Big Stories: January, 2018   
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Who's Managing Your Online Reviews?
Who's managing your online reputation

    Just a few negative reviews can make your business unattractive to potential customers and can take weeks, even months to recover.
    Most business owners are aware of the gravity of online reviews. Just a few words, written by complete strangers, can give your company's online reputation a huge boost - or force it into a negative star dirt bath you'll spend weeks or even months recuperating from.
    It's ridiculously easy to share your opinion to the world now, and most people do it when feel that they have been wronged or treated badly. Now the whole world can read those reviews, so you need to monitor them closely and act quickly if you see something disparaging.
    Paying attention is an important part of effectively managing your online image. In fact, it is a critical ingredient in today's business world.
    How do you monitor your reviews when there are so many review and rating sites? Do you respond to all of your reviews and who writes those responses?
    We all strive for a sustained five-star rating because we know that it is a major factor to our potential customers on whether they choose our business or our competitors. The same goes for the negative reviews, having no reviews is almost as bad as having a 1 star. Here are some eye-opening stats from a recent study by YouGov.
    91% of customers read online reviews before visiting a business.
    87% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family.
    4 out of 5 (80%) consumers reverse their purchase decisions based on negative reviews. Consumers spend 34% more on a business with "exceptional" reviews.
    72% say that positive reviews have made them trust a business more.
    88% of consumers say they will shop at a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating. 72% of consumers will make a decision only after reading a positive review.
    1 negative review can cost a business about 30 customers.
    65% of consumers will take a response to a negative review from the owner into consideration 10 reviews on Google and 10 more on other review sites on the web (Facebook, Yelp!, yahoo, etc.) will boosts your rankings. Remember, 72% of consumers will read at least four online reviews before they trust a business.
    Conclusion, consumers are greatly influenced by reviews, regardless of where they are in the purchasing process.
    Who's managing your online reputation So, how Can you manage your online reputation? With tactical thinking and a strategic well laid plan. Your plan must require keeping track of every online review. You must respond to every negative review and at least 80% of the positive ones. It involves intentionally and consistently cultivating positive reviews to overshadow the negative ones, therefore pushing those negative reviews down the search list. Also, it involves analyzing the comments to help your products or services get better.
    This, of course, brings me back to the original question - "Who's managing your reviews?" This just is not something you want to trust to a family member or intern who needs some extra work. No way, this is a job for a professional that understands reputation
    management. Case in point:
    Let's say you own a HVAC company and a customer writes the following review; Talk about a smack in the face. You might be thinking "It's just one review", it could be one of dozens that may be left on any given week depending on the size of your company. Therein lies the problem, people are going to read that review and make decisions based on it. So, your response must be quick, and it must be convincing.
    Your response should come within a day or two. You want to write one that makes this customer feel that their complaint has been heard and that their concern will be addressed.
    This way you show other potential customers how responsive you are, that you genuinely care about your customers, and that their feedback will help improve the way you do business. A short, courteous, empathetic, and professional response that contrasts with their devastating review.
    This is why you need professionals in your corner. Consider hiring an Online Reputation Management agency like MySocialRep. com, so you can do what you do best, run your business. The investment will be one that will pay off tremendously in terms of your bottom line.

Derek M Bachmann
MySocialRep LLC

TEDxSalem V

    Step "Through the Looking Glass" at TEDx- Salem V and take in a day full of mind-bending experiences on Saturday, Jan. 6. 2018, at the Salem Convention Center.
    As Salem's official independently-organized TED event, TEDxSalem is an immersion experience at the intersection of technology, entertainment, design, science and art.
    This year's speakers include: Teenage STEM for girls advocate Anna Nixon. Brad Burge, Director of Communications, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Sexual health advocate and educator Dr. Evelin Dacker. Illusionist, escape artist, and world record breaker Jackson Rayne. Salem architect Kaydee Kreitlow.
    Salem artist and college professor Laura Mack. Salem maker and knitwear designer Marie Greene. Mas Subramanian, the OSU chemist who accidentally discovered first new blue in 200 years. World-record breaking birder, scientist and author Noah Strycker.
    Identity Theft Prevention Specialist Rose Barker. Philosophy professor Seth Tichenor As well as performances by Jackson Rayne, husband-and-wife singer/songwriter duo Stereo RV, OSU Professor, scientist & Native storyteller Samantha Chisholm Hatfield, and Salem dance troupe Tippy Toe Dance Studio.
    For full details on the speakers and entertainers, visit the TEDxSalem website.
    "TEDxSalem offers attendees an opportunity to share their passions, discuss ideas and make connections," said co-curator Carlee Wright. "We hope these connections will spark conversations, expand horizons and create change in our community, enriching the lives of the people in the Willamette Valley community. TEDxSalem is a day of talks, entertainment and activities that aims to inspire, engage and transform."
    Ticket cost includes a day of talks, entertainment, and interactive activities, plus lunch, beverages, snacks and special TEDx- Salem attendee swag.
    TEDxSalem is sponsored by Allied Video Productions, Roth's Fresh Markets, Venti's Cafe, Garmin, The Bruin Co. Design Studio, Humm Kombucha, Travel Salem, Heritage Grove, First Interstate Bank, Fox Blue/Kelley, The Governor's Cup Coffee Roasters and Glitschka Studios. TEDxSalem is supported by a grant of Transient Occupancy Tax from the City of Salem.
    Find us online at: | - hashtag #tedxsalem |
    In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TEDlike experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.) TED stands for technology, entertainment and design.
    TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a conference in California 1984, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with many initiatives. For information, visit

Disagreeing Discourse
Ideally, we should be able to engage in friendly discourse


    Another year is behind us with another holiday season of love and joy in the history books. It's another new year to make promises that we don't intend to keep with the hope of making ourselves better people. . . again.
    The annual top of the calendar year ritual has become something of a late night comedy routine and a frequent poking, yet, half-serious question around the water cooler as one year fades into the sunset and the new one ambles up to the podium for a rousing spiel of optimism.
    This is truly a fascinating time on the calendar. We end one year with our focus on others (mostly) and then start the next year with our thoughts on improving ourselves (hopefully). We exchange a season of loving others to a brief moment of loving ourselves.
    So why do we do this and how can we combine both of these good and well-meaning practices? Surely we can find a way to shower others with goodness while simultaneously bathing ourselves with a solid dose of self-improvement. Or can we? I'm concerned that society is quickly moving into an era of a widening divide that will either destroy us, or, after some dramatic and forceful turning, will unite us. I'd rather avoid both options.
    The challenge is arguably made more difficult with the meteoric rise of social media. The web has become our next evolution of road rage. Just as a motorist feels over-confident and empowered to flip off an other driver due to a non-tangible backlash at 70 miles an hour, online keyboard warriors throw their verbal bird, so to speak, with a huge dose of "caution to the wind." The risk that accompanies this is a furthering of the divide in our communities and on a larger scale, our nation.
    Ideally, we should be able to engage in friendly discourse; especially regarding those things that we disagree upon, and especially with people who hold differing viewpoints. Sadly, this once societal strengthener has fallen victim to a culture that pits one against another in a gladiatorial online fight to the last word.
    One day soon, we will be completely rid of the "Gentleperson Debates" that once solidified our foundations, both personally as well as communally. The trouble is that people have become too thin-skinned and don't like having their ideas and thoughts challenged. Gone are the days, mostly, when we welcomed the opposition to the table for a discussion that would either sharpen our own viewpoint or sway us to consider the counter idea.
    The solution is obvious and staring us straight in the face, but will we embrace it in this New Year? Will we take the end of the year love for others and combine it with the first of the year love for ourselves to unite a solid and consistent formula for co-existing with others in the hope of solidifying our world instead of destroying it?
    This is tough. It goes against the recent established protocols for social interaction. Yet, it works. It really does work. We've all heard the phrase, "love others as yourself," yet we've fallen so far from this simple truth.
    You'll notice that it says nothing about whether you agree with others; just that you love them. If we attempt to always lay this as the foundation of our interactions, even on social media, then we will begin to see the change. It doesn't mean that we'll change people's minds, or hearts, or thoughts (although, those are possible effects); it simply means that we remember that others, much like ourselves, are human beings who also want to experience the joys of giving and receiving love by joining the annual traditions of year end loving with year beginning loving.
    Let's decide to move outside of our own viewpoint's bubble. Let's engage others so that we no longer limit ourselves, limit our community, limit our society, limit our nation, and limit our future. Let's be better in 2018, shall we?
    Gator is the Program Director at 1430 KYKN radio and co-host of "The Gator & Denise Show" heard weekday afternoons from 4pm to 6pm.