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Picks of the Week: Jan. 2-7, 2011

This week, we take a look at reputation management, measuring the strength of your online brand, local search trends, integrating webinars into your social media strategy, and Quora.

Brand Management

The 11 Unwritten Laws of Reputation Management

Andy Beal provides valuable insight for marketers and executives trying to keep control of online reputations in the WikiLeaks age. While the whole list is relevant, some highlights include:

  • Everyone has an online reputation, so make sure you’re comfortable with what is published about you (or lack thereof).
  • Your reputation will be only as solid as your actual character. Tiger Woods is a good example of how character can affect your reputation.  
  • Listen before you act. Understand what people are saying about your reputation prior to making any decisions. This ensures you fix the underlying problem.
  • If you build it, they will come. Facebook, Twitter, company blogs and other online communities give people a dedicated place to turn with questions or complaints. If you don’t have an official presence, then the community may build one for you that you can’t control.
  • If a customer complains, say you’re sorry. As United Airlines found out, stubborn pride can be an expensive route — especially in today’s digital world where word can spread fast.

Read Andy’s full article for the complete list.

Brand & Marketing Strategy

Your 2011 Digital Marketing Reboot

Mitch Joel urges marketers to reflect on six key questions related to the strength of their online brands, which will help to define their ability to reap success in 2011 and beyond. A sampling of things to consider:

  • Are you committed to a real strategy, or getting bogged down in tactics?
  • Do you own your brand online? And variations? In multiple places?
  • Is your content up-to-date? Is it valuable to the people you want to reach?
  • Is your website mobile? Says Mitch, “the mobile web is where the desktop browser was in the mid-nineties. Mobile will quickly become more important than the Internet as we've known it to date.”

For details on these, as well as the other two questions, see the full post.

Search Marketing

Looking Ahead: What’s Next in the Evolution of Local Search?

Eric Enge cites five trends expected to heavily impact local search:

  • Local-Oriented Searches: Google is favoring truly local businesses for queries that are likely to be local in nature.” Search for “pizza” to see an example of this in action.
  • Instant Answers: Google is delivering answers directly in search results, like the local weather or measurement conversions, so users don’t have to visit another website, or even finish their query in some cases.
  • Local SEO: “With Google increasing its focus on search queries with local intent, the importance of having a local SEO strategy is growing rapidly.
  • Social Media Factors: As social media use continues to broaden, social activity will be, or already is, a factor within local SEO signals.
  • Mobile:Expect queries to be differentiated by device in the future. It is hard to say when, but it makes too much sense to do this.”

Eric also provides some useful advice on how to build a sustainable local business, such as producing and promoting quality content, keeping directory listings and Google Places pages up-to-date, and understanding the basics of local search. 

Content Marketing & Social Media

Should Webinars Be a Part of Your Social Media Strategy?

In a Q&A with Jesse Stanchak, Marketing Profs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley shares her thoughts on why webinars are a great addition to inbound marketing campaigns.

According to Handley, webinars provide companies the opportunity to educate and inspire customers and prospects using a lively environment that allows participants to ask questions and interact with the speaker, moderator and other attendees.

Further, webinars can help companies nurture and connect with individuals that may not yet be ready to buy. Results from a recent Business.com study show that “event or conference presentations rate second to referrals and personal awareness as the top method for how professional services companies initially identify the firms they work with.” 

Read the full Q&A with Ann for more webinar tips.

Quora

This week the Interwebs were abuzz with chatter about Quora, being dubbed by many as the “next big thing” in social media. Quora is a question-and-answer site with social features, and offers great promise due to the quality of users, their willingness to share, and the site’s overall user experience and focus on connectivity.

In Q&A Site Quora Builds Buzz With A-List Answers, Lydia Dishman interviews site founders Charlie Cheever and Adam D’Angelo about the motivation behind it, as well as plans for the future. Key features of Quora, in addition to the basic Q&A where “serious heavy-hitters are answering questions,” are “set of social networking features lurking just beneath the surface… you can follow other Quora members, and give them topics or exchange private messages.” Users can follow questions and topics of interest, and comment on, edit and vote on answers written by others.  

For more on Quora, check out the site (you may want to consider it for 2011 marketing plans, especially if thought leadership is an objective). Or, see the mini debate between the Telegraph’s Milo Yiannopoulos and Mashable’s Vadmin Lavrusik:

What were your favorite articles of the week? Comments are open for your opinions.

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