On this episode of Internet Marketing Insights, Matt Brandenburg of PopClickle joins me for a discussion about online reputation management and online reviews.

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DAVID: Hello, and welcome to Internet Marketing Insights. Each week on the program we choose a theme related to internet marketing, bring you different guests to speak about and understand those themes. This week on our show, online reputation management. My guest this afternoon is Matt Brandenburg of PopClickle. Matt, introduce yourself; tell us a little bit about yourself.

MATT: Well, David, thank you very much for having me on; I really appreciate it. My name is Matt Brandenburg; I’m the founder of PopClickle, an online reputation management tool which kind of thinks a little bit outside the box in the sense where it’s a proactive system. I’m an SEO guy by trait; I’ve done that the last several years and so it’s kind of a natural progression where I find myself in the reputation realm of the internet world.

DAVID: Thanks Matt. And I’m your host David McBee of DavidMcBee.com. I have been helping business owners with their internet marketing for several years, and I write the blog “Let’s Translate: Making Sense out of Internet Gobbledygook” where I do my best to simplify internet concepts for anyone to understand, very much like we do here on the IMI podcast.

So let’s go ahead and get started. As we do on each one of our shows I want to start out by defining what we’re talking about when we use the terminology online reputation management, because while that sounds pretty self explanatory there are actually a few kinds of ORM, as we may refer to it here on the call. And we’re going to talk about all of them today.

And they include A: generating and responding to your online reviews. B: moving negative content to page 2 of Google or beyond page 2 – maybe page 10 would be better. And C: dealing with your business’s social reputation. So let’s start by discussing online reviews, because that’s your specialty Matt at PopClickle, so I’m going to open it up to you. Tell us why you feel so strongly about helping businesses with their online reviews.

MATT: Well, it’s one of those factors. Here’s the reality. There’s a lot of businesses out there that are doing tremendous work. They have – when people come into their store everyone leaves happy and people really think highly of certain stores. However, the internet, as both you and I are aware of, it thrives on negativity. And because it thrives on negativity people like to just sit there and hate on everything. And unfortunately a lot of these sites that are actually aggregating a lot of these reviews really like those really hurtful, bad reviews and let those stick.

So I always feel – I kind of feel like a superhero in a sense; where there’s an injustice out there and we must right the wrongs of negative reviews that aren’t actually really true. There’s a lot of cases where they’re just really erroneous and someone was just grumpy. And what’s funny is you follow – you’ve probably done this Dave. If you go and look and someone’s left a negative review and you go through this trail of hate that’s usually attached to it, you’ll find that just everything they write is negative. Everything! So it’s not indicative of how the business is, you just have somebody’s who’s had a bad experience or who is gonna have a bad experience no matter what.

So that’s really how PopClickle came to be. I had some businesses that I worked with that had a horrible online reputation, I mean, horrible. And I knew the business owners; I knew their heart. I actually saw them interact with their customers and their online reputation was not at all matching up with how they were as a business. And did research on the people who had been leaving the reviews and it was either competition, ex-wives or ex-girlfriends, ex-employees, and those reviews were sticking whereas the positive ones were going away.

So you know, I really thought long and hard about it and as I was thinking was like “How can we get it so that we can get more reviews out there and they can put people that really do have a positive experience, their reviews get seen and are really kind of able to bury those negative reviews.” And it really all kind of came down to how we are as a society anymore and it’s make it as easy as possible. If we put any roadblocks at all for somebody to actually leave a review, well, we’re actually kind of shooting ourselves in the foot.

So we wanted to make sure that we could develop a system where you put everything in front of them, give every person who’s ever been in your business as much ammunition as possible to leave a review, good, bad or indifferent, but preferably we want good reviews. So that’s really how we started the system and how we developed it.

DAVID: Alright, cool. Well, before we talk about PopClickle’s solution – I definitely want to get into that – let me ask you a question. Do you feel like – and I’m a little biased here, I’ve got my own opinion about it – but do you ever feel that people are a little meaner online just because of the anonymity of internet? Like, I would never say this to the business owner’s face but because I can just go on here and type it up I can say anything I want. Do you find that to be the case?

MATT: Well, I live in Seattle, Washington and Seattle, Washington is, as I like to call it, the passive/aggressive capitol of the world. You could go and be at a restaurant and someone’ll come up to you and go – and I remember this because when I was going through college and stuff I waited tables up here – and I remember going to tables and going, “How was everything this evening?” And we’d be a pretty nice restaurant, you know, like fine dining, and they’d be like, “Oh, it’s lovely.”

And then the next thing you know, they would fill out a comment card because this was pre-reviews online, and they would just go and write a scathing review about the food, and in Seattle it’s actually like, I work with people all over the US and I don’t know why it’s like this in the Northwest in particular, but not only are they brave, they’re venomous and they’ll say these hurtful things. And if you – they won’t to your face though. They’re very brave behind that keyboard. And I don’t know if it’s the weather or what but I agree with you; people are very brave behind a keyboard. They are not brave when it comes to human interaction anymore.

DAVID: And how often do people feel inspired to go and write a great review? You know, it’s like, “The food was awesome, we had a great time, the service was good.” But people just expect that to be the case so they don’t take the time to write that up. But when you screw up, boy, they’re just in a hurry to tell the world about it; don’t you agree?

MATT: Oh, definitely. And it’s funny, you start seeing little things across the United States, and I don’t know what it is but if there’s sun, people are friendlier and you’re gonna have happier reviews. The moment you’re in a place where it gets a little bit drearier than every place else, it tends to be a little more negativity that shoots out there. But you’re right; when people have a good experience, who do they really tell? When they do tell it’s fantastic but more people are inclined to talk about negativity and a bad experience than anything else. I mean, I remember back in the restaurant days when I worked in restaurants where the common saying was “If somebody has a bad experience they’re gonna tell twenty people; if somebody has a positive experience they might tell a friend or two.”

DAVID: I think that absolutely translates today, don’t you?

MATT: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely do.

DAVID: But that is so the internet. You’re gonna get one positive review for every twenty negative reviews. That’s why there’s so many businesses out there sitting with three or four negative reviews and nothing positive at all.

MATT: Absolutely. Absolutely, and it’s really unfortunate.

DAVID: Okay, so we’ve established that there’s an imbalance between negative and positive and how aggressive people can be with the anonymity of the internet. But is it even important? Does it matter if you even have a couple of negative reviews online? Do people see them; do they even care? What do you think about that?

MATT: Well, the reality is you’re not going to make everybody happy and that’s where you have to be a bit of a realist. You’re not going to make everybody happy. But your online reviews are really important and they’re becoming more and more important as you and I both know, and probably everybody listening knows, when it comes to Google and other search engines. They look at reviews and they’re really trying to gauge things and they’re kind of checking the barometer there.

So yeah, the negative reviews, you’re going to get a few here and there and sometimes they’re justified. I kind of think a little bit outside the box with that stuff because here’s the way I look at it David; if a business does get a negative review and it’s valid, that’s a great training tool for that business to become a better operating establishment, so it’s a good training tool. It’s like a lot of businesses will use different services to record phone calls and they’ll use that for training purposes; you can kind of look at that in the same light as online reviews, where you look at them as training purposes. And you know, you try to right the wrongs as much as you possibly can but there’s some people that you’re just not gonna make happy. And that’s the reality of it.

DAVID: Alright, so I kind of set you up with that question about whether reviews actually matter; I’ve got a little statistic I’d like to insert here. This is from a recent survey performed by – I know – a recent survey performed by Kohn, a brand marketing agency. They had some results show that 80% of people interviewed have changed their purchase decision based on a bad review they’ve read. That’s up from 68% back in 2010.

MATT: Isn’t that amazing?

DAVID: Eight out of ten people might change their mind if they read a bad review.

MATT: That’s amazing. And I figure we’ll see that going higher and higher. I remember five or six years ago when the reviews really started coming out there there were statistics that were saying as high as 86% of reviews were erroneous. And it’s interesting how that percentage has changed dramatically; there are a lot of reviews out there. Unfortunately you see a lot more disgruntled people as well.

DAVID: Well, personally, I mean, I do some shopping on Amazon; I admit it. My wife does more. But we always, always, always look at the reviews. But I feel like I’m getting to a point now where we can tell if a review is faked or not. It doesn’t have the specifics in it or the – I don’t know. There’s just something about a fake review that, you read it and you’re like, “God, it just seems like somebody made that up just to improve the number of stars that they’re getting.” So, we’re gonna put that out there right now, we don’t encourage fake reviews. Right? We agree with each other on that?

MATT: Absolutely.

DAVID: What about purchase reviews?

MATT: Faking purchase reviews?

DAVID: Yeah, I mean, you can get on Fiver.com right now and get a bunch of people to write reviews on your website. This is not an advertisement for Fiver, by the way. But what do you think of those?

MATT: No, I like the real, legit stuff. I think as an industry, people who are trying to cheat the system – especially with reviews – it’s hurting all of us. It really is. I mean, I’m aware of a few outfits out there where that’s one of their tactics. They’ll sit there and they’ll create a ton of different accounts and they’ll write a bunch of reviews.

Well, you’ll check the different reviews and it’s just so ironic because every client that they work with, five star reviews, five star reviews, five star reviews, and it’s so obviously fake that, you know, people are catching on to it and it’s making life difficult for everyone, most of all the person who is looking to actually research those actual services. We’re basically manipulating what’s a good business and what’s not, and that’s not okay.

DAVID: Not at all. And here’s another thing before anybody considers going out and buying reviews. You hire, you know, Stephanie77 to write a good review for your business and she writes this fantastic review about how great you did and what good service you offered, and then you go into Stephanie77’s profile and she just happened to have written ten other positive reviews for ten other businesses that, oh, by the way, happen to be all over the freaking’ country, so she’s either a world traveler or she works for Fiver. And if we can find that – if we can look at that and find that those are fake reviews, certainly Google’s algorithms are going to pick up on that as well.

MATT: Absolutely, absolutely. And there’s software that’s out there now too David, that will just automatically generate reviews and spit them out there, and a great man once told me, “If a computer can fix it, Google can probably find it.”

DAVID: Oh, that’s pretty good.

MATT: You gave me that advice. You’re the one that told me that.

DAVID: You’re quoting me on my own podcast; that’s pretty nice of you! Okay, I have to tell you a quick story before we go on to responding reviews and generating new ones, I have to tell you a quick story about a guy I met. You know, a local business, I won’t say where or when; I don’t want to give this guy away. But whenever he went out to eat he would offer his waiter or waitress an additional ten dollars on top of their tip if he could borrow their smart phone for ten minutes. Can you guess what he did with that smart phone while he had it?

MATT: He’s the smartest man ever!

DAVID: You see where this is going?

MATT: Good for them!

DAVID: Well, for those listeners who haven’t quite connected the dots, do you wanna tell them what he did in those ten minutes?

MATT: Yeah; he went and logged on to one of the different review sites and left a review on behalf of said waiter or waitress.

DAVID: Quite brilliant; I am not suggesting it but I just could not do a podcast about ORM and not tell that story. It was just too evilly brilliant. Evil! He was a bald guy and he stuck his pinkie to the tip of his mouth as he spoke.


DAVID: So besides the PopClickle system, what do you tell businesses about generating new reviews and what to do about it?

MATT: Well, they need to be proactive and ask for it, like anything else. If you’re a salesperson you have to ask for the sale. If you’re a business that needs reviews, you need to ask for the reviews. Especially if somebody’s had a great experience and they keep ranting and raving about how great the food was or how great the contractor was who came in and replaced the pipes in your house, you the business owner need to do the follow up.

And anyway, from a business owner’s standpoint, being proactive about it is just a good way to run your business. Then you’re kind of doing your checks and balances on your employees to make sure they are creating a good experience for your customers. Because getting a customer is hard, but you have to ask for them. If you ask for those reviews, you’ll be surprised at how many people actually leave them.

DAVID: Alright, so let’s talk about the negative online reviews that are up there now. Let’s say I’m a business owner and I’ve been – I’ve got this negative review, I’ve had it for a year. I’ve never responded to it; I don’t know what to do with it. We’ll get to the idea of moving it to page two but for now, respond to it? Yes or no?

MATT: Well, there are two schools of thought, and I’m going to go with one school of thought and then I’ll kind of elaborate on my opinion of it. And the one school of thought that I’ve always heard, initially when this first came out, and it’s kind of a logical one. It was, ignore it. It’ll go away. And here’s why I thought initially that was a pretty logical standpoint. If you don’t ignore it and you do acknowledge it, you’re basically feeding fresh content on a regular basis. So basically Google and everything else, they’re looking at this and how we’re acknowledging this one particular comment. So that was an initial school of thought a few years ago.

My school of thought now is that you as a business owner have to reply to it. There’s too many eyeballs out there, there’s too many passive users of everything that are just looking and inundated with all this information. If you, as a business owner, go and acknowledge every review that’s out there, that’s good, bad or indifferent; you’re actually helping out your business as a whole. It’s showing that, A: you care, and B: you’re socially aware of what’s going on in the digital world.

Now, can you reply to every single review out there? It depends on the size of the business. But if you look at a lot of the reviews that are out there for a small local business, most businesses can actually reply to good or bad reviews. So I think it’s important that you reply to them, especially if they’re negative, because that way you can actually see the full on back and forth.

If somebody’s had a bad experience and they’re just being grouchy, well, as a business owner you can reply to it and say, “Hey, what can I do to make this better?” And if that person decides to A: not respond, or B: get a little bit more catty in the correspondence, then people are going to look at that and say, “Oh, this person’s just being a pill.” And you really kind of get rid of that review and not give it much credibility. I mean, what are your thoughts on it David?

DAVID: I’m exactly of the same school of thought. The SEO guy in me says ignore it, because you just don’t want to give it any more juice. But I think that Google is playing the review card harder and harder than ever before, so you’ve got to bury them or respond to them. So I recommend that businesses respond to them. But, I also really want to hold their hand in that response because they’re emotional about it.

If they see a negative review from a client who is mad because they made them pay. “I made the guy pay for the services I gave him; he wasn’t happy because he expected something other than what I offered or whatever it might be, and it’s not a justified negative review so why should I respond to him? He’s a jerk!” And that’s perfectly fair. Your client could be being a jerk. But what I tell folks is, that doesn’t matter. If I’m looking to hire you – and I look at reviews. I’m one of those 83% who will make a decision based on a review, then I need to see something there more than those negative reviews. I either need to see more positive reviews, which we’ll touch on, or I need to see you trying to make things right. Even if you can’t, your effort to make things right will inspire me to give you a chance.

Let’s say it’s a painter and he painted my house. Actually, I’m going to be the painter. I painted the guys house, I did a great job and then it’s four years later and it’s starting to fade, or it’s coming off the concrete at the bottom or whatever. That happens with houses. And he gets online and writes this negative review. You know what I’m going to do? I’m gonna get online, I’m gonna respond to the review, and I’m gonna offer to come fix it. I’m going to repaint the concrete; I may even throw another coat up there on that south facing wall, whatever it is. And it might cost me extra money to do it.

But that online interaction with me saying, “Hey, I’m so sorry what happened. Obviously we painted the house four years ago and sometimes this happens but I’m gonna drive out there and I’m gonna fix this for you.” And when – now, when the new client comes along and reads that, that’s gonna be worth the $500 in paint that I spent. It’s gonna be huge for the new readers, even if I’m not wrong. Do you agree?

MATT: Oh, I completely agree, completely agree. Because that one negative review, if you don’t respond and you leave it alone, that can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in business.

DAVID: And you’ll never even know! You won’t know that it cost you money. So have you had any personal experiences with businesses that responded to an online review, or do you want to share an example of how you would handle one?

MATT: Yeah, you know, there was one in particular. It was a jewelry store, the buying of gold and everything else. And they ended up getting – in that industry already – there’s some negative connotations in that industry already, unfortunately. But they were getting slammed by one particular person who was really mad after – well, gold went up in price after they had sold their gold necklace. So they were really upset that if they had waited two days they’d have gotten more bang for their buck, if you will.

So they respond again – this person just started writing terrible things online, just terrible, lying, cheating, everything – the things you don’t want to hear in a business, that’s all they were hearing over and over again. So we responded, we kind of orchestrated a plan and we said okay, how much more would it have been. We came up with a game plan but we had to be careful because if we acknowledged through these different social sites, “Hey, come back and we’re gonna give you more money” then we’d probably get inundated with everybody who had sold something within these last few months, right? So we had to be very careful about how we worded everything on this particular review site, right?

So what we did is we said, “I’ll tell you what, the next time you come back in to buy something, we’re gonna give you the sale – we’ll buy whatever you’re gonna be selling – plus ten percent.” Which is fair, right? But that way we weren’t having to be retroactive. Gold prices were going up and down, up and down, so it was kind of a unique situation but it was one that we kind of had to think outside the box and we had to think of all the possible scenarios that could occur if we said, “Come back in and we’ll give you more money!” Because then that $200 could have really cost us thousands of dollars, so we had to be really smart about it. So that’s the way we positioned that one. The person actually was happy and erased the review altogether; he deleted it, which was fantastic.

DAVID: That’s even better. Of course, you could have just said, “Hey, the price of gold went up one day after we purchased this. I can’t read the future.” That would have been a totally accurate answer, right? But that would not have served your client well.

MATT: Correct, correct. Especially if somebody sees that, them going above and beyond like that, that’s just good from a branding standpoint too. That yes, you’re actually going to go and make sure that not only are people treated well, but you can’t control the future.

DAVID: That’s the message that I really want to leave the listeners with. It doesn’t matter if your answers are accurate or not, if you’re right or not. Is it better to be right or to have more customers? In responding to those negative reviews, don’t worry about being right. Worry about how future clients will perceive the conversation.

Let’s talk about how we move the negative content to page two, besides reviews. Let’s talk about Ripoff Report and sites like Consumer Reports and newspaper sites that may write something negative about you. You know, I was talking with this one business owner and he’s trying to launch his business; he’s trying to get his business going. And he had some real estate deal go bad a few years ago, so every time you looked him up you had this negative article about the real estate would come up and people didn’t want to invest with him. It was not – he did not appear to have a good reputation because of this. So how do you handle something like that Matt?

MATT: Well, there’s a lot of different ways to handle it. And in all fairness, you might try something and it might not work, and that’s something that you have to kind of look at. But the key one you have to try – and you at least have to try – and you can try by making sure there’s fresh new content out there. Make sure you’re creating – maybe blocks. Maybe there’s other review sites that you just make sure other people are active on.

Really what it comes down to is trying to see if you can become a lot more social online and trying to get it so that all those different things, if somebody is typing in your business name other relevant content is showing up and that’s really I think the key, wouldn’t you David, is just making sure that you get fresh content out there; good content and content that’s always getting more and more authority and more and more robust over time.

DAVID: Absolutely, and one of the ways to do that is to own more properties online. It works. So the first page of Google is often referred to as the most valuable piece of real estate on the web. And they allow ten businesses to be on that first page, so if you think about it, ten houses can fit right here on this beautiful piece of beachfront property, why does your website have to be the only piece of property that you own? It absolutely doesn’t.

So if on that beach with you is Ripoff Report or this negative newspaper article, we’ve got to get them to move out. And the only way we can get them to move out is to get nine other properties that we own on that beach. And a really good example of a business that has done this, and has done this very, very effectively, is Southwest Airlines. Alright? I want to encourage anyone who is listening to this podcast and is not in their car to Google Southwest Airlines. Definitely don’t do this if you’re driving, right?

MATT: No, no!

DAVID: What you’re gonna find is that southwest.com or Southwest Airlines owns page one of Google for their own name, pretty much. You’re gonna find southwest.com, southwestairlines.com, you’re gonna find Southwest’s Wikipedia page – which they don’t really own but they probably have a lot of influence and a lot of control over that.

The next one down is IFlySWA.com, then Southwest’s Facebook page shows up, then their iTunes application shows up, then they have a blog called BlogSouthwest.com, they have a Southwest Twitter page, their Southwest Google Play app, which is their application for their Android devices, SWACargo.com. I mean, they have a whole website about Southwest Cargo and it’s on Google’s page one. SWAMedia.com, then they’ve got SouthwestVacations.com, then Southwest’s Pinterest page.

I mean, it would be really hard for you or I to write something negative on Southwest Airlines and have it show up on page one for a search for Southwest Airlines. Don’t you agree?

MATT: Oh, absolutely. And believe me, you and I know it; people are trying every single day. People are trying to get their negativity up there.

DAVID: So what’s the solution for a small to medium – a regular business? If I’m a – I own a party and tool rental company and somebody has written something negative about me, what are the steps I take to move that to page two?

MATT: Really, like Southwest, everybody has access to create the same tools, with the exception of a few things, granted. But you’re able to create a Twitter account; you’re able to create a Facebook page. You’re able to create this content and put it out there; you just need to make sure that you do that.

Make sure that as a company, if you’re a small business you’re a brand. You have to protect that brand at all cost and make sure that there’s things out there such as your Twitter page, your Facebook page, your Pinterest page, make sure that those are optimized and filled out so they do show up in the search results. Now, God forbid you do have negative reviews that are out there.

Well, just take control of those review sites and make sure that you are attached and building authority to the review sites that you really want people to see as opposed to ones that might just have only the negative reviews.

DAVID: Expand on that a little bit more. Let’s say my negative review lives on Yelp.

MATT: Alright, that’s a good example. Let’s say you have a one star on Yelp but you have five stars on other pages, and let’s say you try to get good reviews on Yelp but those keep getting filtered. Why is that? Well, you’ll hear all sorts of reasons why that is. But let’s just say that Yelp is just not serving you any – they’re not doing you any favors. That one star is not doing anything, it’s not moving any time soon. Well, what you do is you start moving authority to the other review sites.

Start building reviews to insider pages, City Search, might be YP.com, and you just make sure that people are leaving reviews there. Fresh content, fresh content, fresh content. Well, what’s cool is, over time, if you’re getting a lot of action on these other sites, when people start searching the name and your business reviews, Google is going to see all this action on these other sites and they’re going to start looking at that as the authority over Yelp.

It’s not gonna happen all the time, it’s not guaranteed, but that is something that can happen and the next thing you know, Yelp is buried on page two and your Insider page is on page one, your City Search page is on page one, so that one star on Yelp is buried on page two and your five stars are just bright and shiny and happy right there on page one.

DAVID: You’ve painted such a beautiful sweet picture.

MATT: I try to do that.

DAVID: Alright. I think this is the place where we need to talk about – and again, I don’t want this to be a commercial. I never want my podcasts to be a commercial. But PopClickle does something unique that connects the digital world with the real world, and I just want you to expand on that strategy. What is it that you’ve come up with that really inspired me to invite you here today; you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

MATT: Yeah, yeah. Other than my rugged good looks, you invited me for PopClickles design – and I’m just kidding David. When I started PopClickle I was bouncing ideas off anybody that I thought was credible in the SEO space. And really, what it came down to was making sure that everything is nice and organized, so that you’re making it as easy as possible – as we had mentioned earlier – for someone to leave a review.

And really, the topic of PopClickle is so easy and it’s so easy to over think it, but all it is is a big website with a lot of profile pages attached to it. And those profile pages are distinct and unique for each business that we work with. And we only target a couple of keywords on each page, and those keywords are name of business and reviews. By doing that, we’re able to sit there and manipulate a couple of things.

Let’s say what we had talked about earlier, Yelp is giving you bad reviews. Well, what we do is we go and put all of your review sites on your profile page and we put those in an area where we can direct people to leave reviews on the pages you want them to. So if Yelp is being mean to you, you remove Yelp as an option on your profile page and we’re just sending people as easy as possible to your Insider page or Google+, we’re just sending them there.

Now, you can’t leave reviews on PopClickle.com nor can you with any review sites that are out there that’s trying to be an aggregator of sorts, because you know, Google likes to be Big Brother, or SKYNET, as David and I like to joke around about. People want to make sure that they have that information and all the review sites are the same; to get that information, you have to log in. Well, 86% of all searches right now are done with a mobile device. If somebody signs in to their Yelp or Insider page from a mobile device, nine times out of ten they never sign out. So if we make it easy for someone to leave a review by just having it all right there then they are able to leave that review right from their phone.

So, there’s a couple of ways we can do that. We have a QR code that we actually have for each person so that someone can just scan it with their phone at their brick and mortar store. We have a cutout, a postcard, if you will, like gyms will have, where they’re able to scan the QR code and leave a review right from there. The other thing we have, for contractors, is we’ll give out business cards, and they’re “review me” business cards. So now we’re just being proactive. We keep asking, just asking, asking, “Leave us a review. Please give us a review.” We want to get those reviews.

And by doing that, by being proactive, by making it easy, we’re able to actually get those reviews and we’re able to kind of control that page one. The other thing that we do that is kind of unique is, we supplement all of that with a pay-per-click campaign. That only focuses on those specific key terms, name and business reviews, because we want to make sure we can really control that. So if somebody is doing their research we all do, we want to make sure that we control that first page’s results.

DAVID: So, if somebody has Dr. Dave, David the dentist reviews on PopClickle, you’re gonna make sure that he shows up on the pay-per-click section?

MATT: Yep, that is correct sir.

DAVID: But it’s not his business that shows up in the pay-per-click section; it’s the PopClickle page with all the aggregated –

MATT: Right, it’s the PopClickle page.

DAVID: Okay, cool. And then the business cards are for the business owners to hand out to encourage a real-life physical piece of paper in their hands so that when they get back into their office or wherever they’re going, they can find that PopClickle page as well, right?

MATT: Exactly. In a world of non-tangibles, it’s something tangible to give to somebody.

DAVID: Yeah. I think it’s a good idea, I really do. What was that?

MATT: I said, that sounded deep, didn’t it? I was trying to be very philosophical. Things not tangible are sometimes tangible.

DAVID: You’re very funny. Alright, let’s talk about that third kind of online reputation management and that is in social channels. And most of the strategies that we have discussed will work there too. Stuff like addressing the tweets and the posts with respect; not worrying about being right all the time. Also, getting more positive than negative. That impacts social as well. Do you have anything more specific to add for social media?

MATT: Well, there’s the most recent horror story that both you and I are probably aware of, and probably a lot of our listeners are aware of too. It was that restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Do you recall?

DAVID: Yeah. Go ahead, you tell it.

MATT: Okay. We don’t need to get into the names but there was a bakery in Scottsdale, Arizona that was featured on a show on Fox. And they – it wasn’t a good episode. They weren’t really viewed in a positive light. And so what ended up happening was, they went and had notoriously bad reviews on Yelp in particular, and also on Facebook. They had a Facebook page where people would just lambast them on a regular basis. Well, they did the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do.

They as a business responded to everything but they responded in ways that really weren’t friendly, to the point where they had to shut down their Facebook page and they said they got hacked, which is what everybody says when they get caught doing something naughty, they automatically “got hacked”. Then they started a new Facebook page where the exact same thing started happening again. Someone would leave a negative comment and they would respond by saying these horrible things to the people who had left the bad comment. That’s bad. That’s using social in a bad way, is what I would think.

DAVID: So how should they have done it?

MATT: Not have been so negative. If someone was just being negative or be what they like to call a troll, respond in a way that made them sound somewhat intelligent or that they actually had empathy for the people who were patrons of their restaurant. I mean, that’s really what – they should have just been human beings instead of just people who were constantly on the defensive.

DAVID: That’s pretty simple advice. Just be a human being and don’t be on the defensive, right?

MATT: Yeah, just do what you can to be – yeah. That’s really what it all comes down to. Just be a human being.

DAVID: I actually have had a really good personal experience in this world. I was struggling with my AT&T U-Verse and really, really having a hard time with the speeds. I had called customer care several times, I was – I was calling every day for a week. I got to the point where I was like, “Stop asking me these same questions and just send somebody out.” I had three folks come out, and they still couldn’t fix the problem, and I started tweeting about it. I wasn’t a jerk, I wasn’t a troll. I was just like, “AT&T, please figure this out or I am done; I have to look elsewhere.” I really loved the service, the cable service, but I just couldn’t deal with the speeds on the internet.

And so they had somebody monitoring social media, and this was not just some kid they had picked up; this was a guy who had years and years of experience at AT&T, and he tweeted me back – he direct messaged me – and I gave him my number and he called me, and he got it fixed. I mean, he really got it fixed. I don’t know the technical things he did but he got someone on the phone that, English was their first language, they knew what they were talking about, they were fantastic, and an hour later my internet speed was off the chart. Now, what do you think I wanted to do besides jump for joy?

MATT: Probably wanted to leave a positive review about your experience and tweet out about how it happened.

DAVID: Exactly! I don’t know if it’s still out there or not, but I tweeted like crazy about how happy I was and how impressed I was and how – what a big deal it was that they took such good care of me. So this really turned out well for them. They were monitoring social media so when I tweeted about it they were paying attention, they were right on it, and he didn’t even ask me to take the negative tweet down.

He just said, “Hey, if you’re happy with our service could you just reply to the tweet or whatever?” But he didn’t ask me to take it down. And tweets are a funny thing because they kind of have a limited lifespan anyway. So a negative tweet isn’t the end of the world because it’ll pretty much be gone in an hour. Don’t you agree?

MATT: Absolutely. That was actually pretty great advice that was given to you as well. The fact they had somebody that was that informed that they actually had somebody that replied to you is fantastic.

DAVID: Yeah, exactly.

MATT: That’s being really proactive. That’s really great.

DAVID: But I know what’s on the mind of some of my business owners right now. They’re thinking, “Does this mean that I have to pay attention to Twitter all the time now? Twitter’s not even a big part of my business. I have to watch my Facebook; I have to go to Yelp?” What is the solution here for the business owner who is feeling very overwhelmed by this new digital media that they can get bombarded by so many different resources. What is your advice for that guy?

MATT: That’s a great question Dave. The big thing is – and I sound so redundant because I use the word a lot, being proactive – but being proactive is so crucial. They need to make sure that they have – that they’ve claimed their review sites. There are so many business owners that don’t even claim their review sites! Claim those review sites.

With most of these review sites you can set it up for alerts, so if somebody does leave a review you can get an email to let you know what’s going on, so you’re not constantly having to monitor. Set up a Google alert with the name of your business so you know what’s going on, what people are talking about. Just be a little bit proactive; it doesn’t take a ton. That entire process can maybe take an hour to set everything up and once it’s set up, you don’t have to spend that much time monitoring everything because it’s all going to be coming to you anyway.

DAVID: So for the business owner who says, “I don’t have time for Twitter and I’m not going to deal with Twitter, I don’t even need a Twitter”, our advice is at least have a Twitter?

MATT: Correct, correct.

DAVID: So that if somebody out there is tweeting bad about you, you’ll know it, right?

MATT: Exactly. And you can also – there are so many things you can do with linking up your Facebook and Twitter, if you’re posting on Facebook it will go ahead and – there’s all these little tricks that absolutely you have to at least have things set up. Because what you don’t want – this was actually in the early days of Facebook, you probably saw this too David, was you would see “the name of business sucks” Facebook page. Where it would be “Matt Sucks” business page.

And Facebook has gotten a lot better about taking those pages down, but you’ve got to make sure that you actually have claimed your brand name. Because people are actually running into this too, where people will claim a business claim as the business and all they’ll do is just spew negativity, really lambast that business, so you need to do it to protect your brand, if anything.

DAVID: So we’ve come kind of full circle here with this advice on social media and brand and owning your profile and Google reviews which we started with, because Google+ is of course Google’s answer to social media. Google+ has been integrated with what used to be Google Places, so that is actually where your reviews live. So as much as I hate promoting another Google product, I’m doing it. If you’re a business owner and you haven’t claimed your Google+ page, that is super, super high priority. Because they’re gonna look at their own reviews more – as more valuable, more authentic than the reviews on third-party sites, don’t you think?

MATT: Absolutely. Absolutely. A side note on that too; if you haven’t claimed your Google+ page or you have a Place page, your Google Place page is probably not – I’m seeing a lot of those just dropping off too, so you have to do it so that you actually have control of that first page result.

DAVID: Alright. Alright. So let’s recap what we’ve talked about here today. We started out talking about reviews and that it’s important to get more of them to offset negative ones. Of course we should have also thrown in there that even if you don’t have a negative one or two or three, it’s really important to get those positive ones because if a negative one does come along, you’re not immediately a one-star business.

The number two thing is to respond to reviews; don’t worry about being right. Worry about how that conversation’s going to appear online for the next person who’s going to want to hire you. As for moving content – negative content to page two, that’s all about getting more positive content. And that can be in reviews, review sites, or owning more real estate on the web, so having a blog, having a Facebook page, having a – if you’re big enough you can even have your own Wikipedia page or app, whatever it might be. But making sure you try your very best to own page one.

Personally, that was one of the reasons I started, many, many, many years ago I was one of the first folks to really embrace LinkedIn, because I realized that any time somebody Googled a person by name, LinkedIn was very often the result that was showing up, and I said, “I need to own that; if somebody Googles David McBee, I want them to see my LinkedIn profile.” So LinkedIn, all these social media pages, all these profile pages like Yelp and City Pages, get in there, own them. Get more content on them; optimize them.

Of course, the last thing is dealing with your business’s social reputation. That’s all about claiming the social profile pages and setting up alerts. You can set up a Google alert; if you don’t know how to do that just Google “how to set up a Google alert”. That’s really easy and that way any time your business is mentioned online you’ll get an email. Have Twitter set up so that if somebody tweets your business name that you get notification about that.

And that’s kind of – oh, again, without being too commercial I do want our listeners to go check out PopClickle.com. Even if you don’t use that service you can learn a few things from those strategies that Matt has put together. So take a look at that. I love the tangible business card, the review-me business card; I love that concept.

And I want to throw out one other thing. I should have mentioned this earlier; it’s a little out of order. If I could edit this I would go back and put this in ten minutes ago, but – contests. I do have a couple of business owners that run contests on social media for more reviews. And some people may not agree with that, but basically all they’re saying is, “Hey, we appreciate your online review; let us know if you write one and we’ll put your name in a drawing for a $25 gift card.” Some people might say, “That’s a paid review.” I disagree with that. I think it’s an encouraged review and you know, gifts talk. What do you think about that Matt?

MATT: Absolutely. I absolutely agree with that.

DAVID: You’re on board with that strategy?

MATT: Absolutely!

DAVID: Did you want to add anything else before we wrap it up?

MATT: No, I think that covers it. The big thing, and I’m gonna say it one more time, if you’re a business owner you need to be proactive, and be proactive with everything when it comes to your online reputation, good, bad or indifferent. Just need to be proactive.

DAVID: Alright, perfect. Well, we are running out of time so I want to thank my guest, Matt Brandenburg of PopClickle.com for joining me; thank you so much Matt.

MATT: Thanks buddy, I really appreciate it David. It has been an absolute delight.

DAVID: Internet Marketing Insights is distributed by AMDG Radio. Check out some of the other shows they broadcast, including “The Culture of Comics” where they discuss Marvel, DC and other comic books. They also have a show called “Swords and Space” where they talk about everything from Game of Thrones to Star Trek. You can find more out at Blogtalkradio.com/AMDG.

Music for my broadcast is provided by my brilliant and talented musician cousin Scotty McBee. If you’re in the Kansas City area by chance, you can check him out with the Troubadour Retrievers every Wednesday at Jerry’s Bait Shack in Lenexa. That’s not nearly as redneck as it sounds, I promise. And for more information you can check out TroubadourRetrievers.com.

You can visit DavidMcBee.com/IMI where you’ll be able to replay or share this episode – please share this episode – get a recap and some links to some relevant articles and maybe some visual aids, my guest Matt’s and my links to our social media profiles will also be available at DavidMcBee.com/IMI. Until our next show, thank you for listening. Now, go do something awesome.








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David McBee