All you need to know about GDPR

These past few weeks, we heard a lot about GDPR. This EU law has been enforced on the 25th of May 2018 but what does it mean exactly for you and your business, and what would be the risks if you fail to comply with it?

According to the EU GDPR Portal, The General Data Protection Regulation replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and its goal is to coordinate the different EU laws concerning data privacy. You are affected if your business is EU based, or if it handles personal data from European users.

This personal data includes any information that can be linked to an individual such as his name, address and phone number, location, health records, income and banking information, cultural preferences…

But how will GDPR affect your business exactly? Here is what is going to change according to the European Commission's website:

  • You will need a clear affirmative consent from a user before you can use his data.
  • You need to use clear and straightforward language when stating your privacy policies. You need to state: who you are, why you are processing the data, what the legal basis is, who will receive the data, contact information of the DPO, legitimate interest, how long the data will be stored, the individual's data protection rights, how consent can be withdrawn, whether there is statutory of contractual obligation to provide the data.
  • It will increase transparency on the use of data which means that you will need to inform the user about any transfer of its data outside of the EU. You can only collect data for a well-defined purpose and will need to inform the user about any new purpose. You will need to notify the user if the decision made about him using his data is automated, and he should be able to contest it.
  • It will put more control in the hands of users regarding the way their data is used: you need to notify them if there has been a data breach, the user should be able to move his data and have access to a copy of the data a business had on him, and users should have a "right to be forgotten".
  • Enforcement will be stronger, as the 28 data protection authorities will be grouped in one organisation, the European Data Protection Board which will be more powerful regarding decisions and fines. Non-compliance can lead to a warning, a reprimand, suspension of data processing, or up to 20 million EUR or 4% of your worldwide turnover in fines for certain breaches.

If you want to make sure to comply with these new rules, here are the steps that the European Commission advises you to follow:

  • Notify your customers, employees or any other user when your collect their personal data and state the purpose for which it will be used. You should always be able to inform a user when they request the data you hold on them.
  • Don't keep any personal data when it is no longer necessary. You should delete data on your employees and customers when the employment relationship and related legal obligations end.
  • Make sur the data you process is safely stored. When stored on an IT system, its access should be limited and the security settings regularly updated. If you handle physical documents, they should be stored in a locked place and accessible to only a few authorised persons.
  • Keep a trace on your data processing activities in a document explaining what data you hold and for what reason. You could be required to show this document to your national data protection authority and it should include:
    -The purpose of the data processing
    -The type of personal data you hold
    -The data subjects
    -The recipients
    -The storage period
    -The security measures taken to protect the personal data
    -Whether the data is transferred outside the EU
  • If you work with another company to process personal data, make sure they also abide to the GDPR.
  • If personal data processing is a core part of your business, you need to appoint a Data Protection Officer who can be an existing employee or an external consultant.
    You need to carry out a Data Protection Assessment if your business does a large-scale monitoring of a publicly accessible area, or if automated processing is used to evaluate individuals, or if you process sensitive data on a large scale. This is not necessary if you are a small business processing employees' wages and clients' lists.

If you handle personal data that is considered sensitive (such as information on an individual's health or political beliefs) it must be treated with extra care and under specific conditions.

Great Online Reputation can advise you on how to be GDPR compliant with all your online resources.

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Online PR at its best

Online PR at its best

Unlike the majority of the marketing mix, public relations doesn't come across as self-serving—like advertising. Rather, a properly executed PR play will communicate your marketing message from an informational place.

It's important to realize that PR is an important part of the marketing mix. Online press releases are a step in the right direction and this short blog post will offer a little help. Just keep in mind what Oscar Wilde once said, "The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about."

Benefits of Online Press Releases

Aside from possible media exposure, online press releases are an extraordinarily easy way to increase your website's reach and rank within search engines.

The reach of your website is dramatically increased as your promotional press release makes its way all over the web through news distribution sites. This larger reach opens up numerous channels for traffic to get to your site.

In addition to increasing the reach of your site, online press releases also increase your site's ranking. Search Engines rely on more than keyword frequency within a site to determine if the site should be displayed or not. They also rely on the number of sites linking to your site. The thinking is that the more sites that link to yours, the more likely your site stands as credible and expert.

Submit your online press release through one of the submission sites and within minutes the release could be featured all over the web from new-related sites to industry blogs. Overnight your site will be seen by search engines as being linked to by not one or two sites, but hundreds.

This increase in the number of sites linking to your own will both increase the number of channels for traffic to make it to your site, but also increase your site's rank, achieving a higher position in related search engine queries.

Online PR in 3 Easy Steps:

1. Save your sales pitch for later

Develop a newsworthy, informative release that both introduces your company and informs a targeted audience about anything from new key hires, new service offerings, how a political climate affects your small business, or promoting your attendance of an event.

The key in step one is to write the release so that it both informs without sounding promotional and uses key words, a couple of links, and an About Us.

2. Target your press releases

Prepare the release, select related topics, identify relevant keywords and target its distribution based on geography and interest.

A targeted release will result in more valuable traffic. What you don't want to do is submit releases that drive a tremendous amount of traffic that never convert to something more.

3. Be timely

Choose a delayed send of the release. The release should be timely, but sending the release out on a Friday night will result in it being seen as "old news" by the public come Monday morning.

Online PR Best Practices : Summary

Your online press release is as easy to distribute as cut and paste. It's more powerful than self-serving online banner ads and it's much less expensive than you might think.

Here at Great Online Reputation, we can help you deal with your Online PR at an affordable price. Just get in touch and we can take it from there...

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ONLINE TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Managing the reputation of your brand is more important today than it has ever been.

Consumers are keen on sharing their experiences with brands and products and entrepreneurs who are taking a passive approach to managing their online reputation could encounter some very costly situations soon.

Online reputation management is not a concern to occupy the CEO, marketing, and PR departments alone but everyone in the company from sales to customer service.

Rules are constantly changing in the online landscape, however there are some well-established facts.

Do not online manage the online image of your brand but also of your executives

People usually research more about a company they consider doing business with than just reviews or figures. They are also interested in the people behind the company.

It is essential for all key executives to have a professional looking profile both on the company's website but also on social media, in a way that these profiles take up the first page of Google results.

Media articles, blog posts and press releases are also very important into building credibility and trust for each of the executives.

Social media is key

One cannot ignore the way that a company comes across in its communication with the public through social media as well as how users refer to the company on social media.

The above must be known, controlled or there can be a serious reputation risk.

Updating your social media frequently and engaging your clients or potential clients on social media is essential. Make sure that you have reserved an account to all major social media networks and to those networks that are relevant to your market.

Always respond to people who write to your social media profiles whether for praise or for complaints. Check any hashtags related to your company, products or services and respond to queries promptly.

PR strategies are not enough to repair a damaged reputation

Your online reputation consists of many different aspects which must be handled concurrently.

Quality content creation and PR will be very beneficial but optimizing your web resources and articles for the search engines is what will make sure that your content is controlling the most visible spots in search engine results about your company.

Effective search engine optimisation especially when negative content exists about the company from popular web resources is a complicated operation and it is best left to professionals and an experience team such as Great Online Reputation.

No matter how strong your PR tactics are, unless your web resources are optimised for the search engines and constantly promoted then you are limiting the effect of your PR success tremendously and if negative publications exist it will be impossible for them to become less visible or authoritative in regards to your company or brand.

Controlling the first 3 search engine results under your brand name is not enough

You need to control at least the first page of your search engine results as they influence a user's decision. It is relatively safe to assume that the first page of the search engine results make up the majority of a business or personal online reputation.

These will heavily influence the user's decision on whether to use your company or not.

These 10 results however need to consist of a lot more than just pages of your own website and social media profiles as most users take attention to socially infused content as more reliable and objective. That could be for example experiences from other customers, social actions etc.

Do not hesitate to get external help to repair your reputation

Since the best investment that you can make into your business is its reputation and there are a number of factors and complexities that determine your online reputation, it is often best to assign the task to a contracted company such as Great Online Reputation.

It takes years and expertise to master and handle online reputation management situations and time usually runs against the company in case of a negative reputation incident or even when the company is eager to expand by utilising a positive online reputation.

Often companies in an attempt to manage their online reputation themselves do costly mistakes as they do not know how and where to position their content. They do not have the right relationships with media outlets and end up spending more than they would if they hire an online reputation management company.

New companies need to begin online reputation management before they even launch their brand

It is easier and more cost-effective in the long term to proactively plan your online image before you launch a company, a service or a product. The message must be clear, all online assets must be secured, the competition online must be weighed, the comparable advantages of the brand promoted.

If a number of online assets are not under the company's control it can be a very time-consuming and costly exercise to try and bring them to its control later. Being proactive, also will prepare the future company from possible reputation pitfalls.

Online reputation crisis are manageable

With the assistance of a company such as Great Online Reputation even difficult cases of online defamation can be handled to perfection provided that some time is allowed.

However, it is far better for a company or brand to consider that repairing a damaged online reputation is far more challenging than proactively building up a strong online image that would not be easily damaged.

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