Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Online reputation management for federal contractors

3-D Map of the World Wide Web

Reading Chris Abraham’s posts about search engine optimization, Promotional and Defensive SEO and Your Online Marketing Strategy Requires More than SEM, got me to thinking about how this applies to the world of federal contractors.

It is no secret that the next two years will bring increased scrutiny to federal contractors. The time for online promotion is before controversy strikes. Here are some simple things contractors should be doing:

Encourage your employees to blog. Don’t have a corporate blog, have lots of blogs. This has worked well for Sun and Microsoft, and is something that should be emulated.

Some of your subcontractors and consultants are already blogging. Build an aggregator and link to their blogs. Encourage your other subcontractors and consultants to blog.

Encourage your employees and contractors to use social tagging sites. Don’t tell them what to tag; just encourage them to use tags. Each time an article about your company is tagged, it becomes incrementally more visible to search engines. It is very difficult to move an item to the top of social tagging sites; but it is quite simple to use social tagging to give favorable web pages a tiny kick of Google juice.

Link to discussion groups relevant to your industry and encourage your employees, subcontractors, and customers to participate in them. Don’t worry about negative posts, disgruntled individuals will find such sites on their own. Promoting these sites within your company will increase the chances of favorable posts, and help build community.

Consistent application of these methods will insure that the first page of search engine results reflects favorably upon your company.


Geoff_Livingston said...

Great post, Alice. Contractors need to get over the general apathy towards social media. Usage is picking up, not receding, and to turn their backs to it will eventually create a crisis of some sort.

Steve Field said...


I love your ideas. My only concern is that it seems a bit progressive for most contractors, especially in the defense and homeland security space. These contractors don't want their employees talking because they fear it could jeopardize lucrative contracts.

Alice said...

Too few in the defense community are reading blogs, so they don't understand their power.

Yes indeed, I am sure security contractors are concerned their employees will say something off key and jeprodize contracts. I would point out that these same employees are giving presentations at user groups all over the country and representating their company in a very positive manner. Management has legitimate concerns, but they should realize they made intelligent hiring decisions and their employees will be their most effective advocate.

Do a search on the name of any defense contractor and see what you come up with. Who do you want to dominate search results, your employees, or your critics.

Randall said...

I would be very concerned with Systems Application & Technologies, Inc www.sa-techinc.com. Mr Adams an DeZavala were involved in EEO problems in the past and the Air Force won't have anything to do with them. See:
EEOC v. Systems Application & Technologies,Inc. CV-04-7702 GAF (RCx) (C.D. Cal. May 11, 2005)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE - A private company that formerly provided security at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center has agreed to pay $237,000 and provide training to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit lawsuit n. a common term for a legal action by one person or entity against another person or entity, to be decided in a court of law, sometimes just called a "suit." The legal claims within a lawsuit are called "causes of action." (See: cause of action, case, suit). Systems Application & Technologies Inc. lost its Dryden contract last year after the federal government filed a lawsuit accusing a male SA Tech manager of touching four male SA Tech security employees on their thighs, shoulders, neck or crotch crotch (krch)n.
The angle or region of the angle formed by the junction of two parts or members, such as two branches, limbs, or legs.
, and of making sexual remarks. Under the lawsuit settlement, the company will be required to hire an equal employment opportunity consultant and to train its employees on sexual harassment sexual harassment n. unwanted sexual approaches (including touching, feeling, groping) and/or repeated unpleasant, degrading and/or sexist remarks directed toward an employee with the implied suggestion that the target's employment status, promotion or favorable treatment depend upon a positive response and/or "cooperation., including same-sex harassment.
Supervisors will also be held accountable if they fail to properly forward sexual-harassment complaints made by their workers, Noh said.
The company must post a toll-free number for employees to use in making complaints, she said.
Because Maryland-based SA Tech no longer works at Dryden, the training and other anti-harassment steps will be imposed at the company's Oxnard office and a second small California office.
The $237,000 will be split among the four employees, who apparently no longer work for SA Tech, Noh said. The manager no longer works for the company, she said.
The lawsuit was filed last September by the agency, alleging that the incidents occurred from 2000 to 2002. NASA was not named in the lawsuit.
SA Tech had worked at Dryden for six years before its contract ended in October, Dryden spokesman Alan Brown said. It had 24 employees providing security at Dryden.
NASA officials were not made aware of the alleged harassment before the EEOC filed its lawsuit, Brown said. NASA vigorously pursues a workplace free of harassment.