#42 – Are you relying too heavily on Facebook & not keeping an eye on other social networks? Should you pick a fight with bloggers? And, which bank is the most evil?

#42 – Are you relying too heavily on Facebook & not keeping an eye on other social networks? Should you pick a fight with bloggers? And, which bank is the most evil?


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Facebook changes are coming, but you also need to keep an eye on other social networks!

Each week, Erin Jones and I take a look at the most interesting reputation management stories, answer your questions, and share valuable ORM tactics. In this week’s episode:

If you have a question you would like us to tackle, please leave a comment below or on my Facebook Page.

Transcript (forgive us for any typos):

Andy Beal:                  Welcome back. This is Episode 42, so we’re ticking along here. It’s a pretty good one, even if I say so myself, because we’ve got a lot of stuff to talk about this week. We’re going to kick it off with the announcement that Facebook made, regarding the impact they’re going to make, the change they’re going to make to their algorithm that’s going to impact businesses.

So, if you’re not familiar with this story, basically Facebook’s getting ready to make a change whereby company pages, company posts are going to be less likely to show up, because they feel like you really want to see those updates from your friends and family. The cynic in me says this is obviously a move to get more companies to pay for ads because, hey, if you’re not going to show up then you’re going to be desperate and you’re going to pay whatever Facebook is asking to get a sponsored post.

This is really where a lot of companies are getting tripped up, because they’ve spent so much time and effort on Facebook that, if Facebook pulls the rug from under them, they’re in a lot of trouble, Erin, aren’t they?

Erin Jones:                  They are. You know, we’ve talked a lot in the past about how marketers ruin everything. I know I mention that a lot. I don’t think that this is really going to hurt companies who are working towards good engagement with their customer bases. I think this is really going to affect the people who … You know those brands that post every 45 minutes and it’s nothing fresh, nothing engaging? It’s just constantly attempting at push marketing. We talk a lot about how push marketing doesn’t work on social media.

You know, I’ve got a little bit of a unicorn for Facebook right now. I really hope that they are actually trying to make this a better experience for their users and their advertisers. I definitely think money is a factor, here. I’m sure they want more ads. But I’m hoping that we see a shift here, and start seeing some more engaging content, again.

You know, in the beginning, brands were really creative on Facebook and they really tried to get people’s attention. Now they’ve realized if they just flood their pages, every fifth or sixth thing will be seen by people, so they’ve gotten complacent and lazy.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah. You’re spot on, because I think that if you’ve spent the time to build a really good brand, not just on Facebook, whether you’re a publisher or an e-commerce site, whatever it is you may be. If you’ve spent time building a great brand, and you’re posting content that is valuable, then your audience on Facebook is still going to seek you out. They’re going to look for a way to make sure that they go to your page and read your stories.

But like you said, Erin, if you’re one of these companies that is relying on click-bait, fancy headlines, and you’re posting a dozen times a day, and you’re sharing stuff that’s got risque images or misleading headlines, then you’re in a lot of trouble.

Erin Jones:                  Absolutely, and I kind of hope so. I’m tired of it. You know, I have been getting stuff in my news feed that, I’ve actually gone and unfollowed a lot of brands lately, because I don’t even know how their posts are showing up in my feed. As a consumer, I really, really hope this is for the better. And as a marketer, I hope that it makes me better at what I do. You know, I know that sounds kind of sunshine and roses, but I really have a good feeling about it.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah. This is a good reminder for companies, that Facebook is not your hub. If you think about your brand as a bicycle wheel, then your own website, your content is the hub. The spokes are the social media channels, so Facebook is just a spoke. I have actually worked with companies where they come to me and one of the first things I discover is, they’re posting their announcements, their updates, their content directly to Facebook and that’s the only place that they are publishing their content.

One of the first things we look at doing is … Look, you should own everything that you post. Most likely, it’s going to be a blog. So let’s create a blog, and let us make that the first place that we publish our new products and our press releases and our announcements. Then let’s look at which channels make the most sense, that are available to us, to then syndicate that content.

Because not everything will go onto Facebook. Maybe not everything is right for Twitter. Maybe there’s an update you do that’s more towards LinkedIn. Or maybe there’s something that’s heavily images, or a recipe that’s more towards Pinterest. So you’ve got to start looking at, “Okay, Facebook is not my hub.” And if that’s what you’ve been relying on, then this update is really going to hurt you.

This should be a wake-up call to say, “Okay, I need to start making the hub of my content my own website, and then let me start using these social channels so that if one of them,” and trust me, every social network at some point, even if it’s the latest, greatest free thing, at some point they’ve got to make money, and at some point they know that businesses have got the money, they’re going to start charging. If you’ve got all your eggs in one basket, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble.

Erin Jones:                  I couldn’t agree more. I always get really, really nervous when I talk to young brands, especially companies that don’t have a lot of money. When they say, “Oh, I don’t even have a website. It’s too expensive, and nobody would go to it anyways. So, I just pump everything out to social.” How many platforms actually make it and stand the test of time? I mean, MySpace was huge. If I had put all of my company assets into MySpace, I would be really sad right now if I was even still in business.

Andy Beal:                  These networks, they want you to do that. They want you to build your content around Facebook, because hey guess what? Surprise, we’re going to charge you now for that privilege. So, you’re falling into their hands.

Erin Jones:                  Absolutely. You’ve got to own your content, people.

Andy Beal:                  Now, just because … I’m talking about having all of these channels. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be active on all of these channels, but you should also make sure that you at least keep an eye on them. One of our mutual good friends, a listener, Carrie Hill, sent us some research that she’s been working on with GetFiveStars.com, which is a great service for managing and monitoring reviews about your brand.

It was basically a wake-up call that there are a lot of people that are not aware of Google’s new Q&A section that shows up in a company’s knowledge panel. A knowledge panel, if you do a search for a company, you’ll often see on the right hand side some additional information: logo, Wikipedia profile, hours, reviews. Well, they’re also showing a Q&A there.

Because Google is not sending out notifications about when someone asks a question and when someone responds, there’s a lot of companies out there that seems like they’re getting people asking questions … whether it’s a competitor or a disgruntle employee, or an unhappy customer, they’re writing these really negative answers, and the company is completely unaware because it’s not in that wheel house of networks that they’re active on.

Erin Jones:                  Absolutely, not only not active on, but they not even know about it. You know, this was brought to our attention fairly recently. A lot of my clients are not really familiar with their Google brand consoles, and where to look for people talking about them whether it be good or bad. Some of the things that are going in here aren’t even related to the brand. You know, they are just inappropriate content for the sake of somebody thinking they’re hilarious posting inappropriate content. There is a big hole here, and how are people finding out about this?

I think this is a really great time that we should mentioning Trackur. If you are not monitoring your content, whether you’re doing it manually or having something that helps you do that, you have to be.

Andy Beal:                  Right, and I’m glad you mentioned Trackur because now I don’t look like a [inaudible 00:08:25] when I’m using it. It was in my notes to try and bring it up, so that was awesome. Yeah, Trackur, of course, Get Five Stars … they say they’re going to monitor this Q&A, even if you just use Google Alerts. People are shocked when I say that 90% of business owners out there will be totally fine using Google Alerts. They’re surprised I’m not pushing Trackur.

Google Alerts is free, and it’s very simple. It doesn’t do a whole lot, but it’s free, and it will cover most of the things. You do need to keep an eye on these other networks. The ones that you’re not participating in, but that your customers, investors, competitors, your stakeholders … they may participate in. If you get negative feedback on one of them, think of it like a virus.

If you can treat it while it’s confined to that particular host, that particular channel, then you can often resolve it, and you can prevent the mutation and it jumping to another network. That’s what often happens. You’ll see in our next story, somebody posted something to a Facebook page, and then it doesn’t get resolved quickly and all of a sudden it jumps to Twitter, and then it jumps to popular blogs: Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, whatever it is.

Then, it jumps to mainstream media, and the next thing you know it’s completely mutated, and it’s on the evening news. You need to be able to monitor this stuff so that you can nip it in the bud and respond to it, react to it, while it’s still confined to that original host.

Erin Jones:                  Absolutely. We look at these flu epidemic maps that are going around the U.S. right now and around the world. Social media is much the same way. Information spreads probably even more quickly than a virus could, so we’ve got to be on top of what’s being said about us. Just like you said, basic alerts, at least for our brand name, and our main topics of subject matter, can really squash a lot of this very quickly.

Andy Beal:                  Speaking of something that went viral, let’s take a look at the story regarding The White Moose Café, who received a request from a video blogger who basically wanted a free stay-over Valentine’s and asked for five nights in exchange for the proverbial “exposure” on their channels. Now, nothing particularly wrong with this. I’m sure this happens every single day. But the way that the blogger went about it was a little bit presumptive, a little bit arrogant, and also The White Moose Café didn’t really take kindly to being asked for five nights over Valentine’s.

So, they decided, again, I think quite wrongly, to publicly shame the blogger by kind of spreading the word about what this blogger requested. The blogger then tried to defend themselves, and people took sides. The story went viral. My favorite part of this story so far is that White Moose has now sent an invoice for five million Euros to the blogger for all of the exposure they’ve generated by posting this story, and kind of publicly shaming them. I don’t even think this story is over yet. I think it’s going to continue to keep growing.

Erin Jones:                  It is, to the point that I am really starting to wonder … we talked about our tin foil hats with the McDonald’s tweet on our last podcast. I am really starting to question the authenticity of all of this. You know, this property owner, manager, has been known in the past to be very, very inflammatory. He’s written posts calling for all vegans to be shot, or wanting doctor’s notes from customers to prove they’re gluten-free when they’re ordering from his menu.

He is known for these kind of temper tantrums. I watched the video from the blogger. I watched all 17 minutes of it for you people. Wow. First of all, she said that people over 30 have no idea how social media works. I think this property owner may have clapped back a little bit on that. The whole thing is so absurd that I’m really starting to wonder if they’re on the phone together laughing about it right now.

Andy Beal:                  Hey, I love a good conspiracy theory, especially when we’re still in January. That was one of my predictions that somebody would try and fake and bake some kind of controversy. I’m not so sure … this is not one that I would be the house on, but I definitely could see how this does have a little bit of a feeling of orchestration. Whether or not it may be started as it just being genuine, and now they’re kind of like in cohorts to try and keep it going. It does seem like it’s back and forth. I don’t know.

I can see both sides of this, and I can see why there’s people that are defending the blogger, people that are defending the hotel … because I think that sometimes it does get a little bit out of hand. Bloggers have a little bit over-inflated egos as to their value. I think that if you’re going to approach a business, then certainly … if you have to explain who you are and why you’re so valuable, you’re probably failed from the outset. You should probably wait until your brand is so well-known, even if it’s within that particular circle, it’s so well-known that you don’t have to oversell yourself and the hotel would be just jumping at the bit to invite you.

If you have to oversell yourself and you’re also asking for five nights over Valentine’s, that’s a little bit too much. Anybody that’s in the travel space knows that that’s asking for way too much. I think that the blogger could have done a bit better with their approach, but I think also the business owner … it’s like, haven’t you got better things to do? Just politely decline. If you don’t see the value in this, just politely decline, move on with your life.

Focus on building a brand that’s so great that hey, how about the blogger wants to come and review your hotel because they’ve heard so many great things about it that they would get a benefit by showing their audience your hotel. Because everybody is talking about it, and everybody wants to see it. There’s two sides to this. Bloggers should focus on building the strong reputation so hotels reach to them. Businesses should focus on just being polite, say “No, thank you,” if they don’t feel the exposure is worth their time.

Erin Jones:                  I also think that this is a good opportunity to remind people to do their homework. This all could have been avoided if this blogger had taken a moment and researched the property owner, and tailored her approach to him instead of expecting him to bend to her. I know you live with a travel blogger, Andy, and I know she works very, very hard at cultivating really strong relationships with these businesses that she blogs with. I have a hard time with both sides of this issue. I feel like they both could have handled this a whole lot better, and a whole lot more constructively.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah, you’re right. I think we sometimes want to cut corners, and we don’t want to build those relationships. We just want to … could you imagine just going out on a date with somebody and whipping out your bank statements, and whipping out your friend count on Facebook, and your credit score, and here’s my medical records from my doctor about how great my genes are, and how about it? Should we get married?

I mean, cultivate a relationship. You’re absolutely right. We kind of want to jump to the payoff, and we don’t want to put the effort in because we lie in this 140 or 280 character word where we want instant gratification. I think you are right. We need to slow down and focus on building those relationships.

Erin Jones:                  Absolutely, and even if she had contacted him and said, “Hey, we’re planning on coming, and I just wanted to give you a heads up I’m a travel blogger. Could we collaborate?” Edge that door open a little bit and see what kind of response you get, instead of demand this incredibly expensive week-long vacation.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah, it’s always better to ask for very little and be offered a lot than to go in and ask for a lot and be rejected. It’s kind of like the old parable of when you go to a dinner party, don’t sit yourself down next to the host, because it’d be embarrassing for you to be moved to the end of the table.

Sit at the end of the table, and let the host invite you to sit next to them. That applies here when you do your blogger outreach, whether it’s to an influencer, or whether you’re a blogger reaching out to a brand. Ask for very little, be humble, and oftentimes if they see the value in you, they’ll offer you a lot.

Erin Jones:                  Agreed. I think that a little bit of humility could serve a lot of us very well.

Andy Beal:                  All right, last story. What have you got for us?

Erin Jones:                  Last story, so we talked last week … or, I guess it’s been a few weeks now, on our last podcast about the banking industry. We had some predictions for the banking industry. It looks like we are starting off 2018 with a bang here. Last week, Wells Fargo had an internal processing error that cause some of their customers’ online bill payments to go through twice. For some people, this completely drained their bank accounts. This was definitely news worthy, and it definitely scared a lot of people, especially with how widespread it was, and how easily it seemingly happened.

On the flip side, Bank of America contacted their customers this week and let them know that they were going to be charging fees on previously-free checking accounts. Did we see this coming? I think we mentioned that we saw some of this coming, Andy?

Andy Beal:                  Yeah. Honestly, Bank of America customers should have seen it coming, because they were grandfathered in because Bank of America stopped offering this kind of free e-checking account back in 2013. So, they definitely should have seen it coming. Like you said, we’ve talked about how banks are really struggling right now, and so I don’t know where our expectation came from that banks are always going to be fantastic and doing the right thing, especially as they are struggling.

How much do you earn in interest rate on your savings? I’m getting like 0.1%, if I keep it in just a basic savings account. They’re not making a lot of money. They’re struggling. They’re kind of like the airline industry, where they’re trying to figure out how they can make money, and we are expecting this fantastic service from them that really their track records we’re not going to receive.

Erin Jones:                  Yeah, I think the banking industry is going the way of the airlines, where it’s kind of antiquated, and they haven’t really had to work very hard to earn the enthusiasm of people, because they’ve been a necessary evil. I think that’s going to have to change. You know, one thing I don’t think Bank of America considered is that for these accounts, they are requiring a $250.00 direct deposit, which even most high school students probably make $250.00 in a month that would qualify them for that.

What about people who work for themselves? I don’t have a lot of direct deposits, because my account is … I pay myself. Some of these things I think that they didn’t think out a long game here. They should have done an either/or stipulation instead of just saying, “You have to make this much money and have a minimum balance.” They want a $1,500.00 minimum balance in some of their accounts. Some people just aren’t there right now, especially if they’re coming from Wells Fargo and just had all their accounts drained because they paid all their bills twice.

Andy Beal:                  I don’t think that these two stories are really going to hurt either bank, because if you look at the coverage, it’s mostly a lot of second tier sites that are screen-grabbing tweets of people that are upset, and trying to make a story out of it. Of course there are people upset. Of course this is bad. But this is like when an airline cancels your flight, or a cable provider doesn’t come out to the appointment on time. This is stuff that happens all the time.

I think that neither bank is really going to be hurt by this, because as you say, there’s no competition. There’s nothing to really force Wells Fargo or Bank of America to do a whole lot better than they are. In fact, you can argue that Bank of America is going to end up better off than this, because they’re not going to have the expense of these accounts that they’re having to maintain. This does open up the door for smaller companies.

We often get asked, “How can a smaller company compete and break into a market where you’ve got large banks, large cable providers, large airlines?” That is by looking at where their Achilles’s heel is, and figuring out how you can attack that. For example, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. They’ve been pretty successful by offering something that’s different. In terms of cable providers, you’ve got Sling TV, and you’ve got these other services: PlayStation Vue, where they’re really making [inaudible 00:21:25] because they were offering unbundled services.

I think there’s probably an opportunity we may see a lot more of the smaller banking companies coming into play that are going to offer truly free accounts. There are some that already still do that, but this is how you can kind of break in. If you’re trying to establish your reputation in a field of large players, look for where they’re failing, and try to make that your strong point.

Erin Jones:                  Exactly. I think this is why PayPal is as big as they are. They really did because an alternative to banking. Services like Venmo, I see a lot of people paying each other for even consulting and freelance fees through sites like Venmo, because they just don’t want to deal with the banking headaches.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah, this becomes the circle of life. The circle of life (singing). Now, those companies, PayPal, are getting huge. They’ve got their complaints, and smaller companies are coming in and addressing those. We just see this over and over. If the large companies don’t take into account history, they’re doomed to repeat it and they’re going to become the dinosaurs that die off.

Erin Jones:                  Agreed. I think that this is good for the general public. When we get upset, that’s when new solutions come about. I’m excited to see what kind of evolution in the banking process there is from some of these frustrations.

Andy Beal:                  Yeah, good stuff. All right guys, links to all of these stories will be on the blog post that corresponds to this podcast. This is 42, so just head to AndyBeal.com and you’ll find that. If you’d like to chime in, you can leave a comment there, or you can head to our Facebook page, which is AndyBealORM … no, it’s not that. It’s Facebook.com/AndyBealORM, I’ll get it right. You can leave a comment there as well, or ask a question or share a story that you’d like us to talk about.

We’ll be back again hopefully next week, and Erin will be joining me because I couldn’t do this show without her. Thank you for being here, Erin.

Erin Jones:                  Aw, thank you so much. I love being here.

Andy Beal:                  We thank you guys for listening. We hope that you’ll catch us again next time. Thanks a lot, and bye-bye.

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  • Mike Blumenthal

    Hi Andy
    Thanks for the mention of the GetFiveStars Q & A tracking feature. I would point out that since Q & A is contained in the Knowledge Panel, it is not indexed as part of the organic world and is captive within the local Knowledge Graph. As a result basic Google Alerts can’t see Q & A on a brand’s location pages.