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Reputation Management: One scorpion in a bowl of cherries

Standing oration
Reputation Management: One scorpion in a bowl of cherries
By Kristian from Speakers Loft • Issue #23 • View online
Nobody buys a speaker on a whim. Accordingly, you should expect any meeting planner to google you, and visit your social media profiles before committing to anything. 
We asked Sameer Somal, an expert in Online Reputation Management, how speakers should make sure there are no scorpions in their offering.

Do you ever get the feeling that you live in two separate worlds? 
There is a digital world, where everyone is crazy, bad mouths people they disagree with and generally act like their emotions are the psychological equivalent of too small underpants?
And then there is a face-to-face world where people are friendly, considerate, and tend to hold the door and smile at you as you pass. 
This is the world where people sometimes go “Ohh I see we disagree on this important issue. Can I buy you a coffee and hear your side of things?”
That latter world is pretty great. It’s also - and I know some will disagree here - where ninety percent of encounters happen. Maybe not with a coffee invitation, but with acceptance. 
(If you do disagree, I’d love to buy you a coffee and hear your side of things. Let me know when you’re in Copenhagen.)
Unfortunately for us humans, our psychology seems to dictate that one scorpion in a bowl of cherries makes the whole bowl worthless. And one cherry in a bowl of scorpions doesn’t do anything to offset the intense no thank you-feeling.
But the internet is everywhere and so incredibly easy to use, that it often becomes the first stop for anything we want to know. We need to act accordingly. And remove any scorpions - or bad reviews, comments, or erroneous information that may sting the meeting planner.
Always expect meeting planners and conference organizers to google you before committing to anything. But how?
We asked Sameer Somal - a speaker on online reputation management from New York - what actionable advice he’d give his fellow speakers. 
You don't want this guy in your cherries. Photo by Kelsey Dody.
You don't want this guy in your cherries. Photo by Kelsey Dody.
1 - Google yourself
What would you do if you needed to know more about someone? Probably whatever is most accessible, and that is typically googling their name. Do you know for sure what comes up when your name is being googled?
(For my name Google showed a guy who owns a golf course (which I don’t) and a guy who builds foundations for off-shore windmills (which I definitively don’t).
It is not a problem for me, as I don’t make my money speaking. But if you do, this could be a signal that you are not quite ready for the job. If your brand is not centered around your name, but around a trademark, you should verify the results for this too.
The remedy - if you are not found by google - could be shelling out the money for a proper domain with your name in it. It is a high-quality signal for Google, and it is a minimal expense.
Sites like Godaddy or can help with this (no affiliation).
On a side note, I also googled Sameer to test him. His online reputation is definitively better than mine. But then again, he is a professional at this. 
2 - Set up alerts
You can get notified every time Google picks up a phrase or term that you’d like to know about. If you have a Google account, the setup is straightforward - go here.
Word to the wise: a lot happens on the internet. Make sure to filter thoroughly.
The way I’ve done is that I monitor words like “Speakers Loft” and “Standing Oration.” Notice that I’ve put the words in quotations. This is a way to tell Google that I only want results where SPEAKERS and LOFT appear together. I don’t want to know about anything that is posted online, that uses the word speakers or loft independently. That would be way too much. And probably mostly irrelevant.
Similarly, when I set up alerts for my name, I can use a +(plus or -(minus) to signify whether a word should also be included.
Since I still don’t own a golf club (😢), I can put in my search as “Kristian Ravn” -golf and eliminate alerts on content that concern golf-Kristian, and not newsletter-writing Kristian.
You can’t share what you don’t see. If a credible publication or organization quotes and features you, you need to know about it.
Voila - now this is delicious! Photo by Joanna Kosinska.
Voila - now this is delicious! Photo by Joanna Kosinska.
3 - Show the impact
Keep floating positive stories. Don’t make them about your company, but make them about how a client achieved something great. Use it proactively after a talk to find out who mentioned you - and be sure to thank them publicly if you can. It shows that you’re available, and thanks to the algorithm, the original post will spread to more people. 
Those answers may also rank in Google and show you from your shiniest side when people google your name. 
Sameer told that a speaker needs to take the time to document their engagements in photos, videos, and blog posts. Earlier in his career, he would bring his Canon camera and ask the event staff to photograph him. He would then send these photos, along with positive feedback emails received, in a follow-up. 
It is not rocket science, but it works.
4 - Set aside the time
It sounds a little crazy to ask you to set aside time to google yourself. But it is not. Just spend one hour every second Monday going over your profiles and website to see what is happening and if something needs an update. As business picks up, you will probably be googled more and more. If nothing needs to be fixed, make an effort to add digital assets – articles, photos, videos, and quotes – to your digital footprint. 
That’s all for now. I wish you tons of success in your business pursuits and remember that you have tons of speaker colleagues.
See you with a new edition in a week. Thank you for reading. Keep speaking.
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Kristian from Speakers Loft

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