into the finer points of what constitutes a legally fire-able offense, but I know that in some states an employer doesn’t need a reason to terminate you. My advice is that it’s best to keep controversial opinions to yourself, and don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t be comfortable saying in your company break room among all of your co-workers.Read More

No Reputation is a Bad Reputation

no reputation is a bad reputation David PRSome businesses do well operating “under the radar.”  During my career I have met many executives who have purposely kept a low profile, avoiding publicity as they focus intently on their business and their market.  The strategy sometimes makes sense when companies face large logistical and operational challenges that supersede public relations and marketing.  Some executives also shy away from PR because they don’t want to draw the attention of potential competitors.

My experience is that this only works up to a point.

In recent weeks, I have encountered several companies that are facing significant online issues.  One is a a great company that took flying beneath the radar to new extremes.  The company has thousands of employees and multiple offices, appears to be very successful and yet has almost no online presence.Read More

Holiday Party Season Dangerous For Your Online Reputation

One should always be careful during holiday party season, when alcohol typically flows and bad decisions often follow. Whether it is office-sponsored or just a gathering among friends and neighbors, this year presents greater risks than holiday seasons past for your online reputation.

Holiday Party Season Dangerous For Your Online Reputation

Cameras, cameras everywhere

Every year, it becomes easier for holiday party misdeeds to be captured digitally. According to Pew Research Center, more than three quarters (77%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone. That means that three out of four folks at your party have a camera in close proximity – and many are not afraid to use it. For the younger crowd, smartphones are even more prevalent, as 92% of 18- to 29-year-olds have one. So when you are thinking about having that extra glass of wine, imagine that nearly every adult under the age of 30 can take your photo in an instant. Be on your best behavior, don’t order a round of shots and don’t complain, even if you think the food is lousy or the ambiance is lacking or lame.Primarily, you don’t want to start a ruckus that gets posted online.Read More

First Amendment and Social Media Don’t Mix

First Amendment and Social Media Don't MixWe feel it in our bones.  Free speech is a cornerstone of our democracy, and the First Amendment guides many of our core beliefs.  It shapes how we think as Americans and how we view ourselves compared to the rest of the world.  But guess what?  The First Amendment and social media don’t mix.

Yes, you can say practically anything online, often without legal consequence, but the First Amendment won’t protect you from losing your job, your livelihood or your reputation – and sometimes you lose all three.

Earlier this week, Hayley Geftman-Gold, a vice president and attorney for CBS, wrote on her Facebook page that she was not sympathetic to victims of the Las Vegas shooting because, she claimed, most country music fans are Republican.  She was quickly fired.

Geftman-Gold wrote: “If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

Nothing illegal about her comments.  Her argument is insensitive and idiotic but well within her right to free expression as an American.  Yet even a law license and a thorough understanding of the First Amendment didn’t help her keep her job.

Last year, United Airlines Pilot Michael Folk was suspended after tweeting that Hillary Clinton should be hanged for treason.  Folk, who also serves in the West Virginia House of Delegates, let his political leanings, and some despicable word choices, directly impact his income.  Again, he has every right to say it, but his employer didn’t, and shouldn’t, allow it.

Also last year, a Miami man went on an epic rant about the election in a local coffee shop.  His disparaging words were captured on video and posted online, turning him into a viral sensation.  The self-employed man lost clients almost immediately and is still rebuilding his tattered reputation. Did he say stuff that was offensive?  Yes.  Illegal or slanderous or defamatory?  No.  Yet severe punishment was meted out by the marketplace.Read More

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

How to Manage an Online Catastrophe

online catastrophe david PRThe most well-known online reputation problems typically fall into a category that I refer to as “catastrophic.”  Many people make online mistakes each day, but only a few online errors will spiral out of control, go viral and end-up causing economic damage or personal misfortune. An online catastrophe gets widely shared, makes the news and has people talking — sometimes laughing.

We have seen many examples:

  • An executive writes an inappropriate tweet and loses her job.
  • A public company CFO accidentally leaks insider information on his Twitter account – drawing attention from investors and regulators alike.
  • A pilot suggests one of the presidential candidates should be executed – drawing a suspension and forcing the airline to explain why the guy belongs on the payroll.
  • A professional athlete publishes a picture of his junk on social media (too many to mention.)

In these worst-case scenarios, a social media post gets shared, catches the eye of mainstream media outlets and then ends up everywhere.  They are the most difficult to manage.Read More

Cybersecurity, Human Error and Online Reputation

Moonlight wins best pictureHuman error took center stage this week in the world of crisis and reputation management.  By now we all know that accounting and consulting firm PwC, the firm hired to tabulate and manage the results of the Academy Awards, gave the wrong envelope to actor Warren Beatty, who was responsible for reading the winner of the Best Picture Oscar.  The accountant in charge was distracted during the process (allegedly tweeting) and Beatty and Faye Dunaway read the wrong winner – and then chaos ensued.  The incident made worldwide headlines and PwC took a tremendous reputational hit.  Human error, compounded by distraction, was the primary cause.  (In case you haven’t heard, PwC partner Brian Cullinan was taken off the Academy Awards assignment, and the account is under review by the Academy.)

The other day, I attended a seminar at another accounting and consulting firm called MBAF in Miami.  They hosted a great event where a number of experts discussed current trends in cyber crime.  Interestingly, one of the main themes was human error.  We know that cyber criminals target organizations with hacking efforts and denial of service attacks, and in some cases companies get infiltrated as the bad guys find ways around firewalls and cyber-defenses.Read More

9 Business Books Recommended as Last-Minute Gifts

9 business books as last minute giftsSince writing my book How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online, I have met many interesting authors and interviewed a number of them for my blog.  Here are nine books I can wholeheartedly recommend as last-minute gifts.  All are available on Amazon.com and can be shipped in time for the holidays if you, as they say, act now.

In alphabetical order:Read More

Fake News Can Damage Your Corporate Reputation

fake news hillary adops alien babyFake news just got real.

Last weekend, a North Carolina man named Edgar Welch drove to Washington, D.C., with the belief that an area pizzeria was the center of a “Hillary Clinton-sponsored child sex ring.” If you think it sounds crazy and fantastical that the former Secretary of State would be involved in such a thing, then you are like most people who have figured out the difference between real and fake news. Unfortunately, Welch read the fake story online, thought the tale was true and then decided to “go superhero” and try to bust-up the ring himself. Armed with an assault rifle, he entered the pizza joint and even fired his weapon. Scary stuff.

Fake news is nothing new. Most of us can quickly tell the difference between bona fide news coverage and information that is blatantly false. We also understand the concept of tabloid journalism and how some publications like the Weekly World News and the National Enquirer offer sensational stories with the hopes of drawing readers who will patronize their advertisers.

In recent years, fake news has gained a toehold on the internet, and most of us either ignore it or view it as annoying or maybe even amusing. Fake news was amplified during the presidential campaign, and some even believe that such stories impacted how people voted and even turned the presidential election.Read More