Social Media in Sports

Social media is a great way for athletes to share information with their followers and supporters, keeping them up to date with professional milestones as well as allowing them to engage one-to-one. However, with this level of intimacy comes a degree of risk. At times social media can be misused, and with such large audiences, mistakes aren’t easily rectified. It is important that athletes are aware of their responsibilities and how to respond to negative situations should they arise.

All too often we have seen young athletes fall foul of social media “misuse”. What would seem like common sense to the club’s resident PR team isn’t necessarily going to occur to a casual social media user; we shouldn’t forget the majority of the time we are talking about teenagers/young adults, and in some cases elder professionals, who have had little to no media training.

It must have seemed like a dream come true for Sergi Guardiola when he signed for Barcelona at the age of 23. Yet within hours of signing, the forward was sacked after officials were alerted to “offensive tweets” he had posted two years ago about Barca and Catalonia.


Sergi Guardiola was only 21 when he sent out the tweet that would eventually turn his dream into a nightmare. While his defence was that a friend did it, the damage was already done. Whether or not he was responsible for the tweet, his name had become inextricably linked to the controversy.

Sergi Guardiola was a young man and, as most young men will do, he made a mistake. This mistake unfortunately cost him his biggest opportunity in a sport he loves, is that fair?  Some would argue yes, others would say no and, just like the sport we love dearly, it’s a game of opinions. I would sit on the fence with this one; whether or not he was responsible for the tweet, by not taking his public profile and personal security seriously he has clearly let himself and the club down. However, was Sergi Guardiola as big of a risk to the Barca Brand as, let’s say, Luis Suarez? The obvious difference here is that Luis Suarez is one of the world’s most successful and famous football players. The Barca machine obviously thought the risk was worth the reward for one but not the other and, as it turns out, so far they have been vindicated in their decision.

But just as Luis Suarez and many other Athletes are sent to sports psychiatrists to work through their demons, shouldn’t social media support also be offered pre-emptively? Perhaps inexperienced young athletes would benefit from guidance when it comes to social media use, privacy and security? Should the clubs responsible for the players be more proactive with the way in which they manage their players and social media use?

The answers to these questions are obviously all yes! There will always be the minority who will abuse or become victims of these platforms but most social media pitfalls can be easily avoided with some support and the right kind of education. You don’t have to be an industry expert to realise just how prevalent social media has become – it certainly isn’t going anywhere. It’s about time clubs not only considered their own social media use for commercial purposes but also understand that their players will do the same. If they want their players to represent themselves and the club in a positive manner, they need to equip them with the tools and education to do so.’s social media workshops are designed to give tomorrow’s sports stars an insight on how to make an impact on social media and avoid potential pitfalls, all while offering some additional basic reputation management tips.

Improve your reputation and your career prospects


92% of employers use the internet to research candidates – Reputation UK

CV image

92 percent of employers/recruiters use or plan to use the internet when researching potential job candidates

The paper resume has been swapped for your google search results, your employment history and references can be found on Linkedin, your interests and hobbies can be found on Facebook and Twitter, your cover letter can be found on your blog and your images can be found on Instagram and Pinterest.

More than ever the internet is being used as a point of reference and research for recruiters.  A staggering 92 percent of employers/recruiters use or plan to use the internet and more specifically social media sites when researching potential job candidates. LinkedIn is the industry favourite with 94 percent of recruiters using it. Potential employers won’t just stop there they will also scour Facebook, Twitter, Google+ in attempt to scrape as much relevant information as possible.

They are looking for any red flags such as incriminating photos and patterns of inconsiderate and irresponsible use, but let’s face it if you are guilty of this sort of immature behaviour and better yet you think it’s a good idea to share it every man and his do on the internet your probably not worth considering for that next big opportunity because quite frankly you’re not ready.

What your next employer will be looking for is someone who stands out from the crowd, someone who takes there personal brand and image seriously.  In today’s connected world, the most compelling job candidates are often those with a robust online footprint that shows their expertise, experience and engagement within their chosen industry whilst showing what type of worker they’re likely to be.

Use these three steps as your guide to improve your reputation and your career prospects;


1: Get up to date

It’s a worthwhile exercise to go through all your existing online profiles and bring them up to date, whether that’s with new images or content if you have taken the time to create them they should be maintained, an out of date profile looks lazy. Its also a sound idea to go through all your historical pictures and posts and ask yourself is this something you want to be connected with, it only takes 1 second to press the delete button.


  1. Get Active

What is your area of expertise? What topics do you want to be associated with? When someone searches for you online what do you want them to see? By creating unique and relevant content and by using the correct vehicles you can curate your own search results.  It takes 5 minutes to create a blog such as this one which gives you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and talent. Think of page 1 of your search results as your CV, but you need to earn than real estate by keeping your blog, social media profiles and LinkedIn in up to date with quality and informative content.


  1. Connect

So many new positions are now filled before even being posted online.  They’re being filled through networking and todays’ networking is happening online. Online networking gives you the opportunity to put your personal brand on display but remember your network is only as good as the people in it. Ensure yours is full of relevant professionals who add value. If you’re starting from scratch, start by inviting your close friends and co-workers to join your network. Then look over their networks to see if you might benefit from knowing the people they know.

It may be tempting to neglect your online network once you have found a new job, but it pays dividends to nurture it. You never know what is around the corner and in challenging economic times, one can never be sure.

Online networks aren’t just job search tools. They act as an invaluable source of information, industry trends and career advice. Not to mention you will be better informed compared to the competition for all up and coming events and opportunities around your chosen industry.

For further information how we can help you get the online profile your career needs contact us or call us on 0800 131 0700 for a confidential consultation.

3 Hidden Pitfalls To Watch Out For;

Social media plays a huge role in online reputation management. With so many platforms available from Twitter to Instagram, facebook to Linkedin, their popularity in search results, and how quickly and easily they can spread information make them a powerful tool in your reputation management armoury.

With their popularity also come the consequences. It’s crucial to have a strong strategy in place for what types of content you’ll post, when you’ll be active, and how you will respond and interact with followers. It has a powerful effect on your reputation management because your actions can have an impact instantly. Press releases and traditional management tactics may take days or weeks to make a difference, what you say or do online can go viral in a matter of hours.

3 hidden pitfalls to watch out for;

1:  Image does matter

Images are an integral part of a social media profile, many of us agonise over the perfect profile picture for our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages, other social sites such as Instagram and Pinterest display nothing but images. It is now essential to scrutinise the images that represent you , as the old saying goes “ A picture is worth a 1,000 words”. You have to ensure your photo array matches your general outlook, what is your message? What brand are you trying to create? How would you want people to perceive you?

2: Opinions do count

When it comes to your online reputation sharing smart and thought provoking content for blogs or a high quality feed of Instagram images is vitally important.

Original content is the key here you want to focus your efforts on the subjects you want to be associated with. Today everyone wants to be a thought leader but to achieve this you do in fact need thoughts, sharing duplicate content simply will not cut the mustard. Cover issues you are comfortable with, my expertise lies in reputation and creating original content around this subject matter supports my personal brand. Pieces such as this blog demonstrates my passion and understanding of the market and by sharing it in a strategic way I remain relevant in my field.

2: Everyone is getting reviewed

It’s not just your favourite restaurant or bar that’s being reviewed online, we as individuals are too. Of course we are not being designated an aggregated score or star rating, (although a certain review site caused somewhat of a stir in the press recently.) Indirectly people are reviewing us on the basis of how many followers/friends/connection we have, what are images look like, through shared sentiment such as recommendations on LinkedIn.

Having a proactive and positive approach to your social media activity will pay dividend here. Next time you enjoy a successful working relationship use LinkedIn to share an endorsement, when you next read a piece of content on Facebook that stimulates you share it, retweet the next interesting tweet you read. As well as expanding your network this kind of activity stimulates the reciprocants to do like for like and you will undoubtedly see an increase in endorsements, recommendations, shares and connections.

Everything you say and do on social media, has the power to build a new reputation, adapt an existing image, and solidify your current profile. Topics you ‘like’, what you ‘share’ and any comments you make, the content you create and the causes you support all affect how followers perceive you, rightly or wrongly.

Personal Brand Management

Personal Brand Management

We are all vulnerable to an online attack on our reputations; these attacks may present themselves in different forms but the more exposure we get, the greater the chance it may happen. A person with nothing to lose is not a typical target, more often than not the people who are being targeted are successful professionals whose reputations are a valuable asset. Frequently I am asked to consult at the point of crisis and over the years I have had countless conversations with individuals who spent years building up credible profiles and reputations offline only to be caught off guard online.

When in the eye of the storm it’s often difficult to see a way out, but there are steps one can take to minimise risk and prepare. Here are my simple tips to improve your personal brand management and pre-empt problems:


Trawling through the internet attempting to find personal mentions in press articles, social media profiles and blogs can be a difficult and time consuming task. There could potentially be entire conversations taking place online about yourself which you might never see. This is why it’s important to have an effective listening tool in place which automatically alerts you to any specific mentions of your name.

Google Alerts is a free service that produces a list of search results, based on criteria provided by you, and delivers those links straight to your e-mail account. This service has a number of uses, but can also be utilised to monitor the web for specific information about you or your company.

 Landscape grab

One of the most common methods an individual might use to orchestrate an online reputational attack is via a keyword rich domain. A keyword rich domain is one which includes the name of an individual or company, for instance These types of keyword rich domain names tend to rank highly in search engines for personal search terms, often appearing on page 1 with little technical support; my personal website has an automatic number 3 ranking in the top 10 search results for the term ‘Tony McChrystal’. If one or more of these domains were to fall into the wrong hands considerable damage can be inflicted. I have also seen multiple instances of domain squatting and attempts to ransom the domains to the associated individuals.  A high profile example of this was the case of Richard Branson.

To combat this, make sure you register your top ranking domains:

And so on…

Social Media Presence

Today’s online user increasingly refers to social media for information regarding products, services and individuals.  What drives this is the need for real information from real people instantly. If you do not have a voice on such platforms, the online user will navigate to third party profiles for this information; these profiles could potentially be displaying negative information which you have no control over.

A verified official profile will always rank top of any searches conducted on social media. As the top search result this will naturally attract more traffic, this way you can have a form of control over what content your audience are being presented with.


Parody accounts are commonplace on sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Such accounts can be taken down by the relevant administrators, but in order for this to happen, you need to know they exist. By using your own official account you more likely to come across them and administrators are more likely to address enquiries promptly and favourably if the take down request is coming from an established verified profile.

Content creation

Once you have control over these assets, they then need to be populated with accurate and interesting content. By promoting these sites and profiles you are adding relevance to them, which in turn will increase their authority. Creating and optimising trusted assets enables you have a vehicle to communicate to potential customers, investors, partners or journalists.

Page 1 of Google is your shop window. The more assets you own or control on that page, the more control you have over your reputation. By proactively managing your online presence you are at the same time building sufficient preventative strength in your search results to protect any future unwelcome content.

TalkTalk Cyber Attack

TalkTalk Cyber Attack:’s top 5 tips to keep your data safe.


Last week communications provider TalkTalk came forward to admit a cyber attack on its website could have led to the theft of private data from it’s UK customer base.   The company’s website and computer systems have been compromised three times in just eight months, putting the personal details of up to four million UK customers at risk.  The data in question hadn’t been encrypted, arguably not a legal requirement, but one could argue TalkTalk’s data ethics would have led them to encrypt client data, safeguarding against further cyber attack.

Talk Talk isn’t sure which customers details have been stolen so they cannot look to isolate the problem or identify the customers most at risk. Although TalkTalk have admitted the breach, they are confident the data taken is not enough to cause direct theft from bank accounts or credit cards.    However, lists of customers’ details are understood to be circulating around the dark web, where the following customer information will be currently be up for sale to the highest bidder;

  • Customer names and postal addresses
  • Dates of birth
  • Email addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • TalkTalk account information
  • Partial credit card details
  • Bank account numbers and sort codes

Unfortunately once this data makes its way onto the dark web it can be passed among criminal gangs for years .We  have  already seen reports of phishing and telephone scams where the victims have received phone calls from the perpetrators armed with their personal TalkTalk account details and have been tricked into handing over their bank details.

There are of course some precautions Talk Talk customers should be taking at this moment in time.

Tony McChrystal, EMEA Director offer his top 5 tips to help keep your online data safe.

1: Beware of scam calls.

As we have already discussed the scammers need further information to gain access to your bank details. Be cautious of any telephone calls claiming to be from TalkTalk, under no circumstances share any private information.

TalkTalk have this week said it never asks customers to give their full passwords or Pin codes over the telephone.

2: Be careful of emails too.

Using basic design software, scammers can mock up and send very convincing emails that look very official but are actually attackers trying to gather your personal information.

They may even refer to the cyberattack scandal in an attempt to appear genuine.

Again do not share any personal information click on a link or open an attachment. Criminals can set up corporate looking websites to obtain your trust and harvest your account details.

3: Monitor your bank account.

Check your bank account regularly; keep an eye for any unfamiliar looking transactions irrelevant of the amount. Even a £1 transaction could potentially be a risk.

4: Passwords

Talk Talk are advising all customers to change their account passwords as soon as possible.

If like many others you recycle your password across multiple accounts it is just as important to change these.  Attackers may have harvested usernames, email addresses and passwords from TalkTalk which could let them unlock other services such as your email.

If you are in doubt contact Talk Talk directly to verify any recent communication.

5: Talk to a privacy specialist find where your data is in the darkest recesses of the Internet and make sure it’s removed and protected for the future. Patented technology supported by a Privacy expert provide unparalled Digital Privacy Protection.

The benefits of online banking and online account management are there for all to see but unfortunately this convenience comes with a real risk, it’s the responsibility of our service providers to manage that risk as best they can but by following the above tips we can also help ourselves.

Local Search

The way in which Google presents us with information is ever changing. What has also changed is how we search for products and services, and the hardware used. Over 60% of searches now come from a mobile device, and the way in which Google displays these results is significantly different to how a desktop would present it.

What I foresee never changing is PPC and its preferred placement at the top of our search results – it just makes too much money for Google and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. SEO on other hand changes regularly. When dealing with competitive keywords, an effective SEO campaign is becoming more and more difficult to execute due to the variables Google has introduced and will continue to do so – the information ranking in the search engine giant’s indexing system today could easily be removed tomorrow. For the large part, an update that went below the radar and the impact it has on our search results is Local Search. This means that page 1 of Google searches are defined by 3 separate factors: SEO, PPC and LocalSearch. If we remove PPC from the discussion due to its timeless impression upon search results, the question posed is, which is better? SEO or Local Search?

SEO vs Local Search

The best place to start would be to give you a definition of both. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine‘s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural”, “organic” or “earned” results. Generally speaking, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page) and frequency in which a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. Often the way in which web pages index successfully comes down to the use of relevant and high quality content, as well as associating your website with other similar credible sites. Local Search is an extension of SEO, but way more specific. This is the ability of a website or web page appearing in a local search result. When we google a specific service or product, Google uses our IP to present us with relevant information – in this case, it would be local information. To improve your local search performance, a company must improve its local presence by interacting and promoting its social media pages, ensuring business listings are accurate, and finally by receiving local reviews on sites such as Google Local, Yelp, Yell, 192 etc…

You can try this yourself. Google a hotel, followed by a location. Below I have chosen hotels in Islington. This, along with search variants such as “Islington hotels”, “Hotels near me”, “Cheap hotels Islington” and many more are being searched for in excess of 1,000 times per month. The same rule can be applied for most services and products such as car MOT, new cars, restaurants, takeaway food, doctors, dentist, plumbing, roofing etc…


The above screen shot has been divided in to 3 separated sections – blue, red and green. Blue represents PPC, red highlights Local Search and green represents SEO.

The first box we see is blue, which represents PPC. As pointed out earlier, PPC will for the foreseeable future always be presented at the top of the search results, due to the revenue it generates for Google. It’s probably worth pointing out the current cost per click is £2.79.

The second box is what we refer to as Local Search results. Because we have specified our search term with a location attached to the keyword, Google has presented us with a list of hotels within roughly a 2 mile radius. The way in which google sorts these local hotels is rather simple – the more local interaction you have, the higher up the results will appear. In this case, Hilton Islington is top of the pile. On the surface of it, this is due to the fact that they have more local reviews (20) than any other hotels in the area. What, you may ask, is the attached cost to this? The answer is, nothing.

Finally in green we have natural results SEO. A lot of these companies will employ SEO specialists or outsource the task to third party companies, which will of course have an attached cost. The competition for this keyword is fierce. The results are mostly made up of brokers, comparison sites and the big hitter, Hilton. For an independent hotel in Islington, it would be almost impossible to hijack a place on page 1 of Google. According to a traffic calculation, the highest placed natural site (SEO) would only be receiving around 6% of the search traffic, which is relatively low in comparison to the higher places sited in the local searches and PPC.

Local Searches offer a unique opportunity for SMB’s to gate crash page 1 of Google, which are normally monopolised by the big hitters at a cost of next to nothing. The Local Search results attract more traffic than SEO sites, and don’t carry the cost of an expensive PPC campaign.

The argument can be expanded upon further, as not only do local reviews promote your company, they offer genuine insight and feedback into how your customers are feeling, which can be used to improve your company.

In my opinion, not only does Local Search surpass SEO hands down, I would go as far as saying it’s more effective than PPC.

The Impact of Social Media on Young People; should social media workshops be part of the National Curriculum?

I would describe myself as an avid social media observer rather than user. Contributing to social media discussions by posting and commenting should be something that we take considerable care over and in no demographic is this more apparent and applicable than teenagers and young adults.  The significance and impact of a throw away comment/retweet/picture on a twitter feed or Facebook page should not be underestimated as social media has changed the way we communicate; private conversations can become public and public conversations can become viral.

At 31 am one of the senior statesman in our office and the majority of my team and teams that surround me are occupied by younger, hipper and far more innovative individuals than myself. What they also all have in common is some degree of social media awareness and whether or not they know it, they had this particular skill set before they were employed.  When listening to social media, I am not convinced other young adults and teenagers share this awareness, in fact I would say the majority are in desperate need of education and support so they can understand how to use social media responsibly. This is supported by a lot of the conversations I have had over the past five years  with younger people who have fallen into the trap of misusing social media to the point where this has impacted on their own reputation so much that they now believe it is hindering their chances of employment.

With this in mind, take a look at Piers Morgan’s next tweet and look at the response he receives.  Now I am certainly not declaring myself a Piers Morgan fan but I am currently looking at his last tweet which was a simple reference to a plastic surgery article. It received over a dozen responses, 90% of which I cannot reference due to the language and general abuse used. Let’s look a little deeper; one of the comments posted was uploaded by what would seem to be a young man from the U.K. in which several profanities were used which contributed to a very unpleasant message.  This comment is visible on both Piers Morgan’s and more importantly the individual’s profile which is available for all to see. With an individual like Piers who regularly responds to such abuse, there is also the possibility of this comment going viral and as a result being presented directly to Google. What this means is that if you were to Google the individual’s name you would be likely to see the same offensive comment on page one of his search results. As an industry insider, let me tell you, this happens more often than you would expect.

Comments that often contain abuse come from what would look like made up handles with generic images and are often referred to as ‘Trolls’. We can speculate as to what kind of person would write such obscene comments on a public platform and whilst this type of person is not the target audience for this particular article, it does represent an excellent example of how an ill thought out comment could potentially go viral. It’s the younger generation we need to look out and take responsibility for.

It’s very difficult for a parent to police social media and if they do not allow their children to use the internet, they are in danger of alienating them. Most parents and adults today grew up using landline telephones, buying CD’s from the high street and knocking on doors for friends. They are not as well versed in social media as the next generation of parents will be which means there is currently a whole generation who are not receiving the kind of guidance and support required to use social media in a responsible way.  One real opportunity that could address this issue is to start simple workshops in schools for children from the age of 13 as the way they use social media will undoubtedly have an impact on how they are perceived by others.

We cannot expect teens and young adults to use social media responsibly without the right sort of prior guidance just as we wouldn’t expect them to be able to complete an algebraic equation without first being taught the rules required to solve it.


Step 1.Prevent customers from being compelled to write negative review:

Running a business isn’t easy, and no matter how well it is run, there will always be customers who are unhappy with the product or service provided.

Some of those customers will inevitably turn to online review sites to voice their frustration, whether with the intent of warning potential customers about the business practices, damaging the company’s reputation out of spite, and/or working to receive a response from the business that could include an invitation to revisit the work or provide a discount or refund.

However, in my experience, especially with service-oriented businesses, the consumer almost always contacts the business first before resorting to venting online. This is an opportunity that is critical to seize – customers tend to post online after they feel they are past the point of resolution.

Step 2. Listen.

Someone within your business should be listening to the customer at all times and this is even more applicable online. Travel and Hospitality services generate more online reviews than any other industry in the world, if you don’t have a tool which enables you to listen to this then you need to get one.  At we have software which collects and listens to all our customer online reviews, this enables our customers to have real time feedback both the good and the bad. By using keywords sentiment technology you can identify reoccurring themes and trends at a click of a button.  Another important factor is being able to separate locations within in a chain, you will need to know which negative review is about which site enabling you to identify under performing or troublesome locations.

Step 3. Gather

Engage your customers as often as possible ask for their feedback do not be scared of it. By using technology such as tablets and kiosks you can ask your customers to review you whilst they are still onsite. Not only is this a great way to increase your positive reviews which you can share via social media etc… but you can also capture the negative feedback which presents a unique opportunity to put right which once went wrong. By doing so not only do you increase the likelihood that they will come use your services again you decrease the chance of the same person going on-line and leaving a negative review.


Step 4. Respond.

If you do get a negative review on-line respond but do so in the right way. The saying don’t poke the hornets’ nest comes to mind here, there is nothing to gain by going on-line and getting into a slagging match or a he said she said scenario, my particular pet hate is business representatives copy and pasting TC’s. The most sensible thing to do would be to offer a very simple response “This is something I would personally like to look into “Karen” please email me or call my direct line on 0151 353 9677” notice how we have addressed the person by name and also used a personal email address with a telephone number, asking the person to contact customerservices@reputation.cpom and reciting an 0800 number will only aggravate the customer.

Step 5. Repeat.

Get into to good habits, and keep on top of your reviews, repeat steps 1 to 4 on a weekly basis. Get a software which can fulfil your needs and does the data heavy lifting for you, the more you interact with your customers the more in control you are.


Recent college graduates on the job hunt need to reconsider what they post on social media sites, UK REPUTATION because future employers are definitely searching and evaluating you on what they find. The odd off-colour joke that is retweeted on Twitter for the world to see or pictures posted on Facebook depicting a not-so-sober night out, all illustrate who you are, fairly or unfairly.

More than 90 percent of job recruiters make use of social media networks to assess the background of a potential candidate. There are ways to control the content that are visible on social media pages including Facebook. New changes on this site has made it possible for users to hide content from their timelines, but  erasing the content posted over a period of years may be a lengthy process and very often too late.

New graduates who find that their carefree college escapades have been extensively circulated on the Internet can attain the services of professional Online Reputation Management companies such as It is their mission to ensure that what’s online accurately reflects the offline person – moving outdated, misleading and inaccurate content down by creating positive, up to date, and factual content to supplant it.

Brent Franson, vice president at, recently told MSN News that people should remember when they publish anything on the Internet, it is visible for the world to see. He further recommended that people should not post any comments and/or other content online if there is even a slight chance that such content could be viewed in a negative manner.

Graduates who are uncertain of the effect any of their online content may have in future may find’s expert advice useful: if you want that amazing job, you certainly do not want a potential employer staring at your party-mode pictures posted two days ago.