A good name is worth more than most business owners imagine, and it can be difficult to repair a good named that’s been soiled or damaged. The speed of communication on the internet makes it easier than ever to spread positive or negative word about businesses all over the world. Managing your small business’s reputation online is key in this fast moving world of technology. Knowing what to do and what not to do could mean the difference between success and failure.

  1. Sign Up for Google Alerts
    Google Analytics is a powerful set of webmaster tools that every business should be utilizing in their online marketing and reputation management strategies. This utility offers numerous tools for tracking and analyzing your web traffic, and the Alerts feature is designed to keep you abreast of everything that’s going on in your world. Any action on your slice of the web that could potentially damage your online reputation can be brought to your attention right away.
  2. Keep an Eye on Review Sites
    Online review websites like Yelp are all the rage today. Everyone and their mother now has a voice on the internet, and many customers use these websites to air their grievances with the businesses they patronize. If you have profiles on any review sites, be sure to check them regularly to see what the people are saying. This is some of the most unadulterated public opinion you’ll have the privilege of reading, and it may be able to damage your reputation if allowed to run wild.
  3. Tune Into the Blogging World
    Bloggers everywhere are publishing their own work independently, and some are getting very popular and successful with their writing. A word of praise or criticism from a prominent blogger can be very influential to large audiences of readers. Use web services like Technorati to stay on top of the blog roll. This real-time search engine is designed to comb through user generated content and web logs, and may be able to pick up on articles that other search engines miss.
  4. Respond with Appropriate Action
    It is important to know how to respond to words that are tarnishing your reputation. You may find negative reviews on a number of different websites. Usually, the best course of action is to succinctly plead your case and defend your good name. Many discussion forums will allow you to work out problems with your disgruntled patrons without any conflict. For more serious matters that could be libelous, stronger action may be required. Reputation management services like Reputation.com may be able to help, and the law can also defend victims of online defamation.
  5. Promote Your Business Positively
    They say you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Sometimes the best way to deal with reputation damaging criticism is to overpower it with positive messages. Promote your business positively as much as possible. Readers are less likely to be swayed by negativity when there is an overwhelmingly positive message dominating the scene. Watch out for your online reputation, and be sure to promote actively at the same time.

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