Your reputation is golden – this has always been the case for businesses small and large. Now with the prominence of the Internet your reputation is even more important – your online reputation could really be the make or break of your business.
It is incredible, given how important an online reputation management is, how many businesses and professionals don’t take the time to monitor their own reputation. How can you hope to portray your business online if you don’t even know what people are saying about you on the Web. There is a saying that Knowledge is power — and in case of the Internet – knowledge of your own online reputation is power, and will prove vital for staying ahead and staying in business.
There are plenty of tools for helping you evaluate your own online reputation, here are a few ideas
- Google Yourself – Search yourself or your business— Using Google, Yahoo, Bing and any other search engines. This will quickly show you what is being said about you and who is saying it. Remember to search under your business name and logical mis-spellings of it, plurals and abbreviations. Also make sure you log out of Google before searching for yourself. Google personalizes its listings, so if you are logged in you will get different results than if you are not.
- Set up Google Alerts – Setting up Google Alerts means Google will notify you through email when there is new content created with you or your business name in it.
- Social Media – The Social Media world (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc) are huge and reflect what your average consumers are saying about you and your business. You can search within these sites for your business name.
- Online review sites – such as local directories and Yellow Pages services — basically, anywhere your brand has its own entry. Simply browsing these sites, on a regular basis, can allow you to stay alert as to the kind of feedback you’re generating on the Web.
How to respond to negative content
Finding negative content about yourself or your business an be a tough experience, but what should you do about it.
One way is to respond, politely and promptly — something that is recommended for positive reviews, and even for constructive criticism. Always thank the person in question, and show that you value their feedback. Don’t respond in haste or with anger, sometimes simply ignoring the content might be the best way to handle them, as it keeps them from gaining any traction in the Google search engine rankings
Keeping up with your online business presence is important and should be done on a regular basis.