Online reputation management is a booming industry, and the service that a reputation management firm can provide to a small business is simply invaluable. With that said, there are many small business owners who aren’t quite ready to invest in this service.
That does not mean that those small business owners are immune to the need for online reputation management, of course. On the contrary, reputation management is vital for any and all small businesses, here in the Age of Google. A single negative review or consumer complaint can prove devastating to your company, and it’s vital that you be proactive against such attacks.
Fortunately, there are a few DIY reputation management strategies that might do the trick. Here’s a brief overview of the basic reputation management tactics your company should be implementing:
- Monitoring. This is the first, and in many ways the most important part of the reputation management process. It is also ongoing. It is always important that you know what people are saying about your company, and how your brand is being portrayed on the Web. You need up-to-date info so that you can promptly address any negative listings. The easiest way to do this is to set up a Google alert for your company or brand name.
- Establish Yourself. This is really the best form of defense. Claim all of the domains associated with your brand name, as well as all the social media accounts. Even if you don’t use all of them, they are important to have. For one thing, it keeps others from claiming them, and using them against you. It also makes your online presence more visible—so if a consumer has a beef with you, they might approach you about it, rather than leave a nasty review.
- Get Traffic. Keeping those domains and social media accounts ranked high on Google is important; it creates a wall against negative listings and bad reviews. Maintaining traffic means producing compelling and unique content. One of the best things you can do for your reputation management campaign is to start a blog on your website, or start posting regularly to Facebook.
- Deal with Negative Reviews. This one is tricky. What you don’t want to do is start rebutting, or refuting, negative reviews on sites like Yelp. This only makes those listings stronger in the Google search rankings. However, contacting complainers privately, and offering them free services in exchange for removing their reviews, might really pay off.
Online reputation management is an ongoing process; there’s never a time when it is okay to quit monitoring, or cease posting new content. Following these simple DIY steps is a good way to get a head start, however, and to start building up a strong defense against potential assailants!