Respond to My Social Media Faux Pas? #Bqhatevwr!

Scott Brown, the former Massachusetts Senator, had a pretty interesting weekend…and for the rest of us, we still don’t know what happened.

Before the elections last year, it was quite apparent that most of Brown’s tweets were crafted and sent out by his staffers. However, after he lost the election to Elizabeth Warren, it seemed Brown’s twitter handlers moved behind the scenes and Brown was unfettered in sharing some of his personal pursuits. He let the world know he was at the gym, asked if anyone knew where “Petey’s” was, and let us know about his culinary delights at “Mul’s Diner.” There was really nothing of note that came out of Brown’s tweets from his personal activities…until last weekend.

On Friday evening around 6:00pm,Brown tweeted, “Yes. Get Ready” supposedly in response to the Democrat’s slogan, “Are you ready?” It was a cryptic tweet, which some construed to mean that he was going to go after the Senate slot made vacant by John Kerry’s appointment to Secretary of State. This caused the Twitter critics to come out against Brown, digging up old bones related to his campaign tactics.

Shortly after midnight Brown responded with this tweet: “Bqhatevwr” (and other short responses…see below)

ScottBrownTweets (1)

Shortly after this late night (early morning) exchange, Brown then deleted these responses and his Twitter page has been eerily silent with no explanation for what happened. This has led to many speculations as to what happened, with some going so far as saying Brown was a little tipsy and it was the alcohol speaking. Whether that is true or not, it seems that many anxiously await an answer on what Brown was doing and why he didn’t respond.

In a world where it is very difficult to “delete” any of your internet activities (especially if you are in the limelight), the worst thing to do is exactly what Brown did, which was delete and go silent. This, included with what was destined to become a meme and an instant hashtag (#Bqhatevwr), was a recipe for a PR disaster.

Scott Brown Bqhatevwr-large

There are many lesson that can be learned from this experience, but I would like to highlight two here.

The FIRST is that if your image or brand is important to what you are trying to accomplish on a business, political, or any other level make sure your tweets and posts are vetted by someone who has a clue about image and brand management. I addressed this more in depth when discussing the Staffers Gone Wild (

The SECOND is if you do commit a faux pas on your social media account, have a plan in place to address it and do it as quickly as possible. People are usually more forgiving if you ‘fess up and admit your mistakes. If you delete and go dark, people are more likely to speculate, give more attention to what would have been a non-story, and wonder what you’re trying to hide. Mr. Brown could have easily made this story go away with a quick explanation that he may have been a little tired and responded from a quick late-night emotion. A good example of how a faux pas was addressed was KitchenAid’s recent social media blunder (

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Brown gives a response sometime soon, but if he doesn’t…bqhatevwr.

At Avalaunch Media we are experts in helping to protect your company from the pitfalls of social media misuse. For more information and to find out how you can start protecting your business, visit us at:

Are You Causing Your Own Reputation Problems?

It’s no secret, I love Yelp, and have been an active Yelper since April of 2008.  I was reading a discussion on my local Yelp thread today about about a business going in and creating 9 different profiles, and submitting the same company (a computer repair service company – my guess was his) a 5 star review on each one.  I get it, you want to try and game the system, figure out how to push the boundaries … but cmon’ that’s just damn stupid!

Not only did the accounts all get removed and banned from Yelp, but the business then proceeded to get real reviews, (for doing so) from real – active Yelpers – and trust me … they are not good.   In less then a day, this idiot business owner has created himself a reputation management nightmare that will be very hard to overcome.  Yelp ranks well, as he obviously knew, but what he failed to understand is why it ranks so well (much trust), and how the community works.  These negative nasty reviews on his business listing (the real one finally – haha) will probably rank above his website, or close to it, and guess what?  It’s always going to be there!

Check out the sad screen-shot of this dudes Yelp Listing as of today: It is not my intent to call any one out in this post, I am simply using this as a teaching opportunity.  (I just didn’t feel right putting their contact info all our in the open, or the Yelpers slamming them, so that is why I blacked it out.  I am sure if you really want to find out, you can!)  So far, they have 3 reviews, and are all one star and negative because of how they tried to spam Yelp, and guess what?  This page is going to rank well on Google FOR THEIR BUSINESS NAME, and forever haunt them!

Reputation Management Nightmare
Yelp Reviews Slamming This Business

The moral of the story ladies and gentlemen? When it comes to reviews, reputation management and Yelp? – Don’t be an idiot like this spammer!  The community does a really good job of weeding this stuff out (and policing – as you can see), and an even better job when you make it as obvious as this user did.  The Yelp community does not make it a point to go and leave negative reviews for a person who just doesn’t know better, but when someone is as blatant as this spammer was – they will react, and you will end up with a reputation nightmare on Yelp, AND Google!

If you have a business and you want it on Yelp, go fill out the Yelp for business and let the reviews come naturally.  They will, and if you focus on running a good ethical business and taking care of people, then you need not worry about what people will say.  They will take care of you in communities like this, trust me!

Can You Benefit From Negative Reviews?

Today I read a post by Matt McGee5 Ways Negative Reviews Are Good For Business – I just want to expand on one of them here, but hat tip to Matt for posting this.  It really is worth a read!

The point I want to take a closer look at here is: They help you make better business decisions.

You don’t set up a business hoping it receives tons of negative reviews.  My guess is most (legitimate) business owners that have a ton of negative reviews are truly sad about them, and didn’t set up their business planning on getting them.

Where I think businesses do fail:

Lets say you’re checking out your online listings and are “Googling” yourself and you see a ton of negative reviews.  Most business owners first thoughts are: “How do I get rid of theses negative results” or the might not even know where to begin to even think that.  Here is what they need to be doing – Take the time and read the reviews, ALL of them and make a plan of action to do better as a business owner.  This is the most important step – listening to your customers and accepting the feedback.

My biggest piece of advice?

Start monitoring your reputation better.  If you are low budget, the very first thing you need to be setting up is Google Alerts for everything related to your business and name.  It is really simple to do.

Let me show you:

Just go to the Google Alerts page and you will see this:

Setting Up Google Alerts
Setting Up Google Alerts

You will have several options to fill out.  Most important is the Search Terms, and I would suggest setting up a couple of alerts for your business name and URL (anyway anyone could type it)  Dream Systems Media, dreamsystemsmedia,, etc (any and all variations possible).  You just include those terms for each alert you set up.  Then you are asked other questions like the Type of Alert you want, and How Often.  You will then start getting the Alerts sent right to your email.  It really is that easy.

Setting up Google Alerts
Setting up Google Alerts

Once businesses do a better job of monitoring their reputation and listening to what the customers are saying, eventually the positive results (reviews) will start coming in and help push the negative reviews down and away.  Just remember to listen and fix the problem – rather then do nothing at all.

Thanks again Matt for making me (think about and) want to share this reputation management tip!  This is a simple step (I know), but as I know Andy Beal would agree – people are not doing a good job monitoring their reputation.  If you work hard enough at taking the “cus” out of customer service your business reviews will be thanking you!

Utah Jiffy Lube owner, concerned about reputation management, calls me back

For those of you who read yesterday’s blog post, you know that I have had a major bone to pick with the Highland Utah Jiffy Lube. If you are interested in following the saga here is a short update. Today I received 2 voice mails and 2 emails from different high level Jiffy Lubers. (I have to admit, these people have both written and spoken to me as if they know a few things about customer service and I appreciate that – I told you customer service counts!)

In a nutshell, Jiffy Lube confirmed that the service center had a camera, which did show that their employee shut my door thereby locking my keys in the car! Now you know I did not just make this whole thing up! To try and “make it up to me” the company has offered to pay for my oil change, and to provide gift certificates for dinner and a night out with my wife. Although, I by no means consider this as equal “payment” for the 6 hours I wasted and the enormous headache this whole experience cause me, my wife, and my 2 police officer friends, it was partially appropriate as Tuesday’s fiasco caused my wife and I to miss half of a Christmas party that my wife was VERY excited to attend. Now I can hopefully partially make that missed event up to her by taking her out sometime soon. The store owner was a nice guy and apologized profusely for the conduct of his store manager.

So, in fairness, I wanted you guys to know that at least some of the people connected with the Utah Jiffy Lube’s seemed to be very concerned about the service their customers receive. I hope each of you have an opportunity to interact with one of these guys, if you decide to get your next oil change at Jiffy Lube in Highland.

Case Study

I have been involved in countless campaigns to counteract negative press online. But, believe it or not, this was the first time I personally had ever written anything negative. (I am typically a pretty cool-headed guy and I think it takes a lot to get under my skin. In addition, I do not think it is fair for people to unfairly leverage situations to work in their favor, therefore I do not post negative things about every company I feel has done me wrong. However, b/c of the sheer extent of the disservice I was provided here I made an exception to that rule. On top of that, I specifically told “Mike” what I did for a living and that I planned on writing this post if they did not pay for a locksmith to come open the door. So fair warning was given.).

All that said, I was slightly surprised by how quickly this blog post turned into a reputation management concern for Jiffy Lube. Within 5 minutes the blog post was in the top 5 positions in Google for either Highland Utah Jiffy Lube or Utah Jiffy Lube. By the next morning the blog post ranked number 1 for Highland Utah Jiffy Lube. When I spoke with the Highland owner he informed me that my blog post had been read by people at the corporate offices in Texas!

It is eye opening the way the Internet evens the playing field and allows one person to have a voice, even without spending a dollar. I think this serves as good data for companies trying to decide whether it is worth investing money into online reputation management. Answer = Absolutely.

4 Reputation Management Questions Answered By Andy Beal

Andy Beal
Andy Beal

I want to thank Andy Beal for taking time out of his very busy schedule to answer some reputation management questions for me with this guest blog post today.  I have received, (and had on my mind) many questions about reputation management, and what normal businesses can do – including the reputation monitoring software Trackur, created by Andy.  I felt I needed to ask the person who IMO is the authority on reputation management.  Again, I really want to thank Andy for setting aside some time for me!

Why do YOU feel companies need to make reputation management a priority?

Companies need to pay attention to what their stakeholders have to say about their brand. A stakeholder could be a customer, employee, or even a business partner–anyone that interacts with your brand. Numerous studies prove that, as customers, we trust the reviews and opinions of others “like ourselves” and are less trusting of official corporate communication. With that in mind, it is vital that companies listen to the conversations and, if appropriate, join those conversations.

As we enter tougher economic times, it will no longer be the case that you can simply buy a better reputation with advertising and press releases. Instead, those companies that successfully improve the sentiment of their online reputation will win. They’ll win because they spend less on advertising messaging and they’ll build a loyal following of stakeholders.

Do you have any kind of figures that corporations have shared with you about money lost due to negative results in the SERPs?

Hah! Most companies would be too embarrassed to admit the amount of money they’ve lost due to negative results in the search engines. That said, I’ve worked with companies of all sizes and, without exception, they’re all concerned about the financial impact a negative result in Google’s first ten results, has on their business.

From my own observations, I’ve worked with clients that must have been losing 6-7 figures a year because the first two Google results were very negative. Here’s what’s interesting. Even if a company doesn’t have a good estimate of how much business it’s losing from negative SERPs, it knows that it must be hurting them somehow.

If people do not have a big budget what are the most important things they can do for their online reputations?

Well, prevention is definitely better than the cure. If you don’t have any reputation issues, now is the time to start preparing for an attack. It’s much easier to build a positive reputation–including optimized content for Google–while things are calm. Trust me, the last thing you want is to try and build positive web content for Google, and sit and wait while it (hopefully) pushes down the negative listings.

Looking beyond search, I’d recommend that companies identify who their evangelist customers are and where they can be reached. If they have their own forum, now is the time to participate. If they’re on Twitter, set up an account and reach out to them. If there isn’t a central place for your customers to hang-out and discuss your business, why not build one for them? is a great white-label solution for social networks.

What prompted you to create Trackur?  What are the benefits of a membership?  Where do people sign up for a trial?

I started Trackur out of frustration. When speaking at conferences, I’d tell audience members that they had two choices. Spend thousands a month for a professional social media monitoring service, or “use these 20+ free tools” and cobble it together yourself. There wasn’t anything affordable that I could recommend. Instead of griping, I launched Trackur as a low cost (just $18 a month) solution for those that had the need, but not the deep pockets.

Users can head to and get a free 14-day trial. Set-up takes just a couple of minutes, and in no time you’ll be fully aware of all conversations about your company, you’ll be able to measure the trends in those conversations, as well as measure which web sites exert the most influence on your reputation.

Superstition Springs Lexus Of Mesa Arizona Needs To Learn A Lesson

Ok, I am usually not one for ranting, and especially ranting and then blogging about it but this one has a lesson to be taught so that is why I am going to rant away!

So my Lexus is letting me know its time to take it in to be serviced, and we are also due for a tire rotation so my wife gets online and is looking to make the appointment and come across a coupon for a free tire rotation – SCORE – Right?  Wrong! It turns out that when I called to make the appointment and try to use the coupon, it has been expired for over two weeks.  So my next question, (promptly) was “why the hell is it still on your website?” and the lady just blew me off like it was no big deal.  Here is the coupon code (as of tonight it was still on the site) picture for proof that they are two weeks late in updating their site:

Superstitions Springs Lexus Makes Online Mistake
Superstitions Springs Lexus Makes Online Mistake

I am here to tell you people, it is a big deal, and an even bigger deal when you are a bigger company like Lexus is.  It is just plain un-acceptable IMHO when a company like this makes such an avoidable mistake online.

There is a lesson to be learned though, and that is to make sure and always have your website updated, especially if you are operating a website that is highly trafficked like I know this one is.  If you are offering coupons, or coupon codes to your customers then make sure they are valid and you have the right dates on them.

One other thing I would recommend is making sure to take care of the customer in a situation like this.  If Lexus would have just said, “you know what, its our fault and we will still honor that coupon”  I would have never blogged about it, or made a fuss.  So this can turn into a reputation management problem/post really quickly if you catch my drift.

The Superstition Springs Lexus in Mesa Arizona needs to learn a lesson in better website maintenance and customer service.  If they still want to rectify the situation, its not to late – email me at mat [at] gmail [dot] com, but I do thank them for giving me a good opportunity to blog and teach a lesson to my readers!