Online reputation management isn’t only for the big companies. This is a misconception that a lot of small business owners have, which turns them into sitting ducks. Any entity that has customers may eventually be mentioned on the Web. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the experience the customers have. There are two sides to reputation management – damage control and spreading the good word. You shouldn’t wait until negative reviews pop up in search results. It’s a good idea to start managing your reputation as soon as you open your business’s doors. SEO companies have experts who can do this for you.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of things to remember when maintaining your online reputation:
- Open accounts on all relevant social media sites (wherever your audience is and on industry-specific sites), i.e. LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.
- Once you open these accounts, don’t neglect them! You need to start building an audience and optimizing the content so that it dominates in search results. The idea is to increase your influence and engagement. This will help to outrank postings of negative reviews.
- Create separate Web sites and social media profiles for other brands and products that you have.
- Connect owners, executives and founders to your social media presence. A lot of the time, folks will Google a name of a lawyer, doctor, etc., so you want to make sure that you are getting ranked for their names. This can help manage the reputation of individuals, as well as the company.
- Build a blog and update it with relevant, quality, optimized content. Not only will it rank in search engines, but it also gives you a place to respond to any negativity that you would like to address.
- Keep a close eye and ear on what’s going on. Being in the loop can give you a heads up on when you need to do some damage control. Google your business name, executive names, etc. and see what shows up. You can also set up Google alerts for these keywords to be delivered to your email inbox.
- Don’t ignore the bad reviews, especially if they are consistent and about the same thing. Maybe there is some tweaking needed within your organization to make it better. Nip problems in the bud, so that they don’t continue to be an issue.
Your online reputation means everything, so hiring an expert for its management is recommended. The tasks involved can be time consuming, but must be done. Don’t let your busy schedule get in the way of your company image! SEO companies have departments that are dedicated just for online reputation management so ignoring the task is neither advised nor necessary.