Your small business’s online presence is critical to attracting customers. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your online reputation is spotless. To protect your image, take these steps to keep abreast of what people are saying about your business on social media, ratings and reviews sites and more.
- An easy way to keep up to date with online mentions of your business is by setting up a Google Alert for your business name, product/service name, and your name. When your business (or whatever you’ve put an alert on) is mentioned online, you’ll get an email. You can set up the emails to arrive daily, weekly or in real-time, depending on the volume of mentions you want to deal with.
- For social media mentions, if you use a social media management tool such as HootSuite, you’ll be able to see what people are saying on all of your social media channels in one dashboard, which makes it easier to manage. You can also use a media monitoring tool such as Mention, which monitors mentions of your business online and on social media.
- Depending on your type of business, online ratings and reviews may be another area that you need to keep up with. Online review sites do have tracking programs you can use to see what’s being said about your business on their site, but checking each site’s tracking every day can eat up a lot of time.
So far, we’ve mentioned piecemeal approaches to monitoring your online reputation. To save time, consider a simple solution: an all-in-one online reputation monitoring service like Web.com’s ReputationAlert. ReputationAlert tracks mentions of your business across thousands of places online, including social networking sites, ratings and reviews sites, blogs and news sites, so you don’t have to use a bunch of different tools to stay up to date. As soon as either positive or negative comments are made about your business, you’ll automatically receive an alert so you can take action right away to protect your reputation if needed.
Despite all of your best efforts, sometimes monitoring isn’t enough. If you see what looks like a fake review of your business by the competition, contact the review site immediately to report it. If the post is determined to be fake, or if it’s libelous or defamatory, the review site should remove it or at least downgrade it if warranted.
It’s every business owner’s nightmare to have a horrible review go viral or get into a battle with an online troll that damages your online reputation. If worse comes to worst, you may need to turn to an online reputation management consultant. These companies will first try to get false/damaging information removed from the Internet (not an easy task). If they can’t accomplish that, they will use SEO to add more positive mentions of your business and push the negative mentions lower and lower in search results, so that very few people will ever see it.
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Maria Valdez Haubrich
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.