Search engine and social media damage control falls along the lines of social media optimization and online reputation management. And because of the fast world of statuses, updates, news feeds, shares, likes and tweets, one’s reputation isn’t built or destroyed largely on traditional media forms like newspaper, TVs, banners or streamers, and campaign posters anymore. Truth to be told, the new battlefield is the Internet – using blogs, forums, social networking and video sites as the weapons.
This is the reason why the timing and technique for a successful search and social media damage control is too definitive to be left in the hands of traditional PR strategists and campaigners. This where a web strategist or online reputation management specialist come into play.
Our case in point: the incident that happened on NAIA 3 involving Mon Tulfo, a popular Philippine media personality and Raymart Santiago, a local film and TV star and his wife, Claudine Barretto, a local celebrity last May 3. More about this misadventure on news:
So, what can do if you’re among the parties involved? What can you do if you’re the PR strategist working for these people? Read on.
As I mentioned earlier, the new battlefield is fought with blogs, forums, social networking and video sites as the weapons so I will not advise you to bring a knife to a gunfight. The battle is on the net so you will use the Internet and the very medium that help mold public opinion and influence trust about our subject(s):
There are a lot of blogs in the Philippines, and many of these blogs write about celebrities and public figures, but sadly, these popular public figures rarely take these blogs seriously. They don’t give enough credit to these blogs. Some simply shun blogs when they’re asked for an (email) interview saying that these are JUST online journals, these aren’t legitimate media, and these at worse are nothing but a nuisance. Yes, that stigma against blogs and bloggers exist. Is this hearsay? No, I worked in the mainstream arena, both in News and Entertainment.
Here’s one of the many Philippine Entertainment blogs that I think would fit our need:
The bad thing is that many public figures often ignore invites by these blogs for interviews. So the bloggers often rely on quotes and statements originally released to mainstream news websites. And that isn’t exactly a very good thing:
- Information isn’t first hand and non-first hand information isn’t good on most standards.
- There is no personalization of communication. These blogs have readers, and the people who read blogs are people who usually react to news, comment, share, like, post a status, upload a reaction video that all has the potential to go viral.
- Many bloggers are afraid to link to the original source (probably because of a misguided SEO principle) and with that follows of the loss of reader trust and editorial value in the story. Yes that is bad for the blog post perse, but it is also bad for the subjects of the blog post, particularly if the blogger’s source of facts isn’t all rooting for you.
- Reply to these bloggers. If they try to contact you via email, Facebook or Twitter, answer their question. How slow do you or your assistant type anyway?
- Provide concrete statements, pictures, documents – things that you would normally give your favorite TV or newspaper reporter to prove your point or support your claim. Don’t tell them to just grab the material from other sources, there’s nothing respectable in that.
- Share, like, tweet and spread these blog posts that talk about the issue, after you have shed light on the issue of course.
If you don’t know what a meme is, let’s have Wikipedia explain it for you:
A meme is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.
For online reputation management it figuratively equates to the mockery that people will make out of your mistake, name, character, and face etc if fail to clear and clean things up fast.
Memes are very popular, and Filipinos are becoming great with it. Check for example the DPWH Memes.
I haven’t seen a recreated meme out of this incident nor an original one (I think it’s still too early for something like that to come out naturally) but here are a few Graphic / Picture parodies as I’d like to call it:
So, what about them?
- Memes can influence how people perceive issues.
- Memes can influence how people perceive other people.
- Memes can influence how people formulate their opinions.
- Memes can dictate what, where, when and who is a FAIL and WIN, at least in the virtual world, think of how a kind of WIN Chuck Norris is. (Yes, there are FAIL – Negative memes and WIN – Positive memes)
- Modify existing and popular memes to protect your reputation and build up whatever idea and influence you push, think of 9gag.com
- Create original memes out of easy to remember images used by online media to represent the issue.
- Do basic Social Media optimization and SEO on these memes – Twitter, Facebook, G+, it’s pretty easy for the Philippine audience.
- Spread them on social media websites, and meme-based sites.
Videos are a great tool for explaining your side. News in a form of video may even have a greater impact and retention to its viewers as opposed to a written article. Let’s face it, not a lot of people like to read, but certainly a lot of people love to watch videos.
Why should this be a part of your search and social damage control technique?
- Videos spread like wildfire. They attract more likes, shares, tweets etc compared to long and boring blocks of texts and articles.
- Video sites, like YouTube rank easily in Search Engines. They are a powerhouse in terms of ranking in Google. They can be listed for the same set of keywords multiple times so dominating the SERPs is a lot easier with videos. More of this concept will be discussed in future articles.
- It’s a lot easier to make videos unique in the eyes of search engines and video websites. It’s a factor that is important for indexation and ranking. Again if you’re lost already, this is an expertise of an SEO professional.
- Grab and re-upload good TV news interviews where you clearly made your point and other side didn’t. (Yes it’s a bit cold and evil, but I don’t want to sugarcoat things so there it is.)
- Grab and re-upload every good video that could help you protect your reputation and affect social rendering on the issue.
- Rinse and repeat with varying Titles, Keywords, Tags, Meta Data etc.
- Make sure the videos are unique. There are many ways to achieve this and one way very easy way is to vary the length of the video before you upload it.
- Target sites that hosts video, yes there is YouTube, there is Facebook and others. Make sure that the video viewing permissions are set to public.
- Monitor comments on the video.
- Stay under the radar of these websites.
These are just SOME of the very basic techniques on how to do search and social media damage control. Is this all really necessary? That depends on the people involved. And yes, these very same simple tactics can be included in your online reputation management strategy. If you need any help on similar campaigns or other campaigns for that matter, hit me up on.
How about you? What are your thoughts on the well-celebrated national issue involving Mon Tulfo, Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto? Do you have social media damage control and online reputation management tips that you want to share? Below’s the comment box, built especially for you!