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Online Reputation Management

  • You might be surprised – or, perhaps, not – at how often we get asked a question that looks a lot like this: “Is It Possible to Get Negative Information Off of Google?”

    Knowing that we have attained remarkable success with SEO and online reputation management strategies for all sorts of clients, professionals come to us, looking to see if there’s some strategy we can use to eliminate their bad PR from the face of the internet.

    The thing is? Unfortunately, there’s no one secret strategy to get unwelcome search results off of Google, provided that they’re real and accurate. That is to say that if a past customer of yours, say, had a negative experience and wrote a personal blog post about it, your options for getting that post “removed” from search results are quite limited, in most cases.

    Similarly, if your name is associated with a less-than-positive news story from a legitimate outlet, it’s not necessarily possible to just have that post just removed from Google results. In most cases, that link is on the search engine results page (SERP) for a reason. And, bear in mind that the internet is a complex, interconnected ecosystem. Even if you do manage to get a piece of information or a story taken down from one place, it may live on via social media, the Wayback Machine, or a user’s personal data cache.

    In most cases, what your parents probably told you about the internet is largely true: Once something is published, it often lives online forever, whether you’d like it to or not.

    So, what are your choices when you want to get rid of bad press or a search result that reflects poorly on your personal brand? We’ve got a few ideas.

  • Ho, ho, ho!

    It’s that time of year again. The air has turned cold, sleigh bells are jingling, presents are being put into stockings with care… We could go on, but you probably get it!

    It’s the holiday season, which means that the man in the big red coat will soon be flying around the world with his trusty reindeer, delivering presents (and a few lumps of coal) to kids everywhere.

    And while some of our adult readers may have stopped believing in Santa Claus, there’s still something about his spirit that’s downright infectious – particularly for digital marketers! Don’t believe us? Well, it’s true!

  • 5 Lessons We Can Learn About Social Media from NASA (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Here at Geek, we’re always looking up at the stars and dreaming about the future… of web development and digital marketing. But there are plenty of other people who look to the stars and see adventure, opportunity, and science’s next cutting edge.

    The astronauts, analysts, technicians, and public relations teams at NASA aren’t just inspiring because they’re exploring the “final frontier” of space – they inspire us because of the way that they’re bringing back those discoveries and sharing them with those of us who are still stuck here on earth.

    Recently, Loren Grush of The Verge held a fascinating interview with Jason Townsend and John Yembrick, two of the three social media leads at NASA headquarters, about what it’s like to help operate the organization’s 510 accounts across 14 platforms.

    So, what can earthbound social marketers learn from NASA? To put it in really scientific terms: tons! Here are five major pieces of wisdom from NASA’s social media team that you can put to work for your brand today:

    1.) Use Multiple Channels to Share Your Content

  • Are You Handling Social Media Complaints the Right Way?

    “I want my money back!"

    "Take your business somewhere else!" 

    Nobody likes to hear things like this, but in the age of social media, it’s an everyday reality, often, for even the leaders in a given field. 

    Today, every customer has the ability to share their thoughts, concerns, and complaints instantly across a number of social channels, from Yelp to Facebook to YouTube. But rather than seeing this as a barrage of negativity, we would argue that it’s a remarkable opportunity to highlight your brand’s trustworthiness, reliability, and superior customer service.

    Building relationships with your client base is a core aspect of online reputation management, and addressing users’ complaints, concerns, and questions on social media is one of the most important ways to do this.

    But how successful is your brand at handling social complaints? To find out, ask yourself these five important questions:

    1.) Am I Locating All of My Mentions?

  • In the fields of real estate, architecture, and interior design, appearances and aesthetics play a big part in the final product. Whether it's an entire building or just one room, you only get one chance to make a lasting first impression.

    The same goes for digital marketing!

    Putting a digital marketing strategy in place is one way to enhance and share the appearance of yourself or your firm in the minds of your next clients.

    By producing content that speaks to specific audiences, bringing in visual media that represents the unique view of your firm, and building an engaging website, real estate agents, architects, and interior designers can use digital marketing to secure leads and demonstrate their professional finesse.

    Ready to build your brand’s digital home – and reach your next batch of paying clients? Here’s what home professionals need to know:

    1.) Handcraft a Dynamic Website

  • Digital Marketing for Hospitality Industry

    More than a third of all Americans have plans to travel more than 50 miles from home in 2017, according to AAA. Of all of those people planning to travel, a full thee-fourths "say resting and relaxing is very or extremely important to them,” according to a study from the Associated Press.

    And among those travelers, hotels and motels remain the most popular type of accommodation by a wide margin. Despite the rise of short term vacation rentals, 45% of vacationers plan to use hotels, according to the AP.

  • Businesses of all sizes, from across many different industries, can benefit from turning their attention to generating and curating positive reviews, as part of a process that we call online reputation management.

    Time and again, studies have highlighted the remarkable power of positive reviews. For instance, did you know that 92% of customers read online reviews, and 68% trust a local business more if it has positive reviews? Or that brands typically see a 5-9% increase in revenue by improving their Yelp rating by just one star?

    And one of the most important benefits of cultivating and sharing glowing reviews is (almost) as old as the internet itself. We’re talking about our geeky bread and butter: search engine optimization, or SEO.

    What do positive reviews have to do with search engine success? Where do stars and SERPs overlap? How does getting more five-star reviews equate to greater rates of organic traffic – and more conversions – for your business?

  • Do you ever feel like your personal productivity goes down during the summer? What about your company’s overall productivity?

    If you answered yes to either of the above (and we’ll bet a cool Mai Tai that you did), then you’re definitely not alone. In fact, tons of research indicates that the productivity of American businesses goes way down during the summer months.

    In fact,one 2012 study indicated that:

    • Workplace productivity drops 20% during the summer months
    • Workplace attendance decreases by 19%
    • Projects take 13% longer to complete
    • Workers are 45% more distracted

    Think about it! How much time do you spend over the summer months traveling? Or what about day-dreaming about traveling? Or how about spending time trying to play catch-up with yourclientswho are off on vacation, even as you keep working?

    And vacations are just the tip of the iceberg!Science says it’s harder to work in the heat and the humidity - and, conversely, in an office that’s too cold from AC!

    Basically? Trying to get things done in the summer is a lose-lose proposition - except when it comes to digital marketing.

  • As anyone who knows us Geeks would tell you, we’re huge movie fans (as if our multiple posts about Star Wars weren’t enough to make that clear). And we’re from Chicago, home to some of the greatest movie critics ever, including Roger Ebert.

    One of the most amazing things about the late, great Ebert was how much power he held with his reviews. His writing could make or break a film’s opening weekend. But more than that, he wielded influence with just his thumb. A simple “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” could forever cement the reputation of a movie, forever.

    Well, today, critics like Ebert are everywhere. And they’re not just professionals reviewing movies - they’re everyday people, turning their texting thumbs to businesses like yours.

    Across industries, reviews matter more than ever for the success of your brand. Reviews, rankings, and testimonials are crucial for getting your next batch of customers in the door, and they’re coming from more sources than ever.

    So, what can you do to get more online reviews for your business? And how can you help ensure that these reviews are working in your favor? Read on!

    The Importance of Reviews

  • How to Use LinkedInto Promote Your Business

    Have you taken a look at LinkedIn lately? The social platform for business connections has a modern and stunning new look, bringing it more in line with the user-friendly visual standards of Facebook or Twitter than the clunky green and white interface of yesteryear.

    Of course, while your inner graphic designer may have balked at LinkedIn every now and then, it’s hard to find fault with the platform itself, which has long been one of the best sources for B2B marketing and lead generation online.

    The statistics just don’t lie. LinkedIn boasts 467 million total users, 106 million of whom actively use the site every single month. And those users? They’re a highly influential bunch – CEOS, marketers, brand ambassadors, salespeople for Fortune 500 companies, and other senior level influencers and decision makers – who are all ready to make connections with businesses like yours. Perhaps this is why, of the 93% of B2B companies who use social media marketing, 92% leverage LinkedIn over all other social platforms.

    Ready to make connections with this group of eager professionals? Looking for a social media strategy that will net real results? Here’s our guide to creating a highly effective content marketing strategy for LinkedIn:

    1.) Maximize Your Business Page

  • Sourced From Unsplash.com and Illustrated by Edwin Cho!

    Join us for our upcoming free webinar -
    "Reputation Management for Your Business"
    (link)

    It’s fair to say that practicing law may be one of the world’s oldest professions. That is to say that, as long as there have been laws to enforce, there has been a need for lawyers – going all the way back to ancient Greece.

    And, for our Chicago-based audiences, we hardly need to reiterate how important lawyers are – after all, Illinois’s favorite son and America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, got his start practicing law, as have countless other politicians and prominent figures in world history.

    With all that being said, it’s important to realize that the practice of law has always adapted and shifted with the times. The young Mr. Lincoln may not have needed to worry about what people were saying about him via online reviews – but the practicing attorneys at your law firm certainly do!

    Whether your focus is on real estate, personal injury, business, family law, estate planning, or any other area where lawyers practice today, it’s important to be able to keep in contact with your audience – so that new clients can always be ready to find you when the time comes.

  • Sourced from Pixabay

    Join us for our upcoming free webinar -
    "Reputation Management for Your Business"
    (link)

    Money matters – as do the professionals who help consumers and businesses develop strategies to plan, invest, save, and spend that money.  

    And while financial matters have always made the world go around, the ways in which people talk about, think about, and access their finances and portfolios have always adapted and shifted with the times.

    Today? Well, if you’re a financial professional, your next client is spending his or her time on the internet; consider, for instance, that 69 million Americans conduct their banking online, and more than half of all Americans pay at least one bill online per month.

    For planners, brokers, strategists, advisors, and service providers in the financial sector, it’s more important than ever that you’re able to keep in contact with this digital, plugged-in audience – so that new and existing clients can always be ready to find you when the time comes.

  • Join us for our upcoming free webinar -
    "Reputation Management for Your Business"
    (link)

    You’ve probably heard the commonly-quoted statistic that healthcare amounts for 1/6th of the American economy. And while that’s true, and significant, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    As anyone who works in the field – including physicians, insurers, advocacy groups, and others – will tell you, healthcare is about so much more than money. It’s about teaching wellness; it’s about taking care of people in need; it’s about families and communities; it’s about staying in compliance with shifting regulations from various agencies.

    With all of this being said, it’s also important to realize that the health and wellness industry has always adapted and shifted with the times. And today, understanding the digital component of healthcare is more critical than ever, both in terms of providing high-quality care and when it comes to reaching new clients.

    For healthcare pros, as with professionals in so many other industries, a huge number of leads are now generated online. Personal word of mouth still matters, of course, and many of your prospective patients or clients will always consider what their friends, family, and colleagues have to say about a health provider before reaching out.

    But here’s the diagnosis you may not have heard yet: The very concept of “word of mouth” has changed. It doesn’t just occur over coffee or around the dinner table anymore; instead, your potential clients are getting their referrals and recommendations online, via search engines, social media, and recommendation sites like Google, Yelp, Healthgrades, and ZocDoc.

  • Join us for our upcoming free webinar -
    "Reputation Management for Your Business"
    (link)

    There’s an old saying that says, in essence,

    “Do good and good will come back to you.”

    When it comes to digital marketing for nonprofits, charities, and NGOs, we think that “doing good” should be a guiding ethos.

    Whether you’re providing food or shelter to communities in need, raising funds after a disaster, or campaigning for a more just and equitable society, you’re out there changing the world for the better – and your good works deserve to be recognized and amplified.

    And, after all, the more you put your messaging out there, the better the chance that you’ll be able to recruit new volunteers, gather more donations, and further extend your reach.

    As we’ve discussed before, digital marketing is one of the single most effective ways that you can help spread the word about your organization – and one of the most crucial elements of successful digital marketing for nonprofits and charities is online reputation management.

  • Reputation Management for Real Estate, Architecture, and Interior Design Professionals

    Check out our most recent training webinar on reputation management for real estate agents.

    Before the internet, how did real estate agents, architects, and others in the real estate business get clients?

    It’s not out of school, we think, to say that a ton of business came from referrals and word of mouth. One client, satisfied with the work you did for them, told their friends, family, and colleagues, and, sure enough, some of them would give your business a call when the time came.

    And the reality is that plenty of home professionals – that’s real estate brokers, interior designers, architects, contractors, and decorators – still solicit the bulk of their business from personal referrals. After all, people are never going to stop talking to each other face to face, no matter how much time we spend on our smartphones.

    But the thing is? Today, people aren’t only chatting with each other over coffee or at dinner parties. Instead, they’re taking their referrals and recommendations online.

    And there’s a way that you can guide the conversation around your brand for the better, helping make sure that reviews, rankings, and testimonials all work in your favor, helping you gain new leads on the backs of your existing, satisfied clients. We call this strategy reputation management, and it’s a must-have for any business in any industry, from sales to design.

    Generally, we break down successful reputation management into three interrelated parts, each of which has a major role to play in making your business stand out – for the right reasons – on the internet. Whether you work in real estate, interior design, architecture, or construction, here’s what you need to know about online reputation management for your business:

  • Reputation Management for Restaurants and Bars

    Join us for our upcoming free webinar -
    "Reputation Management for Your Business"
    (link)

    Restaurant critics have always held a legendary status among chefs, managers, and restaurateurs – and for those of us who only look on, stomachs grumbling, from the other side of the host station.

    For better or for worse, critics have always held an enormous amount of sway in the food industry; their words have long been able to make or break a restaurant, determining whether that new brunch spot becomes a hip new hangout, or just a flash in the pan.

    But what’s remarkable today is that the most influential critic stopping by to praise or bury your restaurant isn’t the credentialed food blogger with an expense account, but the everyday visitor with a smartphone and a Yelp profile.

    Given the rise of review sites like Yelp and the competitive state of modern search engine rankings, restaurants and bars have to be more conscious about how they’re perceived online than ever before – and for a modern, hungry audience, a website listing the day’s specials may no longer cut it.

    Instead, owners and managers need to be highly aware of what is being said about their establishments online, so that they can control the conversation, guiding it in a positive direction – and guiding some new diners into their spot, along the way.

    We call this strategy reputation management, and it’s a must-have for restaurants and bars today. Generally, we break down successful reputation management into three interrelated parts, each of which has a major role to play in making your place stand out – for the right reasons – online.

  • what your digital marketing can learn from baseball teams

    It’s the heart of baseball season here in Chicago, which means that our team is keeping up with the box scores, munching on sunflower seeds, and spending plenty of long, lazy days rooting for the Cubs over at Wrigley Field, just a few blocks away from our office.

    Of course, with baseball on the brain, we’ve also been spending plenty of time debating just how much America’s pastime compares to our field of digital marketing. The answer? Baseball and marketing have more in common than you might think!

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).