There are a number of activities involved in managing your business’s reputation online each of which must be part of a carefully considered marketing strategy:
1. Creating your online branded image- this involves being visible online using resources under your own control such having your own website, blogs, social media accounts, business directory listings, web 2.0 sites, syndicated articles, image portfolios etc. The advantage of this strategy is that you can control a lot of search engine listings with your own information about your business instead of having those search results being dominated by other people talking about your business.
2. Monitoring your online reputation- this involves keeping abreast on a daily basis about what people are saying about your business on the different web media. Using free and paid monitoring tools, itís possible to collate all the data about your company keywords from different sources and know both the positive and negative opinions about your business.
3. Managing your online reputation- this involves taking the results of your monitoring activity and taking measures to control bad publicity and to draw attention to the positive publicity about your business. This is probably the hardest part of online reputation management as it involves:
- Dealing with negative reviews,
- Engaging with those who posted negative content,
- Maintaining a positive and truthful position without falling for the temptation to engage in a online word fight.
- Having the courage to apologize, admit your shortcomings and rectify a situation
- Thanking those who have contributed positive reviews and incorporating them into your online and offline marketing content.
These are the three main activities involved in online reputation management that will help a small business to have a positive online brand image.