Personal Finance: Ask the Experts

Get advice on money matters from The Bee's Claudia Buck and a panel of local experts

May 6, 2013
Protecting online reputations: More tips on how to use social media

Our recent column on "how to improve your online image" offered tips on making sure that a Google search of your name or company yields the best possible results.

Here are some more tips:

Social media savvy:

Locally, the Social Media Club Sacramento is hosting its next monthly gathering on May 16: "Guerilla PR Strategies for Tech Startups," where five Sacramento-area tech company CEOs will discuss how they "create buzz about their product or service without spending a fortune."

The free event, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., takes place at the Urban Hive, 1931 H St., in Sacramento.

The five panelists are: Elizabeth Dodson of HomeZada; Aaron Klein of Riskalyze; Alexander Lowe of iSnap; Robb Moore of ioSafe; and Brett Owens of Chrometa.

Founded in San Francisco in 2006, the Social Media Club hosts local chapters in 300 cities and countries, bringing together individuals and business to share "digital media literacy." The Sacramento chapter hosts monthly meetings and quarterly workshops to share ideas, tools and tips on using social media effectively.

Help from Yelp:

Small business owners are invited to "Wednesday Webinars" that cover how to use's free tools, including how to respond to positive/negative customer reviews.

This month's webinars are May 15 and May 22.

Small business owners can set up a free account at, which lets them access their business listing to update hours, add photos and interact with customers, both publicly and privately.

Since launching in San Francisco in 2004, Yelp says about 80 percent of its 39 million posted reviews are positive, at least three-stars or above.

"Thanking the consumer who writes those (positive comments) is always a plus," said Morgan Remmers, manager of Yelp's local business outreach.

For the negative reviews, she suggests taking "a deep breath" and waiting 24 hours before responding. That lets the comments sink in and helps avoid "any kind of defensive attitude, snarkiness or emotional tone" in your response.

Generally, brevity is your best bet: "Thank you for your comment. We appreciate customer feedback and will discuss your concerns with our staff."

Even though a nasty review feels like a personal attack, by politely responding and acknowledging their complaint, you can often defuse the anger, said Remmers. And if you're lucky, she noted, the writer might soften or even pull down his or her negative quotes.

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Meet Our Financial Experts

Claudia Buck

Claudia Buck is The Sacramento Bee's personal finance columnist. Read all her columns here. Contact her at

Terri Carpenter

Terri Carpenter offers advice on job hunting, retraining and career counseling. Carpenter works at Sacramento Works Inc., the career and job training arm of the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA). With 15 years in the field, she has hands-on experience with everyone from first-time job seekers to career professionals seeking advice after a layoff or looking for a mid-career change. Ask her a question.

Carlena Tapella

Carlena Tapella is a partner in the law firm of Webb & Tapella Law Corp. in Sacramento. The firm specializes in estate planning and probate, such as estates, trusts, conservatorships and litigation. She is a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association's Estate Planning & Probate Section. Ask her a question.

Kimberly Foss

Kimberly Foss, certified financial planner, is the founder of Empyrion Wealth Management in Roseville. With nearly 30 years in the financial industry, her clients include women in transition, small business owners, retirees and "pre-retirees." Ask her a question.

Jesse Weller

Gregory Burke, a CPA and tax expert with John Waddell & Co. in Sacramento since 1984, worked as an IRS tax auditor for six years. He’s a past chairman of the California Society of CPAs. Ask him a question.

Daniel Tahara

Daniel Tahara takes your questions about California taxes. Tahara, a spokesman for the state Franchise Tax Board, has 10 years of experience as a tax auditor. Ask him a question.

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