By: Jürgen Strauss
Most people believe that controlling your online reputation is much more difficult than it really is. Unfortunately, this means that many businesses are left to fend for themselves in a way that they do not fully understand and trying to battle an unfair disadvantage in the online reputation management world.
This article will give you five simple tips to taking control of your online reputation while building your online brand and attracting customers.
#1 – Find out where you are today
The human brain works in a very funny way. Most people’s brains either overreact or under react to certain situations. If you’re a business owner you may have seen one or two negative reviews and feel that the sky is falling in on you. Fortunately, it isn’t. But not being completely clear about where you stand in the online reputation world can and will negatively affect your business even if you are in good and positive standing.
What do I mean by this? Even if you have 100% positive reviews you run the risk of not being able to capitalize, and therefore lose money, on this positive reinforcement of your brand. If you have no idea that there are people online saying great things about you, you miss the opportunity to leverage this type of customer support.
It is requisite that you take the time to research your current online reputation status. A simple search on Google.com or some of the secondary review sites will quickly give you an idea of what people are saying about your business.
#2 – Make a list of things to change
No business has a perfect online reputation. You may have negative reviews, or you may have no reviews at all. If you have negative reviews then you need to make a list of things that you’re going to do to gather more positive ones.
If you don’t have any reviews at all, then perhaps you need to set up a review funnel within your business model that will extrapolate the reviews that you so desperately need.
Either way, sit down and make a list of how you’re going to go about fixing your online reputation.
#3 – Find out what people love about you
Not every business can be everything to everybody. As a business owner you probably already learned that lesson the hard way. The same holds true for doing business online. Not every business owner, or business for that matter, has a fantastic writer on staff that can produce amazing blog posts.
Not every business has access to a designer or video creator to produce multimedia content to be promoted across the web. Regardless of what you do or do not have, it is important to take stock of the parts of the web that you can make contributions to.
If you have an iPhone, you can easily record home type movies about your business and post them onto YouTube for more exposure. Find out what parts of your business you can use to shine in the online world.
#4 – Set up a strategy
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Don’t just take the shotgun approach in your online reputation management campaign. You need to sit down and pinpoint the very steps that you’re going to take both in the off-line world, by asking your customers for reviews, and in the online world by aggressively building your reputation.
Without a strategy you might begin to mix messages that you had not originally intended on mixing. This mixed message signal can in fact hurt your online brand. The purpose of online reputation management is to build your brand not destroy it.
#5 – Execute
While it may be true that the failure to plan is detrimental, lack of execution is even worse. As a business owner you know that business is 99% execution and 1% fancy ideas. Once you have come up with a strategy, you need to implement as soon as possible. Because of the disconnected nature of a business owner’s relationship with much of what goes on in the web, it will be easy for you to let your online reputation management campaign drift to the back of your to do list.
Make sure that you do the things necessary to make it your online reputation management campaign a priority. Social proof is incredibly powerful, and something that you should not put off because eventually it will cost your business money.