For those of you who aren’t in the North West, you really missed a great conference on Monday. SEMpdx, Portland’s elite group of SEM professionals, hosted their annual conference, SearchFest. The conference was a one day, jammed packed affair that attracted national SEM celebrities such as keynote speaker Rand Fishkin, SEOmoz; Jeff Pruit, iCrossing; Stoney deGeyter, Pole Position; Marty Weintraub, aimClear; and Matt McGee, Marchex. Panels were held on topics such as Search in the Marketing Mix, Site Architecture, Usability, SEO & Analytics, B2B & SEM, Affiliate Marketing, Link & Search, Social Media, and Small Biz SEM. But my favorite panel was….
Yep, you guessed it – Online Reputation Management, the Dark Side of SMM. I was thrilled to see that the panel wasn’t just about ORM, but took a different angle by highlighting the dark side of engaging in SMM and how that can add a challenge to your reputation management.
Marty kicked off the session with a personal story about a blog post from May, which brought him 35,000 visitors in 2 days. But also brought him a flaming comment, and then a few more, saying his was kissing some butt in his posts. He said this threw him in to a rage and he posted rebuttals everywhere he could think of. He even used the F-bomb in a rebuttal. This just infuriated the naysayers and made them post even more and actually send him a death threat! He contacted the authorities and got them banned from StumbleUpon. Lessons learned: Don’t lose your cool, never respond while mad, fight fire with water not fire, don’t piss off the natives, avoid emotions in emotional social media, and don’t intentionally provoke.
Lisa Williams, of Media Forte Marketing, followed Marty with some great advice on how to handle the dark side: have a sense of humor, participate in the conversation, comment at the beginning – not the end, acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake, and most importantly understand that your reputation is a sum of many things, not just one event. The last point was worth it’s weight in gold.
Finally, my favorite PR expert and social media maven, Janet Johnson, of O’Johnson Partners. For those of you who don’t know Janet’s background, she’s one of the first to pay bloggers to post and then to be called pond scum, and then later to have that person who called her that offer to buy her a beer when in Portland. Janet’s lessons: build relationships before you need them, the blogosphere is self cleansing, have a plan in place before $*&^ hits the fan, develop thick skin, be honest and transparent, have a point of view, do your research, engage your detractors, and drive to closure.
Great presentations by all – thank you for sharing your experiences with us!