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June 2013

7 January, 2012



If you have any kind of online presence, you must be concerned about your reputation on the Internet. Things people say on the Net can make you or break you whether they are true or not. Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to protect yourself. Keep reading to find out what they are.

To ensure the trust of your customers, honesty and transparency is key. Don’t remove or try to cover up negative posts from your website. Doing this can make it appear to your customers as if you are ignoring their concerns or that you simply don’t care about them. Always be upfront about any issues your company might be facing.

One of the primary ways you can manage your reputation is to claim your business brand online and take charge of the content about you. Use either KnowEm.com, UserNameCheck.com or NameChk.com to locate every online instance of your business name popping up. You only need to use one, but any of them can let you know if anyone out there is misrepresenting your business or speaking ill of you.

The best way to manage your reputation is simply to provide great customer service to everyone that you deal with. When everyone is happy, they only say positive things or just nothing at all. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertising because it is free and unstoppable. Make sure no one ever has a reason to bad mouth you in the first place.

If you make a mistake, apologize quickly. Most people realize that everyone is human and mistakes do happen. If you are able to rectify the mistake do so quickly and address it on your website or social media site. If you are unable to rectify the mistake, apologize and go on with your business.

When people take the time to say something about your business, it is important that you are courteous enough to respond. While you may be a very busy person, it shows your audience that you actually care about them and what they have to say. This is vital if you want to maintain a steady customer base.

Keep in mind that your online and in-person reputations both matter just as much. There are many people that are great in person yet they are not very great with customers over the Internet. You should be nice either way since you have no idea if this customer will spread negative information that can destroy you.

Blogs are wonderful ways to bolster your online presence and increase your company’s reputation. Feature guest bloggers in your industry, offer tips on how to use your products and other information that will help your customers. One of the best strategies is to feature other businesses that compliment your products and services.

Be professional when posting on social media sites. Avoid using Internet jargon and slang such as LOL, YW or TY. Be professional at all times. Respond to comments just like you would to your clients in a face to face meeting. Use proper English and proofread all responses before posting them.

Never post fake reviews and comments that would put your business in a positive light. Whether you believe it or not, most customers will know when they are being duped and they will lose trust in you and your company. Instead of gaining customers, you may end up losing them.

Get involved with your community. One of the best ways to bolster your company’s reputation is to do charitable deeds in your community. By taking the time to give back to your community, you will receive good publicity and will also allow you a chance to talk with a lot of people that you otherwise would never get to talk to.

Respond as quickly to complaints and concerns as possible. The sooner you fix a problem, the lesser of a problem it becomes. If you wait until a customer has complained across the Internet, it may be too late. Show your customers how much you care to keep them coming back.

Knowing your customers is a good way to protect the reputation of your business. Be sure to talk and poll your customers. Find out what they love and don’t love about your company. Being aware of what they love will help you talk about those things. Knowing what they dislike gives you the chance to address it or fix it. It also makes you more prepared in case your reputation is attacked.

Many of your competitors may be paying for false positive reviews. Resist the urge to do the same. Not only is this a poor practice, it may also be illegal in certain states.

Keeping your emotions under control is often a big part of managing your online reputation. Use stress management to relieve those pent up frustrations. Sports or swimming can help you to blow off some steam. Don’t get baited into a flame war. This can ruin your reputation.

When confronted with criticism online, take the time to analyze it. Look at complaints carefully and isolate the specific issues you need to address. Determine whether or not the problem lies with you, the complainer or both. Consider the source. If the person complaining has a history of complaining in other settings, there may not be much you can do about this complaint.

A reputation can be damaged by old content still showing up in search engines, so be proactive in getting it removed. Send a request for content removal to Google and other search engines. Your request will be reviewed and granted for legal reasons, concerns over personal information, or if previously removed content is still showing up due to an old page not being crawled recently.

Reputation Management

Before putting too much effort in reputation management online, check to see how much you need, if any. Search your business with Google and Bing. Do negative results come up? Do the websites and blogs your business runs only show up on a few hits or none at all? Answering yes to either question means that you have work cut out.

Try using a social network like LinkedIn to help your reputation management. This social network can rank a bit higher than some of the other ones. It is also an important tool for B2B companies. This is because many people like to search for professional services on LinkedIn instead of the search engines.

Try looking into reputation management services. These services do cost a bit of money, but they can help you start a reputation, repair a reputation, or maintain a reputation. These are professionals. They can watch online activity for you, and they can help you both avoid and fight a negative reputation.

You can hire someone to do reputation management for you if you don’t have the time to do it yourself. You’re going to have a lot of things to handle in your daily life with your business, but in this day and age there are a lot of things like social media and other Internet activities you should be looking out for. Therefore, having someone handling that is a good idea.

A crucial element in reputation management is claiming your brand name, especially on the Internet. Make sure that no other business or individual is able to use your reputation to enhance their own agenda or to discredit you. Use only one name across all your online venues, including social media, and secure any obvious variations of it that a competitor could take advantage of.

As part of your reputation management strategy, you may have to respond to negative attacks on your company. Address the problem and rectify it immediately. Customers value honesty as much as perfection, so don’t be afraid to admit mistakes and make statements on how the issue is being resolved.

Have a reputation management team in place to react to a crisis when it occurs. With the constant stream of online interaction, it is inevitable that you will encounter potentially explosive problems, so know ahead of time how you plan to respond quickly. Assemble a team of people with specific roles that can come together on the spot to mitigate any damage before it gets out of control.

As part of a smart reputation management strategy, send customers a follow-up correspondence after every purchase or communications exchange with your company. This way, if a person has something negative to address, you will be the first to hear about it! Address responses and resolve the issues quickly to keep customers happy and your reputation unscathed.

An important part in managing your online reputation is your website. Make sure that your company, along with your brand, is everywhere it should be on the website. When search engines index your site, they have to see that your business is the authority for your brand and name. Place the name of your business in the URL, headers and title tags on each page.

If you have a large enough company, you may want to hire a public relations person yourself. Reputation management can be a job that’s full-time. With so many different types of media today, and with the public taking part in it, you must have someone monitoring it all in order to ensure that you have a good reputation. Ignoring it will lead to a problem that you cannot fix alone.

Now that you’ve read this article, you can see why your online reputation is so important. Don’t let what others do affect the success of your business. Take heed of the advice you’ve just been given. Make sure that your online reputation stays in tact for now and for years to come.



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