Posts tagged ‘reputation management’

October 17, 2012

Not sure I endorse LinkedIn’s new “endorsements” feature

Over the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a few emails about people “endorsing” you on LinkedIn.  I got a few of them too, so I thought I’d check it out. I logged into my account and viewed who has endorsed me, and started endorsing people.

LinkedIn’s blog announcement says “We are introducing Endorsements, a new feature that makes it easier to recognize them for their skills and expertise. With just one click, you can now endorse your connections for a skill they’ve listed on their profile or recommend one they haven’t added yet. Think your connection is great at programming AND project management? Let them know!”

And with this, LinkedIn is trying to join the game of online influence. Essentially, they’ve created their own version of Klout, or PeerIndex, or Kred.  Just take a quick look at the profiles on these services below…

…LinkedIn “endorsements”…

 

…kind of looks like…Klout Topics…

…which kind of looks like…the Kred Dashboard…

….which kind of looks like…PeerIndex…

In a world saturated with “topic influence” services, I fear that this isn’t the right move for LinkedIn. Besides competing with an already crowded marketplace, the “endorsements” feature has the potential to harm the LinkedIn experience itself by detracting from the “recommendations” feature. In short, I think people will opt to endorse somebody rather then recommend them, and here’s why that matters: “recommendations” are written explanations about why an employee is valued. They usually refer to specific  experiences, work projects, or professional attributes, and the relationship of the author to the person they are recommending is disclosed. An “endorsement”, on the other hand, is a quick “+1” on the user’s self-proclaimed skills. One can simply scroll down a user’s profile and click on each of their skills. No explanation, no disclosure of relationship, no details.  This quick “+1” ability may also leave the door open to “I’ll endorse you if you endorse me back”  behaviour.

Trying to measure online influence isn’t a bad thing. In the past, I must admit, I’ve tried to boost my Klout score. I made sure my content was focused, interacted with others regularly, pushed out a lot of updates, etc. But there have also been times when I just didn’t care about it and I completely ignored my social media accounts. Neither of these actions seemed to have influenced my score much, so I can’t see myself continuing to be active in the “endorsement” game.

The Project Management LinkedIn group has a decent discussion this week about “endorsements”. A few good points were made:

What do you think? Are “endorsements” a welcome way to give kudos to colleagues, or a wasteful exercise in meaningless rewards?

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August 15, 2012

I challenge you to Google yourself! [Infographic]

A simple Google search to see what results come up when your name is punched into the worlds biggest search engine – It’s just a smart thing to do. Feel free to head over to Google now to do a quick search…I’ll wait…Did you like what you found?

You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one searching for information about you online. It turns out that just about everybody wants to know more about you, and it’s not just your family and friends:

  • 79% of HR recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates by reviewing online information about them.
  • 86% of hiring managers have told candidates that they were rejected based on what was found online about them.
  • Even 12% of College admissions officers said that posts which include photos of alcohol consumption, illegal activity, and the use of vulgar language have negatively impacted a potential student’s chances in being granted admission.

Sometimes I think that too much of the “Google yourself often” conversation is framed around the fear of having bad things appear online about you. This fear approach may motivate some, but I prefer to remind people of the opportunity angle. Yes, I firmly agree that it’s a good idea to keep your questionable behaviour offline as much as possible, but it’s also good to remember that hiring managers are looking to find out good things about you too…so they can hire you. This infographic from 2011 says that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate because of what they saw about their potential hire on social media. Some of these reasons were because the candidates profile:

  • Gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  • Supported their professional qualifications
  • Showed the candidate was creative
  • Showed solid communications skills
  • Demonstrated the candidate’s awards and accolades
  • etc.

Googling yourself isn’t about vanity, egotism, or a sense of self-importance. It’s about ensuring your online presence is an accurate representation of who you are personally and professionally. You wouldn’t submit a resume without proofreading it, so it just makes sense to take a few moments each month to Google yourself and “proofread” the information available about you online. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to remove questionable posts/photos and change your online behaviour going forward. It’s better to start now than to wait until you are actively looking for a job.

For some additional facts, stats, and tips to help you find out what the internet is saying about you, check out the infographic below from www.backgroundcheck.org.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This infographic asks you to log out of Google to get “unbiased results”. It is true that this will disconnect the search results from any information Google has stored about your Google Account. But Google also uses third-party cookies that your browser has stored to customize your results as well. To turn off both of these customizations at the same time, all you have to do is add the simple “&pws=0” URL parameter to the end of your search URL, hit enter, and you will see the results most people on the web will see. The URL should then look something like this https://www.google.com/search?q=Your+Name&pws=0. Big thanks to colleague @erichollebone for sharing the URL parameter tip.

The Google Yourself Challenge
From: BackgroundCheck.org

…And, on a lighter note, a final thought on “Googling yourself” from 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan…

July 18, 2012

Great customer service can be delivered through social media, but not by Rogers

Regular www.davidhallsocialmedia.com readers and www.talknowledgy.ca listeners know that I’m very passionate about customer service, especially when it’s delivered through social media. Earlier this year, I had a dreadful experience trying to have an issue resolved by my cable and internet provider, Rogers Communications. In the end, it took a few days of tweeting and a telephone conversation with the VP of Social Media to get things sorted out. You can read all about that experience in this post where I shared 9 ways they could improve their customer care.

Since then, I’ve had two more social media customer service experiences that are great examples of how companies take different approaches to customer service.

1. FTD and Groupon Mother’s Day Mix-up – May 2012

The Problem: I had bought a Groupon the week before Mother’s Day for 50% off at FTD Flowers. When I placed my order, I requested delivery for the Friday before Mother’s Day to allow for any delays that might occur that weekend.  When I spoke with my mother on that Sunday, the flowers had not arrived.

The Resolution: I tweeted FTD at 8:25 a.m. the next day voicing my displeasure with the missed delivery. They got back to me within half an hour, apologized for the issue, assured me they would fix it, and asked for more details. I sent in the details, and by lunch time that day, I recieved the following email:

Dear Mr. Hall,

I have received your concern regarding the non-delivery of your gift, and would like to sincerely apologize that we failed to deliver your arrangement as you had intended. I can only imagine how upset you are, and I have a beautiful arrangement being delivered as an apology on behalf of FTD as well as refunding you in full. You may contact me directly at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email xxxxx@ftdi.com.

 I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Tina xxxxx

Very pleased with this response, I asked if/how I would be refunded for my Groupon purchase. Tina said she had already asked Groupon to refund my purchase, but it may take a few days for both credits to appear on my credit card.

The Aftermath: The next day, my mother received her flowers, and by the end of the week, I received a full refund from both FTD and Groupon. Just to be clear, I was not charged for the flowers that my mother eventually received.

This is how customer service is supposed to work. They seemed genuinely sorry that they messed up, and came through with a completely satisfactory resolution. I didn’t have to fight with them; I didn’t have to explain why this was a problem; I didn’t have to speak with a number of people pleading my case. They showed me that they care about customer satisfaction.

2. Rogers Internet Blackout – July 2012

The Problem: A few Sundays ago, I awoke to a lack of internet service in my house. After doing all the usual hardware and software resets and troubleshooting, I still didn’t have an internet connection. My home network was fine, just no service.

The Resolution: I tweeted @RogersHelps at 9:35 a.m. to get some help with my issue. Over 4 hours later I finally heard back from them asking “how is your internet connection today?” After I explained that my internet was still out, they told me that they’d be happy to look into it.

I thought this was a good, albeit slow, start to getting things resolved. I was then asked to do the standard “unplug and replug” the modem routine again, with no luck. They said the specs looked good from their end, so I’d have to go get a new modem from the store because my modem was broken. It was now around 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday, and I was not interested in making the 25km round trip to the closest Rogers store, so I figured I would go the day without internet service and bring my modem in when I went to work on Monday. But before I called it quits for the night, I asked @RogersHelps to credit my account for the service outage – I thought “If I’m not getting service, I shouldn’t be paying for it.”

This is the point it really started to go sour. I then received 4 direct messages from @RogersHelps explaining why my account would NOT be credited for the service outage.

After tweeting my frustration again, @Rogers_Chris decided to  jump in on the action and tell me what a “great job” the @RogersHelps agent did to help me. At this point, I had had enough. I cc’d Roger’s VP of Social Media in my reply tweet to @Rogers_Chris and turned in for the night. The next day I was contacted by @RogersMary, Senior Manager, Social Media Community, who started by apologizing for the “customer care” I received.

She was great. Friendly, understanding, then escalated my issue to the Office of the President. After playing phone tag with the President’s Office for a few days, they eventually agreed to communicate using email and gave me a month credit for internet service. I thanked them for this “one-time goodwill gesture” (their words, not mine), and explained that all I was looking for in the first place was NOT to be charged for the service outage, and to be treated with a little more care from their “customer care” staff.

Rogers, it just shouldn’t be this hard to satisfy a customer with a simple request. This minor issue didn’t need to go to the Office of the President. This shouldn’t have even gone past the first customer service representative. The original rep should have said “sorry about the service outage, we’re working on it. In the meantime, I’ll be sure to credit your account for any service lost because you shouldn’t have to pay for a service you are not receiving.”  All I wanted was credit for the time the service was out.  And when you make us fight for days to get what we want, it leaves us feeling that we received poor customer service.

The Fix: I wound up troubleshooting the internet outage myself. I powered down and unplugged all of my devices that were connected to the internet, including the modem and router. I then left them offline for a full hour or two. After plugging all the devices back in, and rebooting them, the internet started working…so I didn’t need to drive to the store and get a new modem after all.

June 6, 2012

Are your tweets worth reading?…Probably not [Infographic]

For years now, my Twitter rule-of-thumb has been to always keep my audience in mind when I tweet. I often ask the question “how is this of value to my followers, or to the individuals I’m interacting with?” If I can see value, I send it; if it’s a bit weak, I think twice. Sure I’ve sent out some garbage tweets over the years, but for the most part I think I’ve been pretty consistent.

Essentially I’m trying to share content that is worth consuming and sharing, but I’ve never really stopped to think what percentage of my tweets are “worth reading” according to my readers. A recent study that appeared in the Harvard Business Review suggests that only 36% of the average users’ tweets were actually “worth reading”, leaving the remaining 64% to be either “just OK” or “Not worth reading” at all.

This study asked 1,400+ users to rank 40,000+ different tweets, and they were able to compile a list of the best and worst “types” of tweets. There were a couple surprises in there. First, “random thought” and “self-promotion” tweets were most popular. I would have thought that these would have been considered useless or too self-interested, but it turns out that the “random thoughts” are often good for a laugh, and self-promotional tweets are welcome when they link to useful resources and information.

Another surprise is that “conversation” tweets ranked as one of the worst types of tweets. It appears that most Twitter users don’t appreciate public conversations between a few people.  Personally, I like these tweets. I love having open conversations on Twitter. I will use a RT to provide the context of the conversation and add my additional thoughts as well.  I often find that others who were not in the original conversation will chime in to further the discussion and offer new points-of-view.

Now for the infographic:

What percentage of your tweets do you think are “worth reading”?

May 10, 2012

Do you do “Social Media Spring Cleaning”? Here’s how I’m polishing up my accounts…

Ensuring that my social media profiles are up-to-date is something I think about often, and speaking with other communications professionals, I know that I’m not alone. The trap that I fall into is that I know I have to update my profiles, but I procrastinate, work on more “pressing issues”, and never get around to it. But this year is different. I’ve decided to put an annually-reoccurring event in my calendar titled “Social Media Spring Cleaning” to force myself to take the time I need to make sure all of my information is clean and current. Here’s what I’m suggesting:

Start by visiting all of the social media profiles you have signed up for. First, you want to get an idea of what you signed up for, and second, you want to see how they look. Read all of the content to make sure that you’re pleased with it. Identify what needs to be changed/updated. Start with the networks you use most often, then start looking for other ones that are less active or you just plain forgot about.

Update your profiles. Make sure your information is consistent. Be sure to add new information from the year past. This is also a good time to take a peak back at what you’ve been posting to see what you have been up to the past few months. You may feel the need to remove some postings that you made that are no longer relevant or are completely off topic.

Delete any old accounts. Consider deleting (or disabling) any accounts that you haven’t used in the past 6 months, or don’t intend on using in the future.

Google yourself. But spend some time and go deeper. Take a full hour to search google images, videos, YouTube. Then go to other sites such as Peekyou.com, pipl.com, wink.compeople.yahoo.com, or zuula.com to search for your online presence. If you can’t find yourself, try including other things people may know about you when searching, like your city, place of employment, previous schools you attended, or friends/family connections. All this can be done for you personally, and/or the brand that you manage.

And I’m happy to report that I do take my own advice. Here’s what I’ve been able to do:

…It took me between 2-3 hours to complete it all.

If you have any other suggestions about what to include in a “social media spring cleaning” exercise, leave a comment and let me know.

April 12, 2012

How your Facebook account can help you land a job [Infographic]

Earlier this year plenty of coverage was given to the new trend of employers  asking job candidates for Facebook passwords as part of the interview process. Obviously, this raised questions about the legality of the request, rights of internet users, and job recruiting ethics.

While I am firmly against sharing social media usernames and passwords with anybody (including employers), I completely support granting hiring managers the same level of access to your accounts as your “ordinary” friends and followers – because if you have something to hide, you shouldn’t post it to your social media accounts, right? This access gives you the opportunity, among other things, to demonstrate to employers how you may be a good fit for their company, something that is often difficult to communicate in your resume.

Curating your social media profiles to be “employer friendly” isn’t just for people with “personal brands” or those looking for a job in the near future – it’s something that we all should be thinking about. But it’s more than just avoiding posting pictures of you partying or doing irresponsible things (Duff Man!). It’s more important to include, highlight, and promote all the good (personal and professional) things that you have to offer. Last year I wrote a post about keeping your social media profiles employer safe. It contains the basics of online reputation management, such as:

  • Never post anything that you would feel uncomfortable discussing in the lunchroom at work
  • Promote the good
  • Don’t brag about, or admit to, anything even close to a crime
  • Monitor your information
  • Remove postings by others that may get you in trouble
  • Etc.

The infographic below tells a story of recruiters using social media to find out good things about potential hires. They actually want to FIND and HIRE applicants, rather than disqualify them due to a questionable photo/comment. In 2012, companies are expected to use social media to recruit for 80% of their openings. This data contradicts the traditional narrative of “social media will get you fired” or “using facebook will make getting a job more difficult.”


Courtesy of: Online Degrees

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