In today’s world, your reputation and identity in the online marketplace can make or break your business. Whether the information is true or false, who you are in the online community has become reality in the business world. This is especially important in a business in which referrals as a big part of client intake. In order to keep your reputation intact, it is important to know what’s being said about you. Here are five things you can do to ensure your online reputation is not costing you clients and damaging your reputation.
Check Search Engines at Least Once a Month
It’s not enough to search your business every year (or even every few months) anymore. Customers are writing about companies in record numbers on online review sites, in blogs and social media. To find out what people are saying about you, search for your business on all the major search engines. Also, check industry-related community websites for mentions that may not show up on a major search engine but are still relevant to your customer base. Consider setting up an RSS feed or an automatic alert to help track this information.
Google Alerts is a great way to see when your name appears on search engines immediately. To create an alert, go to the Google Alerts homepage and then type in your name in the “Create an alert about …” box. You can select if you’d like to receive email alerts as your name appears, once a day, or once a week.
Claim Your Business Profile
Nearly everyone doing business today (including potential clients and customers) rely on the power of the web to find service providers and to gain information. It is why it’s important to claim your business profile across the web and on every social media site. Even if you have no intention of ever using Twitter for business, grab your Twitter handle using your name so no one else can do it.
Have a Policy and Make Someone Responsible
Since online chatter is constant, you need to have a consistent process and policy about managing your online reputation. Determine what customer service actions can be taken across all the different channels and make monitoring those channels a part of your company policy. If you work in a larger business environment, designate a person in charge of monitoring online mentions and responding to feedback according to the company policy. This individual should be someone who has a strong working knowledge of social networking.
A search of your business name that yields few results can be equally damaging as having several negative reviews. Customers want to trust what they are buying and the company from whom they are buying. Not having information to access may turn off potential buyers. Make sure that you are providing information on your website, social networking sites, and through press releases, so people can easily find content. Continually providing information will help your online identity grow and will ultimately improve your search engine results.
You can also harness the power of social media to create and share content, and promote yourself as an expert. Answer questions on Twitter and participate in industry-specific LinkedIn Group discussion. When you do create content, be sure to share it on these profiles and Facebook.
Use a Professional Software Solution to Help
It may be worth investing in a software solution, such as reputation.com, to help you monitor and clean up your online presence. This service, for example, is an all-in-one platform for online review management, local search visibility, and social media designed for businesses. They also offer a service that allows you to measure your business’s performance against competitors.
Knowing what is being said online about you and your company is just as critical as making sure there is enough said. Take the time to conduct regular searches on your business name and make sure you have plenty of positive content online.