Perhaps You’ve Heard of Me?

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Online Reputation Management

Hello small business owner.  I’ve been reading about your company online…

Businesses now have two reputations; these can be described as the Word on the Street, and the Word on the Internet.  Chances are you keep pretty close tabs on your company’s street reputation, how your partners and those in your business networks perceive you.  But if you aren’t also monitoring and managing your company’s online reputation, be advised of the risk.  It’s an ever increasing reality now that every business has a parallel, virtual reputation.  Customers and competitors are posting opinions about you, so either you are in control of your online reputation, or someone else is.

If you haven’t already rushed to your computer, now is the time to do so.  Google search your company name, your services, your own name and the name of prominent employees.  Check the top 40 results or so.  You’ll begin to see what the Internet thinks about your company.  Is it positive?  Negative?  Nonexistent?  Follow these three steps to take charge of your online reputation.

Step One – Know What’s Being Said
First you’ll want to do some listening.  Fortunately, Google has made this easy.  Set up a free Google Alerts report.  Go to www.google.com/alerts and enter in the terms you want to be alerted about whenever they pop up in a post anywhere online.  Terms like the ones you just searched are the best place to start.  Every week you can read through what Google finds.

Step Two – Claim Online Listing & Review Pages
You’ve probably noticed your website isn’t the only site posting information about your company.  In fact, there are a ton of free listing and review sites that let you “claim” them and update the content.  Note that these pages exist without your having created them, so stake your claim to them ASAP!  The most popular sites include:

You can view a longer list of other popular business listing pages at www.270net.com/reputation

Step Three – Be Proactive
It’s your business so what you post online carries the most weight.  Take advantage of this and join the online conversation.  Maybe this means setting up a blog or running social media campaigns.  Post honest, helpful info about your business.  Ask for online feedback and testimonials.  And respond when someone posts a question or leaves an online review.  Even a ‘Thank you’ goes a long way.

Pretty soon, a customer will say to you, “I read about you guys online and I had to check you out!”

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